- BA in History (Clare College, Cambridge, First Class in Parts I & II);
- Master of Studies in Law and Visiting Scholar (Yale Law School, Paul Mellon Fellowship);
- Diploma in Law (City University, Distinction, 1st place);
- Bar Vocational Course (Inns of Court School of Law); Columbia Law School (Visiting Scholar, 2011-2012).
- James Allen's Girls' School;
- Clare College, Cambridge University (First Class);
- Paul Mellon Fellow at Yale Law School; CPE at City University (1st place);
- called to Bar at Lincoln's Inn (2000); Pupillage at Brick Court Chambers.
Maya Lester is recommended by the legal directories as a leading junior in Administrative & Public Law, Competition & European Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, and Public International Law. She was selected by The Times as one of the 10 Future Stars of the Bar in 2008, and was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for Competition/EU Junior of the Year at Chambers Bar Awards.
Maya Lester has particular expertise in European Union and United Nations targeted sanctions, and co-writes a blog on sanctions law - www.europeansanctions.com. She has represented hundreds of designated individuals and companies before the European courts and has acted in most of the leading cases.
In her wide ranging Public Law, Human Rights and Public International Law practice, Maya Lester appears for and advises individuals, companies, government departments, regulators and public interest groups, and regularly appears in judicial reviews. She is a member of the Attorney General's B Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, the Freedom of Information Panel and the Equality and Human Rights Commission panel, vetted for National Security work. She is described as "a fantastic junior" in Administrative & Public Law, and "clearly very bright and focused" with "great attention to detail", and was a founder of the Human Rights Lawyers Association.
She has extensive experience of all areas of Competition and European Union law, including in relation to OFT/Commission investigations, abuse of dominance, cartels, free movement, fundamental rights and freedoms, actions for annulment, and references to the Court of Justice. She is "stellar" (Chambers & Partners 2013), "fiercely bright and hardworking" (Legal 500 2012), and a "top-notch performer" (Chambers & Partners 2011).
Maya Lester is regularly involved in cases of an international nature (in particular in the ECHR in Strasbourg and ECJ in Luxembourg), having been educated at Yale Law School (after Cambridge University), Columbia Law School (New York) as a Visiting Scholar, and is currently a Bingham Centre Fellow.
Legal Directory and Press Comments
Chambers & Partners UK
"Maya Lester is "smart, approachable and very creative. She is very keen to always talk through issues from as many angles as possible." Her reputation for public law work is "stellar" and she is described as being "extremely bright."" (2013)
"Maya Lester is an "incredibly thorough and conscientious" barrister who has appeared in a number of cases before the ECHR. Prominent among these are her representation of the Chagos Islanders in a challenge to their forced deportment from the islands by the British government during the 1970s." (2013)
"Maya Lester is a "genuine expert in competition law." Sources comment that "she manages to combine both legal insight and clear analytical skills with a real feeling for the facts." (2013)
"The spotlight also shines on Maya Lester, "a fantastic junior who is brilliant on paper." She recently acted in the landmark Kadi case challenging a EU regulation freezing the assets of Mr Kadi." (2012)
"a highly able junior, with a strong public law background." (2012)
Lester "can handle complicated pleadings with ease" (2012)
Maya Lester "knows the law backwards" when it comes to all aspects of public and EU/competition law. A "clever and diligent" barrister, she has "the ability to grasp
the technical angle of very complex telecommunications issues, and is someone who understands the financial aspects too." (2012)
"she is a highly capable choice of junior for competition issues, where her precise work and diligent devotion to the cause impress mightily." (2011)
"Maya Lester is a "top-notch performer" (2011)
Maya Lester is similarly highly rated due to her "common sense, approachability and all-round public law knowledge." (2010)
Instructing solicitors also strongly recommend Maya Lester, who regularly appears in major cases before the House of Lords and ECHR. Her strengths include her
"client-friendly manner and her assured advocacy." (2010)
"she is responsive to the client's commercial aims and quick to identify the key issues." (2010)
"stands out for her clear, strong and persuasive advocacy", (2009)
"Lester is "very sharp intellectually and great with clients." She is noted for her "excellent drafting skills and calm demeanour in court". (2009)
"Maya Lester is respected for her "marvellous knowledge on state aid matters and EU law in general". Solicitors praise her "clear thinking and eloquence". (2009)
Rising star Maya Lester is "clearly very bright and focused," (2008)
"great attention to detail". (2008)
"Maya Lester is considered "a delight to work with." Complemented for an exemplary grasp of EU law, peers consider her "sensible and very clever." (2008)
The Legal 500
"fiercely bright and hardworking" (2012)
"an eye for detail without losing sight of the bigger picture" (2012)
"Maya Lester is ‘highly intelligent, diligent and thoughtful'." (2011)
"the ‘bright, able and thorough' Maya Lester has expertise in cartels, mergers and regulatory investigations." (2011)
"excellent junior" (2010)
"Maya Lester, led by Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, also appeared in the House of Lords on behalf of the Chagos Islanders." (2009)
"praised as ‘excelling in competition law matters.‘ " (2009)
"more than a rising star" (2007)
The Times: Maya Lester was chosen as one of the ten Future Stars of the Bar 2008 (The Times, 20 November 2008): "It takes something to get noticed when you are surrounded by colleagues such as Sumption, Green, Howard and Popplewell. But Maya Lester, 34, has earned a reputation at Brick Court, one of the leading commercial chambers, for her quick mind and measured advocacy... she has been involved in three cases before the House of Lords this year... Along with her human rights work she has a busy caseload of competition and European matters".
Listed in 2010, 2011 and 2012 Legal Experts for administrative and public law (including judicial review).
Competition Law and Regulation
High Court trials and appeals: Standalone competition claims: National Grid v Altom & Ors (ongoing); British Horseracing Board v AtTheRaces (CA, abuse of dominance and excessive pricing), Foundem v Google and Streetmap v Google (ongoing, abuse of dominance); R v GG (HL, prosecution of cartels for conspiracy to defraud, heard with Norris v United States of America).
Competition Appeal Tribunal appeals and JRs: Junior counsel for EWS in the first ever trial of a follow-on damages action (Enron v EWS - CAT and Court of Appeal);appeals from regulatory decisions (Tesco v OFT) (dairy cartel); (Racecourse Association v OFT (collective selling)); Hays v OFT (construction recruitment forum penalty appeals). Judicial reviews in the CAT: John Lewis v OFT (extended warranties); Association of Convenience Stores v OFT (press distribution); (R (UniChem) v OFT; R (Celesio) v OFT); R (Cityhook) v OFT; R (Sports Direct) v Competition Commission. Broadcasting appeals (BSkyB and Premier League v Ofcom (Pay TV)). Telecoms appeals (Carphone Warehouse v Ofcom (Carrier Pre-selection), BT v Ofcom (080 termination charges).
Office of Fair Trading investigations: Advice to parties that are the subject of investigations by the OFT, including: private schools' fees; Orders and Rules of Horseracing; cigarette pricing; construction industry cover pricing; dairy investigation.
Public Law and Human Rights
Constitutional and public international law: Acted for the Chagos Islanders in judicial reviews of the removal of their right of abode on the islands and the decision to impose a marine protection zone (Bancoult No 2 and 3) and in the European Court of Human Rights (Bancoult v United Kingdom); for the successful applicant in the Supreme Court of the Falkland Islands in R (Bingham) v Governor of the Falkland Islands (right to freedom of expression under the Constitution of the Falkland Islands) and (ongoing) for the applicant in Kadi v Council (No. 2) before the European Court of Justice (review of EU counter-terrorism measures implementing UN Security Council resolutions) and in a large number of other European sanctions cases concerning sanctions against terrorism, Iranian proliferation, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Burma/Myanmar, and Zimbabwe. Appeared in the European Court of Human Rights in Yukos v Russian Federation and Georgia v Russian Federation.
B Panel and local authority work: Wide range of work for the Treasury Solicitor including cases concerning terrorism and national security and freedom of information.
Regulatory judicial review: R (Crystal Windows & Doors) v OFT & Real Energy Assurance; R (London Metropolitan University) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (revocation of LMU's tier 4 sponsor licence), R (Law Society) v Legal Services Commission (procurement of family legal aid); R (British Medical Association) v Secretary of State for Health (GPs' pensions); R (Wildman) v Ofcom (broadcast licences); R (Buxton) v Advertising Standards Authority) (an ASA adjudication); R (Ealing) v Audit Commission (CSCI reports); and R (Adusei) v Council of the Inns of Court (decision of the Visitors). Advice to HM Treasury in relation to the Penrose and Ombudsman's Reports into the failure of Equitable Life and to Government of Cyprus about European bailout package. Appearances in a number of cases concerning the regulation of gambling and sports, including R (British Casino Association) v Secretary of State (casino licences) and R (Poker Clubs Association) v Secretary of State.
Trade Associations, regulators and professional bodies: Cases and advisory work for a number of bodies and regulators including the Office of Fair Trading, Ofwat,
National Farmers Union, Renewable Energy Assurance, British Medical Association, British Dental Association, Advertising Standards Authority, Press Distribution Forum.
Environmental / Agricultural / Animal law: Cases involving animal health, environmental law and agriculture including: the judicial review of the decision to slaughter Shambo the temple bullock (R (Community for the Many Names of God) v Welsh Assembly Government (CA); the European Emissions Trading Scheme (R (Cemex v Secretary of State for the Environment); the Renewable Energy Assurance Scheme (Crystal v REAL); foot and mouth disease (R (Kindersley) v Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and Pride & Ors v Institute of Animal Health, Merial Ltd & Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; advice on the CAP Single Payments Scheme, advisory work for the National Farmers Union (including on foot and mouth disease and bovine tuberculosis).
Human Rights Act: Wide range of advice on all aspects of human rights law. Appearances for the Community for the Many Names of God in the Shambo case (R (Community for the Many Names of God) v Welsh Assembly Government (CA)), for the Prolife Alliance in the leading case on freedom of political expression R (Prolife Alliance) v BBC (CA), and in the House of Lords in Chargot v Health and Safety Executive on the statutory construction of a reverse onus provision in Health and Safety legislation.
European Court of Human Rights: OAO Yukos v Russian Federation; Georgia v Russian Federation; Mattilla v Finland; Bancoult v United Kingdom.European Law
UN, EU, UK and UN targeted sanctions regimes: Kadi (No. 2) v Council (terrorist sanctions); PPTZ v Council (Burma/Myanmar); IRISL v Council, Ocean Administration v Council, Elegant Target v Council, Good Luck Shipping v Council, Nabipour v Council, Azizi & Sedghi v Council, Ministry for Energy v Council, National Iranian Tanker Company v Council, Central Bank of Iran v Council, Iran Aluminium Company v Council (Iran), El Materi v Council (Tunisia); Al Tabbaa v Council and El Materi v Council (Syria); El Maghraby & Gazaerly v Council (Egypt); Rautenbach v Council and Tomana v Council (Zimbabwe); A & Q v Secretary of State for the Home Department (successful discharge of an interim injunction in the High Court). Judicial review of UK government decisions on sanctions: R (Azizi v Sedghi) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
References to the European Court of Justice: A number of references to the ECJ, including R (Milk Marque) v Monopolies and Mergers Commission (interaction between Common Agricultural Policy and competition law) and R (Swedish Match) v Secretary of State for Health (challenge to the ban on oral tobacco).
Applications for annulment: A large number of applications for annulment before the General Court (see above for sanctions cases), MEPs' expenses (Den Dover v European Parliament), and sports broadcasting (UEFA and FIFA v Commission).
Sports and broadcast rights: Appeared for the European Commission re the listing of the World Cup and FIFA Championship under the Television Without Frontiers Directive (UEFA v Commission and FIFA v Commission); for the British Horseracing Board in the leading case on the collective sale of sports rights in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (Racecourse Association and British Horseracing Board v OFT) and for the Premier League in the Sky Sports challenge (BSkyB and Premier League v Ofcom (Competition Appeal Tribunal)).
Public Procurement: For the Law Society (R (Law Society) v Legal Services Commission); Apcoa (Apcoa v Westminster City Council); Vale of Glamorgan, and the Royal Shakespeare Company (Stage Technologies v Royal Shakespeare Company).
Schools / education: Wide ranging advice to schools and universities, including London Metropolitan University's challenge to the UK Border Agency's revocation of its licence, acting for six schools in the OFT's inquiry private schools' fee setting arrangements, the Secretary of State in two cases concerning the interaction between the European Schools and the EC Treaty (Duncombe v Secretary of State for Education, EAT, CA and Supreme Court).
Commercial Agents Regulations including Grant v Simpson v Bowman. European tax law including Cadburys Schweppes v Inland Revenue (ECJ); Monro v Commissioners (CA). Advice on expenses for Members of the European Parliament and on a number of EU consumer credit issues (including appearing in OFT v Lloyds (CA, extra-territorial effect of the Consumer Credit Act).
International Legal Experience
U.S.A: Master of Studies in Law and Visiting Scholar at Yale Law School (New Haven, Connecticut); Researcher at the Open Society Institute (New York); Summer Associate at Williams & Connolly (Washington DC); Judicial Extern to Judge Thelton Henderson (Federal District Court, San Francisco); Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School (New York); Organised international conference at NYU law school on targeted sanctions (June 2012); Henry Fellowship at the US State Department, 2012.
European and International: Stagiaire at the European Court of Justice (Advocate General Francis Jacobs); Part-time Tutor in European Law, City University (London); Seminars at Yale, Columbia and NYU on targeted sanctions (2011-2012).
Lectures, Seminars, Training
UK: Regular speaker at conferences (Hart and Sweet & Maxwell Public Law Conferences in 2008). In 2011-12 Maya has been a speaker at the Bar European Group Conference, Junior Competition Law Conference, ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting, American Society for International Law Spring meeting, Chatham House, University of Amsterdam, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and the International Bar Association, Italian Antitrust Association, Kings College London, and Columbia Law School. Recent training seminars include: Judicial Review and Competition Law, Prosecuting Cartels for Conspiracy to Defraud, litigating Kadi and other sanctions cases before the European courts, private actions in competition law.
European and International: Seminars at Yale, Columbia and NYU on targeted sanctions (2011-2012). Training for judges, lawyers and prosecutors on human rights and European law for the Slynn Foundation, Interrights, the Council of Europe and the Turkish Chief of Staff (including in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Serbia, Poland and Turkey); Speaker at the Anglo-Finnish Competition Law Trust (in Finland and Estonia).
Pro Bono Work and Positions
Pro Bono Work: Numerous pro bono cases (instructed by Freshfields, Clifford Chance, A4ID, Liberty, Bindmans, the Bar Pro Bono Unit and the Bar Council) and pro bono advice on a wide range of issues (including on issues relating to targeted sanctions, freedom of expression and assembly, data protection, prison rules).
Current positions: Fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law; European Committee of the Bar Council. Member of the European Circuit, the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association, the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, the Competition Law Association and the Bar European Group. 2009 national reporter for the LIDC (United Kingdom competition law reporter); Liberty Conference and Appeals Committee; Peace Brigades International Legal Advisory Committee.
- Books and blogs: www.europeansanctions.com, EU Competition Law: Procedures and Remedies (Gray, Lester, Darbon, Facenna, Holmes, Oxford University Press) Co-author; Human Rights Practice (eds Simor & Emmerson, Sweet & Maxwell) Editorial Assistant and Updater on Article 10 of the ECHR); Law of the European Union (eds Vaughan and Robertson, Oxford University Press) Contributing Author; Competition Litigation (UK Practice and Procedure) (OUP), Contributing Author.
- Articles: ‘Prosecuting Cartels for Conspiracy to Defraud'  Competition Law Journal; ‘Judicial Review in the UK of Competition and State Aid Decisions'  European Common Market Law (co-author); ‘UniChem v OFT'  Competition Law Journal; ‘Puzzling over Abuse of Right'  European Current Law; ‘Human Rights - The International Dimension'  The Lawyer; ‘The Chapter I Prohibition'  Competition Law Review; ‘The Bar European Group in Budapest'  European Advocate (co-author), ‘Brussels lists, Luxembourg de-lists? Sanctions de-designation cases in the European Court' [May 2013] World Expert Control Review, ‘Targeted sanctions and sanctions targeted: Iranian banks in the European Court' [May 2013] Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, 'Judicial review of sanctions decisions: "The wrong point in the wrong court with the wrong defendant"?'  Judicial Review 206.