Jonathan Kinnear KC

Jonathan Kinnear KC

"Jon is a star of the Bar. Brilliant on his feet, engaging with clients, navigates difficult legal and practical issues with ease and very accessible. Solicitors are grateful for the superb all round service he delivers."

Legal 500 UK 2023
Year of call: 1994 (Northern Ireland 1996) KC: 2012
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save

Jonathan Kinnear KC specialises in advising corporate clients, Government Departments and individuals in the most complex and challenging cases, particularly matters of real financial complexity often in the margins where the criminal and civil law meet. He has a multi-jurisdictional practise, regularly appearing in both the Criminal and Civil Divisions of the Court of Appeal, the Crown Court, the High Court and a range of Tribunal jurisdictions, in particular in respect of tax matters.

He has been instructed in a number of the most serious and complex fraud cases over the last 20 years and is regularly instructed to provide strategic advice in advance of charge or prosecution. In addition he has significant expertise in the area of proceeds of crime, including confiscation, restraint and Account Freezing Orders.

He is a leading practitioner in the field of malicious prosecution, dealing with the most serious and high value cases.

He is regularly instructed in large-scale review and investigation work, leading large teams of investigators, solicitors and counsel.

Jonathan is an accomplished public speaker and is often engaged to deliver keynote addresses at corporate and quasi-governmental conferences both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

He also acts as a special advocate dealing with cases relating to national security and has particular expertise in relation to disclosure issues.

He was shortlisted as Corporate Crime Silk of the Year in the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards.

Jonathan accepts Direct Access instructions.

Current and Recent instructions include:

  • Leading the national strategy in Operation Venetic, the largest law enforcement operation in UK history, relating to the use of data from the EncroChat secure communications system, involving the prosecution of over 3000 individuals.
  • Representing and advising former partners of a ‘big four’ accounting firm in an HMRC criminal investigation and linked judicial review proceedings.
  • Advising the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of the removal of Southeastern Trains rail franchise and the imposition of a £23.5 million penalty on The Go-Ahead Group.
  • Advising Post Office in respect of the malicious prosecution claims brought following the overturning of convictions following the Horizon scandal.
  • Advising a major corporate client in respect of due diligence, contract structure and formation of new business, with particular regard to it’s VAT obligations and contact with HMRC.
  • Advising a Lloyds of London insurance broker in a bribery and corruption investigation by the SFO.
  • Advising a multi-national oil and gas distribution company in respect of an investigation by HMRC.
  • Representing the SFO in the multi-jurisdiction investigation and prosecution of Petrofac Limited, which led to financial penalties totaling £77 million.
  • Representing the CPS in the civil claims brought following the Rochdale child sex abuse scandal.
  • Advising the Northern Ireland DPP in respect of alleged fraud relating to the National Asset Management Agency sale of £1.3 billion of property in Northern Ireland.
  • Representing the CPS in the multi-million pound malicious prosecution claims brought following the failed prosecution of a number of HNWI for Cheating the Revenue in a £100 million pound film and games tax avoidance scheme.
  • Overseeing a LPP review in respect of the freezing of the assets of a Russian billionaire oligarch.
  • Representing numerous corporate clients in high value tax investigations by HMRC and the subsequent Tribunal and Judicial Review proceedings – includes contested hearings and reaching settlements in numerous difficult and high value cases.
  • Representing a Hong Kong based HNWI in a dispute with World Sailing.
  • Representing the SFO in the confiscation proceedings in respect of Glencore Limited.
  • Leading the review in respect of the safety of the conviction of James Ibori, formerly Governor of the Delta State, Nigeria and the subsequent multi-jurisdictional, £100 million plus confiscation proceedings.
  • Providing the FCA with high level and detailed legal and policy advice in respect of several of its statutory evidential gathering powers.
  • Representing HMRC in the litigation with Citibank.
  • Advising an Isle of Man based HNWI in respect of various regulatory investigations and the drafting of due diligence protocols.
  • Advising a NYSE listed international heating solutions firm in respect of a large scale HMRC investigation.
  • Advising the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in respect of the historic legacy cases, as part of an advisory panel.
  • Representing the CPS and settling high value malicious prosecution claims following the quashing of several murder convictions.
  • Advising a partner at a “big four” accountancy firm in respect of the SFO investigation in respect of G4S.

What others say:

He is cited in both Directories the Legal 500 and Chambers UK Bar which have described him as:

“Jonathan is a brilliant and extremely bright barrister.” “He has bags of energy and lots of attention to detail.” and “Jonathan is a delight to work with. He is hard-working but also very personable.” – Chambers UK 2024

“Jonathan is approachable and responsive. He manages to cut through the evidence to the key issues and gives clear and practical advice in complex cases.” and “Jonathan is brilliant and authoritative. He is a great strategist.”- Chambers UK 2023 

“Extremely bright and conscientious; off-the-chart client-care skills exuding the right mix of confidence, reassurance and top-rate advice.” – Legal 500 UK 2022

“Very impressive, knowledgeable and quick to master his brief. He’s always willing to help and works in a collaborative way.” and “He is extremely knowledgeable and his manner provides a lot of reassurance for clients. He is hard-working and makes himself available at short notice.” – Chambers UK 2022

“Hard as nails yet fair-minded. Extremely knowledgeable and responsive to the nuances in a case.” – Legal 500 UK 2021

“He can cut through complex cases with ease.” – Chambers UK 2021

“Highly experience in handling large-scale bribery and corruption cases.” – Legal 500 2020

“Firm in his approach but fair.” and “He is excellent and has proper expertise in VAT fraud and  confiscation matters.” Chambers UK 2020

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