Ian Forrester | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Ian Forrester
Ian Forrester

Ian Forrester

Partner, Brussels

“Ian Forrester is a ‘stand out figure’ whose success has been founded on the ‘impressive quality’ of his work.”

Chambers Europe 2011


Mr. Forrester practices European Union law in Brussels and Luxembourg, and has represented high profile clients in numerous celebrated cases. He works in the fields of competition law, trade law, customs, internal market rules, intellectual property and constitutional human rights.

Mr. Forrester has acted for clients including the BBC, Canon, DuPont, European Commission, GlaxoSmithKline, Government of Gibraltar, Toyota, Toshiba, UEFA, Microsoft, Pfizer and Servier. Leading cases include Magill, IMS and Microsoft (compulsory licensing), Bosman (transfer of professional football players), 'Syfait v. GlaxoSmithKline' (parallel trade), 'Pfizer Animal Health (the precautionary principle) and A. v. National Blood Authority' (whether blood transfusions causing hepatitis C were a "defective" "product").

He also practices trade law, having handled numerous customs and anti-dumping cases at both administrative and appeal stages, as well as a number of WTO matters.

In addition, he has experience in serving as an arbitrator in CAS, ICC and ICSID proceedings.

Mr. Forrester also represents individuals and companies on questions of human rights, as recognized by the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Cases include defending a journalist against attempts by Belgium and the European Commission to force him to reveal his sources, and various challenges to how the European Commission conducts competition cases. He has published a number of academic articles on the latter topic, which has become increasingly important in light of the Lisbon Treaty, which from December 2009 made the case law of the Strasbourg court binding on the Luxembourg courts.

Currently the head of White & Case's International Pro Bono practice, Mr. Forrester has been involved in pro bono work for 40 years. This experience dates back to his contribution to the successful appeal to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Louis Henry Burns, who was wrongly convicted on the basis of a coerced confession.

A noted public speaker, Mr. Forrester regularly addresses academic, professional and public bodies around the world – most recently in São Paulo, London, Canberra, Luxembourg, Osaka, Tokyo, Washington, Palo Alto, Edinburgh, Bruges, Brussels, Pretoria, Stockholm, Paris, and Rome. He has also written numerous articles and chapters on competition law, legal privilege, science and good regulatory practice, and trade policy.

Mr. Forrester is regularly ranked by leading professional directories as one of the foremost lawyers in his practice area. He is praised in Chambers Europe 2014 as a "highly respected practitioner… [who] is considered by sources to be an authority on competition litigation, with a particularly notable track record in the pharmaceuticals industry" and is hailed in The Legal 500 EMEA 2014 as "outstanding". Chambers Europe 2013 says he is "widely regarded as one of the most experienced competition litigators in Brussels" and he was described in The Legal 500 2011 as a "trusted adviser offering thoughtful and insightful advice".

Bars and Courts

  • Brussels Bar (E list)
  • England and Wales
  • Appointed Queen's Counsel
  • New York State Bar
  • Faculty of Advocates (Scottish Bar)


  • MCL, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • LLB, University of Glasgow
  • MA, History and English Literature, University of Glasgow


  • English
  • French
  • German
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Microsoft, ongoing

Representing Microsoft before the European Commission and the European courts in its competition law battles relating to access to server technology and the inclusion of new features in Windows.

Servier, ongoing

Representing Servier in the European Commission investigation concerning the settlements of some of the patent litigations relating to the production of Perindopril. This case is currently on appeal to the General Court.

GlaxoSmithKline, ongoing

Represented GlaxoSmithKline before the Hellenic Competition Commission in a case involving the parallel trade of pharmaceutical products and Article 102 TFEU (ex Article 82 EC), and the equivalent Greek provision. In the hearings before the authority, Mr. Forrester was the first non-Greek lawyer to be allowed to plead in English (with Greek interpretation). This case gave rise to two separate preliminary references to the ECJ, Lelos and Syfait. The European Court of Justice confirmed the legitimacy of pharmaceutical companies taking steps to protect their commercial interests, even if this involves limiting parallel trade. The latest iteration of the case is pending before the Hellenic Competition Commission.

NTN, ongoing

Representing NTN in the ball bearing case.

Halcor, 2011

Represented Halcor in a copper cartel investigation by the European Commission, CFI and ECJ which raised important questions of due process and judicial review, with in-depth reviews required from the high court rather than deferring to the Commission.

Aragonesas, 2011

Represented Aragonesas in its successful appeal against a fine imposed by the European Commission concerning alleged participation in a sodium chlorate cartel. The General Court of the European Union annulled the fine jointly and severally imposed on Aragonesas and its parent Uralita.

Pfizer, 2011

Advised Pfizer on company strategy when Lipitor, the biggest selling drug in history, went off patent in 2011.

Speaking Engagements

1995 – 2014: Founding member of the European University Institute, Fiesole: Annual Competition Workshop, (annual speaker)

"Scotland & European Law: challenges and successes", 1 July 2014: Edinburgh University/Scottish Government/Law Society of Scotland debate,

"The EFTA Court's Judicial Style", 20 June 2014: address for the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the EFTA Court,

"Due process in competition law' and 'Anti-competitive practices involving IP rights", 2014: IMEDIPA/University College London 2014 Conference,

"EU competition law and market integration", 22 April 2014: World Bank Pre-ICN Forum,

"The European Courts' use of the precautionary principle: the case of Pfizer Animal Health SA v Council of the EU", 17 March 2014: Kings' College London


  • In Honour of the 20th Anniversary of the EFTA Court: The Style of the EFTA Court, chapter for inclusion in the EFTA Court's 20th Anniversary Festschrift, Hart Publishing, 2014
  • Competition Law and Public Policy Considerations, European Competition Law Annual 2012: Competition law, public policies and economic insecurity, Hart Publishing, 2014, (Editors: Philip Lowe and Mel Marquis)
  • A Long Way Still to Go, European Competition Law Annual 2011: Integrating public and private enforcement of competition law -- Implications for courts and agencies, Hart Publishing, 2014, (Editors: Philip Lowe and Mel Marquis)
  • Post Plures Unum: Streamlining and Simplifying Merger Procedures in an Era of Multijurisdictional Merger Filings, European Competition Law Annual 2010: Merger Control in European and Global Perspective, Hart Publishing, 2012, (Editors: Philip Lowe and Mel Marquis)
  • Public enforcement and remedies in EU antitrust law, Rights & Remedies in a Liberalised and Competitive Internal Market, Gutenberg Press, Hal Tarxien, Malta, 2012, (Editor: Eugène Buttigieg)
  • Is Common Sense Doomed? Choosing Between Rigid Clarity and Flexible Unpredictability, Social Science Research Network 19th St. Gallen International Competition Law Forum, 2012
  • Facts are chiels that winna ding, Paper presented at the 38th Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law & Policy 2011, 2011 Fordham Corp. L. Inst. 175, Juris Publishing, Inc., New York, 2012, (Editor: B Hawk)
  • A Challenge for Europe's Judges: The Review of Fines in Competition Cases, The Role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Competition Law Cases, GCLC Annual Conference Series, Editions Bruylant, 2012, (Editors: M Merola and J Derenne)
  • Magill Revisited, chapter for liber amicorum in honour of Jacques Bourgeois, Edward Elgar, 2011
  • A Challenge for Europe's Judges: The Review of Fines in Competition Cases, 36 E.L.Rev., 2011

Awards & Recognition

Leading Lawyer (Band 1), Chambers Europe 2014, Chambers Global 2014

Competition/European Law – Belgium

Leading Individual, The Legal 500 EMEA, 2014

Competition – Belgium

Master of the Bench, Middle Temple, 2012

Honorary Doctor of Laws, for Services to European Law, University of Glasgow, 2011