An engraving of Lady Justice.

Practical advice & fearless advocacy
for individuals and companies.

Whether you are a solicitor looking for barrister for a trial or appeal;
a company seeking advice about a contract; or an individual facing a divorce,
contact me to see how I can help.

Why instruct a Common Law Barrister?

Unlike many barristers, who practice in increasingly specialised areas, I retain a broad practice in civil and family law. The reason for this is simple: I believe it brings great benefits to clients. Legal problems are rarely confined to a single area and only those lawyers who have wide-ranging expertise can properly assess a case in-the-round.

A photograph of Jacob Gifford Head.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus Information

During the COVID-19 / Coronavirus outbreak, my intention is to continue to practise as normal (or as close to normal as is possible) from home. I have set out the following essential points to reassure my existing and potential clients. If do you require any further information, please contact me.

  • I am used to working from home and have done so since moving out-of-London a number of years ago.
  • I have appropriate facilities for holding telephone and video-conferences at home.
  • I am able to appear in court via. both telephone and video-link from home.
  • For the avoidance of doubt; in the event that a court lists a matter for an in-person hearing, I am willing to attend in person as normal.
  • It is likely that my chambers’ building (7 Lincoln’s Inn Fields) will be unstaffed; however, my clerks will remain contactable on their usual number: +44 (0)20 7404 7000 and will be answering their usual email address: clerks@thomasmore.co.uk. They will be able to forward calls and emails to me as normal. Please, however, do not send any documents through the post or by fax since I cannot know when I will receive them.

I am concerned that many of my clients may be vulnerable at this time of particular financial and emotional stress and I should be able to assist them in any way I can.

Practice Areas

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General Civil & Commercial

A wide-range of civil and commercial work: advising companies about contractual disputes, company law and financial services.

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Property & Chancery

Disputes relating to land ownership; personal and corporate insolvency; wills, trusts and probate; and residential and commercial Landlord and Tennant work.

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Family

Financial Remedy, ToLATA and other divorce / separation financial disputes; disputes about child arrangements (particularly removal and relocation of children) and care proceedings.

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Personal Injury & Driving

Personal injury claims including medical negligence; OL; and EL. Driving cases involving civil RTAs; credit hire; criminal trials; and licensing.

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Employment

Appearing for both companies and employees in a full range of Employment Tribunal jurisdictions, including cases of unfair & wrongful dimissal, harassment and discrimination.

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Crime

Defending individuals and companies in the Crown & Magistrates’ court, with a particular emphasis on fraud, money laundering and factually or legally complex cases.

Particular Skills and Interests

I particularly welcome cases which are legally complex, either because they concern obscure or difficult areas of law, or which require a creative use of the law to achieve the desired result for the client.

I also enjoy cases involving factual complexity, whether through expert evidence on scientific matters or, particularly in family proceedings, where cultural and religious issues are in dispute.

Finally, I have an interest in the workings of the legal system as a whole, and therefore welcome cases involving the conflict of laws, both between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and internationally.

Civil & Commercial Practice Areas

Commercial & Contractual Disputes

I am regularly instructed in commercial and contractual disputes, representing companies that range from multi-national corporations to unincorporated firms. Most cases touch on the interpretation and performance of contracts, although many range more widely into regulations, intellectual property work and even tort.

The flag of Mauritius.

In addition to domestic and conventional international disputes, I have a particular interest in Mauritian cases having been seconded to Thomas More International in Ebene, Mauritius during the latter half of 2015.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • Re: a Bank: Representing one of the UK’s largest banks in a number of claims arising out the mis-selling of interest rate hedging products to corporate customers.

  • Rawlinson and Hunter Trustees et al. v. Serious Fraud Office: Disclosure counsel in this high-profile, £300 million claim which arose out of the Serious Fraud Office’s failed investigation into the collapse of Kaupthing Bank.

  • S Ltd. v. C Ltd: Sole counsel for the defendant in a telecommunications trial, brought in negligence, representing a company accused of “slamming” another’s lines.

  • V Ltd. v. A. Ltd.: Another Telecommunications trial involving various disputes between an end-user and wholesaler provider.

  • P Ltd v. G: Breach of contract trial where the substantive dispute was over a question of electrical engineering. Detailed understanding of the subject matter was required to cross-examine effectively.

Other Areas

I have been involved in a range of high-profile public law cases over a wide-range of areas. I am particularly interested in Freedom of Information and Data Protection issues and welcome instructions relating to the preparation and advancement of such requests.

I also enjoy cases which involve unusual areas of law, such as actions for conversion, bailment or defamation and welcome instructions where creative use of the law is needed in order to find a solution to the client’s problems.

Other civil instructions include traditional chancery, personal injury and regulatory work, where the mixed experience of a Common-Law practice is particularly important. I am also happy to advise on costs and other CPR-related disputes and problems.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • Wilus v Regional Court in Poznan Poland [2014] EWHC 2718 (Admin): High Court extradition appeal. In addition to Article 8 (right to a private and family life) issues, the case raised questions of the provision of interpretors in appeals and the court’s responsibilities under Article 6(3)(e).

  • G v. C.: Freedom of Information case relating to papers produced during a criminal investigation, prosecution and appeal.

  • X v. X: Freedom of Information case relating to historic child sexual abuse.

Property & Chancery

Property

I carry out a full range of property work. In addition to conventional applications for sale or possession, I have experience with dilapidations, forfeiture, boundary disputes and questions of land ownership.

For property disputes, a wide-range of experience is particularly important since many property cases overlap family, commercial and even criminal proceedings.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • R v M Ltd: Long-running dilapidations trial, involving questions of recovery caps under s.18.

  • S v. S: Dispute relating to the enforcement of Spanish service charges in England.

  • N Ltd v. N Ltd: Successful action for relief from forfeiture in a commercial property dispute.

  • X v. X & X: Mortgage possession case turning on questions of undue influence and constructive trusts.

  • L v. E: Defending in a complex property action where the Claimant had delayed for over 16 years in enforcing a costs order.

  • Numerous applications for possession for rent or mortgage arrears; s.21 notices &c. &c.

Company Law

I welcome instructions, particularly advisory, as to questions of company law, including the incorporation and dissolution of limited companies and other bodies corporate. I also deal with the winding up of companies and associated matters (e.g. director disqualification proceedings, examinations under the Insolvency Act etc.).

Examples of Recent Cases

  • G v SoS: Successfully represented a director who sought permission of the court to act as a director of a phoenix company notwithstanding his disqualification for omissions which led to the winding up of its predecessor.

  • S et al. v T et al.: Dispute relating to a contact formed during the dissolution of a company.

  • Re L: Advisory work in relation to the incorporation of a long-established charity.

Chancery

Much of my chancery practice is set out in the sections detailing my commercial, property and company work. However, in addition to this, I am happy to recieve instructions in “purer” traditional chancery areas, such as personal bankruptcy, wills, probate and trust law.

Family & Court of Protection

Introduction

I accept instructions in a wide-range of family cases.

My most frequent family work is in private law children cases, ranging from “straight-forward” child arrangement / contact disputes to more complex issues such as:

  • Applications for removal from the jurisdiction or relocation.
  • Abduction / return proceedings under the Hague Convention.
  • Wardship cases.
  • Allegations of serious emotional or physical harm; intractable hostility; or “parental alienation”.

I also accept and welcome instructions in care / public law children cases, particularly acting for the parents, where a willingness to challenge and push for a favourable resolution is of particular importance. Here I find having a background in criminal law an invaluable advantage. Many cases include disputed drug / alcohol testing, allegations of non-accidental injuries, and controversial psychiatric evidence. Others include International disputes; parents who lack capacity; proposed placements in secure accommodation; and Family Court / Court of Protection transitions.

I have experience in divorce and financial relief cases, particularly when there are overlapping civil proceedings, and find that a knowledge of civil law and procedure, particular with regards to property and bankruptcy, is of great importance.

All of these overlapping skills are particularly useful for Court of Protection cases, and I welcome instructions in cases concerning administration of property and welfare.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • L v. L: Relocation dispute involving questions of the applicability of relocation case-law to shared-residence cases.

  • C v. R: Private law case involving proposed temporary removal to Iraq.

  • K v. K: Financial remedy proceedings with the majority of the assets being located abroad..

  • Re G: Unusual care proceedings, under s.31(2)(b)(ii) (child beyond parental control), involving ancillary issues such as secure accommodation orders.

  • Re X: Court of Protection action relating to capacity to manage property and financial affairs. (Court of Protection)

Personal Injury & Driving

Personal Injury & Other Areas

I have regular experience in personal injury, ranging from simple uncontested infant approval hearings or credit hire trials to involvement in complex multi-track cases in the High Court.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • H v. R: Successfully acted for the Claimants in a case involving questions of bailment and restitution, arising from the sale of an Old Master painting.

  • W v. W: Defending in a unusual action for conversion, involving questions of contractual intentions and promissory estoppel.

  • Numerous personal injury cases.

Road Traffic Offences

I have experience in defending road-traffic offences, from drink-driving, driving with no insurance and failure to stop.

I have been instructed at all stages of proceedings: from the start, when it may be necessary to explore fully all options with the client; to the appellate stage, usually beginning with an application to suspended disqualification pending appeal.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • R v. A: Represented the same defendant in two cases of driving otherwise than in accordance of a licence. Special reasons found on both and absolute discharges twice imposed.

  • R v. G: Successful defence of a driver charged with driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance. No positive case was advanced and the defendant was not called to give evidence: after exclusion of an at-the-scene confession and forensic evidence, the court found that it could not be sure that the defendant was driving as opposed to being a passenger in the car.

  • R v. X: Successful appeal for special reasons based on the defendant being mislead: the defendant had represented himself in the Magistrates’ Court and been disbelieved.

  • R v. S: Successful submission of “no case to answer” in a failure to stop case: the Crown had failed to show that an accident causing damage had taken place.

  • R v. K: Successful defence of a motorist who had collided with a cyclist.

  • Numerous applications for exceptional hardship; special reasons; and suspension of disqualification pending appeal.

Taxis, Minicabs & Professional Drivers

I have particular experience in defending professional drivers, both for conventional motoring offences and for professional-driver-specific offences.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • R v. A: Successful application to the Crown Court to overturn a local authority’s decision to revoke a mini-cab driver’s private hire licence.

  • R v. X: Successful defence of a minicab driver accused of taxi touting.

  • R v. G: Successful defence of a delivery driver accused of careless driving.

  • R v. S: Successful defence of a black cab driver accused of failing to stop.

Civil Cases

I am frequently instructed in civil cases arising out of road traffic accidents. These disputes can involve simply issues as to liability as well as more complex issues of quantum due to personal injury, repair costs or credit hire charges.

Employment

Introduction

I welcome instructions for both the claimant and respondent in cases under all Employment Tribunal jurisdictions. I have a particular interest in the area of overlap between Employment Tribunal and Court claims and so particularly welcome cases involving allegations of breaches of contracts.

Much of my work has involved cases involving multiple defendants, and I have particular expertise in relation to questions of the status of employment agencies and their potential liability.

Examples of Recent Cases

  • X v X: Successfully acted for the Claimant in a two-week sexual harassment and constructive dismissal trial.

  • Re R: Acting for the Claimant in a sham redundancy case. Early engagement resulted in the case being successfully settled before the first hearing in the tribunal.

  • H v H & MJ: Represented the first Respondent in a direct disability discrimination trial.

  • P v R & H: Multi-faceted claim turning on the question of whether a contract is for employment or services; agency agreements; and limitation when joining additional parties.

  • X v H: Defending in a discrimination claim, relating to the apportionment of blame amongst various potential defendants.

Crime

Introduction

Although criminal cases no longer make up the majority of my practice, I continue to welcome instructions in appropriate matters, which tend to be cases which are particularly serious, difficult or legally / factually complex. Often these overlap with other areas of law where a broad experience is to be welcomed.

Examples of Successful Defences on Points of Law

  • R v. S: ABH trial stayed as an abuse of process due to Crown failures in disclosure.

  • R v. H: Successful submission of “no case to answer” to a possession of offensive weapons charge where the defendant told Police he carried a knife for his own “protection”.

  • Numerous acquittals following the exclusion of at-the-scene confessions.

Examples of Successful Defences when the Crown is Put to Proof

  • R v. AB: Successful defence in a handling stolen goods case arising out of a robbery. The entirety of the police interview was excluded. The defendant did not advance a positive case or give evidence and was acquitted on the basis of doubts raised as to continuity evidence.

  • R v. G: Successful defence of a driver charged with driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance. No positive case was advanced and the defendant was not called to give evidence: after exclusion of an at-the-scene confession and forensic evidence, the court found that it could not be sure that the defendant was driving as opposed to being a passenger in the car.

Examples of Fraud and Financial Crime

  • R v. G: Successful defence in a counterfeit bank-note case, including the successful exclusion of an at-the-scene confession by the defendant.

  • R v. B: Successful defence of a student charged with money laundering as part of a substantial CHAPS fraud.

Examples of Defence Work in Cases of Violence, Drugs or Sexual Crimes

  • R v. G, R & R: First defendant in a serious s.18 trial, involving a large number of disputed witnesses of fact.

  • R v. A: Advisory work in relation to a high-profile murder trial, on the question of the meaning and effect of the expression “under the Queen’s peace” in the definition of murder.

  • R v. R: Historic sex case.

  • R v. X: Successful defence in a drugs case following the exclusion of the Crown’s forensic evidence identifying the seized package as drugs.

  • Numerous trials relating to allegations of assault.

Academic CV

  • Called to the Bar, the Hon. Soc. of the Middle Temple (2010).
  • L.L.B., the College of Law, London.
  • M.A., Selwyn College, University of Cambridge.

Contact Details

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  • Post: Thomas More Chambers, 7 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP. (Google Map)
  • Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7404 7000.
  • Fax: + 44 (0)20 7831 4606.
  • DX: 90 Chancery Lane.
  • Email: clerks@thomasmore.co.uk.
  • Enquiry form: For new direct access cases is available here.
  • Online Form: For other queries is available here.
  • Secure Email: CJSM: jacob.gifford-head@tmchambers.cjsm.net and other means. Please contact me for further details.