Practice

“Jonathan Crow QC is widely regarded as one of the leading barristers of his generation” (Chambers UK). His practice straddles a broad range of litigation, largely in the appellate courts where he appears both for private clients and for public authorities. He is recommended in 10 practice areas by Chambers UK and is ranked as one of the Stars of the Bar. In a career spanning 35 years he has been involved at the highest level in civil fraud (from Polly Peck to Madoff), company law (from Guinness to Atlantic Computers), corporate insolvencies (from BCCI to Lehmans), public law (from Guantanamo Bay to assisted suicide), constitutional law (from the Channel Islands to the Chagos Islands), telecoms (from the 3G auction to interconnection charges), consumer credit (from bank charges to PPI) and many other areas, including over 190 reported cases. He has appeared more than 35 times in the Supreme Court or the House of Lords, and on numerous other occasions in the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights. He was First Treasury Counsel from 1998 until 2006, since when he has been named both as Commercial Litigation silk of the year and also as Chancery silk of the year by Chambers UK, as Lawyer of the Week by The Times (twice), and as one of the Legal 500’s Hot 100. In addition to his work in London, he also has a busy overseas practice, including work in relation to jurisdictions such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, the Turks & Caicos Islands, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Apart from his work as an advocate, he acts as an LCIA arbitrator and sits part time as a Deputy High Court Judge in London (both in the Chancery Division and in the Administrative Court) and also as a judge of the Courts of Appeal in Jersey and Guernsey, and as a part-time Deemster in the Isle of Man. He is a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn and Attorney General to HRH The Prince of Wales.

Practice areas

Administrative & public law

For 8 years (1998 – 2006), Jonathan was First Treasury Counsel, appearing for the UK Government and other public authorities in a wide range of administrative and public law cases. He was fortunate enough to enjoy his tenure at a fascinating time when practitioners and judges were finding their feet with the Human Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Most rewarding were those cases with a strong human element (such as the dispute over assisted suicide) and in particular the relationship between the State, parents and children (such as the disputes over religious dress in State schools and the abolition of corporal punishment in private schools).

Since stepping down as FTC, Jonathan has enjoyed his new-found freedom to appear for private clients (for example in R (PMI) v. Minister for the Cabinet Office and in Bank Mellat) as well as continuing his work for the Government (for example in R (Keyu) v. SSFCA and in Al Rawi). He is also now able to appear overseas in public law cases, as he has done in relation to conscription in Bermuda and the regulation of telecommunications in the BVI.

Banking & finance

Banking and finance cases crop up regularly in at least three aspects of Jonathan’s practice – in relation to regulatory work, public law and contractual disputes. He has advised or represented major banking institutions, the regulators and the Bank of England. Some of the more important cases in which he has been involved include the following:

  • Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) [2012] Bus LR 667
  • OFT v. Abbey National Plc [2010] 1 AC 696
  • FCA v. Capital Alternatives Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 284
  • Carey Group Plc v. AIB Group (UK) Plc [2011] 2 All ER (Comm) 461
  • Merchant International Co Ltd v. Natsionalna Aktsionerna Kompania Najftogaz Ukrainy [2014] EWCA Civ 1603
  • FSA v. Asset Land Investment Inc [2014] Bus LR 993
  • R (Cukurova Finance International Ltd) v. HM Treasury [2009] Eu LR 317
  • BCCI v. Malik [1996] BCC 15.

 

Chancery: commercial

Recognition of Jonathan’s Chancery practice was given when he was named by Chambers UK as Chancery Silk of the Year in 2013.  In general, his commercial Chancery work embraces his wider practice in relation to –

  • banking and finance
  • commercial dispute resolution
  • company law
  • financial services
  • insolvency and reconstruction

More particularly, his work has included cases relating to specific issues such as –

  • legal professional privilege (Three Rivers DC v. Bank of England (No. 6) [2005] 1 AC 610 and BBGP Managing Partner Ltd v. Babcock & Brown Global Partners [2011] Ch 296);
  • interrogatories (Neal v. December Commercial Properties (No. 1) Ltd [1996] BCC 577);
  • injunctions (Femis Bank Anguilla Ltd v. Lazar [1991] Ch 391 and United Mizrahi Bank v. Doherty [1998] 1 WLR 435); and
  • disclosure (Re Atlantic Computers Plc [1998] BCC 200 and In re Pantmaenog Timber Co Ltd [2004] 1 AC 158).
Commercial dispute resolution

Recognition of Jonathan’s commercial litigation practice was given when he was named by Chambers UK as Commercial Litigation Silk of the Year in 2016. He has been involved in a string of important commercial cases over the years covering a range of different issues, including –

  • civil fraud: Madoff Securities International Ltd v. Raven [2014] Lloyd’s Rep FC 95 and Finers v. Miro [1991] 1 WLR 35;
  • commercial JR: R (Cukurova Finance International Ltd) v. HM Treasury [2009] Eu LR 317;
  • contractual interpretation: Oceanbulk Shipping & Trading SA v. TMT Asia Ltd [2011] 1 AC 662;
  • damages and penalty clauses: Oresundsvarvet Aktiebolag v. Marcos Diamantis Lemos (“The Angelic Star”) [1988] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 122;
  • derivatives & the ISDA Master Agreement: TMT Asia Ltd v. Marine Trade SA [2011] 1 CLC 976, Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd v. TMT Asia Ltd [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 96 and Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd v. TMT Asia Ltd (No. 2) [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 565;
  • jurisdictional disputes & leave to serve out: Cinnamon European Structured Credit Master Fund v. Banco Commercial Portugues SA [2010] I.L.Pr. 11 and Re Howard Holdings Inc [1998] BCC 549.
Company law

General

As an advocate, as a judge and as a contributing author to the OUP’s Annotated Companies Acts, Jonathan has long been heavily involved in company law.  Significant cases have included:

  • Guinness Plc v. Saunders [1990] 2 AC 663;
  • Re a Company (No. 007466 of 2003) [2004] 1 WLR 1357;
  • Extrasure Travel Insurances Ltd v. Scattergood [2003] 1 BCLC 598;
  • In a Flap Envelope Company Ltd [2003] BCC 487;
  • Association of Certified Public Accountants of Britain v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry [1997] 2 BCLC 307.

Shareholder disputes

The introduction of statutory protection for minority shareholders has spawned an enormous amount of litigation, and from the outset Jonathan has been involved in numerous significant cases relating to:

  • locus standi to sue:  Re a Company (No. 003160 of 1986) (1986) 2 BCC 99,276;
  • indemnification in costs:  Re Sherborne Park Residents Association Ltd (1986) 2 BCC 99,528;
  • court-ordered meetings:  Re Sticky Fingers Restaurant Ltd [1991] BCC 754;
  • the scope of the statutory remedy:  Oriental Gas Co Ltd [2000] 1 BCLC 209 and Atlasview Ltd v. Brightview Ltd [2004] 2 BCLC 191;
  • share valuation:  Oak Investment Partners XII Limited Partnership v. Boughtwood [2010] 2 BCLC 459, Re ESC Publishing Ltd [1990] BCC 335 and Re D.R. Chemicals Ltd (1989) 5 BCC 39.

Directors disqualification

Another specific area of company law that has generated a considerable amount of litigation since the 1980s is directors disqualification.  Jonathan has appeared both for the Secretary of State and for defendant directors in numerous cases, including:

  • Re Polly Peck International Plc [1994] 1 BCLC 574
  • Re Blackspur Group plc [2001] 1 BCLC 653
  • Re Surrey Leisure Ltd [1999] 2 BCLC 457
  • Re Godwin Warren Control Systems Plc [1992] BCC 557
  • Re Tasbian Ltd (No. 3) [1992] BCC 358
  • Re Cladrose Ltd [1990] BCC 11.

Companies Act investigations

Jonathan has also been involved in a number of important cases concerning Companies Act investigations, including:

  • Re Atlantic Computers Plc [1998] BCC 200
  • In re Pantmaenog Timber Co Ltd [2004] 1 AC 158
  • R (Clegg) v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry [2003] BCC 128
  • A-G’s Reference (No. 2 of 1998) [2000] QB 412.
Financial services

As an advocate both for the regulator and for market participants in the regulated sector, and also as a judge, Jonathan has been involved in a number of important cases, particularly relating to collective investment schemes and FCA investigations:

  • Macris v. FCA [2017] 1 WLR 1095
  • FCA v. Capital Alternatives Ltd [2015] Bus LR 767
  • FSA v. Asset Land Investment Inc [2014] Bus LR 993
  • Re Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Ltd [2013] 1 WLR 605
  • FSCS Ltd v. Abbey National Treasury Services Plc [2009] Bus LR 465
  • Re The Inertia Partnership LLP [2007] Bus LR 879
Fraud – civil

Fraud is often alleged in company, commercial and insolvency cases. Jonathan has been involved in a string of such cases, notably:

  • Madoff Securities International Ltd v. Raven [2014] Lloyd’s Rep FC 95
  • Guinness Plc v. Saunders [1990] 2 AC 663
  • Re Polly Peck International Plc [1994] 1 BCLC 574
  • Extrasure Travel Insurances Ltd v. Scattergood [2003] 1 BCLC 598
  • Finers v. Miro [1991] 1 WLR 35.
Insolvency & restructuring

Insolvency

Throughout his career, Jonathan has been involved both in the high profile corporate insolvencies that catch the headlines and also in many of the smaller cases that sometimes raise more complex issues. These have included –

  • Lehman Brothers International (Europe) [2012] Bus LR 667 – a Supreme Court decision on the scope of ‘client money’ under the FSA Rules;
  • Fairfield Sentry – a Privy Council decision in relation to claims brought by a Madoff feeder fund against early redeemers;
  • Tottenham Hotspur Plc v. Ryman [1996] 2 BCLC 389 – part of the long running dispute between Alan Sugar and Terry Venables over Spurs;
  • Hickling v. Baker [2007] 1 WLR 2386 – a decision on the compatibility of an arrest under the Insolvency Act 1986, s. 364, with ECHR Article 5;
  • Re Edennote Ltd [1996] BCC 718 – application to set aside assignment by liquidator;
  • Re Edennote Ltd (No. 2) [1997] 2 BCLC 89 – application for removal of a liquidator;
  • Minotaur Data Systems Ltd [1999] 1 WLR 1129 – the status of the Official Receiver;
  • Re Gosscott (Groundworks) Ltd (1988) 4 BCC 372 – whether the costs of an unsuccessful administration petition should rank as costs in the winding-up of the company;
  • Tottenham Hotspur Plc v. Edennote Plc [1994] BCC 681 – locus standi to petition;
  • Re Cloverbay Ltd (1989) 5 BCC 732 – private examination.

Directors disqualification

Corporate insolvencies often lead to proceedings for directors disqualification. Jonathan has appeared in numerous DDQ cases, including:

  • Re Polly Peck International Plc [1994] 1 BCLC 574
  • Re Blackspur Group plc [2001] 1 BCLC 653
  • Re Surrey Leisure Ltd [1999] 2 BCLC 457
  • Re Godwin Warren Control Systems Plc [1992] BCC 557
  • Re Tasbian Ltd (No. 3) [1992] BCC 358
  • Re Cladrose Ltd [1990] BCC 11.

Companies Act investigations

Corporate insolvencies often spring from or lead to Companies Act investigations. Jonathan has been involved in a number of important cases in this field, including:

  • Re Atlantic Computers Plc [1998] BCC 200
  • In re Pantmaenog Timber Co Ltd [2004] 1 AC 158
  • R (Clegg) v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry [2003] BCC 128
  • A-G’s Reference (No. 2 of 1998) [2000] QB 412.
International arbitration

Arbitration offers an element of control, confidentiality and efficiency which is generally lacking in ordinary litigation. These characteristics make it suitable for certain kinds of dispute, and Jonathan has represented clients both in the UK and overseas in a number of commercial disputes in a number of different industry sectors, including property, energy and shipping. He also sits as an LCIA arbitrator.

Offshore litigation

The attraction of offshore jurisdictions, both for corporate entities and for private clients, has inevitably led to an increasing amount of offshore litigation. Jonathan is a full member of the BVI Bar and has often been called ad hoc to the Bar in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Nevis for individual cases. He has been involved in a wide range of cases overseas covering –

  • corporate insolvencies (often linked either to the Lehmans collapse or the Madoff scandal);
  • commercial disputes (such as the fight for control over Norilsk);
  • trust litigation (much of which remains confidential);
  • takeover disputes (such as the Seacontainers case in Bermuda); and
  • judicial review (such as the Digicel case in the BVI).
Telecommunications

Over the last 15 years in particular, as the telecommunications market has grown and become increasingly complex and competitive, and more heavily regulated, Jonathan has advised and appeared both for the regulators and for market participants in relation to various spectrum auctions, contractual disputes and regulatory issues. Reported cases in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal have included –

  • BT plc v. Telefonica O2 [2014] 4 All ER 907;
  • Mercury Personal Communications v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry [2000] UKCLR 143;
  • Reg. v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, ex parte BT3G Limited [2001] 3 CMLR 61 & [2001] 822 Eu LR 822.

Additional info

Cases of interest

Many of the leading cases in which Jonathan has appeared are listed under the 10 practice areas in which he is ranked in the legal directories. In addition, his practice also embraces a wide range of other work, including:

Art & cultural property

  • R (Bancroft) v. Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport [2005] JPL 477

Civil Liberties

  • Re Complaint of Surveillance [2014] 2 All ER 576
  • Al Rawi v. Security Service [2012] 1 AC 531 & [2010] 3 WLR 1069
  • Bank Mellat v. HM Treasury [2012] QB 91
  • R (Murungaru) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] INLR 180
  • Burden v. UK  (2008) 47 EHRR 38
  • R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v. Information Tribunal [2008] 1 WLR 58
  • R (SB) v. Governors of Denbigh High School [2007] 1 AC 100
  • R (Swami Suryananda) v. Welsh Ministers [2007] WLR (D) 211
  • R (Boughton) v. HM Treasury [2006] BTC 460
  • R (Williamson) Secretary of State for Education and Employment [2005] 2 AC 246
  • R (Middleton) v. West Somerset Coroner [2004] 2 AC 182
  • Peck v. UK (2003) 13 BHRC 669
  • Appleby v. UK (2003) 37 EHRR 38
  • R (M) v. Inner London Crown Court [2003] 1 FLR 994
  • A-G v. Punch Ltd [2003] 1 AC 1046.
  • R (Uttley) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003] 1 WLR 2590.
  • Pretty v. UK (2002) 35 EHRR 1PG & JH v. UK [2002] Crim LR 308
  • R (Pretty) v. DPP [2002] 1 AC 800
  • R (Robertson) v. Wakefiled MDC [2002] QB 1052
  • A-G v. Times Newspapers Ltd [2001] 1 WLR 885
  • Khan v. UK (2000) 8 BHRC 310

Competition law

  • SEL-Imperial Ltd v. BSI [2010] UKCLR 493
  • IBA Health v. OFT [2004] Comp AR 529
  • Mercury Personal Communications v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry [2000] UKCLR 143
  • R v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, ex parte Thomson Holidays Ltd [2000] ECC 321

Consumer credit

  • Plevin v. Paragon Personal Finance Ltd [2014] 1 WLR 4222
  • OFT v. Abbey National Plc [2010] 1 AC 696 (CA & HL)
  • Wilson v. First County Trust Ltd (No.2) [2004] 1 AC 816
  • DGFT v. First National Bank Plc [2002] 1 AC 481

Crime

  • R (Hammond) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2006] 1 AC 603
  • R (Da Silva) v. DPP [2006] Inquest LR 224
  • R (Amin) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] 1 AC 653
  • C v. Sunderland Youth Court [2004] 1 Cr App R (S) 76
  • R (McCann) v. Crown Court at Manchester [2003] 1 AC 787
  • R v. Shayler [2003] 1 AC 247
  • R (Smith) v. Parole Board [2003] 1 WLR 2548
  • R v. Field [2003] 1 WLR 882
  • R v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Allen [2000] Prison LR 52

POCA & Asset Forefeiture

  • ARA v. Green The Times, 27.2.06

Employment law

  • Duncombe v. Secretary of State for Education & Skills [2011] 2 All ER 417
  • Lawson v. Serco Ltd [2006] 1 All ER 823
  • R v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, ex parte TUC [2001] 1 CMLR 5 & 8

Environmental law

  • R (Bruton) v. Attorney General to the Prince of Wales [2010] Env LR 42
  • R v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, ex parte Greenpeace Ltd [2000] Env LR 221

European law

  • Byrne v. MIB [2009] QB 66
  • Spencer v. Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2008] PIQR 21
  • Crane v. Sky In-Home Service Ltd (2007) 1 CLC 389
  • Moore v. Secretary of State for Transport [2007] PIQR 2
  • Commission v. UK, Case C-98/01 [2003] 2 CMLR 19
  • Jobsin.co.uk plc v. Department of Health [2001] Eu LR 685
  • R. v. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, ex parte BT3G Limited [2001] 3 CMLR 61 & [2001] 822 Eu LR 822

Immigration

  • R v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Fayed [2001] Imm AR 134

Pensions

  • Minister for the Civil Service v. Oakes [2004] OPLR 235
  • Department of Health v. Pensions Ombudsman [2000] 1 WLR 561
  • Mock v. Pensions Ombudsman [2000] OPLR 331

Police

  • R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v. Humberside Police Authority [2004] ACD 92
  • Akenzua v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003] 1 WLR 741
  • R (Green) v. Police Complaints Authority [2002] UKHRR 293 & 985
What the directories and judges say

“one of the greatest barristers of our time … a superb advocate who commands the respect of the courtroom” “magisterial … without being stuffy”
Chambers UK

sensational” “a leading light of his generation
Who’s Who Legal

“an outstanding reputation for his advocacy” “outstandingly clever and really wonderful to work with” “first-rate technically and a real gentleman”
Chambers Global

“Probably the most persuasive advocate at the Bar” “terrific at everything he does” “one of the most talented chancery silks, with expertise in the private and public sectors” “one of the top advocates at the commercial Bar”
Legal 500

“without doubt amongst the best of the best”, “everything you would want in a barrister”
Chambers 100

“an excellent strategist and a stylish advocate”
The Lawyer

“an argument conspicuous for its moderation as well as for its skill”
Lord Goff in Guinness Plc v. Saunders [1990] 2 AC 663, at 697A

“argued the appeal with great ability”
Balcombe LJ in Finers v. Miro [1991] 1 WLR 35, at 44

“most ably argued”
Lord Hoffmann in R (Bancoult) v. Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs (No. 2) [2009] 1 AC 453, at §31

“we would like to pay tribute to the high standard of the argument”
Sir Anthony Clarke MR in Office of Fair Trading v. Abbey National Plc [2010] 1 AC 696 (CA), at §1

“admirable clarity and cogency”
Etherton LJ in R (Barclay) v. Lord Chancellor [2009] UKHRR 344, at §114

“conspicuous clarity and skill”
Lord Walker in OFT v. Abbey National Plc [2010] 1 AC 696 (HL), at §25

“very attractively put”
Mummery LJ in Duncombe v. Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families [2010] 2 CMLR 14, at §46

“submissions which are advanced with great skill”
Maurice Kay LJ in Bank Mellat v. HM Treasury [2011] 2 ALL ER 802, at §39

“I would pay tribute to the careful and thorough arguments”
Davis LJ in Merchant International Co Ltd v. Natsionalna Aktsionerna Kompania Najftogaz Ukrainy [2014] EWCA Civ 1603, at §34

a barrister “of the very highest calibre” who has given “outstanding service to the government in many cases of the greatest public importance”
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith) announcing Jonathan’s retirement as First Treasury Counsel

Career & appointments

1981 called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn
1994 Treasury Counsel (Chancery)
1998 First Treasury Counsel (Chancery)
1998 Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn
2001 Deputy High Court Judge
2006 QC: Attorney General to HRH the Prince of Wales
2011 Court of Appeal Judge in Guernsey and Jersey