Home > Our people > Jonathan McDonagh

Jonathan McDonagh

Back to people

Jonathan McDonagh

Areas of Expertise

A Partial CV has been added to your portfolio. You can access My portfolio at the top of the page.
A Partial CV has been removed to your portfolio. You can access My portfolio at the top of the page.
A Full CV has been added to your portfolio. You can access My portfolio at the top of the page.
A Full CV has been removed to your portfolio. You can access My portfolio at the top of the page.

Year of Call: 2011 jmcdonagh@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Jonathan has a commercial chancery practice, with an emphasis on civil fraud, contentious trust and probate litigation, and insolvency. He acts as sole counsel in a wide range of matters in the High Court and County Courts, as well as having experience as a junior in large-scale fraud and trust disputes, both in England and overseas.

There is an international dimension to much of Jonathan's work. His current instructions include defending a claim brought against the Government of The Gambia in respect of an oil contract; and acting in the long-running 'Hyderabad Fund' dispute, involving India, Pakistan and the heirs of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad. Jonathan also has instructions for claims pursued in Dubai, and regularly assists in matters before the courts of various offshore jurisdictions.

 

 

Areas of Expertise and Cases


Add section

Civil Fraud

Otkritie v Urumov et al [2014] EWHC 191 (Comm) Acted for the Urumov and Pinaev defendants in a claim for more than $170 million. The case was the subject of considerable international media attention, and in addition to the usual issues arising from a civil fraud action, raised questions of international private law, foreign law, privilege and the doctrine of ex turpi causa.

 

Conapro v Republic of The Gambia (2015 - ongoing) Led by Elizabeth Jones QC, acting for the Gambian government in relation to a claim involving a purported contract for the purchase of oil, and allegations of bribery relating to the same.

 

Other recent cases include:

  • Advising, with Dakis Hagen, a defendant found liable for a c. $500m fraud centred on business transactions in Dubai.
  • Acting for a solicitor alleged to have been party to a partnership agreement, which on the solicitor’s case had been forged.
  • Acting for an insurance company in respect of motor insurance claims which are suspected to be fabrications.
  • Defending a multi-national restaurant chain against what is alleged to be a fabricated claim for personal injury sustained on its premises.


Add section

Commercial Litigation

Jonathan has experience in a wide range of commercial disputes, ranging from fast track contract claims in the County Court, to asset tracing in the Caribbean, to financial services disputes in Dubai. He has experience before the specialist Commercial Court branch of the High Court, as both an unled advocate and as a junior in long-running litigation.

 

Recent commercial cases include:

  • Bexhill v Razzaq [2012] EWCA Civ 1376 (assisting Robin Rathmell) and ongoing; Jonathan represents the Claimants seeking to recover sums due under a personal guarantee for a credit facility agreement.
  • Advising arbitration judgment creditors in respect of enforcement of a multi-million dollar BVI arbitration award, in the BVI, Bahamas and elsewhere.
  • Acting for a group of Lloyd’s underwriters seeking to enforce a $50m foreign judgment against a Middle Eastern regime found liable for its part in a terrorist atrocity in the mid-1980s.
  • LSC v Amaradasa (2013) – acted for a solicitor alleged to be liable to repay sums received as legal aid payments.
  • Acted for an Indonesian mining company bringing a claim against former directors for $7.5m lost in respect of a transaction seeking mining concessions. 
  • Advising potential claimants in respect of the mis-selling of derivative-based financial products, and claims arising pursuant to s. 90 of FSMA 2000.

Add section

Insolvency

Jonathan accepts instructions in respect of both personal and corporate insolvency. Some recent examples of his work include:

  • Power v Godfrey [2014] BPIR 484 – a successful High Court appeal against a bankruptcy order made in circumstances where the debtor had obtained default judgment in a related action against the petitioning creditor, which the creditor alleged had been obtained by fraud.
  • Advised Bahamian solicitors in respect of clients who were creditors in the Baha Mar insolvency.
  • Ullah v Ullah (2015) – successful application under s. 423 IA 1986 reversing a transfer of a debtor’s share in his family home.
  • Acting for a solicitor seeking to set aside a statutory demand issued by an insurer in respect of run-off premium relating to the solicitor’s previous firm.

Add section

Trusts and Probate

Jonathan acts in contentious trust and probate disputes in England & Wales and in a variety of common law offshore jurisdictions. He regularly appears unled in the Chancery Division of the High Court, and in the specialist Chancery lists of the County Court. Jonathan also has experience of Family Division ancillary relief proceedings where trust and asset protection issues frequently arise.

 

Jonathan is currently acting (along with Dakis Hagen and led by Hodge Malek QC) for Prince Muffakham Jah in the long-running dispute High Commissioner for Pakistan v Natwest. This dispute concerns several parties, including the sovereign states of Pakistan and India, who claim beneficial entitlement to the £35m 'Hyderabad Fund', monies wrongfully paid out of the account of HEH the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad in 1948. Proceedings were first brought by the 7th Nizam in 1954, but were stayed upon Pakistan’s successful invocation of sovereign immunity: [1958] AC 379. In recent times:

- Pakistan has waived immunity by issuing its own claim to the Fund; and Pakistan’s subsequent attempt to discontinue these proceedings was set aside: [2015] EWHC 55 (Ch).

- An attempt by a purported heir of the 7th Nizam to join proceedings has been successfully resisted, and an independent administrator has been appointed over the estate of the 7th Nizam: [2015] EWHC 3052 (Ch).

 

Other cases Jonathan has been or is currently involved in include:

  • Trilogy Management v YT [2014] JRC 214. Assisted Dakis Hagen in advising a corporate trustee within a $500m charitable trust structure on questions of restructuring and steps in ongoing litigation.
  • Re Walker - Jonathan was instructed (along with Gareth Tilley and Justin Higgo, led by Elizabeth Jones QC) on behalf of a trustee defendant in the $100+ million Jersey trust dispute arising from investment decisions made in respect of the Jack Walker settlement.
  • Joy v Joy [2015] EWHC 2507 – advised on trust issues in the context of matrimonial proceedings.
  • H v H (2016) advising a foreign based settlement on allegations made against it in the context of English ancillary relief proceedings.
  • Rezvani v Rezvani (2015 – 2016) acting for the claimant executrix in respect of a disputed inter vivos transfer by the testator. The dispute involves issues of mental capacity, undue influence, and Iranian law.
  • Advising beneficiaries of a will trust of their remedies in respect of the failure of the trustee to distribute an estate.
  • Advising a trustee of a will trust in respect of remedies against her fellow trustee arising from the latter’s use and potential dissipation of trust assets.
  • Acting for the claimant in a s. 14 ToLATA dispute involving mixed residential and commercial premises, and a dispute between the parties as to whether the property is owned subject to a partnership or otherwise.

Add section

Professional Negligence

Jonathan has acted and advised in a number of professional negligence disputes, in particular where solicitor’s negligence is concerned in the context of property, trust or probate transactions. Recent examples include:

  • Defending solicitors accused of failing to give proper advice on the meaning of a historic conveyance affecting an easement over land.
  • Acting for a claimant bringing a claim against a solicitor for failing to process an immigration application within time.
  • A solicitor’s alleged negligence when advising a testatrix on the terms of a will trust, and subsequent advice given to the executors to give effect to the same.
  • Advising the estate of a deceased on a solicitor’s failure to adequately assess mental capacity in respect of a valuable inter vivos transfer of property.


Jonathan McDonagh

Jonathan McDonagh

Year of Call: 2011
Email: jmcdonagh@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Jonathan has a commercial chancery practice, with an emphasis on civil fraud, contentious trust and probate litigation, and insolvency. He acts as sole counsel in a wide range of matters in the High Court and County Courts, as well as having experience as a junior in large-scale fraud and trust disputes, both in England and overseas.

There is an international dimension to much of Jonathan's work. His current instructions include defending a claim brought against the Government of The Gambia in respect of an oil contract; and acting in the long-running 'Hyderabad Fund' dispute, involving India, Pakistan and the heirs of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad. Jonathan also has instructions for claims pursued in Dubai, and regularly assists in matters before the courts of various offshore jurisdictions.

 

 

Areas of expertise

Civil Fraud

Otkritie v Urumov et al [2014] EWHC 191 (Comm) Acted for the Urumov and Pinaev defendants in a claim for more than $170 million. The case was the subject of considerable international media attention, and in addition to the usual issues arising from a civil fraud action, raised questions of international private law, foreign law, privilege and the doctrine of ex turpi causa.

 

Conapro v Republic of The Gambia (2015 - ongoing) Led by Elizabeth Jones QC, acting for the Gambian government in relation to a claim involving a purported contract for the purchase of oil, and allegations of bribery relating to the same.

 

Other recent cases include:

  • Advising, with Dakis Hagen, a defendant found liable for a c. $500m fraud centred on business transactions in Dubai.
  • Acting for a solicitor alleged to have been party to a partnership agreement, which on the solicitor’s case had been forged.
  • Acting for an insurance company in respect of motor insurance claims which are suspected to be fabrications.
  • Defending a multi-national restaurant chain against what is alleged to be a fabricated claim for personal injury sustained on its premises.

Commercial Litigation

Jonathan has experience in a wide range of commercial disputes, ranging from fast track contract claims in the County Court, to asset tracing in the Caribbean, to financial services disputes in Dubai. He has experience before the specialist Commercial Court branch of the High Court, as both an unled advocate and as a junior in long-running litigation.

 

Recent commercial cases include:

  • Bexhill v Razzaq [2012] EWCA Civ 1376 (assisting Robin Rathmell) and ongoing; Jonathan represents the Claimants seeking to recover sums due under a personal guarantee for a credit facility agreement.
  • Advising arbitration judgment creditors in respect of enforcement of a multi-million dollar BVI arbitration award, in the BVI, Bahamas and elsewhere.
  • Acting for a group of Lloyd’s underwriters seeking to enforce a $50m foreign judgment against a Middle Eastern regime found liable for its part in a terrorist atrocity in the mid-1980s.
  • LSC v Amaradasa (2013) – acted for a solicitor alleged to be liable to repay sums received as legal aid payments.
  • Acted for an Indonesian mining company bringing a claim against former directors for $7.5m lost in respect of a transaction seeking mining concessions. 
  • Advising potential claimants in respect of the mis-selling of derivative-based financial products, and claims arising pursuant to s. 90 of FSMA 2000.

Insolvency

Jonathan accepts instructions in respect of both personal and corporate insolvency. Some recent examples of his work include:

  • Power v Godfrey [2014] BPIR 484 – a successful High Court appeal against a bankruptcy order made in circumstances where the debtor had obtained default judgment in a related action against the petitioning creditor, which the creditor alleged had been obtained by fraud.
  • Advised Bahamian solicitors in respect of clients who were creditors in the Baha Mar insolvency.
  • Ullah v Ullah (2015) – successful application under s. 423 IA 1986 reversing a transfer of a debtor’s share in his family home.
  • Acting for a solicitor seeking to set aside a statutory demand issued by an insurer in respect of run-off premium relating to the solicitor’s previous firm.

Trusts and Probate

Jonathan acts in contentious trust and probate disputes in England & Wales and in a variety of common law offshore jurisdictions. He regularly appears unled in the Chancery Division of the High Court, and in the specialist Chancery lists of the County Court. Jonathan also has experience of Family Division ancillary relief proceedings where trust and asset protection issues frequently arise.

 

Jonathan is currently acting (along with Dakis Hagen and led by Hodge Malek QC) for Prince Muffakham Jah in the long-running dispute High Commissioner for Pakistan v Natwest. This dispute concerns several parties, including the sovereign states of Pakistan and India, who claim beneficial entitlement to the £35m 'Hyderabad Fund', monies wrongfully paid out of the account of HEH the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad in 1948. Proceedings were first brought by the 7th Nizam in 1954, but were stayed upon Pakistan’s successful invocation of sovereign immunity: [1958] AC 379. In recent times:

- Pakistan has waived immunity by issuing its own claim to the Fund; and Pakistan’s subsequent attempt to discontinue these proceedings was set aside: [2015] EWHC 55 (Ch).

- An attempt by a purported heir of the 7th Nizam to join proceedings has been successfully resisted, and an independent administrator has been appointed over the estate of the 7th Nizam: [2015] EWHC 3052 (Ch).

 

Other cases Jonathan has been or is currently involved in include:

  • Trilogy Management v YT [2014] JRC 214. Assisted Dakis Hagen in advising a corporate trustee within a $500m charitable trust structure on questions of restructuring and steps in ongoing litigation.
  • Re Walker - Jonathan was instructed (along with Gareth Tilley and Justin Higgo, led by Elizabeth Jones QC) on behalf of a trustee defendant in the $100+ million Jersey trust dispute arising from investment decisions made in respect of the Jack Walker settlement.
  • Joy v Joy [2015] EWHC 2507 – advised on trust issues in the context of matrimonial proceedings.
  • H v H (2016) advising a foreign based settlement on allegations made against it in the context of English ancillary relief proceedings.
  • Rezvani v Rezvani (2015 – 2016) acting for the claimant executrix in respect of a disputed inter vivos transfer by the testator. The dispute involves issues of mental capacity, undue influence, and Iranian law.
  • Advising beneficiaries of a will trust of their remedies in respect of the failure of the trustee to distribute an estate.
  • Advising a trustee of a will trust in respect of remedies against her fellow trustee arising from the latter’s use and potential dissipation of trust assets.
  • Acting for the claimant in a s. 14 ToLATA dispute involving mixed residential and commercial premises, and a dispute between the parties as to whether the property is owned subject to a partnership or otherwise.

Professional Negligence

Jonathan has acted and advised in a number of professional negligence disputes, in particular where solicitor’s negligence is concerned in the context of property, trust or probate transactions. Recent examples include:

  • Defending solicitors accused of failing to give proper advice on the meaning of a historic conveyance affecting an easement over land.
  • Acting for a claimant bringing a claim against a solicitor for failing to process an immigration application within time.
  • A solicitor’s alleged negligence when advising a testatrix on the terms of a will trust, and subsequent advice given to the executors to give effect to the same.
  • Advising the estate of a deceased on a solicitor’s failure to adequately assess mental capacity in respect of a valuable inter vivos transfer of property.

Qualifications

Magdalen College, Oxford: BA (Modern History and Politics), First Class; MPhil (Modern European History), Distinction

GDL (City University); BPTC (BPP)

Hardwicke, Denning and Cholmeley Scholarships, Lincoln's Inn

Former stipendiary lecturer in History, St John's College, Oxford

Memberships

Commercial Bar Association

Chancery Bar Association

Publications

Articles

Piercing the Corporate Veil in the Family Division: Prest – the latest from the Court of Appeal (with Toby Graham), Trusts & Trustees, Vol 19, Issue 2, March 2013.

Legal advice privilege: traditional limits and modern practice, The Law Society, Legal Compliance Bulletin, July 2013


About cookies on our website

This site uses cookies to enhance and improve your experience when browsing. To find out more about the way we use cookies please see our Privacy Policy.