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JOHN McGHEE QC

Call: 1984    QC: 2003

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

Commercial

John has been involved in some of the largest pieces of litigation in the country including the Grupo Torras litigation (a civil fraud claim arising out of the activities of the Kuwait Investment Office after the first Gulf War); and the Buncefield litigation (where he represented both the owner of one of the largest commercial buildings in the vicinity of the oil depot explosion and the residential occupiers of neighbouring properties). He has been involved in a number of cases overseas including Esquire v Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong (in which he led a team of three silks and two juniors in a high profile claim alleging undue influence, economic duress and breach of fiduciary duty against the bank) and more recently at home in Menolly v Cerep Sarl which concerned a £150m development contract.

Through his editorship of Snell’s Equity (which is the leading textbook on equitable principles in common law jurisdictions) and his experience in multi-jurisdictional disputes John is frequently involved in cases overseas. Highlights include Esquire v Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong (in which he led a team of three silks and two juniors in a high profile claim alleging undue influence, economic duress and breach of fiduciary duty against the bank) and the Shlosberg litigation in which he acted for a Liechtenstein foundation in connection with a £200m claim against a wealthy Russian businessman.

Notable cases include:

  • acting for a former partner in the business of sourcing and funding pension fund assets in a claim against the other partner for profit share and defending a counterclaim for breach of fiduciary and other duties of £110m (2022)
  • defending a gas authority in an arbitration in a £120m compensation claim by a landowner (2020)
  • acting for a major utility provider in an arbitration in successfully resisting an arbitration claim by a supplier for a 10 fold increase in price involving complex issues of regulation, economics and competition law (2020)
  • Wirsol Energy Ltd v Toucan Energy Holdings Ltd [2018] EWHC 3294 (TCC) – acting for the purchaser of a portfolio of solar parks in claims for breach of warranty under a share sale agreement and in respect of the operation and maintenance of the solar parks
  • Generator Developments Ltd v Lidl UK GmbH [2018] EWCA Civ 396 – acting for a supermarket in successfully resisting a claim that development property had been purchased for the joint benefit of the parties and was held on constructive trust under a Pallant v Morgan equity
  • acting for a Liechtenstein foundation in connection with a a £200m claim against a wealthy Russian businessman
  • Canary Wharf Finance II plc v Deutsche Trustee Company Limited [2016] EWHC 100 (Comm) – acting for Canary Wharf in a dispute with its lender over the terms of the securitisation of its portfolio
  • Chelsfield Advisers LLP v Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co [2015] EWHC 1322 (Ch) – acting for a developer in a claim against the owner of the former American Embassy in Grosvenor Square for breach of the terms of a development agreement
  • Lord Spencer-Churchill v Faggionato Fine Arts Ltd [2012] EWHC 2318 (Ch) – acting for an art dealer in resisting a claim by the owner of a well known painting that it had been sold by him without authority and that he had obtained secret commissions on the sale
  • Persimmon Homes Ltd v Woodford Land Ltd [2011] EWHC 3109 (Ch) – acting for a developer in a dispute as to the scope and effect of an expert determination clause in a put and call option
  • Amble Assets v Longbenton Foods [2011] EWHC 3774 (Ch) – acting for the seller of property in resisting claims by the purchaser for return of part of the purchase price on the basis that the deposit was unreasonably high, amounted to a penalty and for relief from forfeiture
  • Progress Property Co Ltd v Moore [2010] UKSC 55 – successfully defending a company from a claim that the sale of the share capital of its subsidiary at undervalue was an unlawful return of capital and ultra vires
  • Colour Quest v Total Downstream [2009] EWHC 540 (Comm) – acting for the owners of neighbouring buildings in claims arising out of a major explosion at an oil depot
  • Menolly v Cerep Sarl [2009] EWHC 516 (Ch) – acting for the owner in a dispute concerning a £150m construction contract relating to a major building in the City