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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. He appeared successfully as sole Counsel in Day v Haine [2008] 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 [2013] 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 [2013] 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 [2018] 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 led in the Court of Appeal in Reyes v Al-Malki [2017] ICR 42 and made written submissions in the UKSC.

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 [2010] INLR 337 and Geller & Anor v SOS [2015] 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 schemes to encourage social groups currently underrepresented at the Bar to consider a career at the Bar. He was a spokesperson for the Bar Council in a speech to the College of Law entitled “Changes to the Bar”.

Prior to commencing a career at the Bar, he was a part time tutor in Property Law at the University of Sheffield.

Area of Expertise

Chancery, Commercial and Public Law


Independent judicial comments on Arfan's advocacy in reported cases

  • excellent oral and written submissions” - Mr Justice Julian Knowles in Okpra v GMC (during the hearing after oral and written submissions).
  • clarity and high quality submissions”, “considerable assistance provided during oral argument” - Mathew Gullick (sitting as a Deputy High Court judge in Ameyaw v PwC [2021] UKEAT 2019-000480.
  • Put with succinctness and clarity and having raised every conceivable submission that could be advanced in favour of the claimant” - HHJ Thornton (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in Bakare v SSHD [2010] EWHC 3811.
  • Mr Khan has advanced his client's case succinctly but comprehensively” - Lord Justice Moylan and McCombe in KM Algeria v SSHD [2017] EWCA 2662 (Civ).
  • extremely well argued” - Penelope Reed QC in PPL v Balogun [2018] EWHC (Ch)
  • able submissions both orally and in writing” - Lord Justice Lloyd in Secretary of State v Property Investors Courses Ltd & Anor [2009] EWCA Civ 104.
  • ably represented by Mr Arfan Khan” - Vos LJ, Sullivan LJ, and Briggs LJ in Michael v Official Receiver [2014] EWCA Civ 1590.
  • ably represented (the Appellant) in the best traditions of the Bar in a case involving a hugely complex background” - Lord Justice Wall and Mr Justice Holeman in M v M [2009] 2 FLR 957.
  • Mr Khan has confined himself to two principal matters and put it very concisely” - Lord Justice Keene in Hughes v Alan Dick [2009] EWCA Civ 272.
  • advanced cogent arguments” - Rimer LJ in Gaurilcikiene v Tesco Stores [2013] EWCA Civ 1612.
  • It is said with force that the decision cannot be allowed to stand” - Rimer LJ in Michael v Official Receiver [2014] 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 [2014] EWCA Civ 1213.
  • ingenious and spirited” - Longmore LJ in NB v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 887.
  • full and careful” [skeleton] - Thorpe LJ, Wall LJ, and Coleridge J in Moore v Moore [2010] 1 FLR 1413.

Comments from the legal profession

  • easily as good as a top QC”, “one of those old school totally professional gentleman barristers” (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).


  • Setting Aside Statutory Demands: A Revisit, The Law Quarterly Review, (2007), 123 (January), 42 (Sweet & Maxwell).
  • The Commencement of Laytime in a Voyage Charter Party, The Journal of Business Law, May (2003), 284, 294. 

Areas of Expertise

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Qualifications & Educations

  • Keble College, Oxford, the SEC Advanced International Advocacy Course. 
  • University College London, LLM. Distinction in Insolvency Law.
  • Sheffield, LLB (Hons). 1st class in part 1 and 2 subjects, including highest first in Jurisprudence.

Scholarships & Awards

  • Recipient of the Potts Scholarship UCL for excellence in the All UK Universities Post Graduate Essay Competition in Commercial Law.
  • Recipient of the University Moot Court Award for exemplary oral and written advocacy.
  • Times Lawyer of the Week, 2009.
  • Hardwicke Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn.
  • Mitchell’s Scholar (for Participation in the Quarter Finals of the World Universities Debating Championships).
  • Nathanson Scholar (for first place in the Nabarro Nathanson Mooting Competition).

Memberships & Committees

  • A tenant at the Chambers of Mark Littman QC, London (until Mark’s retirement from practice and closure of Littman Chambers).
  • Member of the United Kingdom Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

Related News

Arfan Khan appears successfully in important trust appeal

The Appellant, a former solicitor, claimed he held a beneficial interest in property by way of constructive or resulting trust. The property was purchased as an investment. It was registered in the sole name of the Appellant’s wife.

Published: 22nd May 2019

Bank's High Court Claim for £9.5 million settles out of court

Arfan Khan successfully defended complex claims in the High Court Chancery Division. The claims were pursued by a bank against the Defendants for £9.5 million plus interest, including possession of land. A legal charge was procured by the bank to secure the alleged indebtedness.

Published: 1st Jul 2016

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Awards & Recognition

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