Jonathan French

Call 1997

Photo of Jonathan French


Jonathan has practised at the commercial Bar in Leeds for twenty years, where he has developed a substantial practice, regularly appearing in the Leeds Mercantile Court on high value contractual disputes.

His practice principally focuses upon:

  • Asset finance and consumer credit
  • Bailment and wrongful interference with goods
  • Commercial fraud
  • Sale and supply of goods and services
  • Mortgages, guarantees and financial services litigation

Jonathan also regularly acts in substantial professional liability. He has a strong interest in company/partnership disputes and real property matters. He also appears in building claims before the TCC and the Court of Appeal. Jonathan is recognised for being approachable and for providing clear advice.

Commercial Cases


Jonathan is frequently instructed on asset finance litigation by leading financial institutions concerning all aspects of consumer credit, including the enforceability of agreements, licensing requirements and unfair relationships. A substantial element of this work is for interim relief, often at short notice, including obtaining freezing orders, injunctions and orders for delivery up. Many cases also involve conflict of law and jurisdictional issues, with parties and assets located outside of England and Wales.

Multi-day trial of Range Rover conversion claim involving fraudulent car dealer

Advising upon group action misrepresentation claims against German car manufacturer and UK dealerships

Delivery up order for US $3 million computer equipment against defunct F1 racing team

Recovery of £285,000 worth of solar panels wrongly detained by EPC contractor

Recovery of Rolls Royce Phantom II from Australian entrepreneur

Delivery up of £800,000 worth of green energy generation equipment

Led in a 10-day asset fraud trial concerning the wrongful disposal of plant and equipment, to destinations as diverse as Kenya and Transylvania

Recovery of a stolen Aston Martin DB9 from Cyprus on behalf of a Premiership footballer

Delivery up of £9 million Roman silver antiquities against leading London auction house

Recovery of stolen Rolls Royce Phantom from Russian businessman in Switzerland


Jonathan has a strong commercial practice dealing with high value contractual disputes, particularly concerning:

  • Sale and supply of goods and services
  • Agency and distribution disputes
  • Commercial fraud
  • Directors’ and employees’ duties (including confidential information and data protection, enforcement of restrictive covenants)
  • Mortgages, guarantees and financial services litigation

Representing lender in £25 million international loan dispute

Breach of contract claim on behalf of Hollywood film-makers against production company

Representing baker in £1.3 million claim against discount supermarket chain

Claim for £250,000 paid to consultant surgeon under mistake/undue influence for stem cell therapy

Advising upon breach of £300K contract for supply of 2 refuse collection vehicles

£172K fraud claim against branch manager of motor factors

Advising in claim against IFAs concerning investment of pension funds

Successfully obtaining freezing order in £2.3 million accountancy fraud

Led in a 10-day fraud trial concerning the wrongful disposal overseas of plant & equipment

Representing investors in Liverpool property development fraud by convicted drug dealer

Appearing in £20 million buy-to-let property portfolio dispute

Acting on behalf of NHS Trust in multi-day £1 million trial against Consultant Surgeon

Successful enforcement of personal guarantees in support of £1.1 million lending to highway Construction Company

Lifeplan Products Ltd v. Carter [2013] EWCA Civ 453[2013] All ER (D) 234 (Apr): correct approach to affirmation of share purchase agreement.

Strange & others v Westbury Homes (Holdings) Ltd & Persimmon Homes Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 1247, [2010] All ER (D) 148 (Jan): Proper measure of damages for the residual diminution in value of 3 residential properties following remedial works. Successfully appeared for 3 homeowners

Obtaining a Norwich Pharmacal Order requiring disclosure of the nature of wrongdoing in breach of an injunction preventing the dissemination of confidential information


Jonathan’s work in company and partnership law principally focuses upon:

  • Shareholder disputes
  • Share and asset purchase agreements
  • Directors’ and employees’ duties
  • Partnership and LLP disputes

Dissolution of property development company proceedings

Claim to recover deferred consideration upon £2.3 million sale of veterinary practice

Wrongful expulsion of member from IFA Limited Liability Partnership

Advising IFA directors accused of involvement in £23 billion fraud against national government tax agency

£1.9 million s.994 petition on behalf of director of clothing company

Advising Managing Director of national cleaning company on restrictive covenants

Acting for MD of cloth company in shareholder dispute

Advising and appearing for chef in restaurant chain shareholder dispute

Successfully injuncting vendor of optician business and obtaining delivery up of stolen stock

Representing directors of bailiff company on £10.1 million sale of business to multinational government services plc

Advising director of leading bakery company on £1.5 million s.994 petition

Successfully representing vendors of health food company on multi-day SPA trial


Jonathan regularly acts in valuable and complex professional negligence actions, on behalf of claimants as well as insured professionals, with particular emphasis upon claims involving:

  • Solicitors
  • Surveyors
  • Construction professionals
  • Insurance brokers

Advising upon mis-selling of Liverpool flat development scheme

Successfully recovering estate agents’ fees upon introduction of buyer

Acting on claim against a surveyor and a structural engineer on purchase of domestic property featured on Channel 4’s “Help my house is falling down”

Led on claim against conveyancing solicitors and valuers for purchase of landlocked £3.1 million Merseyside development site

Advising upon and appearing in £800K professional negligence claim against solicitors by wine bar owner

Representing architect and consulting engineer on dispute over £2.3 million project for construction of a Gurdwara

Advising and appearing for factory owners following repudiation of cover for flood damage

Representing fish & chip shop owner concerning uninsured losses due to fire

Acting in claim against solicitors for misallocation of £1.8 million tax liability under SPA