Jonathan Kelly is consistently recognized as one of the UK’s leading practitioners in the field of disputes and enforcement, and as a “litigation veteran” with 30 years in practice.

He is cited by UK and European legal directories and the media as one of “the UK’s leading banking litigators,” an “outstanding lawyer,” “esteemed litigator,” and “a formidable opponent.” He is described as a “class act…a real market leader” who is “top rated…keen and insightful, clear, concise” and “great to work with because you know he’s seen it all before.”

He has advised on a wide range of significant disputes, involving antitrust and competition, banking and financial services, corporate and private equity, regulatory enforcement and investigations, and sovereign immunity. His cases invariably involve complex multijurisdictional elements.

Jonathan joined the firm as a partner in 2010 after 23 years at Simmons & Simmons, where he had trained, qualified as a solicitor in 1989, became a partner in 1995, and was head of the firm’s financial markets litigation group. He worked in Hong Kong and London while with Simmons & Simmons.

Notable Experience

Antitrust and Competition

  • Extensive competition litigation and enforcement experience, with more than 20 cases over the past decade relating to diverse industries including automotive, consumer goods, financial services, industrials, manufacturing, and technology.

  • NSK, a leading Japanese bearings manufacturer, in defence of a follow-on damages claim in the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal by Peugeot relating to the European Commission’s bearings decision.

  • LG Display, the leading South Korean flat-screen manufacturer, in connection with a follow-on claim for damages by iiyama arising out of the European Commission’s LCD infringement decision.

  • SK hynix in defence of a claim in the English High Court brought by Granville Technology Group and others in respect of purchases of DRAM and losses allegedly arising from the competition law infringement found by the European Commission in its 2010 DRAMs decision.

  • NVIDIA in a damage claim in the High Court against Qualcomm for abuse of dominance relating to pricing and licensing practices.

  • Cartel litigation involving allocation and overcharge, pass-on, interest, and other econometric analysis; jurisdiction disputes; and the long-arm jurisdiction exercised by the English courts in other notable follow-on cases, including the Court of Appeal decisions in KME and iiyama.

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  • Securing a $2 billion victory for Vale S.A. in a LCIA arbitration seated in London against BSG Resources Ltd., in the form of one of the largest commercial arbitration awards ever made.

  • An ultra-HNWI in an LCIA arbitration in a $300 million emerging market dispute relating to a 20-year joint venture, including accusations of fraud, introducing commissions, and witness intimidation.

  • A leading global telecoms operator in a major LCIA arbitration in relation to a breach of an SPA for the sale of a major European business and associated challenge to the award under the UK Arbitration Act.

  • One of the world’s leading fresh food producers based in Latin America in relation to a dispute over the terms of supply and alleged implied terms under a freight agreement and related long-term supply agreements in the EU.

  • Previ-Caixa de Previdência dos Funcionários do Banco do Bras, a leading Brazilian pension fund, in connection with an LCIA arbitration and associated challenge to the tribunal.

  • A leading U.S. chemicals and polymer manufacturer in relation to a dispute with a long-standing counterparty, resulting in the amicable settlement of LCIA proceedings.

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Banking and Financial Services

  • Described by LegalWeek as “one of the country’s top banking litigation lawyers,” having had a focus on financial services disputes for the entirety of his career as a disputes partner.

  • UniCredit SpA against Caius Capital and the Caius funds in the Court of Milan seeking compensation of damages of approximately €90 million stemming from Caius Capital’s and the funds’ actions against the bank over the course of the last months of 2018 with respect to the CASHES; and in its successful defense of regulatory capital instruments before the European Banking Authority.

  • Goldman Sachs in connection with the Waterfall II application commenced by the Joint Administrators of Lehman Brothers International.

  • BNP Paribas in a substantial trading dispute with a counterparty in respect of the sale and purchase of high-yield debt.

  • New York-based investment bank on a substantial dispute involving the “Phoenix” provisions under a Contingent Forward FX transaction.

  • Dexia Crediop and Intesa SanPaolo in securing a €36 million judgment in a dispute with the Italian region of Piedmont over the Region’s long-term financing arrangements and derivative transactions.

  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi, one of the Middle East’s leading financial institutions, on a range of matters including successfully challenging the jurisdiction of the English courts over two disputes brought by Middle Eastern counterparties on forum non conveniens grounds, and successfully defending the bank from a substantial claim brought by Grosvenor Casinos in respect of gambling checks.

  • UBS in relation to the successful settlement of two sets of proceedings brought by UBS in the English courts against the City of Florence and the Region of Lombardia respectively, arising out of disputed derivative transactions between UBS and the Italian Municipalities.

  • Dexia in its successful claims against Città Metropolitana di Milano and the Province of Crotone before the High Court of Justice of London, relating to interest rate swap agreements entered into between the parties that were declared valid and enforceable.

  • A number of institutions in relation to confidential regulatory matters, including LIBOR, FX, precious metals, and Treasuries, involving the FCA and SFO in the UK; BaFin in Germany; CONSOB in Italy; and CFTC, SEC, and DOJ in the U.S.

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Corporate and Private Equity

  • A listed French company on a series of post-acquisition disputes, including a post-completion accounts dispute, and a dispute as to the status of IT licences within the acquired business.

  • Scientific Games, a leading U.S. entertainment business, in relation to proceedings in the UK and Italy for enforcement of an indemnity and warranty claims arising out of a major acquisition.

  • Genting Group in a successful defence in an injunction application in the UK Supreme Court that sought to prevent them from proceeding with a resort development.

  • The former non-executive directors of a UK public company in relation to potential property liability under s.90 FSMA  and proceedings arising out of the collapse of the company’s business and proceedings against its auditors, following related regulatory action by the FSA.

  • Victoria Plum, one of the UK’s leading online bathroom retailers, in a successful High Court claim for infringement of a registered trademark against another bathroom retailer, Victorian Plumbing.

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  • Extensive experience advising sovereigns on immunity issues and enforcement as part of the firm’s position as a leading global advisor to sovereigns.

  • The Hellenic Republic (Greece) in relation to the litigation and contentious aspects of its €210 billion sovereign debt restructuring in 2011.

  • An attack by a creditor on the sovereign immunity of Iraq’s diplomatic premises in London under the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 and the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.

  • The Republic of Iraq in successfully defending its sovereign immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978 in the face of an attempt by a Saddam Hussein-era creditor to attach monies payable to the Development Fund for Iraq, winning at every stage before the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court in the UK.

  • The Republic of Sierra Leone in arbitration proceedings and related matters in respect of its licensing of off-shore oil exploration blocks on the coast of Sierra Leone.

  • A Middle East sovereign wealth fund in relation to litigation and related matters arising from a failed substantial property development in the country in question.

  • An Asian sovereign in relation to protection and immunity strategies against enforcement of pending arbitration awards.

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Additional Experience

  • Holocaust Art spoliation claims, including advising both the Tate Gallery and the Courtauld Institute of Art on the first-ever claims made against those institutions, as well as advising private individuals and estates in this highly sensitive field.

  • Sports law issues and disciplinary issues, including the establishment by the International Cricket Council of its Anti-Corruption Unit led by Lord Paul Condon. 

  • Corporates and individuals on a range of defamation disputes.

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Sanctions, Certainty and Pragmatism  the Contemporary Context for Analysing Force Majeure clauses,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, June 4, 2024, Co-author.

Whistleblower Regulations in the U.K. and the U.S.,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, July 14, 2021, Co-author. 

U.K. Supreme Court Limits the Extraterritorial Powers of the Serious Fraud Office,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, February 11, 2021, Co-author.

No Reversing Allowed: Trucks Defendants in Follow-on Cases Required to Stand by Their Admissions to the Commission,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, December 7, 2020, Co-author. 

Judgment Creditor Successfully Challenges ‘Uncertain’ Arbitration Award in the English Court,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, July 16, 2020, Co-author. 

COVID-19 and the Compliance Risks Related to Sales and Marketing Practices,” Cleary Enforcement Watch Blog, March 17, 2020, Co-author.

Coronavirus – Force Majeure or Frustration?,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, February 20, 2020, Co-author.

GIR “Securities and Related Investigations Know-How Guide,” Global Investigations Review, September 2019. Co-author of the UK chapter.

FCA Continues Focus on Transaction Reporting Breaches,” Cleary Enforcement Watch blog, April 29, 2019, Co-author.

FCA Issues First Penalties for Competition Infringements,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, February 26, 2019, Co-author.

UK Regulators Fine Barclays’ CEO for Errors of Judgement in Relation to Whistleblower,” Cleary Enforcement Watch blog, May 21, 2018, Co-author.

Key Lessons From the FCA’s £16.4 Million Fine of Tesco Bank for Failings Around Cyber-Attack,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, October 8, 2018, Co-author.

GIR “Securities and Related Investigations Know-How Guide,” Global Investigations Review, October 17, 2017. Co-author of the UK chapter.

English Court Denies Application to Enforce Russian Arbitral Award Set Aside by Russian Courts,” Kluwer Arbitration Blog, October 9, 2017

Contract Interpretation: The Supreme Court’s last word (for now)?Thomson Reuters, May 2017
*This article first appeared in the May 2017 issue of PLC Magazine

GIR “Securities and Related Investigations Know-How Guide,” Global Investigations Review, February 4, 2016. Co-author of the UK chapter.

There’s a New Sheriff in Town - Global Regulatory Enforcement after LIBOR,” IFLR, April 2015