Jonathan Laidlaw QC

Jonathan Laidlaw QC

“One of the premier league players at the Bar.”

Chambers UK 2021
Year of call: 1982 QC: 2008
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Business Crime & Financial Services

Chambers rate Jonathan Laidlaw QC as one of their star silks in financial crime.

He acted for Kevin Burrage, the under-bond dealer, in one of the largest diversion frauds prosecuted in this country; for the director of a highly successful building and maintenance company who was acquitted following a long trial brought by the Central Fraud Group; for James McCormick who faced fraud charges relating to the sale of fake bomb detection equipment to the Iraq Government; for the CEO of a major logistics company who faced allegations of tax fraud.

More recently he has acted for the Bank of England; he represented GSK in their hearing before the Divisional Court; Allseas SA in their successful prosecution of those responsible for a €100 fraud upon the company; one of the subjects of the SFO’s Rolls Royce investigation; and for the CEO of the casino in the Summit Partners case which resulted in all charges being dismissed against him.

At present he acts for the subjects of a number of SFO, FCA, DoJ investigations including ENRC; for PCP in the Barclays litigation; and for the owner of a major energy supplier in a major fraud investigation.

The 2015 Chambers and Partners guide, in the Financial Crime chapter, said this of Jonathan Laidlaw QC, “he is highly respected for his expertise in criminal fraud and regulatory issues. Often instructed in novel and challenging cases” and those contributing to the guide say, “he is unbeatable in my opinion. He is amongst the top QCs in the area” and “he is phenomenal”.

In the 2016 guide it was said that Jonathan Laidlaw QC “has a great mind, is incredibly well organised and is very approachable. He has great client skills and is a very strong advocate – he creates trust and has a very clear style” and “he is very level-headed and deals with cases on a very even keel. He works very methodically.”

The 2017 guide said he is a, “very persuasive advocate with a sure touch. He’s very, very user-friendly….Easy to work with, very responsive and extremely straightforward.”

The 2018 guide said of him, “an absolute class act. He is very experienced, good with clients, and someone who really knows the criminal law inside and out….Clients love him. He is so hard-working, and he’s just a phenomenal advocate….He combines commercial awareness with the legal ability that you are looking for in a case”. 

The 2019 guide said, “an excellent advocate who offers a superb service to clients and provides in-depth analysis on an all issues that arise in a case….He’s an excellent jury advocate who is very bright”.

The 2020 guide speaks of him as a top barrister with a wide-ranging practice in financial crime” who “has in recent years been involved in major SFO investigations into alleged corruption and market manipulation offences” and who is “highly rated for his defence of directors and companies facing fraud charges, and is noted for his adept handling of cases involving private prosecutions”. He is said to be a “class act, who’s very smooth in his presentation and very practical” and “he gets the message over in a very charming way – he’s got a very nice way of phrasing things and an effective way of communicating with the court.”

The 2021 says Jonathan Laidlaw is “a very good advocate – intelligent but also very practical” and describes him as “one of the premier league players at the Bar.” He is further described as “a formidable advocate and an exceptional silk”, “a true expert who gives very practical advice”, having “real integrity and [he] always finds the right note with the court” and “he is very hard-working and his court presence is second to none.”

The Legal 500 UK 2022 guide says Jonathan Laidlaw is “a silk who remains serene under pressure, with a strong command of his brief. He is fantastic with clients, particularly in terms of being firm and confident in his advice whilst at the same time empathetic to the client’s position and circumstances.”

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