John McLinden QC

Called 1991 | Silk 2011

John McLinden is a versatile trial and appellate advocate who has had successful careers in New Zealand (1975-1991), and thereafter in the UK.  He has appeared in and has been reported in a wide range of cases in both jurisdictions.  In the UK the reports cover the common law (conspiracy, intentional infliction of harm by unlawful means, assault), Chancery (banking, Norwich Pharmacal relief, company law, insurance/insolvency, trusts, partnerships, the disqualification of directors), and criminal law (conspiracy to defraud and murder). Further detail about John’s background and cases can be seen at

John accepts appointments as an arbitrator.  He is also qualified to accept instructions through the Bar’s Public Access Scheme. John’s clients comprise individuals, partnerships, companies and LLPs, local authorities, institutions and governments.  He is familiar with working with in house solicitors and legal departments who appreciate John’s willingness to work on site.

If you would like any further information regarding John McLinden’s practice, please contact his clerks or call +44 (0)20 7405 6114.

General practice

John is a determined generalist.  He does a wide variety of general commercial, common law and chancery work, including contractual disputes, telecommunications, banking, claims against the police, human rights claims, landlord and tenant, professional negligence, property, inheritance and probate, insolvency, banking and financial services, construction, judicial review and immigration.  In addition he gives a considerable amount of time to pro bono cases ranging from small claims to death-row appeals in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.  Examples of his recent work and reported cases are given below.

Direct public access

John  is qualified to accept instructions direct from members of the public and legal entities such as companies. This is known as Direct Public Access (“DPA”), a relatively recent development that has revolutionised the way that litigation in England and Wales is conducted.

The guidance the Bar Standards Board has provided for those who are thinking of employing a barrister on direct access terms, can be read here.

John has acted successfully in a wide range of direct public access cases for individual and corporate clients.  Examples of this work include:

  • Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975
  • Disputes concerning solicitors’ limited liability partnerships
  • Contractual and general partnership disputes
  • Enforcement proceedings
  • Employment litigation

John is sensitive to the problems and stress DPA clients have in navigating the often unfamiliar territory they find themselves in as litigants. He provides practical guidance and support and reassurance in order to help his clients carry out the role they have to assume.

A direct public access client needs to be determined, organised, well-resourced and capable of coping with the logistical and emotional demands of the day-to-day running of a dispute. This is because litigation is very often difficult and frustrating and in direct public access cases the client has to take on many of the responsibilities that a solicitor would normally discharge. That is why the Bar’s Code of Conduct says of this type of work:

“…, the barrister must at all times consider the developing circumstances of the case, and whether at any stage it is in the best interests of the [direct public access] client or in the interests of justice for the .. client to instruct a solicitor or other professional…”

If you are able to deal with the demands of the litigation, having your day in court as a direct public access client can be very satisfying, because you will have saved the costs of having instructed a solicitor, and you will have played a significant part in the result.

If you are considering instructing John on direct public access terms you should first consider what is said above carefully. Do you have the resources, determination, fortitude and logistical ability to carry out your part?

If you believe that you have, then you should approach John’s clerks and provide them with a summary of the issues with which you need assistance, and copies of any key documents.  If it looks as though it is a suitable case for John to deal with, it is likely that a short conference will be arranged in order for you and John to meet for a preliminary discussion as to the terms of his retainer.

Recent work 2013-2015

In 2015 John appeared in the High Court, and in arbitrations and inquests, for individuals, companies, local authorities, solicitors, executors and creditors. The cases in which he appeared involved a wide range of issues and law.  Here are some examples of John’s work in that period.

Financial services: acting for a defendant director in complex multijurisdictional litigation in which claimant institutions sought to recover the value of significant investments managed by various defendants, alleging against the director amongst other things, misrepresentations, breaches of subscription and redemption agreements, acts of negligence and inducements to breach contractual obligations.

Banking disputes: (a) advising a claimant on the merits of challenging a proposed settlement facilitated by the Financial Conduct Authority, arising out of an interest swaps transaction promoted by a major bank; (b) successfully acting for a director and his company against a bank following suspension of the clients’ personal and commercial accounts, resulting in their inability to access very substantial funds.

Commercial fraud: (a) acting for a claimant lender and obtaining pre-and post-judgment freezing orders against a defendant director and various special purpose vehicle companies that had misappropriated loan monies in breach of trust and/or agreements in respect of various London property developments; (b) acting for a claimant contractor and obtaining judgment against a director and his companies for various misrepresentations and fraud arising out of a building contract.

Administrative Law/human rights/First Protocol ECHR: leading Mark Baumohl of Field Court Chambers in defending an application for judicial review of a local authority’s refusal to renew a market trader’s licence following her conviction for various offences arising out of the possession and sale of cigarettes from her pitch.

Professional negligence: successfully representing a solicitor threatened with removal of professional indemnity cover following the instigation of multi-party proceedings arising out of a high-value mortgage fraud.

Maritime Arbitrations: (a) acting as one of two arbitrators in a seller’s claim against the purchaser for demurrage/detention damages; (b) appearing for owners in a detention/damages claim against a charterer that denies the charter because the agent who purportedly acted for it had no authority to do so.

Inquests:  Representing the family of a young hedge fund professional killed when his motorcycle collided with street furniture in Northumberland Avenue, London. Under John’s direction an extensive private investigation revealed that in about 2002 passive safety street furniture throughout Trafalgar Square and environs had been replaced with rigid hooped steel signs designed to meet the aesthetics of a project known as “World Squares for All.” The changes had been effected by Transport for London. On completion of the project responsibility for the street furniture reverted to Westminster City Council. At the inquest the family criticised numerous aspects of the Council’s discharge of these responsibilities. The coroner ultimately rendered a judgemental conclusion founded on some of the family’s criticisms, and made a Prevention of Future Death report to which Westminster City Council was required to respond.  As a result of the incident, Westminster City Council has removed all similar street furniture in its jurisdiction.

Employment: advising a lecturer at a prominent educational institution on sensitive issues arising out of a complaint against him by a former student of historical sexual abuse

 Pro bono: acting pro bono on many occasions. including assisting a student resisting a claim by a University for tuition fees despite the student having a medical condition that rendered her incapable of taking the course, assisting in various immigration and criminal cases, assisting a cardholder to defend a claim by an assignee of the original credit card company for an alleged outstanding balance on the card account, assisting with a PPI claim to the Financial Conduct Authority, and advising an investor in a business operated by her friend on how best to recover her monies.



Additional notable cases
  • Spencer v S Franses Ltd [2011] EWHC 1269
  • Vectone Entertainment Holding Ltd v South Entertainment Ltd [2004] 2 BCLC 224
  • FSL Services Limited v MacDonald Court of Appeal [2001] EWCA Civ 1008 21 June 2001
  • The Contradictors v Attorney-General, Privy Council [2001] 3 NZLR 301
  • Macdonald v Taree Holdings Ltd (Transcript: Beverley F Nunnery) 7 December 2000
  • Grammer v Lane (CA) [2000] 2 All ER 245
  • Stafford v The State (PC) [1999] 1 WLR 2026
  • Rooney v Cardona (CA) [1999] 1 FLR 1236, [1999] 1 WLR 1388
  • Rooney v Das [1999] BPIR 404
  • Turkiye Is Bankasi As v Bank of China (CA) [1998] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 250
  • Rama v Millar [1996] 1 NZLR 257
  • Zandfarid v Bank of Credit and Commerce International Sa (in liquidation) and another [1996] 1 WLR 1420
  • Adams v The Queen (PC) [1995] 1 WLR 52
  • Simpson v Attorney-General [Baigent’s Case] [1994] 3 NZLR 667
  • LLB (Hons) Victoria University of Wellington 1974
  • LLM Victoria University of Wellington 1986
  • Fulbright Scholar 1991
  • Intervention (a paper presented by John at the Hart Judicial Review conference in December 2012)
  • The Role of the Amicus in the American Supreme Court (Fulbright Paper)
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