Bench press

Barrister fast-tracked to top European post

Vajda: another QC hits the heights
Vajda: another QC hits the heights

With the European Court of Human Rights under scrutiny, a high-level judicial appointment has been all but ignored by the national press.

Last week Monckton Chambers’ Christopher Vajda QC was nominated by the Government as the first barrister to be appointed to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) bench.

The appointment still has to be confirmed at EU level, but in all likelihood it will go ahead, with Vajda taking up the post in October.

It provides further evidence
that lawmakers are developing an appetite for fast-tracking the most experienced barristers to the top of the legal hierarchy. It was not too long ago that the Ministry of Justice caused a stir by leapfrogging former Brick Court silk Jonathan Sumption QC into the Supreme Court.

Called to the bar in 1979 and appointed silk in 1997, Vajda is widely respected as an antitrust specialist with a particular strength in European competition law.
While his promotion would raise the profile of Monckton, it would also leave the set with a big gap to fill.

Vajda was listed as being instructed in two of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of last year. He is appearing for Nokia in its price-fixing claim against Samsung and
is instructed by HM Revenue & Customs in a Supreme Court case over VAT schemes for loyalty cards.

He is also involved with several legal organisations and for the past decade has sat as treasurer of the United Kingdom Association for European Law.