Jonathan Gaisman QC is named by Chambers and Partners 2021 as a Star at the Bar. He is one of only five star individuals in the Commercial Dispute Resolution section of Chambers and Partners 2021, a position he has occupied since 2015. He was Chambers’ Commercial Litigation Silk of the Year in 2009 and 2014, and shortlisted again in 2016. He was Chambers’ Insurance Silk of the Year in 2006.  He was shortlisted for the Chambers’ Professional Negligence Silk of the Year in 2014 and 2015.

He was shortlisted for the 2015 Legal 500 Commercial Litigation Silk of the year; the 2015, 2017  and 2018 Legal 500 Shipping Silk of the year; and the 2017 Legal 500 International Arbitration Silk of the year.

He was The Lawyer Magazine’s Barrister of the Week in June 2020. He was short-listed for the 2009 Barrister of the Year award by The Lawyer Magazine, and was included in The Lawyer Magazine’s “Hot 100” in 2006.

The 2021 edition of Chambers & Partners described him as “One of the outstanding advocates of his generation. He has enormous courtroom presence.” “The best advocacy I have ever seen.”. According to a recent Legal 500 directory, he is “quite simply the best advocate in London by a country mile”. He has also been recently rated as “unquestionably the best advocate at the Commercial Bar”, a “truly stunning” and “incredibly charismatic” advocate; “a Commercial advocate of consummate ability… the difference between winning and losing”; “utterly superb and brilliantly clever”, “an accomplished and polished advocate who is urbane, funny and devastating in the courtroom”; “a terrifying opponent … whose fearsome intellect is matched with devastatingly brutal cross-examination skills”; “an utterly fantastic lawyer; an enormously impressive guy with a really supreme mind”; “a tenacious, disciplined and rigorous advocate, who is great fun to deal with” and as having “phenomenal intelligence, amazing forensic skills and a good sense of humour”; “wonderful to listen to, unbelievably witty and someone who is in total command of the court.

Chambers and Partners 2020 described him as “heavily engaged in every detail, he pushes himself and his team hard and invariably delivers phenomenal results. Wonderful to listen to, unbelievably witty and someone who is in total command of the court.”

Jonathan Gaisman practises primarily as an advocate. He specialises in all areas of commercial litigation and arbitration, and is happy to expand his practice into any field where his skills as an advocate may be of use. He is equally experienced in short cases before first instance or appellate tribunals arguing points of law, and lengthy commercial trials and arbitrations, demanding in terms of long-term preparation, tactical planning, cross-examination of factual and expert witnesses and detailed mastery of complex facts – or any case falling in between these extremes. He believes that commercial advocates owe a duty to their client to concentrate absolutely on the case in hand; he avoids making professional commitments which conflict with the fulfilment of that duty.

Jonathan Gaisman’s practice also involves a significant advisory component. He places emphasis on the client’s need for realistic, down to earth advice in a commercial context.

Jonathan Gaisman also accepts appointments as arbitrator in a wide range of commercial and international disputes, including ICC arbitrations.

He has appeared in some of the largest and most high-profile trials of recent years. Starting with the Gooda Walker action, the first and most successful of the Lloyd’s Names actions, he subsequently acted for auditors Deloitte & Touche in the claim against them brought by the liquidators of Barings, and for Ernst & Young in Equitable Life’s attempt to hold its directors and auditors liable for its misfortunes. In neither case did the claimant make any recovery from the auditors. In 2008, Jonathan Gaisman acted for the lead claimants in the Buncefield explosion litigation, against whom the principal defendant, Total, ultimately conceded most issues and failed on the rest. In the Court of Appeal he appeared in the Kriti Palm, a leading recent authority on the definition of fraud. In 2013 Jonathan Gaisman acted for Gulf Keystone in its successful defence of Excalibur’s claims to a share of oil concessions in Iraqi Kurdistan.  Among other long cases in which Jonathan Gaisman has been involved are the 80 day NRG claim against its actuaries, accountants and advising bank arising out of a company take-over, and a 66 day hearing (and a 10 day appeal) in disciplinary proceedings against Ernst & Young before the JDS. Going back further in the reports, Jonathan Gaisman appeared in well-known authorities such as Banque Keyser Ullmann v Skandia – the Gemstones litigation, and Henderson v Merrett, both of which went to the House of Lords.

Clients have included the Royal Bank of Scotland and four of its ex-directors, in defence of the claims brought against them by shareholders relating to the bank’s 2008 rights issue; and Cattles plc and its subsidiaries, in relation to claims against PwC for negligent auditing.

He recently acted for the Lloyd’s marine insurance market in a total loss case in which wilful misconduct was found against the owners of the “Brillante Virtuoso”, who had arranged a fake pirate attack near Somalia, in an attempt to defraud underwriters He acted for the Russian Federation, in connection with enforcement proceedings brought against it by shareholders in Yukos Oil arising out of out a $50bn award promulgated in the Hague.

He acted for Petrosaudi Oil in a dispute with PDVSA concerning a Venezuelan drilling contract, persuading the Court of Appeal to overturn a decision of the Commercial Court, which had injuncted Petrosaudi from claiming under a standby letter of credit on the grounds of fraud. He appeared in the Court of Appeal in the Fiona Trust litigation in relation to the Commercial Court’s award of $60m damages on a cross-undertaking in damages.

Most recently, he appeared for KPMG in relation to their successful resistance to an application by the liquidators of Carillion plc for pre-action disclosure of audit working papers. He is acting for Hiscox in the FCA test case concerning the impact of COVID-19 on business interruption insurance policies, which is to be heard in the Supreme Court in November 2020.