Year of call: 1965
Silk: 1996

Email the Practice Managers:

Michael Blair is a specialist on financial services and financial services regulation and has been rated by Chambers and Partners as a "Star Individual" in that category for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. His practice is mainly advisory. He joined Chambers in 2000 after serving as General Counsel to the Board of the (then) Financial Services Authority from 1998-2000, and as head of the legal function in its predecessor body, the Securities and Investments Board, from 1987-97. Before that he had served from 1982 to 1987 as an Under Secretary in the home civil service, latterly taking responsibility for the criminal and civil legal aid schemes in England and Wales as well as for the higher courts and matters affecting the legal profession.

“Clients ring instructing solicitors specifically to compliment financial services “guru” Michael Blair QC for his “highly intelligent” advice and expert oral testimony on matters such as collective investment schemes, interest rate derivatives and Eurobond financing. He is a big name in the financial legal market”

Chambers & Partners UK 2012

“Charming and authoritative, and particularly good as an expert to explain English financial services law.”

Legal 500 2016

His practice is largely advisory though he led Robert Purves in 2016 in the in the Supreme Court in the leading appellate case on regulation of collective investment schemes (Asset Land v FCA). He has appeared before the Chancery Division (banking transfer schemes and insolvency proceedings with a financial services flavour), the Upper Tribunal (in relation to split capital investment trusts and, more recently, alleged unauthorised trading) and the former FSA's Regulatory Decisions Committee (enforcement proceedings). He has also been involved in other proceedings in the Chancery Division and Commercial Court, concerning a split capital investment trust and a professional negligence claim with a financial services context. He has appeared as an expert witness on UK financial regulation in Milan in two separate cases, and then in the Court of Appeal in Madrid. In each case the instructing bank was eventually successful.

He is the President of the Panel of Senior Decision Makers appointed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, and the Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel of the London Metal Exchange. He is also the Chairman of the Legal Advisory Council  for the new International Financial Centre in Kazakhstan, and a member of the Board of CME Europe Ltd, the US owned derivatives exchange in London. He was the Treasurer of his Inn of Court, the Middle Temple, in 2008, the Chairman of SWX Europe Ltd (the former Swiss equities exchange in London)(2008-9) and a member of the Board of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (2003-2013).  He was  a Member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal from 2000 until 2016, and has been involved in some of the leading cases decided there.

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 (Butterworths 1980)

Contributor to The Law Commission and Law Reform (Sweet and Maxwell 1988)

Financial Services: The New Core Rules (Blackstone 1991)

Consultant Editor, Financial Services title of Halsbury's Laws of England (4th Edition; revised)

Contributor to Financial Markets Regulation (Macmillan 1997)

Editor, Blackstone's Guide to the Bank of England Act 1998 (1998)

Editor, Blackstone's Guide to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (2001) (second edition 2010)

Author of "virt-x: a real European Stock Exchange", Swiss Review of Business Law, January 2001, with Peter Nobel and Thomas Schönholzer

General Editor of Butterworths Financial Regulation Service 2001- 2007

Consultant Editor, Financial Services title of Halsbury's Laws of England (4th Edition; revised)

Contributor "The Judicial House of Lords" (OUP) 2009

Joint Editor of "Financial Services Law" (Oxford University Press) 2006 (second edition 2009) (Consultant Editor for the third edition 2014 and fourth Edition (in preparation))

Joint Editor "Financial Markets and Exchanges Law" (OUP) 2007 (second edition 2012)


Bencher, Middle Temple 1995-date


  • Member, Competition Appeal Tribunal 2000-2016
  • Master Treasurer, Middle Temple, for 2008
  • Treasurer, General Council of the Bar 1995-1998
  • Chairman, Professional Standards Committee of the General Council of the Bar 1994
  • Elected Member, General Council of the Bar 1988-1998
  • Member, General Management Committee of the General Council of the Bar 1989, 1991-1998
  • Member, Commercial Court Committee 1993-2000
  • Member of the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal Users' Committee 2004-2009
  • Chairman, Bar Conference 1993
  • Member, Council of Legal Education 1992-1997
  • Chairman, Bar Association for Commerce, Finance and Industry 1990-1991; (Vice-President 1994-date)

Other Appointments

  • President, Panel of Senior Decision Makers, Guernsey Financial Services Commission 2014-date
  • Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel of the London Metal Exchange 2017.
  • Director, CME Europe Ltd (the London derivatives exchange owned by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) 2013-date
  • Chairman, Legal Advisory Council, Astana International Financial Centre, Kazakhstan 2017.
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority Legislative Committee 2013- date

Past appointments

  • Board Member, Dubai Financial Services Authority 2003-13
  • Chairman, SWX Europe Limited (the Swiss-owned equities exchange formerly in London) 2008-9
  • Chairman, Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration 2001- 2007
  • President, Guernsey Financial Services Tribunal 2002-2009
  • Chairman, Personal Investment Authority 2000-2002
  • Chairman, Investment Management Regulatory Organisation 2000-2002
  • Chairman, Securities and Futures Authority 2001-2002
  • Director of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme 2000-2005

Government Service

  • Lord Chancellor's Department (now Ministry of Justice)1966-1987
  • Under Secretary there 1982-1987
  • Circuit Administrator, Midland and Oxford Circuit 1982-1986
  • Head of Courts and Legal Services Group 1986-1987.

French (working knowledge)