Former WilmerHale Brussels partner rejoins Henderson Chambers

EU competition law specialist John Ratliff returns to the Bar after 24 years with US firm

John Ratliff Photo courtesy of Henderson Chambers

EU law veteran and former Wilmer Cutler Hale Pickering & Dorr partner John Ratliff has rejoined London’s Henderson Chambers.

Ratliff was a door tenant with Henderson from 1986 to 1999 while also practising in Brussels with Stanbrook and Hooper, a specialist competition and trade law firm, which merged with McDermott Will & Emery in 2005. He joined WilmerHale after leaving Henderson, retiring from the partnership at the end of last year but remaining with the firm until this month.

His practice at WilmerHale was known for its breadth, including merger control cases, alleged infringements and cartels, for clients including Baker Hughes, Danaher and McDonnell Douglas, among others.

His Brussels rights of audience will be helpful in complainants seeking EU remedies and assistance for companies and their counsel on defence issues. At the same time, his advisory practice is a valuable adjunct to UK law firms seeking experienced advice on a wide range of EU transactions and compliance issues.

Ratliff was initially an associate member of the Brussels Bar until Brexit, after which he became admitted as a full member in 2017, anticipating the lapse of practising rights of barristers before the EU courts in 2020. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1980 and practised at J.C. Goldsmith & Associés in Paris and Devereux Chambers in London before joining Henderson the first time around.

Ratliff said: “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity of working with chambers again. I look forward to complementing the existing commercial and EU teams and assisting on competition and EU issues as may be useful.”

He is well placed to support the set’s UK competition law practice, particularly follow-on damages actions involving legacy European law questions, with the UK courts having considered retained EU law in the Car Delivery Charges case in the Court of Appeal (which his former firm has now settled for its client), and also the Umbrella Interchange proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Henderson Chambers director Jason Housden said: “We are thrilled and delighted to welcome John to Henderson Chambers. His experience to date will be a great asset for chambers, and his expertise in competition law is an excellent fit.”

The set previously welcomed James White from Herbert Smith Freehills in February last year. He was called in 2014 and practised at the Bar before joining HSF as an employed barrister. There he gained extensive experience in complex and high-value group litigation, in which Henderson’s head of chambers Charles Gibson KC increasingly specialises, acting for VW in the Diesel Emissions Litigation, alongside others like 2023 silk Kathleen Donnelly KC. 

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