Arfan Khan has a high profile specialist appellate practice in Chancery, Commercial and Public law. He is instructed in exceptionally difficult appeals. He has led and argued landmark appeals in the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and in the UK Supreme Court for over close to two decades. He appeared successfully as sole Counsel in Day v Haine  BCC 84, a landmark appeal where the Court of Appeal reversed the Court at first instance, holding that protective awards were provable debts in a company liquidation. The Court of Appeal decision in Day v Haine paved the way for the UK Supreme Court decision in Re Nortel  UKSC, where the correctness of his approach in Day v Haine was confirmed. He was instructed on appeal to the Court of Appeal in a widely reported case concerning the gifted drawings of the late Francis Bacon. Recently, when leading a tax barrister, and a tax litigator on appeal to the Court of Appeal, he persuaded the Upper Tribunal to grant permission to appeal against its own decision on a point of law.
He has also appeared in landmark public law cases. In Wokuri v Kassam  Ch 80, he succeeded in contending that the diplomat was not entitled to immunity. He successfully led the intervention for 4A law in the Court of Appeal, and in the UKSC in Benkharbouche v Libya & Others  IRLR 123, where the UK Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision to set aside the State Immunity Act 1978, in order to give effect to certain claims falling within the material scope of EU law. He has also appeared successfully as lead or sole Counsel in other high profile cases raising free speech and national security issues such as Geert Wilders v SSHD  INLR 337, and Geller & Anor v SOS  All ER (D) 54. He appears in litigation against or for the government with appropriate security clearance. In 2009, Arfan Khan was named Times Lawyer of the Week.
Whilst the core of his practice is appeals, where he is increasingly instructed to lead, or appear as sole Counsel, he is frequently instructed as sole or lead Counsel in the High Court. These include trials, and interlocutory disputes, where the sums involved are substantial.
He regularly participates in the Bar Council’s outreach scheme to encourage children from social groups currently underrepresented at the Bar to consider a career as a barrister. He was a spokesperson for the Bar Council in a speech to the College of Law entitled “Changes to the Bar”, outlining amongst other issues, the issue of retention and attrition in the case of women at the Bar.
Independent judicial comments on Arfan's advocacy in reported cases
- “extremely well argued”: Penelope Reed QC in PPL v Balogun  EWHC (Ch)
- “able submissions both orally and in writing”: Lloyd LJ in Secretary of State v Property Investors Courses Ltd & Anor  EWCA Civ 104.
- “ably represented by Mr Arfan Khan”: Vos LJ, Sullivan LJ, and Briggs LJ in Michael v Official Receiver 
EWCA Civ 1590.
- “advanced cogent arguments”: Rimer LJ in Gaurilcikiene v Tesco Stores  EWCA Civ 1612
- “It is said with force that the decision cannot be allowed to stand”: Rimer LJ in Michael v Official Receiver  EWCA Civ 534.
- “Focused, helpful and concise.. document”: Patten LJ, Tomlinson LJ and Floyd LJ.
- “very properly relies on fundamental principles”: Arden LJ, Clarke LJ and Barling J in Gaurilcikiene v Tesco Stores  EWCA Civ 1213.
- “ingenious and spirited”: Longmore LJ in NB v SSHD  EWCA Civ 887.
- “full and careful” [skeleton]: Thorpe LJ, Wall LJ, and Coleridge J in Moore v Moore  1 FLR 1413.
Comments from the legal profession on Arfan
He is highly regarded by the profession with solicitors and barristers describing him as follows:
- “easily as good as a top QC”, “one of those old school totally professional gentleman barristers”, who is “incredibly nice” (Head of Chambers at a tax Chambers).
- “possessor of an exceptional general capability allied to an unparalleled commitment” (Commercial, Chancery and Public Law Silk).
- “exceptionally hard working and gifted advocate of the highest integrity” (Partner in a top ranked City firm).