John McKendrick QC
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John is an experienced litigator and adviser with a diverse practice distinguished by his formidable advocacy, a pragmatic hands-on approach and his ability to build relationships with clients. He was appointed a part time judge at the age of 34 and took silk at 39.
He advises in the areas of public, commercial and regulatory law in the UK, across Latin America and in the Caribbean and is qualified to appear before the English, Scottish, BVI and Anguillian courts. John is a versatile advocate with a diverse practice. He is equally at home making appellate submissions on complex areas of law, as cross-examining witnesses. He has significant trial experience.
John has appeared before the Supreme Court, HM Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, the Divisional Court, the Court of Session (Inner and Outer), the Administrative Court, the Court of Protection, the QBD and Commercial Court and the full range of the Tribunal system.
Between 2016 and 2018 he was the Attorney General and DPP of the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla, in which capacity he regularly appeared before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and led the Government’s legal team in all aspects of civil and criminal law. He developed particular expertise in financial services, POCA, banking litigation and further developed his substantial public law experience.
He devotes a significant amount of time to international consultancy work in Latin America and the Caribbean and is currently spending some time as an IDB funded consultant to the Government of Guyana to develop their legal aid system. He has worked on projects for the UN, EU, FCO and IDB. He has worked in Panama, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Colombia. He speaks Spanish.
John has significant experience advising corporate clients and public bodies in respect of their obligations under the UK Bribery Act. John is the Latin American contributor to Lissack and Horlick on Bribery. John has advised foreign governments, civil society and commercial organisations on anti-money laundering policies, due diligence and anti-bribery and fraud procedures. He has trained the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and worked with British Embassies overseas on the rule of law / transparency and anticorruption measures.
John has worked in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. He speaks fluent Spanish.
John has significant experience of commercial litigation in the County and High Courts. He has advised large organisations and appeared in a number of commercial disputes before the courts.
Recent examples before taking silk include being led by Richard Lissack QC on behalf of a major oil company; advising a major pharmaceutical company on a non compete agreement; advising shareholders of an off-shore company in respect of a substantial property dispute; advising a time share company in respect of a contractual dispute and representing the Pearson group in a successful defence of an appeal against a strike out.
He has particular experience of disputes involving regulators and commercial disputes with a public law element.
He is currently defending HM Government in respect of a number of commercial contractual disputes.
He was called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Court in the Territory of the Virgin Islands (the BVI) in March 2013. John has experience of arbitration in Latin America. John has received instructions from amongst other, Field Fisher, K&L Gates, The Government Legal Department and Arias & Munoz.
DC Accountancy Services v Education Development International Plc  EWHC 3378 (QB)
John is a leading practitioner in the field of mental capacity and mental health law and has been involved in many of the leading cases which have developed this area over the last five years.
He has particular experience with the overlap between mental health law and education and mental capacity. He has acted for the Secretary of State for Justice in respected of restricted patients and also on behalf of claimants.
He is currently involved in a case being heard before the Supreme Court in respect of the extent of the duty to give reasons when recalling a patient to hospital. John works across all areas including medical treatment, welfare, deprivation of liberty and property and affairs cases.
Southwark LBC v KA  EWHC 661 (Fam)
Kings College Hospital Trust v C  EWCOP 80 Re P.  EWCOP 59; (2015) 18 C.C.L. Rep 392
Mental Health Trust v DD  EWCOP 11[  1 F.L.R. 1430
Re X (DOLS)  EWCOP 25;  1 W.L.R. 2454
An NHS Trust v DE  EWHC 2562 (Fam);  Med L.R. 446; (2013) B.M.L.R.
Re. M (Incapacitated Adult) (best Interests Declaration: Potential Contempt)  EWCOP 3;  3 W.L.R. 190
Lee-Hirons v SSJF  EWCA Civ 553;  Q.B. 385
John has been involved with education law for over 15 years. He is highly experienced in this area and advises central and local government, academies, parents, charities and independent schools. He has significant experience of all areas of education law.
Harrow LBC v AM  UKUT 157 (AAC);  E.L.R. 351
Manchester College of Higher Education v SSHD  EWHC 1463 (Admin)
M v Harrow LBC  UKUT 395 (AAC)
NA v Barnet LBC  UKUT;  E.L.R. 617
R (ota City College Birmingham) v Ofsted  EWHC 2373;  E.L.R. 500
R (ota S) v Kent County Council  EWHC 2135 (Admin);  E.L.R. 648
John practises in the area of non-employment discrimination law. He has significant experience of bringing and defending claims in the fields of education (particularly on behalf of independent schools and universities) and claims related to public functions and goods and services. He recently acted in a major appeal which involved the first ever successful claim for age discrimination in the provision of services. He successfully appeared for an independent school in the first ever discrimination claim brought before the then Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
DM v Fife Council  CSIH 17 M v Fife Council  S.L.T. (Sh Ct) 147
John practises in all areas of public law and is highly experienced in the Administrative Court and Upper Tribunal. He has experience of litigation involving all forms of public law decision making including cases which deal with: human rights; healthcare; commercial and financial services; education; public procurement; mental health and incapacity; immigration; and local government. Prior to taking silk John was a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel.
TY (Sri Lanka) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 1233
Lee-Hirons v SSJF  EWCA Civ 553;  Q.B. 385
SSHD v ZP (India)  EWCA Civ 1197;  4 W.L.R. 35
R (Tait) v SSFJ  EWHC 2953 (Admin)
Re JM (A Child)  EWHC 2832 (Fam);  Med L.R. 544;  Ham. Law 1469
HH (Nigeria) v SSHD  CSIH 33; 2015 S.C. 613
R (ota Bhatt) v SSHD  EWHC 1724 (Admin)
Re. D (A Child) (Deprivation of Liberty: Parental Responsibility)  EWHC 922 (Fam);  1 F.L.R. 142;  Fam. Law 636
R (ota) Khan SSHD  EWHC 640 (Admin)
Appointments & Memberships
- Called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean (Anguilla and BVI)
- Attorney General, Anguilla, 2016-2018
- FATF trained assessor
- Independent Adjudicator, Marine Stewardship Council
- Member of the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish Bar)
- Shortlisted for the Lawyer Award, Barrister of the Year, 2016
- Times Lawyer of the Week
Areas of Law
- Business Crime
- Commercial & Chancery
- Court of Protection
- Professional Negligence
- Public Law
- Community Care
- Mental Health
“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 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
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