John McKendrick KC

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John practises in public and commercial law.

After taking silk in his late thirties, he has led teams before the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Queen’s Bench Division, Chancery Division, Family Division, the Commercial Court, the Court of Protection, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, the Privy Council, the Scottish courts and in many arbitrations. The hallmark of his written and oral advocacy is precision and clarity, making the complicated straightforward. He provides his clients with pragmatic, commercially orientated advice. Over the course of his practice he has led in over 100 reported cases and in six cases that have been litigated before the Supreme Court.

He has been involved in many high profile cases. He represented the Hospital Trusts in the much discussed public law case of Bell v Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust [2021] EWCA Civ 1361, represented the Official Solicitor in a landmark case concerning capacity before the Supreme Court in A Local Authority v JB [2021] UKSC 52 and acted for the Hinduja family in long running proceedings which culminated in the Court of Appeal case of Hinduja v Hinduja [2022] EWCA Civ 1658. He has more recently been heavily involved in a number of sanctions matters and has provided advice to law enforcement officials in a offshore jurisdiction which led to the seizure of billions of assets and has advised banks and individuals on the implication of UK sanctions.

John has a strong international element to his practice. He was the Attorney General of the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla for two years and continues to have strong connections in the Caribbean and appears before the Anguilla and BVI courts. A fluent Spanish speaker he has long standing connections in Latin America and has worked in Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama. He is the author of the Latin American and Caribbean chapter of Lissack and Horlick on Bribery. He also works as a consultant on legal projects for the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank, the EU and others. He is a Vice Chair of the Bar Council’s International Committee.

The directories have described him in multiple areas of law as: “a brilliant and persuasive advocate“; “one of the best practitioners in the country“; “a ferocious, skilled, efficient advocate, with a wide-ranging practice” and “he …is very persuasive and articulate, and first rate with clients. Exceptionally bright, he can just take instructions and come up with a plan the next morning. He’s a bit of a magician in that way, and he’s brilliant to work with“.

He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge, a Recorder, a judge of the Court of Protection and a panel Deemster in the Isle of Man. He previously spent 5 years as a Tribunal judge and arbitrates, adjudicates and mediates in a wide range of disputes. He is also a sanctions appeals officer to the Caribbean Development Bank.

John is a Master Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.


John has an extensive public, administrative and medical law practice. He regularly appears before the Administrative Court, Court of Protection, Family Division and the full range of the Tribunal system. Before taking silk he was a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of counsel and was appointed standing junior to the Advocate General in Scotland. He was the only counsel to represent the British Government before the English and Scottish courts. He is experienced in the fields of mental capacity, mental health, financial services, prisons, procurement, regulatory and education law. He has an extensive practice before the Court of Protection, where he has been involved in many of the landmark cases determining capacity, deprivation of liberty and serious medical treatment.

Notable Public Law cases

Re G (Court of Protection: Injunction) [2022] EWCA Civ 1312

Hinduja v Hinduja [2022] EWCA Civ 1492

Hinduja v Hinduja [2022] EWCOP 36

S v Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust [2022] EWCOP 10

A Local Authority v JB [2021] UKSC 52

Bell v Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust [2021] EWCA Civ 1361

London Borough of Southwark v P [2021] EWCOP 46

AB v CD [2021] EWHC 741 (Fam)

HD v A County Council [2021] EWCOP 15

RD (Anorexia: compulsory Treatment) [2021] EWCOP 35

AA (Court of Protection: Capacity to Consent to Sexual Practices) [2020] EWCOP 66

ND (Court of Protection: Costs and Declarations) [2020] EWCOP 42

R (ota British Medical Association) v Northamptonshire County Council [2020] EWHC 1664 (Admin)

A (A Child) [2020] EWCA Civ 731

R (ota EG) v Parole Board [2020] EWHC 1457 (Admin)

A CCG v AF [2020] EWCOP 16

JK v A Local Health Board [2019] ewhc 67 (Fam)

Re AB (Termination) [2019] EWCA Civ 1215

Harding v Attorney General of Anguilla (Anguilla) [2018] UKPC 22 (30 July 2018)

DM v Fife Council [2016] ScotCS CSIH_17 (11 March 2016)

AA, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2016] EWHC 1453 (Admin) (20 June 2016)

Lee-Hirons v Secretary of State for Justice [2016] UKSC 46 (27 July 2016)

TY (Sri Lanka) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1233 (01 December 2015)

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust v C & Anor [2015] EWCOP 80 (30 November 2015)

The Secretary of State for the Home Department v ZP (India) [2015] EWCA Civ 1197 (24 November 2015)

JM (A Child), Re [2015] EWHC 2832 (Fam) (07 October 2015)

NRA & Ors, Re [2015] EWCOP 59 (25 September 2015)

Bhatt, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWHC 1724 (Admin) (18 June 2015)

HH v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] ScotCS CSIH_33 (05 May 2015)

John is involved in domestic and international commercial litigation and advisory work. He has advised and litigated in the context of disputes relating to international organisation, multilateral development banks and international sanctions.

He has been involved in complex litigation related to off-shore banks and complex creditors and has a growing practice in Fintech. He is currently working with the World Bank to draft Mongolia’s Virtual Assets Law and recently completed a piece of work with the People’s Bank of China to improve their FATF regulatory approach to beneficial ownership.

Recent work includes:

  • Representing an ultra-high net worth family in complex litigation (heard in private) involving the validity of powers of attorney which controlled a worldwide business assets, including a bank and other assets in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advising a large Trinidad and Tobago corporate on e-payment licensing obligations and compliance and due diligence requirements to evolve the business into Fintech.
  • As part of a consultancy team, advising the Government of a Caribbean Territory to reform laws to enhance e-commerce.
  • Advising an association of claims management companies in a commercial judicial review of a regulatory body’s decision to bring a fees cap into force for financial services claims.
  • Advising a group of tax payers in a British Overseas Territory to challenge taxation legislation.
  • Advising a large commercial fishery in proceedings before the courts and regulatory bodies of a British Overseas Territory.
  • Successfully defending two section 68 Arbitration Act 1996 applications to set aside arbitration awards in the Commercial Court. The claim involved a multi-lateral development bank and its attempts to set aside arbitral awards.
  • Advising a Central American corporation on the enforcement of an arbitration awards, service out of the jurisdiction and contempt.
  • Advising in respect of defence contracts and arbitration before the ADCCAC.
  • Representing a businessman before the Chancery Division to defend alleged breaches of worldwide freezing order, complex insolvency matters and the procedure related to contempt of court.
  • Acting for an ultra-high net worth Middle Eastern family in respect of a family dispute over the estate of the incapacitated father and tracing assets around the world.
  • Acting in the BVI on behalf of a Russian businessman to set aside findings of contempt for breach of worldwide freezing orders.

Notable Commercial Litigation cases

Algeilani v El Samawi [2021] EWCA Civ 997

Tropical Distributors Company Ltd v Permanent Secretary, Min of Finance

Elmoalis Ltd v AG, Anguilla

Re. Pesqueras Echebastar S.A. Indian Ocean Tuna, Adjudication, Seychelles 2018

Re. PNA Tuna – Adjudication, New York, 2018

DC Accountancy Services v Education Development International PLC [2013] EWHC 3378 (QB)

John acts as counsel, arbitrator and adjudicator in International Arbitration with a significant market knowledge and understanding of disputes arising from and seated throughout Latin America and Caribbean. He worked for a leading Panamanian law firm for several years and worked extensively in LatAm, working in Spanish with large corporations and wealthy individuals in a range of complex disputes. He has experience of cases under LCIA, ICC, ADCCAC and Adhoc rules in disputes ranging from general commercial contracts, hotel management disputes, financial services, energy and natural resources, defence contracting and disputes involving indemnities and guarantees.

Recent work includes:

  • Successfully acting for the respondent in a $ 125 million LCIA arbitration involving guarantees given in respect of offtake contracts for natural gas. The arbitration took place by way of a remote hearing. The claim was resolved in part through John’s effective cross-examination.
  • Adjudicated a variety of disputes at oral hearings related to environmental regulatory matters related to food labelling, Copenhagen 2019, Oslo 2019.
  • Pesqueras Echebastar S.A. Indian Ocean Tuna, Adjudication, Seychelles 2018
  • PNA Tuna – Adjudication, New York, 2018

John is called to the Bar of two Caribbean jurisdictions and has litigated extensively before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in a range of commercial, contractual and public law disputes. He has carried out significant advisory work in the region and has worked and advised a number of Governments, the Inter-American Development Bank and major commercial organisations. He carries out a significant amount of transparency, integrity, anti-bribery, anti-AML and compliance work in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is the Latin American contributor for Lissack and Horlick on Bribery. He has worked in Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, Mongolia, China with the EU, British Government, IDB, FATF and others.

John regularly advises and represents those impacted by UK sanctions. He has advised and represented designated individuals, banks and corporates impacted by sanctions designation and law enforcement officials both in the UK and overseas.

Related updates

"He is extremely articulate and a deeply intelligent individual. He brings enormous sound judgement to cases."; "John is very impressive. He puts all his effort into a case and is a great advocate."; "John is a very friendly, charming advocate."

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare, Chambers & Partners 2024

“John is a real pleasure to work with. He works incredibly hard but always takes time to look beyond his direct instructions to think about the needs of the client.”

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare, Chambers and Partners 2023

“He is very measured.”

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare, Chambers and Partners 2023

“John is exceptionally knowledgeable and very strategic. He has the ear of the court.”

Court of Protection: Health & Welfare, Chambers and Partners 2023

"He is very personable, helpful and concise."

Court of Protection, Chambers & Partners 2022

"Very smart, kind and easy to work with."

Court of Protection, Chambers & Partners 2022

"A very personable advocate with a good feel for Court of Protection litigation."

Court of Protection, Chambers and Partners 2021

"He is a straight-talker and doesn't sugarcoat anything. He is straight to the point and very persuasive."

Court of Protection, Chambers and Partners 2021

"An excellent advocate who thoroughly researches the law. He's brilliant with clients and is a pleasure to work with."

Court of Protection, Chambers and Partners 2020

"A really knowledgeable, personable, responsive barrister."

Court of Protection, Chambers and Partners 2020

"He develops rapport with clients, counsel and judges alike."

Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Legal 500 2016

He can navigate strategic issues with real foresight and direction.

Administrative and Public Law, Legal 500 2016

Recommended for education cases with a commercial angle.

Education, Legal 500 2016

Probably one of the best Court of Protection barristers out there.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Legal 500 2016

A brilliant and persuasive advocate.

Administrative and Public Law, Legal 500 2016

He is especially good at assimilating lots of paperwork very quickly and thoroughly. He has a good style in court and judges like him which is very useful.

Chambers & Partners 2016

Incredibly good at getting a case down to three, four or five pertinent facts, he cuts out a lot of unrelated stuff.

Chambers & Partners 2016

"Quickly and deservedly becoming known as one of the best practitioners in the country who deals with some of the difficult and sensitive issues in Court of Protection litigation. He comes up with creative ways to overcome the most difficult issues in cases. He is also a formidable advocate who really fights for his client."

Chambers & Partners 2016

"He has a tenacious, no-nonsense approach, and is very persuasive and articulate, and first rate with clients." "Exceptionally bright, he can just take instructions and come up with a plan the next morning. He's a bit of a magician in that way, and he's brilliant to work with."

Chambers & Partners 2015

He is "an incredibly articulate advocate with a skill for distilling a dispute down to its key elements," and "presents cases succinctly but thoroughly." He is praised for his "particular strength in assimilating large amounts of detail accurately and sometimes at short notice.

Chambers & Partners 2013

"Reliable, innovative, conscientious and very committed to clients."

Chambers & Partners 2013

"He has an excellent grounding in Court of Protection and social welfare cases."

Legal 500 2015

"He has significant experience in regulatory judicial review."

Legal 500 2015

"Recognised for his experience acting for leading independent schools."

Legal 500 2015

"A ferocious, skilled, efficient advocate, with a wide-ranging practice. He's a pragmatic and capable advocate, who understands schools and is extremely popular with clients."

Chambers & Partners 2014

"A responsive, determined advocate," "he brings clarity and calmness and is extremely good with difficult parties."

Chambers & Partners 2014

"Strong in Court of Protection cases."

Legal 500 2014

To find out more, contact Lexie Johnson on + 44 (0) 207 427 0801 or Paul Barton on +44 (0)20 7427 4907 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • Spanish

  • Shortlisted for The Lawyer, Barrister of the Year, 2016
  • Times Lawyer of the Week, July 2019 and September 2013

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