39 Essex St signs up Ofgem’s legal chief

39 Essex Street is to boost its regulatory practice with the addition of Ofgem legal director, markets Duncan Sinclair as a member.

Sinclair joins the set after more than five years with the energy watchdog.

During that time he forged close relationships with Blackstone Chambers and Matrix Chambers by opting to go straight to the bar on ­competition, EC and public law matters to save money.

The move of a key referrer to a rival chambers will come as a blow to those sets.

“It’s time to move on,” ­Sinclair told The Lawyer. “A career at the bar seems like an attractive proposition to me and 39 Essex Street does a lot of energy work, but it doesn’t tend to shout about it.”

David Barnes, director of clerking at 39 Essex Street, said Sinclair “has an unsurpassed knowledge of the energy sector, particularly in the areas of regulation and competition law”.

Sinclair said he intended to stay with the watchdog until the Supreme Court had ruled on its investigation into the National Grid, which it did earlier this year.

In August the Supreme Court endorsed Ofgem’s ­investigation by refusing the National Grid permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s finding that the company had breached competition law in the gas meter market.

Ofgem has yet to appoint a successor.