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Rhodri Thompson QC
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Rhodri Thompson QC

A leading specialist in competition, EU and commercial public law: "… makes the complex seem disarmingly simple and the logic of his clients’ cases seem inexorable."

Legal 500 2018
Called: 1989 | Silk: 2002

Rhodri is a leading silk in public law and regulation, including competition law, telecoms law and all aspects of EU law. He is also a recommended silk in sports law. Rhodri’s expertise in the overlapping areas of EU law, competition and regulatory law is reflected in his regular involvement in major telecoms, utilities and media-related cases before Ofcom, ORR, the CAT and in the UK and EU Courts, most recently in the 2019 Rail Franchise Litigation in the TCC and the UK trucks litigation in the CAT.

Rhodri provides advice and advocacy at all stages of competition and regulatory disputes, including preliminary strategic advice, advice and advocacy during the administrative stage of regulatory investigations, appeals, judicial review and commercial litigation.

He is currently Hon Treasurer of the UK Association of European Law and was Chair of the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council from 2018 to 2020.

Rhodri is one of the leading UK silks specialising in competition law. He appears frequently before the Competition Appeal Tribunal and has appeared in many leading cases in the UK and EU courts and in regulatory judicial review proceedings in both the Admin Court and the CAT. He advises regularly on all aspects of competition law, and has an exceptional ability to handle the complex factual, legal and economic issues that are raised by such cases. Rhodri advises on strategic issues such as applications for leniency, conflicts of interest, disclosure and the relationship between the administrative, civil and criminal regimes.

At the administrative stage, Rhodri has acted for numerous private companies and for the major UK and EC regulators, achieving case closures for major clients in a series of cases, including Scottish Milk, the Groceries Enquiry, and the Ofcom investigation into BT’s pricing of wholesale calls.

Rhodri has appeared in many appeals and judicial review challenges to regulatory decisions at both the UK and EU level. Cases include the Aggregates judicial review, the first case against the newly constituted CMA, intervention on behalf of HSBC in the MasterCard appeal to the EU Courts, the Tobacco appeals in the CAT and CA on behalf of Co-op and Somerfield, successful appeals against the OFT’s decision in respect of “cover pricing” in the construction sector.

Rhodri has been a contributor to the 4th-8th editions of Bellamy and Child, European Community Law of Competition, and is currently the contributing editor on the chapter on abuse of dominance with Christopher Brown and Nicholas Gibson.

Rhodri is also a leading specialist in commercial litigation arising out of competition law investigations. He is currently acting for the UKTC in their application for a collective proceedings order arising out of the EU trucks cartel decision.  Rhodri is advising a number of other potential claimants and defendants and represented Which? in the first “follow on” consumer damages action in respect of the Replica Kit cartel.

Rhodri also acts for clients involved in interim applications and commercial claims arising out of competition law: for example, Rhodri acted for the International Tennis Federation in respect of the challenge to its rules brought by Adidas-Salomon AG under Articles 101 and 102; for Roche, in a challenge to its distribution practices pursuant to Article 102; and in a dispute between Ecotricity and Tesla concerning exclusive arrangements for the charging of electronic vehicles.  He is currently acting in respect of an importer alleging anti-competitive exclusion from a major UK port.

Rhodri is also a leading expert in EU law. He has appeared in a very wide range of EU cases, both as a member of the Treasury Panel from 1997 to 2002 and, as a leading specialist silk since 2002.  He has a specific expertise in telecoms, utilities and sports law.

Rhodri has advised and acted for a wide range of commercial and public bodies, including BT, the Bank of England, the BBC, Roche, HSBC, DEFRA, ORR and the European Commission as well as for a wide range of private individuals asserting their EU law rights against the UK and EC authorities, for example, individuals subject to football banning orders, controls on vitamin supplements and challenges to the confiscation of excise goods and vehicles by HMRC.

In the commercial field, Rhodri acted for HSBC as intervener in the MasterCard proceedings in the Court of Justice and has advised and has acted for BT in a series of cases under the EU “common regulatory framework” for telecoms. He has a particular specialism in rail regulation, advising ORR on a range of issues and representing ORR and DfT in a series of major rail disputes based on EU law.

Rhodri has also been heavily involved in the complex legal issues arising out of UK withdrawal from the EU, including acting for Gina Miller in her first landmark challenge and taking an active role in consultations with the Government on behalf of the Bar Council as Chair of the EU Law Committee from 2018 to 2020 and a member of the Future Relationship Working Group and International Law Committee of the Judiciary, Law Society and Bar Council.

Developing out of his EU and regulatory law practice, Rhodri has appeared in a series of important EU and competition related cases both for and against the Government. Rhodri also advises regularly on strategic issues for public bodies arising in the areas of EU and regulatory law. Notable cases include the historic Miller litigation in the Divisional Court and Supreme Court, the earlier challenge to UK ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, EU aspects of the Three Rivers District Council litigation against the Bank of England; challenges to various aspects of UK immigration and customs policy in so far as it impacts on rights and freedoms guaranteed by EU law; and the detention powers of the UK airport authorities to compel aircraft owners to discharge the debts of insolvent airlines (Admin Ct).

In the field of competition law, Rhodri has acted in a number of leading judicial review cases in the CAT, including the first case in which the Competition Commission was found to have made a decision that was Wednesbury unreasonable (Stagecoach). Rhodri acted for the newly constituted CMA in the first case brought against it (Aggregates).

Given his expertise in competition law and economic regulation, Rhodri is regularly involved in advisory work and commercial judicial review proceedings involving the major regulators. For example, he acted for the Office of Rail Regulation in rebutting a challenge to the UK rail network access pricing regime brought by GNER, a recent challenge to the funding arrangements for the pending Crossrail services to Heathrow, and frequently advises the ORR on issues of regulatory law.  He recently acted for the Department of Transport in the unsuccessful challenge by Stagecoach to their disqualification from the West Coast, East Midland and South Eastern rail franchise competitions.

Rhodri also appears in the Administrative Court in competition law cases, including two cases in relation to State aid law, one in respect of sports stadia the other concerning the UK rules on the allocation of quota under the EU common fisheries policy.  Rhodri has acted in two major judicial reviews for ORR in cases concerning the application of EU transport policy, GNER and Heathrow.

Rhodri commenced his practice in Brussels and was a founder member of Matrix in 2000. He was a member of the Treasury panel from 1997 until taking silk in 2002. He was the Chair of the Matrix Management Committee from 2004-6 and 2014-16. He is a qualified negotiator and mediator and a civil recorder. He was the Joint Chair of the Joint Working Party of the UK Bars and Law Societies on Competition Law from 2013 to 2017. Rhodri is the Honorary Treasurer of the UKAEL and was Chair of the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council from 2018 to 2020.

Joint Editor, Brown, Kellaway and Thompson, UK Competition Law – the New Framework (OUP), 2015.

Contributor to Bellamy & Child, Common Market Law of Competition, 4th-5th edition (on common horizontal agreements), 6th-8th edition (Article 102) (Sweet & Maxwell).

Rhodri is a self-employed barrister at Matrix.  He provides legal services to his clients, including advice and representation.  In order to provide these services, Rhodri needs to collect and hold personal data, including his clients’ personal data and the personal data of others who are involved in the matters on which he is instructed. To read Rhodri’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Rhodri is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards.

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"He is a sound pair of hands for telecoms regulatory matters."

Legal 500, (Telecoms (Regulatory))

"Very knowledgeable and has clear insight into the telecommunications sector. He understands complicated EU regulatory regimes, and is thoughtful and professional, while also being courteous and very good to deal with." "A real telecoms expert with strong knowledge of EU law, he is very popular with clients."

Chambers & Partners 2021, (Telecommunications)

"Rhodri is very technically knowledgeable, and a professorial advocate with good statesmanship and gravitas." "He is very clever, very fun and extremely well versed in aspects of EU law."

Chambers & Partners 2021, (European Law)

"He is fantastic to work with and has a razor-sharp mind." "Rhodri is very knowledgeable on telecoms matters."

Chambers & Partners 2021, (Competition Law)

"He is a very calm and balanced individual, who is very client-friendly and sees not just the immediate issue, but gives rounded and considered advice."

Chambers & Partners 2018 (Competition law)

"He is very good at handling clients, seeing the bigger picture and maintaining relationships between clients and regulators. He is also very good at navigating a complicated legislative environment."

Chambers & Partners 2018 (EU law)

"At the top of the tree for EU-related judicial reviews and drives home the key points."

Legal 500 2019 (Administrative and public law)

"Has an unerring ability to drive home the point which most interests the court."

Legal 500 2019 (Competition law)

"Makes the very complex seem disarmingly simple and the logic of his client’s case seems inexorable."

Legal 500 2019 (EU law)

"A wise counsel who is unflappable. He sees the bigger picture and is a crucial sounding board when it comes to strategy."

Chambers & Partners 2017 (Competition Law)

"A true expert with gravitas and a reassuring presence in the courtroom."

Legal 500 2016 (Competition and EU)

"He’s a gentleman assassin. Very measured and very engaging, he is thoughtful and reasoned and always has the facts of the case at his fingertips.” “He’s extremely easy to work with, and both responsive and approachable."

Chambers & Partners 2016 (Telecommunications)
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Rhodri Thompson QC
Called: 1989 | Silk: 2002

A leading specialist in competition, EU and commercial public law: "… makes the complex seem disarmingly simple and the logic of his clients’ cases seem inexorable."

Legal 500 2018

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • International arbitration
  • Commercial Law
  • Competition
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • EU Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement
  • Injunctions
  • Investigations
  • Mediation
  • Public Law
  • Sports Law
  • Telecommunications
  • Commercial Public Law

Rhodri Thompson QC

Contact Rhodri: rhodrithompson@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Rhodri's Practice Team (Team X): TeamX@matrixlaw.co.uk


Rhodri is a leading silk in public law and regulation, including competition law, telecoms law and all aspects of EU law. He is also a recommended silk in sports law. Rhodri’s expertise in the overlapping areas of EU law, competition and regulatory law is reflected in his regular involvement in major telecoms, utilities and media-related cases before Ofcom, ORR, the CAT and in the UK and EU Courts, most recently in the 2019 Rail Franchise Litigation in the TCC and the UK trucks litigation in the CAT.

Rhodri provides advice and advocacy at all stages of competition and regulatory disputes, including preliminary strategic advice, advice and advocacy during the administrative stage of regulatory investigations, appeals, judicial review and commercial litigation.

He is currently Hon Treasurer of the UK Association of European Law and was Chair of the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council from 2018 to 2020.

Competition Law

Rhodri is one of the leading UK silks specialising in competition law. He appears frequently before the Competition Appeal Tribunal and has appeared in many leading cases in the UK and EU courts and in regulatory judicial review proceedings in both the Admin Court and the CAT. He advises regularly on all aspects of competition law, and has an exceptional ability to handle the complex factual, legal and economic issues that are raised by such cases. Rhodri advises on strategic issues such as applications for leniency, conflicts of interest, disclosure and the relationship between the administrative, civil and criminal regimes. At the administrative stage, Rhodri has acted for numerous private companies and for the major UK and EC regulators, achieving case closures for major clients in a series of cases, including Scottish Milk, the Groceries Enquiry, and the Ofcom investigation into BT’s pricing of wholesale calls. Rhodri has appeared in many appeals and judicial review challenges to regulatory decisions at both the UK and EU level. Cases include the Aggregates judicial review, the first case against the newly constituted CMA, intervention on behalf of HSBC in the MasterCard appeal to the EU Courts, the Tobacco appeals in the CAT and CA on behalf of Co-op and Somerfield, successful appeals against the OFT’s decision in respect of “cover pricing” in the construction sector. Rhodri has been a contributor to the 4th-8th editions of Bellamy and Child, European Community Law of Competition, and is currently the contributing editor on the chapter on abuse of dominance with Christopher Brown and Nicholas Gibson.

Commercial Litigation

Rhodri is also a leading specialist in commercial litigation arising out of competition law investigations. He is currently acting for the UKTC in their application for a collective proceedings order arising out of the EU trucks cartel decision.  Rhodri is advising a number of other potential claimants and defendants and represented Which? in the first “follow on” consumer damages action in respect of the Replica Kit cartel. Rhodri also acts for clients involved in interim applications and commercial claims arising out of competition law: for example, Rhodri acted for the International Tennis Federation in respect of the challenge to its rules brought by Adidas-Salomon AG under Articles 101 and 102; for Roche, in a challenge to its distribution practices pursuant to Article 102; and in a dispute between Ecotricity and Tesla concerning exclusive arrangements for the charging of electronic vehicles.  He is currently acting in respect of an importer alleging anti-competitive exclusion from a major UK port.

European Union Law

Rhodri is also a leading expert in EU law. He has appeared in a very wide range of EU cases, both as a member of the Treasury Panel from 1997 to 2002 and, as a leading specialist silk since 2002.  He has a specific expertise in telecoms, utilities and sports law. Rhodri has advised and acted for a wide range of commercial and public bodies, including BT, the Bank of England, the BBC, Roche, HSBC, DEFRA, ORR and the European Commission as well as for a wide range of private individuals asserting their EU law rights against the UK and EC authorities, for example, individuals subject to football banning orders, controls on vitamin supplements and challenges to the confiscation of excise goods and vehicles by HMRC. In the commercial field, Rhodri acted for HSBC as intervener in the MasterCard proceedings in the Court of Justice and has advised and has acted for BT in a series of cases under the EU “common regulatory framework” for telecoms. He has a particular specialism in rail regulation, advising ORR on a range of issues and representing ORR and DfT in a series of major rail disputes based on EU law. Rhodri has also been heavily involved in the complex legal issues arising out of UK withdrawal from the EU, including acting for Gina Miller in her first landmark challenge and taking an active role in consultations with the Government on behalf of the Bar Council as Chair of the EU Law Committee from 2018 to 2020 and a member of the Future Relationship Working Group and International Law Committee of the Judiciary, Law Society and Bar Council.

Commercial Judicial Review

Developing out of his EU and regulatory law practice, Rhodri has appeared in a series of important EU and competition related cases both for and against the Government. Rhodri also advises regularly on strategic issues for public bodies arising in the areas of EU and regulatory law. Notable cases include the historic Miller litigation in the Divisional Court and Supreme Court, the earlier challenge to UK ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, EU aspects of the Three Rivers District Council litigation against the Bank of England; challenges to various aspects of UK immigration and customs policy in so far as it impacts on rights and freedoms guaranteed by EU law; and the detention powers of the UK airport authorities to compel aircraft owners to discharge the debts of insolvent airlines (Admin Ct). In the field of competition law, Rhodri has acted in a number of leading judicial review cases in the CAT, including the first case in which the Competition Commission was found to have made a decision that was Wednesbury unreasonable (Stagecoach). Rhodri acted for the newly constituted CMA in the first case brought against it (Aggregates). Given his expertise in competition law and economic regulation, Rhodri is regularly involved in advisory work and commercial judicial review proceedings involving the major regulators. For example, he acted for the Office of Rail Regulation in rebutting a challenge to the UK rail network access pricing regime brought by GNER, a recent challenge to the funding arrangements for the pending Crossrail services to Heathrow, and frequently advises the ORR on issues of regulatory law.  He recently acted for the Department of Transport in the unsuccessful challenge by Stagecoach to their disqualification from the West Coast, East Midland and South Eastern rail franchise competitions. Rhodri also appears in the Administrative Court in competition law cases, including two cases in relation to State aid law, one in respect of sports stadia the other concerning the UK rules on the allocation of quota under the EU common fisheries policy.  Rhodri has acted in two major judicial reviews for ORR in cases concerning the application of EU transport policy, GNER and Heathrow.

Career

Rhodri commenced his practice in Brussels and was a founder member of Matrix in 2000. He was a member of the Treasury panel from 1997 until taking silk in 2002. He was the Chair of the Matrix Management Committee from 2004-6 and 2014-16. He is a qualified negotiator and mediator and a civil recorder. He was the Joint Chair of the Joint Working Party of the UK Bars and Law Societies on Competition Law from 2013 to 2017. Rhodri is the Honorary Treasurer of the UKAEL and was Chair of the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council from 2018 to 2020.

Publications

Joint Editor, Brown, Kellaway and Thompson, UK Competition Law – the New Framework (OUP), 2015. Contributor to Bellamy & Child, Common Market Law of Competition, 4th-5th edition (on common horizontal agreements), 6th-8th edition (Article 102) (Sweet & Maxwell).
Rhodri's Privacy Notice

Rhodri is a self-employed barrister at Matrix.  He provides legal services to his clients, including advice and representation.  In order to provide these services, Rhodri needs to collect and hold personal data, including his clients’ personal data and the personal data of others who are involved in the matters on which he is instructed. To read Rhodri’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"He is a sound pair of hands for telecoms regulatory matters."

Legal 500, (Telecoms (Regulatory))

"Very knowledgeable and has clear insight into the telecommunications sector. He understands complicated EU regulatory regimes, and is thoughtful and professional, while also being courteous and very good to deal with." "A real telecoms expert with strong knowledge of EU law, he is very popular with clients."

Chambers & Partners 2021, (Telecommunications)

"Rhodri is very technically knowledgeable, and a professorial advocate with good statesmanship and gravitas." "He is very clever, very fun and extremely well versed in aspects of EU law."

Chambers & Partners 2021, (European Law)

"He is fantastic to work with and has a razor-sharp mind." "Rhodri is very knowledgeable on telecoms matters."

Chambers & Partners 2021, (Competition Law)

"He is a very calm and balanced individual, who is very client-friendly and sees not just the immediate issue, but gives rounded and considered advice."

Chambers & Partners 2018 (Competition law)

"He is very good at handling clients, seeing the bigger picture and maintaining relationships between clients and regulators. He is also very good at navigating a complicated legislative environment."

Chambers & Partners 2018 (EU law)

"At the top of the tree for EU-related judicial reviews and drives home the key points."

Legal 500 2019 (Administrative and public law)

"Has an unerring ability to drive home the point which most interests the court."

Legal 500 2019 (Competition law)

"Makes the very complex seem disarmingly simple and the logic of his client’s case seems inexorable."

Legal 500 2019 (EU law)

"A wise counsel who is unflappable. He sees the bigger picture and is a crucial sounding board when it comes to strategy."

Chambers & Partners 2017 (Competition Law)

"A true expert with gravitas and a reassuring presence in the courtroom."

Legal 500 2016 (Competition and EU)

"He’s a gentleman assassin. Very measured and very engaging, he is thoughtful and reasoned and always has the facts of the case at his fingertips.” “He’s extremely easy to work with, and both responsive and approachable."

Chambers & Partners 2016 (Telecommunications)