A very good style, combining the cut and thrust of criminal advocacy with an intellectual air.
Chambers UK, 2013
The 2014 and 2013 Chambers UK guides, published by Chambers and Partners, rate Jonathan Laidlaw QC as one of the "star silks" practising in this country, and he is listed as a "leading silk" by The Legal 500. The directories speak of "an extraordinarily able advocate with great style who can deal with the most difficult of cases with the greatest of ease", of "lethal cross-examination skills and a mean way with closing speeches" and of him being "quite outstanding in his conduct of a case". "He is a very, very hard worker. Juries lap it up as he kills his opponents softly."
Since his appointment as Queen's Counsel he has been described as "one of the country's leading silks" with "advocacy skills right out of the top drawer". Jonathan Laidlaw QC figured in The Times 2012 list of the UK's 100 most influential lawyers.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC's practice is now predominantly in fraud and business crime, in defending directors and companies facing charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive and in professional and disciplinary matters. Much of his work, both for individuals and companies here and abroad, is pre-charge and advisory in nature. Jonathan Laidlaw QC has also appeared in major Inquests and in sporting tribunals.
Recent instructions include the sucessful acquittal of Rebekah Brooks in the phone hacking trial; acting for the Football Association in the Hillsborough Inquests; for Fluor, Hugo Boss and Koch Industries in fatality cases; for the Princes Sporting Club who faced a charge of corporate manslaughter; for Highland (the Texas based hedge fund); for Aviva; for JC Decaux; and advising a number of financial institutions and individuals in respect of SFO, FCA and OFT investigations
He was nominated as "Health and Safety Silk of the Year" by Chambers and Partners, publishers of market leading industry guides, at their 2013 Bar Awards.
Jonathan became Head of Chambers in October 2013.
Health & Safety and Inquests
Throughout his career Jonathan Laidlaw QC has maintained and developed a health and safety practice appearing for a large number of corporate clients which include Texaco and Gulf, BOC, Ford, Southern Cross, Esso, BHP Billiton, Fluor, Marwood and Merck. In recent years he has: successfully defended BHP Billiton in a series of cases brought by the DTI, the MCA and the HSE arising from incidents at the Liverpool Bay field; acted for Southern Cross in cases involving fatalities in their care homes; successfully defended Fluor in a prosecution arising from the construction of the Ineos Chlor plant in Warrington; successfully defended Marwood Limited in a case which was to have been tried in Bradford; successfully defended one of the directors in the Lion Steel corporate manslaughter trial in Manchester; and successfully defended the Ancient Order of Foresters.
Apart from advisory and trial advocacy work, Jonathan Laidlaw QC has also appeared for a number of these companies in inquests. Most recently he has represented Fluor in the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm Inquest. He also has experience in military inquests and coronial inquisitions arising from deaths overseas.
The Legal 500 rates Jonathan Laidlaw QC as one of the leading health and safety silks and for his work in this area he is described in Chambers UK as having "a stellar reputation" with "a health and safety pedigree stretching back over 20 years". One source of that directory said, "He is a fantastic cross-examiner and a fantastic operator in terms of dealing with jurors. He has a very good style, combining the cut and thrust of criminal advocacy with an intellectual air." The 2014 edition of Chambers UK states, "He brings a sense of great humanity to the table, and is able to talk to people at any level, Level-headed and sensible, he approaches everyone in an equally balanced way and without any pomposity."
As a junior Jonathan Laidlaw QC acted for Marconi in the unsuccessful prosecution brought against the company by the SFO and appeared for the Schreiber brothers in the Hatton Garden gold fraud.
In silk he has returned to a fraud practice, much of it advisory and pre-charge in nature. Recent cases and instructions include: acting for Kevin Burrage, the under-bond dealer, in one of the largest diversion frauds prosecuted in this country; acting for the director of a highly successful building and maintenance company who was acquitted following a long-running trial brought by the Central Fraud Group; acting for James McCormick who faced fraud charges relating to the sale of fake bomb detection equipment to the Iraqi Government; and for an American hedge fund.
Professional Discipline and Sporting Tribunals
Jonathan Laidlaw QC has considerable experience in professional disciplinary matters, particularly in the sporting field. For a number of years he has acted for the Football Association in crowd control cases brought against Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC, West Ham FC and others, and in the proceedings brought against Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford. He acted for the FA in their investigation of the racist remarks made by John Terry.
The Legal 500 identifies Jonathan Laidlaw QC as a leading silk in the area of professional discipline and regulatory law and describe him as a "top-notch performer" and as "a well-respected silk with a niche in the sports world".
Serious and Complex Crime
During his time as Treasury Counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw QC gained an almost unrivalled experience in prosecuting the most demanding and serious cases brought in this country during the last 15 years: from the first war crimes prosecution, the PIRA bombing of Canary Wharf trial, the Official Secrets Act prosecutions of both Tomlinson and David Shayler, the Jill Dando murder trials, the CCRC reference to the Court of Appeal in the case of Jeremy Bamber, the prosecution of corrupt Metropolitan police officers, the prosecution of Barot and others (the al Qa'eda cell who had planned pre 9/11 attacks in the US and then bombings in this country), the al Qa'eda attack in London and on Glasgow Airport through to and including, the prosecuting of allegations of corruption against a CPS lawyer, a Saudi Prince for murder, a former BA employee charged with terrorist offences and Delroy Grant (the 'Night Stalker'). He also appeared in the House of Lords and frequently represented the Attorney General in the Court of Appeal.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC's involvement in prosecution work extended to advising various Government departments, the intelligence agencies and the police and he is still one of the few "developed vetted" and security-cleared counsel.
He is highly experienced in the pre-charge preparation of long-running investigations, developing the strategy and in managing and running teams of investigators and lawyers. Such cases frequently involve highly sensitive work and enquiries with consequent PII issues. Recent instructions have involved advising in respect of a private prosecution of a large financial institution, acting for the UK Government in Karadzic's case in The Hague and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in the Mirada/Guardian Newspaper case before the Divisional Court.
The latest edition of Chambers UK speaks of Jonathan Laidlaw being "a concise, persuasive and focused advocate", who "seems so relaxed at the same time as being in total control of a case". He does "a huge amount of work" and "is very popular whether defending or prosecuting".
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