Jonathan Kelly’s practice focuses on substantial English and international commercial litigation and arbitration.

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 is consistently recognized as one of the leading practitioners in his field and cited by UK and European legal directories as an “outstanding lawyer” and “esteemed litigator” who is “absolutely superb,” “highly intelligent,” and “a formidable opponent.” He is a “class act…a real market leader” who is “great to work with because you know he’s seen it all before.” Jonathan is “top rated…keen and insightful, clear, concise” who provides “laser-like advice that adds value.”

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

  • 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 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.

  • Advising on cartel litigation involving allocation and overcharge, pass-on, interest, and other economic factors; jurisdiction disputes; and the long-arm jurisdiction exercised by the English courts in other notable follow-on cases, including:

    • The Copper Tubes Decision (Case COMP/E – 1/38069 – Plumbing Tubes).
    • The Industrial Tubes Decision (Case/COMP/E – 1/38.240 – Industrial Tubes).
    • The Paraffin Wax Decision (Case COMP/C.39181 – Candle Waxes).
    • The Refrigeration Compressor Decision (Case COMP/39600 – Refrigeration Compressors).

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Banking and Financial Services

  • 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. Both claims were resolved on mutually acceptable terms, including the withdrawal of all Italian administrative and other proceedings, before the matters came to trial.

  • 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.

  • Vnesheconombank (VEB) in successfully defending a claim brought by a bondholder against the former Soviet bank for Foreign Economic Activity, and discharged a charging order.

  • WestLB in ground-breaking litigation arising out of a collapsed US$1 billion securitisation involving complex, novel and substantial issues relating to the duties of arrangers and lead managers, and prospectus liability.

  • Acted for 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.

  • Dubai Islamic Bank on various claims brought under a restructuring agreement and/or for fraud against the defendants in the English High Court, Commercial Court.

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Corporate and Private Equity

  • A joint venture between TPG and VTB in a high-profile shareholders’ dispute over control of a $2 billion Russian retail group, Lenta LLC. The dispute involved 11 hearings in London, before the LCIA and the English Commercial Court; four hearings and three sets of hearings in the BVI; and over 60 sets of proceedings in the Russian Arbitrazh and labour courts.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • One of the world’s leading natural resources companies in relation to a series of disputes and related criminal allegations in respect of a joint venture undertaking in West Africa, involving allegations of bribery, fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of warranty and frustration.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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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  • The Russian Federation in relation to the successful grant of summary judgment to the Bond Trustee in a case against Ukraine for repayment of a US$3 billion eurobond issued by Ukraine and held by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

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

  • 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-era creditor to attach monies payable to the Development Fund for Iraq before the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in the UK. Separately, successfully defending an attack by the same 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 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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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