Chambers have consistently rated Jonathan Laidlaw KC as one of their star silks in crime and he is a previous recipient of the Crime Silk of the Year Award.
During his time as Treasury Counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw KC gained almost unrivalled experience in the most demanding and serious cases brought in this country during that 15 year period: from the first war crimes prosecution; the PIRA bombing of Canary Wharf trial; the Official Secrets Act prosecutions of both Tomlinson and Shayler; the Jill Dando murder trials; the CCRC reference to the Court of Appeal in the case of Jeremy Bamber; the prosecution of corrupt 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 KC’s involvement in prosecution work extended to advising various Government department and the intelligence agencies.
In recent years Jonathan Laidlaw KC (who no longer acts for the public prosecutors) has acted for the UK Government in Karadzic’s case in the Hague; for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in the Miranda/Guardian case before the Divisional Court; for JC Decaux; for Rebekah Brooks in the phone-hacking trial; for Andrew Fitch-Holland in the cricket match-fixing trial; for a major property developer in a series of long-running trials in Liverpool; and for Keith Vaz.
More recently Jonathan Laidlaw KC acted for Dr Agnes Taylor (the ex-wife of Charles Taylor) who faced charges of torture said to have been committed during the first Liberian civil war in 1990. Her case went to the Supreme Court and was then remitted back to the Central Criminal Court for a further hearing at which all the charges she faced were dismissed. Jonathan Laidlaw KC continues to represent Operation Kenova into its investigation (amongst others) of the activities of the alleged agent “Steak Knife” in Northern Ireland and he represented Boris Becker at his trial.
The 2019 guide said, “he represents both individuals and companies in a vast range of complex criminal matters … One of the top five criminal advocates in the country. He is really something special; a fantastic advocate.”
The 2020 guide said, “an exceptionally talented advocate who is brilliant with clients” and “absolutely at the top of his game”. It speaks of him being, “a superb advocate and first class in terms of the service he provides for both clients and solicitors. He offers in-depth analysis of all the issues that arise within the course of proceedings.”
The 2021 guide said, “a first-class advocate who provides highly valuable strategic input” and speaks of him being “sublime to work with [who makes] connections like you would not believe. Fantastic.”
The 2022 guide said, “a stellar silk…his advocacy is superb…fantastic.”
The 2023 guide describes Jonathan Laidlaw KC as “a Roll-Royce of the criminal Bar. He is polished, incredibly smooth and just brilliant”.