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JOHN WARDELL QC

Call: 1979    QC: 2002

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

Practice Overview

John is ranked as a ‘leading silk’ in the, Chancery Commercial,  Civil Fraud, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Offshore and Professional Negligence categories in Chambers & Partners UK 2022, and in the Commercial Litigation, Civil Fraud, Professional Negligence, Company and Partnership, Offshore and International Arbitration categories in The Legal 500 UK 2022. John was previously shortlisted by Chambers & Partners for commercial silk of the year.

The Chambers & Partners 2022 edition describes John as“a pleasure to work with and his major strength is cross-examination, where he’s proven to be absolutely fantastic.” “He’s really on top of the briefs, knows things inside out and is very pragmatic and shrewd.” “He provides extremely commercial advice.” He is “a real leader, who has very impressive judgement and is always up for the fight. He is not put off by tricky issues.”

In The Legal 500 2022 edition John is described as“peerless in fraud cases, able to get to grips with the most complicated of cases and give robust, and aggressive advice when required. Very responsive. Loved by clients and instructing solicitors alike.” “He has an excellent command of equity and trust law which is increasingly a rare thing especially amongst lawyers who hold themselves out to know about arbitrations as well.” He is “one of the true masters of the courtroom and absolutely in his element when on his feet.“

John has an extremely broad and varied commercial disputes practice. Most of his cases are heard in the High Court and International Arbitral Tribunals. John also regularly appears in offshore jurisdictions (including BVI, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Singapore, Hong Kong and many European countries).

In the last five years, he has spent an increasing amount of time on complex fraud claims, many of which involve company law issues. The highlight of his practice during the last year was his comprehensive victory before the Supreme Court in Takhar v Gracefield Developments Limited where a panel of 7 judges overturned received wisdom that a litigant wishing to overturn a judgment obtained by fraud  needed to show that he could not have discovered the fraud by reasonable diligence.

Many of John’s commercial cases involve claims for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty.

John also undertakes professional negligence and indemnity work for both claimants and defendants. He has acted for and against a wide range of professionals, including solicitors, barristers, surveyors, financial advisers, accountants and actuaries.

John immerses himself in all aspects of his cases. He easily assumes the role of a leader prepared to back his own judgment, but is also a collaborative team player. John is an extremely good advocate, adept at modifying his tone and approach to the tribunal and at sensing how a Judge is seeing the case. He consistently impresses with thorough preparation and focused and effective cross-examination. He is rock solid on the law, reliable on paperwork and is described by solicitors as a joy to work with. What most impresses is his unwavering commitment to his cases, and to his clients.