Rory Phillips has an exceptionally wide-ranging practice in the fields of commercial and public law. He has considerable experience of conducting very substantial, high-profile litigation and is regularly instructed in cases of the highest sensitivity.
“Superb legal judgment and fluency of advocacy”
Legal 500 UK 2014
“He is just a class act. In terms of strategic wisdom, he’s one of the best in the business.”
Chambers & Partners UK 2018
Rory was on the Attorney General's B Panel from1997-1999 and on the A Panel from 1999-2002.
Between 2009-2011, he led a substantial Counsel team instructed by the Government Defendants in the Guantanamo Bay litigation, in which it was alleged that there had been complicity in torture: Al Rawi v Security Service and others  3 WLR 1069 (CA);  1 AC 531 (SC).
He acts for and advises Government departments and agencies in relation to a range of significant, sensitive and high-profile cases.
There is a particular focus on cases involving national security.
Recent cases include:
Belhaj v Straw and others  UKSC 3  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 Court’s decision means that the claims may proceed to trial. The Court of Appeal’s earlier decision that the claims must all be re-pleaded in accordance with the law of the various countries in which the tortious acts relied on allegedly took place (see  2WLR 1105) is unaffected by the Supreme Court’s judgment.
On 21 July 2017, the assigned Judge, Popplewell J, allowed the Defendants application for a declaration under s 6 of the Justice and Security Act 2013, in the face of sustained opposition from the Claimants and the Special Advocates:  EWHC 1861 (QB). The trial of the action is due to begin in January 2019.
Ismail Kamoka and others v The Security Service and others  EWCA Civ 1665,  EWHC 60 (QB) and  EWHC 769 (QB) - Claimants’ appeal allowed in case where claims for damages for false imprisonment and misfeasance in public office against Government departments and agencies on the basis of the alleged suppression of evidence in proceedings before SIAC and the Administrative Court had been struck out as abuses of the process.
Amin v Director General of the Security Service and others  EWCA Civ 653 (CofA) and  EWHC 1579 (QB) Allegations of complicity in torture against UK Government Defendants made by convicted terrorist struck out as an abuse of the process.
Abdulbaqi Khaled v The Security Service and others  EWHC 1727 (QB) AF No 3 disclosure, by which the Defendants are under an obligation to disclose the essence of their case against the Claimant, not required in the context of claims against the Defendants for damages on the basis of alleged misfeasance in public office and conspiracy to injure arising out of the Claimant’s listing by the UN Sanctions Committee and the resulting imposition on him of an asset freezing regime and other domestic sanctions.
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 opened and closed the hearings and questioned a huge number of witnesses.
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 is 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 being conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The EIO is the liability insurer of the vast majority of Anglican churches. The first hearing in the Anglican Church investigation is due to start in March 2018.
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 FSA and its successor regulators in a wide range of cases over many years, including on Equitable Life and on insurance mediation issues.
He has considerable experience of Part VII FSMA transfers, in the insurance and banking fields and has advised and appeared for the FSA in relation to both types of transfer: see for example Provident Insurance plc v FSA  EWHC 1860 (Ch).
He was instructed by the FSA in the urgent Bank of Cyprus Part VII transfer which took place in 2012 against the background of the Eurozone crisis and the prospect of Greece's possible exit.
He advised the UK regulators on a wide range of high level public law and regulatory issues in relation to the Cyprus banking crisis in 2013.
He appeared for the FCA and the PRA in a ground-breaking Part VII FSMA transfer of a very substantial book of long-tail business to Hong Kong. It was the first known use of the s 105, Case 3 procedure under FSMA.
His current workload includes advising and representing both Regulators in relation to the hugely significant regulatory change to the UK banking industry which is Ring Fencing. 4 qualifying banks are required by statute to comply with the Ring Fencing regime by 1 January 2019 and will do so by means of very substantial Part VII transfers: see In the Matter of Barclays Bank plc and others (No 1)  EWHC 1482 (Ch); (No 3)  EWHC 2894 (Ch) and (No. 5)  EWHC 472 (Ch). Further hearings will take place during the first half of 2018.
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 FSA. He has advised firms on judicial review challenges to decisions of the FOS.
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, including the Lloyd's names' actions, pensions mis-selling, the Personal Accident spiral, Unicover, KWELM, the Independent, Chester Street, Equitable Life, Claims Direct, GIO, World Trade Centre, TAG and Hurricane Katrina.
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 has been recognised by the legal directories over many years.