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Tim Nesbitt  QC

Tim Nesbitt QC

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Tim Nesbitt has over 20 years experience acting as an advocate and adviser in a number of areas of commercial, regulatory and public law.

The commercial and regulatory work Tim undertakes is often linked, and often involves issues arising out of the commercial transport and financial services sectors.

In the commercial transport sector, Tim has a particular depth of experience and expertise, with work ranging from regulatory public inquiries and appeals from public inquiries through to private commercial litigation and arbitration.

Tim’s work in the financial services sector has included a recent extended period advising the Financial Conduct Authority on issues relating to the financial crisis in 2008 and assisting in the drafting of new rules relating to the regulation of the consumer credit industry. Tim also has a strong track record of acting in a wide range of general commercial cases, and has recently been engaged in a number of arbitrations, including as an arbitrator.

Tim also undertakes a wide range of other regulatory work, including professional disciplinary work, and regulatory crime (especially health and safety and environmental and motor crime).

Tim acts for a range of professionals in disciplinary proceedings, including the medical profession, but is particularly well known for his work acting for solicitors in the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal, in relation to which he has acted in some of the most substantial cases in recent years.

In addition to his regulatory and commercial work Tim has undertaken public law for many years. The particular focus of his public law work in recent years has been in relation to the Court of Protection as part of the Outer Temple COP team, and he appears very regularly for Local Authorities and other parties in COP proceedings.

Tim’s qualities as an adviser and advocate are consistently recognised by professional clients who especially cite his sharp powers of legal analysis, his skills as an advocate, and his tenacity and commitment to his client’s cases. Recent feedback includes: “utterly brilliant”; “his commitment [is] outstanding and exceptional”; “brilliant skills in cross examination”; “preparation he put [in is] …immense”; leaves “no stone unturned”.

Commercial & Chancery

The commercial work Tim undertakes has often arisen out of the commercial transport sector, but throughout his career Tim has consistently acted in a full range of commercial disputes both in Courts ranging from the County and High Court to contested arbitrations.

Arbitration work in recent years has included a dispute over agency fees arising from the sale of a well-known international footballer, and issues relating to public procurement contracts between a supplier of services and a Local Authority. Tim has recently been retained to act as an arbitrator in a substantial case between also arising out of a contract for the supply of services to a public body.

Tim’s general commercial experience has recently been supplemented by extended periods working for the Financial Conduct Authority advising on issues relating to the financial crisis of 2008 (especially the collapse of the Icelandic banks), and assisting in drafting new rules governing the regulation of the consumer credit sector.

Disciplinary & Regulatory

Tim has a strong practice in solicitor’s disciplinary work, and has defended solicitors in many of the largest cases dealt with by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal in recent years. He has attracted particular praise for his handling of difficult cases, often achieving career-saving results.

His practice in this area also often includes Appellate work in the higher Courts, and recent successes include Akudo v SRA (2013) in which he succeeded in establishing an important principle limiting the regulatory liability of partners.

Tim also has considerable experience of acting in a full range of professional regulatory and disciplinary Tribunals, including defending doctors before the GMC, other health care professionals before their regulatory bodies (such as NMC, GDC), and acting in appeals before the Football Association and in Police Misconduct hearings.

In addition to this regulatory/ professional disciplinary work, Tim is possibly the leading practitioner at the Bar in relation the domestic and EU regulation of the commercial transport industry. He has probably conducted more appeals from regulators’ decisions than any other member of the bar in this area. Some of his many appellate successes have resulted in substantial changes to the law.

He regularly acts for private and public sector clients in public inquiries and appeals in the higher Courts arising from transport operations. Clients regularly include blue chip companies and/or household names in the transport sector.

Tim’s Upper Tribunal regulatory work also regularly involves acting in appeals in the First Tier Tax Tribunal, especially in relation to appeals against Customs & Excise decisions.


FS Gibbs Transport Limited v Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (2007) RTR 17

CSG Transport Ltd v Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Admin Ct – Lawtel, March 2006)

Re: Anglorom Trans UK and another (CA) (2005) RTR 74

Muck It ltd v Department of Transport (CA) The Times 13th October 2005

Akudo v Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (Admin Court)

Iqbal v Solicitors Regulatory Authority (Admin Court)

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency v Jones (Admin CT) The Times 13th October 2005

John Mann International Transport Limited v VOSA (Admin Ct) (2005) RTR 8

Construction of EC directive.

Loane Transport Ltd v SS of State for the Home Department (2004) EWCA Civ 1013

CA ruling on approach to penalty assessment.

Loane Transport Ltd v SS of State for the Home Department (2004) EWCA Civ 1013

CA ruling on approach to penalty assessment under Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

R v North Leicester Ltd (2004) RTR 29

VOSA v George Jenkins Transport (Admin Court) The Times, 5/12/2003

Bryan Haulage No 1 Transport Tribunal

Leading authority on approach to balancing exercise in transport context.

Bryan Haulage No 2 Transport Tribunal

Leading authority on approach to be adopted to revocation of licences to make proceedings compatible with ECHR/ Article 1 of First Protocol.

Public Law

The development of Tim’s transport related practice grew originally out of major public law work he undertook for the transport industry in the early 2000’s (most notably the human rights case of International Transport Roth GMBH & Others v Secretary of State for the Home Dept (2002) (CA) 3 WLR 344, which resulted in one of the first declarations of incompatibility under the HRA).

He has continued to practise in public law and judicial review over the last 15 years, but the recent focus of his public law work has been in relation to Court of Protection / High Court in COP related matters. Recent wider public law work includes; advising on issues relating to the boundaries between public and private bodies, and a judicial review of a regulator arising from failures to issue a licence to trade.

Tim has an LLM specialising in International Human Rights Law and is a member of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Human Rights lawyers unit.


Dale v Natural England & DEFRA (2015) (Upper Tribunal Administrative Chamber)

Essex County Council v P (2014) (High Court sitting as COP)

Romantiek BVBA v Secretary of State for Transport (2008) (Court of Appeal)

2 Lloyds Reports 453 Construction of criminal statutes relating to detention of property & compatibility with EU law and European Convention on Human Rights.

Sparrow v HM Coroner for West Somerset (2007) ACD 3

Lawtel, November 2007 Human rights challenge to the adequacy of a judicial investigation into the death of a Judge in a fire.

Sutovic v HM Coroner for West London (2006) ACD 70

LTL April 2006 Judicial review challenge over Government investigation into death of UK citizen in Serbia.

International Transport Roth v Home Office (CA) [2002] 3 WLR 344

Declaration of incompatibility with Art 6 of European Convention of Human Rights of provisions of UK legislation.

Akudo v Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (Admin Court)

Iqbal v Solicitors Regulatory Authority (Admin Court)

Health, Safety & Environment

Tim regularly acts in regulatory criminal matters, often in cases having some connection with the transport sector – especially health and safety prosecutions, and motor crime (causing death by dangerous and careless driving and manslaughter), but also in relation to environmental and white collar fraud prosecutions.

Recent regulatory criminal successes include successfully defending two company managers in a 4 month trial which was the largest prosecution ever brought by the enforcement arm of the Department of Transport (VOSA / DVSA) (R v Collins, Gosling, Edwards, Laurie & Lawson, 2015) on charges of defrauding the regulator, and the successful defence of transport company directors on manslaughter charges arising from a death caused by driver tiredness alleged to arise out of abuse of drivers’ hours and working conditions.

He is currently instructed in a number of cases of causing death by dangerous or careless driving, particularly arising out of the commercial haulage sector. Tim also has a substantial inquest practice, regularly appearing for companies, directors, families and medical professionals at inquests, especially arising from deaths at work / health & safety failings, road accidents, and deaths in hospital and in custody.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Health & Safety Lawyers Association
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association

Tim Nesbitt QC is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

Areas of Law



“Conscientious and utterly professional.” Professional Discipline, Chambers and Partners 2019

“Willing to do things out of the box, he is not stuffy in any way.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2019

“Thoughtful and well prepared.” Professional Discipline, Chambers and Partners 2018

“Exceptionally intelligent.” Professional Discipline, Chambers and Partners 2018

“He achieves great results in the most difficult of cases.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2017

“Very bright, exceedingly nice and very good in court.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2016

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