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JONATHAN COHEN

 

Jonathan Cohen is one of the preeminent barristers in his fields of practice. He is annually ranked by the Chambers & Partners directory as a leading junior in both employment law and commercial litigation. In the employment law section of the 2014 directory, where he is placed in band 1 (the top 10 juniors in the country), he is described as:

"One of the leading juniors at the Bar…a great tactician and a highly skilled advocate. He is also fabulous in front of clients and oozes authority".

He has a mixed employment law and commercial litigation practice with a particular expertise in applications for all forms of interim and injunctive relief. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Oxford University. He was called in 1999 and joined Littleton Chambers in 2007. He is the author of the civil fraud chapter in Serious Economic Crime, published by the Serious Fraud Office in 2011.

He has appeared in some of the most significant reported employment law cases of recent years in both the Employment Tribunal and the High Court, including Madarassy v Nomura International PLC, the leading Court of Appeal decision on the burden of proof in discrimination claims, James v Greenwich Borough Council, the key Court of Appeal decision on the employment status of agency workers and Tullett Prebon v BGC, a blockbusting city financial services dispute making front page news in the financial press.

Highlights of 2013 have included appearing for Glencore Xstrata Plc in one of the most widely reported High Court battles of the year and in two major pieces of Russian litigation, the on-going JSC BTA Bank fraud and a substantial dispute in the Companies Court between Galina Besharova, the wife of Boris Berezovsky and Ede & Ravenscroft, with which she is engaged in a Russian joint venture.. He is already instructed in 2014 in two important Court of Appeal matters and in two Supreme Court cases, including by interveners in the Supreme Court in Van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co, arguing that LLP Members have the right to bring whistleblowing claims.

Jonathan has been recommended as a leading junior in the leading legal directories for some years. A selection of recent comments from those directories include:

"everything you want from a barrister; excellent on his feet, good with clients and responsive. In court he is determined, strong and gets to the point quickly.”

"A fearless and analytical advocate, loved by clients

"Described by his opponents as "knowing the law” and "extremely persuasive”

"a tough advocate

"receiving nothing but good reports

"has dogged determination and fine cross-examination skills.

He has a reputation for combining powerful advocacy with strong legal skills and a commercial and cost sensitive approach to litigation.

 

    Commercial

Jonathan undertakes a full spread of general commercial work. Much of his practice has a focus on litigation arising from the theft of confidential information and breaches of fiduciary duty. He has an interest and specialism in frauds, both domestically and with an international element. He authored the civil fraud chapter in the SFO’s book, Serious Economic Crime, published in 2011. Jonathan is also regularly instructed to advise and appear in claims involving public law issues and challenges under the Human Rights Act.

Recent cases of interest in this area include:

  • ENRC plc v Sir Paul Judge. On-going High Court claim by high profile FTSE 100 Kazakh mining company against its own director (a former Director General of the Conservative Party) to expose his leaking of highly confidential information to the press and attempts to undermine ENRC’s commercial reputation. Widely reported in the national and international press.
  • Golden Eye International Ltd & Ors v Telefonica UK Limited (Consumer Focus Intervening) [2013] IP & T 759. Leading Court of Appeal decision on Norwich Pharmacal applications to obtain the identities of internet pirates.
  • Besharova v Ede & Ravenscroft. Companies Court claim by the former wife of Boris Berezovsky that the directors of Ede & Ravenscroft, co-owners with her of a prestige commercial building in the heart of St Petersburg, which she received from Berezovsky as part of her divorce settlement, were cheating her out of many millions of pounds of rental income.
  • JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov, Drey Associates & ors (2010) 1 CR APP R 9, (2010) 1 WLR 976. Joined appeals in the Court of Appeal in a significant international fraud claim. The appeals address the important issue of whether the privilege against self incrimination applies to a risk of a money laundering charge.

    High Court Employment Claims

Jonathan regularly appears in high value contractual claims.. He is regularly instructed in bonus and other financial claims in the financial services sector. He also has a wide experience of strike breaking injunctions.

Recent cases of interest in this area include:

  • Kearns v Glencore UK Ltd [2013] 1 All ER (D) 102 (Dec). High Court claim by former oil trader that he was wrongfully deprived of shares that he had been promised which were said to be worth over £8 million. The claim was extensively reported on a daily basis in the national and international press.
  • Negus v Microsoft Limited [2012]. Represented Microsoft in this high profile High Court claim (for damages of over £10 million) by former senior executive of Microsoft, accused of sexual harassment of young female employees. The claim was settled on confidential terms in March 2012. Widely reported on front pages in the national press.
  • Driver v Air India Limited [2011] IRLR 992. Represented Air India. Appeal to the Court of Appeal by Claimant from the rejection of his claims in the High Court, attacking Air India’s terms and conditions of employment for UK staff.
  • Milford Haven Port Authority v Unite The Union [2010] EWCA Civ 400. Strike breaking injunction obtained against Milford Haven pilots.

    Restrictive Conenants & Confidentiality Enforcement

Jonathan has a wealth of experience in applying for and defending against injunctions for breach of covenants and infringement of fiduciary and confidentiality duties. He is regularly instructed in breach of confidence claims and is recognised to be one of the leading practitioners in these areas.

Recent cases of interest in this area include: 

  • Ariadne Capital v Serageldin [2013] All ER (D) 291 (Feb). High Court claim by leading private equity fund to prevent departing employee from misusing stolen confidential information and to recover the costs of investigating and stopping the unlawful behaviour.
  • Sunseeker v Tobia [2011] EWHC 4004 (QB).  Battle between super-yacht manufacturers, Sunseeker and Princess Yachts to prevent Sunseeker’s chief designer from moving to their main rival, Princess.
  • BGC Capital Markets (Switzerland) LLP v (1) Rees (2) Tullett Prebon PLC [2011] All ER(D) 51. Round 2 of the dispute between BGC and Tullett, on this occasion a battle over a broker leaving BGC’s Swiss subsidiary to join Tullett.
  • Tullett Prebon PLC & Ors v BGC Brokers LP & Ors [2010] EWHC 484, [2010] IRLR 648. Appeared for BGC in this high profile battle between two leading city inter-dealer brokers. The application for interim relief was heard in April 2009 and the trial itself took place over four months in 2010. The judgment was appealed to the Court of Appeal, reported at [2011] IRLR 420.

    Employment Tribunal Claims

Jonathan is a leading practitioner in the ET and EAT. He is instructed in the highest value claims, with particular expertise in whistle-blowing and all forms of discrimination as well as large scale group litigation, appearing for employers and employees in substantial redundancy and equal pay claims and high profile anti-strike injunctions. Further important cases in which Jonathan has appeared are listed in the next drop down box.

Recent cases of interest in this area include:

  • Bates Van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co. Instructed by Public Concern at Work, the whistleblowing charity, to intervene in this claim in the Supreme Court to argue for the first time in England that domestic whistleblowing legislation is incompatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of expression) because it gives whistleblowing protection only to employees and not to partners. Full hearing of the appeal will take place in March 2014.
  • Riley v Crown Prosecution Service [2013] IRLR 966. Court of Appeal challenge to the decision of the Employment Tribunal to strike out the case of an ill Claimant where there was no firm medical prognosis for the date on which a trial could take place. The CPS won in the EAT and the Court of Appeal and the Claimant has now appealed to the Supreme Court. The case is the leading authority on the application of Article 6 of the European Convention to ill health strike out decisions in the civil courts.
  • City and County of Swansea v Gayle [2013] IRLR 768. First consideration by the Employment Appeal Tribunal of whether covert photographic surveillance of a malingering employee was a breach of privacy rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust v Roldon [2010] IRLR 721, [2010] 114 BMLR 152 Important Court of Appeal decision on the level of investigation required for career ending allegations.

    Employment Tribunal Claims - Further Important Cases

Further cases of interest in this area include:

  • City & County of Swansea v Honey [2008] All ER (D) 311. Leading authority on bias and ET members.
  • James v Greenwich London Borough Council [2008] ICR 545, [2008] IRLR 302. Leading Court of Appeal authority on the status of agency workers.
  • Klusova v The London Borough of Hounslow [2008] ICR 396. Court of Appeal consideration of the rights of those in breach of immigration legislation.
  • Madarassy v Nomura International PLC [2007] ICR 867, [2007] IRLR 246. City banker sex-discrimination appeal in the Court of Appeal.
  • Difolco v NTL Group Limited [2006] EWCA Civ 1508, [2006] Sol J 150/41. Reasonable adjustments for the disabled in a redundancy exercise.

    Regulatory & Disciplinary Proceedings

Jonathan undertakes all aspects of regulatory and disciplinary work, including advice on proceedings in and appearances before the Financial Services Authority, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health Professions Council and the General Teaching Council. He also has experience in Human Rights Act challenges and judicial review of regulatory and disciplinary decisions.

  • Vatish v Crown Prosecution Service (2011). Successful opposition on behalf of the CPS to an application for an injunction to force reinstatement for failure to follow a contractual disciplinary procedure.
  • Hamilton v (1) United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting and (2) Nursing and Midwifery Council [2003] EWCA Civ 1600, [2004] 79 BMLR 30, The Times 12/11/2003. Human Rights Act challenge to the disciplinary powers of the regulatory body for nurses.
  • Ward v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2003] EWCA Civ 1152, [2003] 74 BMLR 211. Challenge in the Court of Appeal under Human Rights Act to police powers of arrest under the Mental Health Act.
  • Taito v The Queen [2002] UKPC 15. Successful Privy Council appeal on behalf of a group of New Zealand citizens denied procedurally fair appeals in the New Zealand Court of Appeal.
  • R v Law Society. Ex Parte Barry Pamplin [2001] EWHC Admin 300, The Independent 9/07/2001. Judicial review of the disciplinary powers of the Law Society.
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