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Joanna Smith QC

Call: 1990    QC: 2009

+44 (0)20 7306 0102jsmith@wilberforce.co.uk

Practice Overview

Joanna’s broad litigation practice encompasses advice and advocacy in the fields of professional liability, professional regulation, commercial litigation, arbitration (domestic/international), construction, adjudication, mediation (as a qualified mediator) and insurance.  Her advocacy has been complimented by Lord Neuberger in Cavendish v Makdessi [2015] UKSC 67 as showing “considerable forensic skill”.

On the commercial/contract side, Joanna successfully led the winning team in the Supreme Court in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Makdessi [2015] UKSC 67, a seminal case which has redefined the doctrine of penalties. Also in 2015, Joanna appeared in the Court of Appeal in One Money Mail Ltd v Ria Financial Services [2015] EWCA Civ 1084, a case concerning unreasonable restraint of trade and procuring breach of contract, and was instructed in a significant piece of litigation in the Chancery Division involving an application under the Insolvency Act to remove Administrators from office: Re Angel Group Ltd [2015] EWHC 2372 (Ch).  In the early part of 2016, Joanna acted for Leeds United in a contract dispute in the Queen’s Bench Division and she is currently instructed (amongst other things) in High Court proceedings involving breach of confidence and in substantial commercial court litigation involving breach of fiduciary duty/breach of contract by the directors of a marketing company in the Middle East.

In the field of professional liability, Joanna has recently won in the Court of Appeal in Tiuta International Ltd v De Villiers Chartered Surveyors Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 661, an appeal concerning a novel point as to the application of the ‘but for’ test of causation.  An application from the Respondents for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is awaited.  Joanna is also awaiting judgment in a trial she fought in July 2016 involving allegations of negligence against a solicitor and she is currently instructed in the early stages of £multi-million proceedings involving a negligent audit.  In June 2015 she acted for the defendant in a professional negligence claim in the Chancery Division: Orientfield v Bird & Bird [2015] PNLR 33; a case in which permission to appeal on causation has been granted to her clients but the appeal has not yet been heard.

Joanna’s recent work in the construction field has involved acting in ongoing multi-party litigation in the TCC on behalf of M&E engineers involved in the construction of the Northern Triangle Building at the Emirates Stadium and acting in a dispute involving the alleged breach of a Joint Venture Agreement in Qatar.  In late 2014/early 2015, Joanna was involved in a series of procedural hearings on costs budgeting, costs management orders and permission to amend pleadings in a very substantial piece of construction litigation: CIP Properties (AIPT) Ltd v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd & Others [2015] EWHC 1345; [2015] BLR 285 and [2015] 1 ALL ER (Comm) 765.

In the regulatory sphere Joanna has this year acted on a number of cases for the Financial Reporting Council against accounting firms arising out of breaches of the ethical standards and also involving allegations of misconduct in carrying out audit work.

Joanna is ranked as a leading silk in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for Commercial, Professional Liability and Construction.

She was recently awarded Chancery Silk of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2016.

Chambers & Partners 2016 (Professional Negligence): “As head of department, continues to build a formidable professional negligence practice…Technically very good, excellent with clients and provides sound advice”

Chambers & Partners 2016 (Chancery Commercial): “She is forthright, excellent with clients and her attention to detail is impeccable.  She has a lovely style when on her feet and has a lot of character”.

Chambers & Partners 2016 (Construction): “She is a very thorough and extremely tenacious advocate”.

Legal 500 2016 (Professional Negligence): “Fantastic with clients and very commercial in her approach

Legal 500 2016 (Commercial Litigation): “Anything you get from her will be nothing short of excellent”.

Legal 500 2016 (Construction): “she is first rate, and judges respond to her advocacy”.

Joanna is a Director of Bar Mutual, a qualified Mediator and a Supporting Member of the Society of Construction Arbitrators.