Ian Forrester has been a practitioner, author, academic teacher and judge. He studied and trained in Scotland, Louisiana, New York and Brussels. He was admitted to the bar in Scotland, New York, England and Wales, and Brussels. After professional experience with Maclay Murray and Spens in Glasgow, Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Brussels, he cofounded Forrester & Norall, subsequently Forrester Norall & Sutton, which merged with White & Case in 1998. He was nominated in 2015 by the government of the UK to become the judge from the UK on the General Court of the European Union. That mandate ended with Brexit in 2020. He was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in 2023.
He is the President of the Franco British Lawyers Society.
He has lectured on EC/EU legal and policy topics in many countries and published extensively on these themes, particularly competition, customs, dumping, pharmaceuticals, sport, the precautionary principle, and human rights.
Honorary Professor and Honorary Doctor of Laws (2009) at Glasgow University, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel (1988), and Bencher, Middle Temple (2012). He has been since 2018 President of the Franco British Lawyers Society.
He has participated in cases before courts or competition authorities or arbitral bodies in the UK, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Japan, Kosovo, Serbia and USA as well as the European institutions in Brussels and the three EU courts in Luxembourg. He argued cases in the fields of sport, computer software, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, public regulation, state aids, international trade, and publishing. These include Magill (compulsory copyright licensing); Bosman (football transfers); Microsoft (computer servers); IMS (compulsory licensing); Pfizer Animal Health (the precautionary principle); Government of Gibraltar v Council (constitutional status of Gibraltar Airport); GlaxoSmithKline (parallel trade in pharmaceuticals); Les Laboratoires Servier (settlement of patent disputes); Chalkor/Halcor (due process and judicial review); Canon (dumping and rules of origin); A and Others v National Blood Authority (whether a blood transfusion with undetectable hepatitis can be a ‘defective’ product); Bellona Foundation v EFTA (environmental protection); DuPont v HM Customs (classification of building materials).
He was also involved in several European Court of Human Rights cases, including forcing a citizen to speak on pain of punishment even if the answer itself reveals punishable conduct (Al Fayed and Harrods: Fayed v The United Kingdom); press sources (Hans Martin Tillack: Tillack v Belgium); prisoner’s rights (Kalashnikov v Russia); fair trial and right to property (Karic and Djordjevic). He helped to achieve the liberation of Louis Henry Burns, an indigent prisoner on appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in New York from a conviction based upon a coerced confession. He launched the pro bono practice of White & Case.