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Graham Cunningham
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Practice Manager Details:

Graham is an unregistered barrister.  He is also part of the Hardwicke Alumni.

Graham spent the first part of his career as a lawyer in industry. He specialised in intellectual property licensing and technology transfer for US multinational ITT Corporation. He then spent 10 years with the UK subsidiary of Wang Laboratories Inc, a well-known computer company in the 1980s. He was the first in-house lawyer, with responsibility primarily for establishing the legal department and for commercial transactions. He then became the legal director and company secretary and was a member of the management team for several years. Lengthy in-house experience allowed him to bring a broad commercial perspective to his work at the Bar and he was mentioned as an IT junior over many years in the Chambers UK directory. He returned to practice in 1994.

Graham’s career spanned a wide range of contentious and non-contentious work in:

Information Technology: including hardware and software procurement, software licensing, outsourcing, turnkey projects, systems integration, support and maintenance issues, software development, website development,  and cloud computing.

Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce)

Telecommunications: including radio communications, broadcasting, regulatory and commercial work. He was seconded for several months to a new telecommunications company as it was building out its network, has drafted several telecommunications laws, advised on commercial and regulatory matters in the UK, and handled complex telecoms litigation.

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Intellectual Property: including database rights, copyright, trade marks, service marks, passing off, design rights, domain names, cybersquatting, breach of confidence, counterfeit goods and merchandising.

Research & Development and Technology Transfer

UK/EU Trading and Commercial Agreements: including franchising, sales and purchase, licensing distribution, joint ventures, leasing and hiring, commercial agents, and consumer credit. He has particular interest in franchising issues and has been regularly involved in this area as adviser, principal counsel, mediation advocate, mediator and junior counsel to Nigel Jones QC.

Utilities: especially sector reform and regulation in water and energy, transport and communications, including legislative drafting to support the creation of regulatory bodies.

UK/EU Competition Laws related to the above issues.

Graham is an accredited mediator (see his separate Mediator Profile). He also has experience of Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) work – eg a dispute between a high street bank and a major telecommunications provider concerning international data transfer by satellite.

IT & Telecoms

Graham’s familiarity with Information Technology stemmed from his second industrial appointment as the first in-house lawyer, and latterly legal director, company secretary and a member of the management team of 1980s computer company, Wang (UK) Limited.

Since rejoining the Bar, he has had several spells working for well-known computer companies such as HP, IBM, PwC, Bull Information Systems, and Research Machines. He believes that this gives a genuine added value to the advice he gives as he can speak both from personal experience and from an understanding of the commercial imperatives that drive industry and commerce.

His work has included both contentious and non-contentious issues and has embraced:

  • Computer leasing
  • Computer misuse
  • Consultancy services
  • E-commerce
  • Electronic communications
  • Disaster recovery
  • Internet Law
  • Hardware supply
  • Procurement
  • Outsourcing
  • Software creation and licensing
  • Support and maintenance of hardware and software
  • System turnkey and integration projects.

Graham’s involvement with telecommunications regulatory matters has broadened out into the regulation of transport, energy and water.

Relevant work

  • Drafting new telecommunications laws for several developing countries, most recently in Mongolia, drawing substantially on UK and EU current practice.
  • Advising on telecommunications laws in different countries, most recently in South Africa.
  • Setting up telecommunications regulatory bodies.
  • Setting up a new telecommunications provider through extensive involvement in the preparation and negotiation of IT contracts for its infrastructure.
  • Drafting licences and interconnection agreements.
  • Working for the fraud detection department of Hewlett Packard.
  • Advising the Isle of Man Government on landing submarine cables.
  • Dealing with universal access and universal service issues for several developing countries, most recently in Myanmar.
  • Advising in the sale of a television transmission business.
  • Advising on rights of way under the Code Powers regime.
  • Advising on anti-competitive aspects of the liberalised telephone/Internet directory enquiry service in the UK, including a reference to OFCOM.
  • Conducting significant litigation resulting from the threatened removal of a telecommunications network by a major operator.
  • Advising landlords on their rights with respect to removal of mobile communications equipment.

Commercial Litigation

Graham has a great deal of experience in handling all types of business disputes, and especially franchising matters in respect of which he has had cases in the Court of Appeal. He also deals with the sale and supply of goods and services, consumer credit, distribution and agency relationships. His knowledge includes both relevant UK and EU laws and competition laws in particular.

Graham has experience of water, sewerage, gas and electricity, communications and transport regulation. This has been largely derived from a number of international projects which he has undertaken since 1995, although he has undertaken work in the United Kingdom as well.

Relevant work

  • Writing standard terms and conditions for a UK gas supplier.
  • Litigation concerning the liability of a gas transporter under the Health and Safety at Work Act for the effects of a gas explosion.
  • Drafting new legislation for the creation of a water regulator in Jordan in consultation with the Jordanian Water Ministry.

These projects have involved him in creating new primary and secondary legislation, operational charters for regulatory bodies, and documents to allow regulators to operate. This work has required him to familiarise himself with all the underlying concepts in each of the utility areas, for example, tariffs, interconnection and access agreements, supply agreements, powers to install, share and remove infrastructure, competition issues, sanctions regimes, consumer protection issues, environmental and health issues, the content, grant and removal of licenses, performance standards and criteria, codes of conduct, customer contracts, quality and safety standards, dispute resolution procedures, appeals procedures and regulatory accountability.

Intellectual Property

Graham’s expertise encompasses issues related to:
• confidentiality and trade secrets
• copyright
• counterfeit goods
• data base rights
• data protection
• design rights
• domain names and cybersquatting
• employee IP matters
• merchandising
• passing off
• patent exploitation
• restraint of trade
• R&D contracts
• technology licensing
• trade marks
• service marks


Basic French

Professional associations



  • LLB (Honours)
  • CEDR Accredited Mediator