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JONATHAN CHEW

Call: 2010   

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

Practice Overview

Jonathan is a property, pensions and commercial chancery barrister. He has a specialist professional negligence practice on matters arising from his core work.

He has been repeatedly recommended in the directories, particularly for his client service and courtroom advocacy, having been described as “a QC of the future” (Legal 500 2021).

Most recently:

“Jonathan has a good instinctive sense for responding to queries and issues which means he is well able to cut to the real points of focus very quickly. He is a sharp mind.” (Legal 500 2022: Pensions)

“Very analytical, strong on practical and technical law. Good with the tribunal and opposition. Good paperwork and prompt turnaround.” (Legal 500 2022: Property Litigation)

Past directory references described Jonathan as “technically excellent but more importantly he is an integral part of the client team. His advice is always commercially focused on the client’s strategic objectives” (Legal 500 2021) , “Clear and commercial in his advice and good with clients.” “A very good advocate, who is responsive and user-friendly. He has great technical expertise.” “Very capable, quick to respond and engaging. Nothing seems to be too much trouble.” (Chambers and Partners 2021) A “real rising star” and “very popular with clients thanks to his relaxed approach and excellent advocacy” (Who’s Who Legal 2021). “Analytically very strong and as an advocate he is confident, relaxed and assured” (Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2020) and “an excellent advocate with an engaging way of putting ideas across” (Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2020), or, simply “A tenacious advocate” (The Legal 500 2020) who is “Comprehensive in his approach, an impressive and effective advocate.” (The Legal 500 2019).

Jonathan is as comfortable acting as sole counsel as being led as part of a wider team. He has particular experience of substantial High Court trials. As sole counsel he has repeatedly appeared in the Court of Appeal, regularly appears in the High Court (Chancery Division, QBD, Comm Court and TCC), and before various tribunals including the FTT, UT or Pensions Regulator DP. He is regularly instructed to appear before the DIFC Courts in Dubai, and acts in mediations and arbitrations.

Current ongoing matters include:

  • Re Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan (ongoing): a major pensions dispute, led by Michael Tennet QC and Edward Sawyer, on rectification, RPI/CPI, and the validity of amendments (trial summer 2021).
  • Lodha Developers 1 GSQ v 1GSQ1 Ltd, summary judgment at [2020] EWHC 2356 (Ch): Jonathan acts with Joanne Wicks QC for Lodha on a major redevelopment of Grosvenor Square in this claim against a purchaser who failed to complete.
  • Britvic PLC v Britvic Pensions Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 867 (CA) and [2020] Pens LR 11: Acting as sole counsel for the Britvic Pension Trustee in the Court of Appeal and at first instance on a dispute over the meaning and effect of RPI pension increase provisions. The Court of Appeal decision is a significant decision of general application on “corrective construction” and the proper approach to the construction of pension schemes.
  • Led by Jonathan Seitler QC on a major “Timothy Taylor” L&T dispute over landlord’s works and quiet enjoyment
  • Leading Benjamin Slingo on a dispute over a leading contemporary art painting.

Other reported cases include:

  • Canary Wharf v European Medicines Agency [2019] EWHC 335 (Ch) [2019] L&T 14: In the much-publicised “Brexit” case, Jonathan acted with Joanne Wicks QC for the landlord Canary Wharf in arguing that Brexit will not frustrate the EMA’s lease. Having succeeded at first instance, the case settled before the appeal was heard in Court of Appeal.
  • Reedbase v Fattal [2018] 2 P&CR 14: Jonathan appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal for the successful landlord on the first appellate case on a landlord’s obligations to consult and a change in proposed works, and the first in the Court of Appeal for over 25 years on the obligation to make good.
  • Tavira Securities v Point Ventures FCZO [2017] CFI 26: acting as sole counsel against a silk in a jurisdiction challenge in the DIFC in litigation relating to an alleged share transaction.
  • Knapper v Francis [2017] L&TR 20: Upper Tribunal case on the operation of on-account demands under the terms of the lease and the 1985 Act consultation regime.
  • Matchmove v Dowding [2017] 1 WLR 749: led by Jonathan Seitler QC on a leading recent case relating to constructive trusts.
  • Pollock v Reed [2016] Pens LR 129: Led by Robert Ham QC for the Company on a Trustee blessing application on a scheme restructuring requiring bulk transfers without consent.