Rory Phillips KC

Rory Phillips KC

Call: 1984 | Silk: 2002

"He has an exceptional understanding of national security and government sensitivities, and is able to deal with the most complex and wide-ranging inquiries, civil actions and judicial reviews."

- Chambers & Partners UK 2024

"He is well placed to provide high-level 'eagle eye' advice, when it comes to strategic issues, and he is a wonderful advocate to listen to."

- Chambers & Partners UK 2024

"Rory is great with clients and instructing solicitors alike. He is extremely knowledgeable and able to recall the minutiae of specific concerns and arguments raised."

- The Legal 500 UK Bar (2024)

"He is able to take a step back and provide pragmatic commercial advice not only legal advice. Rory is one in a million and a joy to work with."

- The Legal 500 UK Bar (2024)

"His practice is quite unique - a blend of financial services, public law and inquiry experience means he is adept at dealing with novel or unusual scenarios and very capable of problem-solving"

- The Legal 500 UK Bar (2023)

Practice Overview

Rory Phillips has an exceptionally wide-ranging practice in the fields of commercial and public law. He has very considerable experience of leading and managing very substantial, high-profile litigation and is often instructed in cases of the highest sensitivity, in new areas of law or where procedural innovation is required.

He has very considerable experience of financial services and regulatory work. This is a field in which he is able to draw on his expertise in both commercial and public law.

He has advised the UK Regulators in a wide range of cases over many years.

He has considerable experience of Part VII FSMA transfers, in the insurance and banking fields and has advised and appeared for the UK Regulators in both types of transfer.

Together with Sophie Mallinckrodt and Rob Purves of 3VB, he advised and represented both Regulators in relation to the hugely significant regulatory change to the UK banking industry which is Ring Fencing. 4 qualifying banks were required by statute to comply with the Ring Fencing regime by 1 January 2019 and did so by means of very substantial Part VII transfers: see In the Matter of Barclays Bank plc and others (No 1) [2017] EWHC 1482 (Ch); (No3) [2017] EWHC 2894 (Ch) and (No. 5) [2018] EWHC 472 (Ch); In the Matter of Lloyds Bank plc and others [2018] EWHC 1034 (Ch); In the Matter of HSBC Bank plc [2018] EWHC 1339 (Ch) and In the Matter of Santander UK plc [2019] EWHC 111 (Ch).

In 2020, he established an appeals process for customers of Lloyds Banking Group. This followed the recommendations of the Cranston Review into the Bank’s own Customer Review, which had been set up to compensate customers for losses arising as a result of the fraud at the HBOS Impaired Assets Office in Reading. The appeals process is still running. He has determined a very substantial number of these appeals, with the assistance of a team juniors from 3VB, including Sophie Mallinckrodt, Teniola Onabanjo, Kate Holderness, Anne Jeavons, Sarah Tulip and Ivana Daskalova.

Rory also frequently advises insurers, pension companies, private businesses and others, on (often high value) new and existing business models, and their legal and regulatory compliance and implications.

He has regularly advised on perimeter guidance issues in the insurance field. He has extensive experience of acting for brokers and other regulated finance professionals on a range of regulatory issues and in relation to JR challenges to the Regulators. He has advised and represented firms on judicial review challenges to decisions of the FOS.

His work for Government departments and agencies has included a range of significant, sensitive and high-profile cases, with a particular focus on national security.

He is instructed by GLD on behalf of the Defendant decision-maker in the first judicial review challenges under the National Security and Investment Act 2021, leading Georgina Wolfe (of 5 Essex Chambers), Karl Laird (of 6KBW College Hill) and Emmanuel Sheppard (of 3VB): L1T FM Holdings UK Ltd v Secretary of State. This work draws on both his commercial law and public law expertise. The substantive hearing took place in July 2024 before Farbey J and judgment is awaited.

He represents the Respondent agencies (instructed by GLD and leading Rosemary Davidson and Rosalind Earis of 6KBW College Hill) in a complaint brought in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The Tribunal (Lord Justice Singh, Lord Boyd of Duncansby and Annabel Darlow KC) delivered a ruling on a novel jurisdiction issue and gave guidance on the correct approach to limitation in relation to complaints brought before the Tribunal out of time: Al-Hawsawi v Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service and others IPT/21/01/C (26 May 2023).

His earlier work in this area includes:

  • Belhaj v Straw and others [2017] UKSC 3 [2017] 2 WLR 456 – The Supreme Court’s judgment on preliminary issues arising in claims for damages against Government and individual Defendants, in which allegations of involvement in extra-judicial rendition and torture are made against officials of foreign sovereign states (Malaysia, Thailand, the USA and Libya). In its landmark ruling, the Court conducted a detailed review of the case law (both domestic and foreign) relating to the doctrines of state immunity and foreign act of state. The case was settled following a mediation in May 2018.
  • Amin v Director General of the Security Service and others [2015] EWCA Civ 653 (CofA) and [2013] EWHC 1579 (QB) – Allegations of complicity in torture against UK Government Defendants made by convicted terrorist struck out as an abuse of the process. The Claimant’s application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed.
  • Ahmed v Director General of the Security Service and others [2020] EWHC 3458 (QB). Allegations of complicity in torture against UK Government Defendants made by convicted terrorist struck out as an abuse of the process. The Court followed the decision in Amin. The Claimant’s application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

In January 2024, his appointment as Counsel to the Cranston Inquiry was announced. The Inquiry, chaired by Sir Ross Cranston, is charged with examining the circumstances in which up to thirty individuals died in an attempt to cross the Channel in a small boat on 24 November 2021. He is leading Sarah Le Fevre and Genevieve Woods (of Three Raymond Buildings), Rowena Moffatt (of Doughty Street Chambers), Teniola Onabanjo (of 3VB), Alice Meredith (of 5 Essex Chambers), Kate Parlett (of 20 Essex Street) and Tom Davies (of Red Lion Chambers).

He was instructed by the Directorate of Legal Services, Metropolitan Police Service, to represent the National Police Chiefs Council, a Core Participant in Modules 1, 2 and 2A to C of the Covid 19 Inquiry. Public hearings in those Modules began in June 2023 and continued until May 2024. He led a team of Counsel: Sarah Le Fevre and Genevieve Woods (of Three Raymond Buildings), Charlotte Godber (of QEB Hollis Whiteman), Miriam Smith (of 5 Paper Buildings) and Ivana Daskalova (of 3VB).

He is also instructed to advise Lord Justice Haddon-Cave, the Chair of the Independent Inquiry Relating to Afghanistan (which is considering allegations that UK Special Forces unlawfully killed Afghan detainees during tours of duty in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013). He is instructed by Piers Doggart, the solicitor to the Inquiry, with Emma Gargitter of Red Lion Chambers.

His extensive experience in this field includes the following:

From 2005 – 2009, he was principally engaged as Counsel to the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry which examined claims of State involvement in the murder of a high-profile lawyer in Northern Ireland. He led a team of seven Counsel and conducted the Inquiry’s hearings in Belfast in 2008 – 2009.

He represented the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in the Leveson Inquiry and advised the Mid-Staffs Inquiry on procedural issues.

In 2012, he was appointed a specialist adviser to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. In that role, he conducted the first questioning on behalf of the Commission – a Parliamentary and constitutional first.

He was instructed by the specialist public inquiries team at Eversheds LLP to represent the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office (EIO), a Core Participant in the Anglican Church investigation conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The EIO is the liability insurer of the vast majority of Anglican churches. He also represented the EIO as a Core Participant in the Inquiry’s Residential Schools and Accountability and Reparations investigations. The Inquiry’s final report was published on 20 October 2022.

In 2019, he led the Counsel team which acted for and advised Sir Ross Cranston in his Review of the Customer Review established by Lloyds Bank to compensate customers for losses arising as a result of fraud at the HBOS Impaired Assets office in Reading.

For over 25 years, he has been involved in a series of cases arising out of disputes and problems in the insurance and reinsurance market.

Insurance issues are also a regular feature of his work in other specialist areas, for example his financial services and regulatory work, his work for the EIO in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and his professional negligence work.

He has acted for Claimants and Defendants in many types of professional negligence cases, ranging from actuaries to auctioneers. He has developed a particular expertise in brokers’ cases, which is a logical extension of his insurance and reinsurance work.

Rory is regularly asked to draw on his huge experience of managing very substantial litigation in providing strategic advice to private clients, whether high net worth individuals or corporations, in high value and high-profile litigation, often with a multi-jurisdictional dimension.

Winner: UK Bar Awards 2023
The Lawyer Awards 2022: Chambers of the Year