Hugh Mercer QC has a wide-ranging practice in EU and international law. He has extensive experience in trial and appellate advocacy and is equally at home in arbitral tribunals. He is particularly noted as “a fine litigation strategist” who is “marvellous for EU law questions”. Clients have described him in the legal guides as “very erudite and, frankly, brilliant”, “phenomenally clever and very likeable”, “excellent in all aspects” of his work, “excellent and approachable” and “a super lawyer”.
He is a true polymath in the field of EU, public and international law providing advocacy and representation not only before the Court of Justice and General Court but also before a wide range of courts and arbitral tribunals both in the UK and, working with local counsel, in Belgium, France, Greece, Spain and Switzerland where his languages (French, German, Spanish and Italian) are very valuable.
A member of Treasury A Panel when a junior, his work since taking silk has included several recent cases involving sanctions/restrictive measures before the General Court, national courts and regulatory authorities, intervening in the General Court of the EU to support Microsoft’s appeal against a periodic penalty payment of almost €1 billion, successfully appealing a Court of Appeal decision in the fisheries field to the UK Supreme Court on behalf of Defra, representing defendants in damages actions before UK courts in competition cases, representing claimants in Francovich damages claims, intervening before the European Court of Human Rights in a criminal case involving bail, challenging UK implementation and decisions in relation to the Single Payment Scheme and Fruit and Vegetable Schemes, representing the OFT in relation to issues on retirement homes under the Unfair Contract Terms Directive, representing authorised persons in Financial Services Authority disciplinary proceedings, representing a water company in proceedings before the Competition Commission, representation in relation to litigation arising out of EU and UK climate change levies, challenging various levies, charges and duties, advising on blocking statutes in the field of sanctions, damages claims in the General Court arising from travel bans/asset freezing orders, challenging state aid decisions in the telecoms sector before the General Court, advising on bilateral investment treaty issues arising from competition law enforcement, advising on the application of competition law to property agreements, arguing issues of foreign law in the English courts, dealing with the references to Luxembourg in the fields of international environmental law, agriculture, customs/excise duties and copyright, advising NGOs in Srebrenica in relation to international human rights before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
He is Chairman of the CCBE Permanent Delegation to the Court of Justice and the General Court of the EU (the liaison committee between all EU lawyers and the Court of Justice in Luxembourg) and is on the Legal Experts Advisory Panel of Fair Trials International. He also co-authors a major commentary on the Brussels Regulation on jurisdiction and judgments, European Civil Practice. He has particular experience working with economists on regulatory matters and recently provided the EU law input for an economist’s Wolfson prize entry concerning the crisis affecting the euro.
He has experience both as expert witness on English law and also as arbitrator, including as sole arbitrator.
He also has chambers in Brussels for more specialist EU litigation.