Practice overview

Since joining Chambers in September 2022 on successful completion of pupillage, John has rapidly developed a practice which has included frequent appearances in both the High Court and County Court.

John has a broad commercial and commercial chancery practice, and his work so far has encompassed fraud, insolvency, company, financial regulation, trusts, partnerships, property, professional liability, and art and cultural property law.

John is equally eager to be instructed as sole counsel or as part of a team.

Before joining Wilberforce, John completed an LLM at UCL, having previously undertaken the graduate diploma in law and the bar course at City Law School. Previously, John worked for two years at a Big Four firm, EY, in its Corporate Governance team.

John is fluent in Italian and Spanish.

John's expertise

Examples of work undertaken since joining include:

Commercial

  • ABFA Commodities Trading Ltd v Petraco Oil Company SA [2024] EWHC 147 (Comm): defending (led by Alan Gourgey KC and Bobby Friedman) an application to enforce an undertaking in damages in respect of US$28.7m of losses suffered by a third party. In a novel area of law, the Court refused to exercise its discretion to enforce the undertaking in part on account of the applicant’s dishonesty.
  • Acting (led by John Wardell KC and Emily McKechnie) on behalf of two of approximately 40 defendants in a claim for US$870m set for trial in 2025.
  • Advising (led by Max Mallin KC) on a Financial List claim involving various regulatory breaches by the issuer of securities which resulted in the loss of the majority of their value.
  • Acting on a pre-action basis in a £34m debt claim by a father against his children, in circumstances where the children say that sums were advanced as gifts.
  • Advising on a claim for breach of contract and a counterclaim for rectification for unilateral mistake.
  •  Advising on strike out on the basis of res judicata.
  • Advising on the proper construction of an indemnity and exclusion clause.

Fraud

  • ABFA Commodities Trading Ltd v Petraco Oil Company SA [2024] EWHC 147 (Comm): defending (led by Alan Gourgey KC and Bobby Friedman) an application to enforce an undertaking in damages in respect of US$28.7m of losses suffered by a third party. In a novel area of law, the Court refused to exercise its discretion to enforce the undertaking in part on account of the applicant’s dishonesty.
  • Alsaady v Al Hamadani and six others: acting for the claimant in a complex $30m USD partnership, breach of bailment and fraud claim in relation to various art, antiques and other chattels. John was led by Bobby Friedman in successfully obtaining a proprietary injunction, the appointment of a court receiver and a disclosure order.
  • Acting (led by John Wardell KC and Emily McKechnie) on behalf of two of approximately 40 defendants in a claim for US$870m set for trial in 2025.
  • International Medical Supplies Ltd v Decker and anor: acting (led by James Bailey KC) for the first defendant in a breach of warranty of authority claim for £10m.

Insolvency

  • Decker v International Medical Supplies Ltd: acting (led by James Bailey KC) for the applicant debtor in an application to set aside a statutory demand, successfully persuading the Court to adjourn the matter until such time as an application to set aside a default judgment is determined.
  • AIK v Prospect Business Centres (Monument) Ltd and anor: acting (led by John McGhee KC) in an application for leave to proceed against an insolvent company and possession pursuant to the Blue Jeans jurisdiction. This case involved considering the ICC’s jurisdiction to order possession against an ostensible licensee who claimed to benefit from a lease.
  • Acting for petitioners, debtors and companies in complex bankruptcy and winding up petitions.
  • Advising and acting for a creditor responding to applications to set aside statutory demands made in respect of guarantors.
  • Applying for retrospective alternative service of documents in respect of a bankrupt who failed to attend a private examination after evading service.

Commercial Chancery

  • Alsaady v Al Hamadani and six others: acting for the claimant in a complex $30m USD partnership, breach of bailment and fraud claim in relation to various art, antiques and other chattels. John was led by Bobby Friedman in successfully obtaining a proprietary injunction, the appointment of a court receiver and a disclosure order.
  • Acting in a High Court application by the administrators of a company who suspected misfeasance for a Norwich Pharmacal / Bankers’ Trust order.
  • Advising on whether a director was entitled to represent a company at trial.
  • Advising on whether a shareholders’ agreement could be relied on to in effect obtain unfair prejudice relief from the Courts in England, notwithstanding the company being incorporated in Gibraltar.

Trusts

  • Acting (led by Clare Stanley KC) for the respondent settlor in an application for directions by the trustee.
  • Assisting a trustee in complying with a Norwich Pharmacal / Bankers’ Trust order.
  • Assisting in a matter concerning real evidence in a complex cross-jurisdictional trusts dispute.

Financial Regulation

  • Together with Max Mallin KC, advising on a Financial List claim involving various regulatory breaches by the issuer of securities which resulted in the loss of the majority of their value.
  • Together with Daniel Lewis, advising on whether an entity required FCA authorisation for conducting controlled claims management activity or providing claims management services.
  • Acting in various trials of claims pursuant to the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
  • Advising on private rights of action pursuant to s.138D of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA).
  • Considering whether a foreign market qualifies as an eligible market for the purposes of FCA rules.

Property

  • Acting for the claimants as sole counsel in Solomon & ors v Charles & anor, a 2.5 day trial of a claim for a declaration and accounts in respect of rental proceeds received over a 40 year period. The declaration involved arguing that a joint tenancy had been severed by a course of dealings prior to the deceased’s passing.
  • Successfully acting for the claimant as sole counsel in Ratnam v Pearinpanathan, the trial of a claim for renewal of a business tenancy. A significant costs award was made in the claimant’s favour after obtaining a judgment more favourable than a Part 36 offer he had made.
  • AIK v Prospect Business Centres (Monument) Ltd and anor: acting (led by John McGhee KC) in an application for leave to proceed against an insolvent company and possession pursuant to the Blue Jeans jurisdiction. This case involved considering the ICC’s jurisdiction to order possession against an ostensible licensee who claimed to benefit from a lease.
  • Acting (led by Harriet Holmes) in a mortgagee’s application for relief from forfeiture following the landlord’s peaceably re-entry.
  • Advising on and acting in a contentious (but uncontested) business lease renewal pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
  • Advising a franchisor who had guaranteed franchisee obligations pursuant to leases.
  • Acting in possession and rent arrears hearings.

Professional Liability

  • Acting for defendant solicitors in obtaining summary judgment against the claimant.
  • Acting (led by Jack Watson) for a claimant in an ongoing claim against an adviser’s firm.

Art and Cultural Property

  • Alsaady v Al Hamadani and six others: acting for the claimant in a complex $30m USD partnership, breach of bailment and fraud claim in relation to various art, antiques and other chattels. John was led by Bobby Friedman in successfully obtaining a proprietary injunction, the appointment of a court receiver and a disclosure order.
  • Advising the purchasers on means of recovery of an artwork stolen in transit. Inter alia, the matter involves complex issues of jurisdiction, lex situs and insurance.

Group Litigation

  • As part of his consultancy at Harcus Parker, John has assisted on various group litigations, both pre-GLO and post-issue.

John's insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Fraud, Trusts & Asset Recovery Conference 2024

    Thursday 4th July 2024 | 12.30pm - 5.25pm, followed by drinks and canapés
    The View at The Royal College of Surgeons

    £135 + VAT | 3.5 CPD

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    Articles

    A Nigerian tragedy: how to set aside a US$11 billion arbitral award

    John Grocott-Barrett and Ernest Leung have written an article for TL4’s FIRE Starters magazine on ‘A Nigerian tragedy: how to set aside a US$11 billion arbitral award’, where they analyse Federal Republic of Nigeria v Process and Industrial Developments Limited.... Read more

    By John Grocott-Barrett | Ernest Leung
    Monday 4 March 2024

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Insolvency Conference & Dinner 2024

    Thursday 1st February 2024 | 12.30pm - 5.55pm, followed by drinks and dinner
    The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, London

    £130 - £185 + VAT | 4 CPD

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Commercial Litigation Conference 2023

    Thursday 12th October 2023 | 12.30pm - 6pm, followed by drinks
    The Langham, London

    £130 + VAT | 4.0 CPD

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View all thought leadership View all events

John's Details

BSB/VAT information

Registered name: Mr John Grocott-Barrett
VAT number: 429676354

Privacy Notice pdf

Qualifications and Appointments

  • LLM in International Commercial Law, UCL (Distinction)
  • GDL, City, University of London (Distinction)
  • BA in Modern Languages, Durham University (First Class Honours, top of year in Hispanic Studies department)
  • BPTC LLM in Legal Practice, City, University of London
  • Diploma de español DELE nivel C1 (effective operational proficiency in Spanish), Instituto Cervantes

Awards:

  • Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Haldane Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Postgraduate Scholarship, City, University of London
  • A W Goodbody Prize for best paper in Financial Decision-Making, The Chartered Governance Institute
  • Hispanic Studies Prize for highest overall mark in department, Durham University
  • Distinction in Spoken Spanish, Durham University
  • Distinction in Spoken Italian, Durham University

Memberships

  • COMBAR
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA)

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