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Jonathan Kirk QC

Jonathan Kirk QC specialises in consumer law and financial regulation. In recent years this has primarily focused on issues of mis-selling, misleading prices, unfair terms and EU food regulation.

He is one of the two general editors of the ‘Encyclopedia of Financial Services Law’ and the author of a textbook on financial services, ‘Modern Financial Regulation‘. He is also the general editor of ‘Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice’ (‘the Pink Book’)

In 2015 he represented a parking company in the seminal case of ParkingEye Limited v Beavis, arguing before the Supreme Court that a £85 parking ticket issued for overstaying on private land was not a contractual penalty or an unfair term. He also defended several national companies against allegations of mis-selling or misleading prices.

He has substantial experience of litigation involving Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002, having represented parties in the OFT or CMA investigations into the supermarket, ticket reselling and furniture sectors.

He advises NTS (‘National Trading Standards’), the CTSI (‘Chartered Trading Standards Institute’), the Bar Council and the Law Society on consumer law matters.

He lectures widely on EU consumer and trading standards law. He has been an approved Bar Advocacy Trainer for 10 years and was appointed as counsel at the United Nations (ICTR) in 2005 and Queen’s Counsel in 2010.

  • R (on the application of Stephanie Hudson) v Liverpool City Council (High Court, QBD, 2016): contempt proceedings against the Council for breaching its undertaking to review its decision to restructure its consumer protection services;
  • R (Kingston upon Hull City Council) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Newcastle City Council and Greggs plc (High Court, Admin, 2016): represented Greggs plc, an interested party, in a judicial review of the endorsement by BIS’ Better Regulation Delivery Office (‘BRDO’) of advice given under the Primary Authority Scheme to Greggs plc, concerning provision of sanitary facilities;
  • Competition and Markets Authority v Various Supermarkets (2016): defended a supermarket in the CMA investigation into the Consumers’ Association (Which?) super-complaint about pricing and promotional practices in the groceries market;
  • Beavis v ParkingEye Ltd [2015] UKSC 67: acted for parking company in appeal to Supreme Court concerning an £85 parking charge; case is now the leading decision on penalty clauses, re-examining the scope of the common law doctrine and the approach to challenges to unfair terms in consumer contracts;
  • Competition and Markets Authority v Seatwave, Viagogo, StubHub! and Get Me In! (2015): defended the Getmein! website in the CMA investigation into the ticket re-selling market;
  • R (Hudson) v Liverpool City Council (High Court, Admin, 2015): acted in judicial review proceedings against Liverpool CC in relation to the claim that it had drastically reduced its trading standards capacity and therefore breached its European and domestic consumer protection responsibilities;
  • Torfaen County Borough Council v Tesco Stores Limited (2015) defended Tesco in allegation of mis-selling of peanuts under the Price Marking Order 2004;
  • British Parking Association v A Private Parking Enforcement Company (2015) defended a private parking company in disciplinary proceedings brought by the British Parking Association in relation to allegations of fraud by parking wardens falsely issuing parking tickets;
  • R (Wren Kitchens Limited) v Advertising Standards Authority (2015): acted for Wren Kitchens Limited in ASA adjudication on price comparisons and in subsequent judicial review proceedings;
  • Halsall & ors v Oasis Land Development Ltd (High Court, Ch Div, 2015): represented corporate defendant in a  fraudulent misrepresentation trial concerning land in the Cayman islands;
  • OFGEM v Various Energy Companies (2015): acted for OFGEM in allegations against energy companies under Part 8 EA and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (‘CPUT’);
  • Office of Fair Trading v Carpetright PLC, SCS, Dreams, Furniture Village Limited, Homestyle Operations Limited, Harveys and Bensons for Beds (2014): defended Carpetright PLC in the OFT’s investigation into alleged misleading reference pricing in the furniture retail sector;
  • Hertfordshire County Council and London Borough of Brent v Wendy Fair Markets Limited (High Court, Ch Div, 2014): claim under Part 8 EA 2002 for injunctive relief against market operators concerning consumer law infringements in relation to counterfeit goods;
  • Torfaen CBC v Douglas Willis Ltd [2013] UKSC 59 (Supreme Court): food standards and minimum durability labelling;
  • R v X Limited [2013] EWCA Crim 818 (Court of Appeal): first consideration of the meaning of ‘commercial practice’ under CPUT;
  • Birmingham CC v Tesco Stores Limited (2013): pricing under CPUT (strawberries);
  • Cheshire East v Salsa Enterprises Limited and Sean Ellman (2013): defence of company accused of breaching CPUT by selling ‘legal highs’;
  • R v Blake (2013): defence of managing director of finance company prosecuted for breach of financial conduct provisions;
  • OFT v First Step Finance Limited (2013): representation of company in relation to the revocation of its consumer credit licence;
  • House of Cars Ltd v Derby Car and Van Rental (2012): first private prosecution under CPUT;
  • East Riding of Yorks v UK Parking Control Ltd (2012) (CC, HC (QBD) and CofA): first trading standards enforcement of CPUT in private car parking enforcement;
  • R (LOCOG) v Sportsworld Limited, Events International Limited and International Corporate Events Limited (2012): defence of national ticket sales company prosecuted under the provisions of the 2006 Olympic Act;
  • Brighton & Hove CC v Towers Property Developments Ltd (High Court, Ch Div, 2011): first Part 8 EA 2002 and CPUT trading standards enforcement against land banking company.

“A first-class advocate with the ability to handle clients and judges equally adeptly.” Legal 500 2016

“He is truly exceptional.” Chambers and Partners 2016

“A consumer law specialist who… has acted for some of the biggest household names especially within the food industry, and is adept at handling pricing and trading standards investigations.” “He is able to give us clear and practical guidance on what we need to do to ensure that we would be in the best possible position to succeed.” Chambers and Partners 2016

“Clearly exceptional in consumer law; he will be any lawyer’s first-choice counsel.” Legal 500 2016

“A Rolls–Royce silk; exactly who you need on tricky consumer issues.” Legal 500 2015

Jonathan Kirk QC is “particularly known for his expertise in food law, pricing issues and Trading Standards investigations. He is commended for his strong advocacy and noted for his superior communication skills when dealing with clients, judges and opponents.” “He gives very pragmatic, commercial advice. He sets out the risks and offers practical solutions.” “Always well prepared and on top of the case.” Chambers and Partners 2015

Jonathan Kirk QC is ‘the best silk for high-pressure cases’, and ‘knows his area of law so much better than anyone else in court’ Legal 500, 2014

‘A top-notch, fluent advocate’, ‘Acclaimed for his inventive approach to disputes, and his smooth and convincing in-court performance’, ‘He sees arguments one doesn’t think of’ Chambers and Partners 2014

The “current silk of the moment in consumer law and the one to use in substantial cases” Legal 500, 2013


Jonathan Kirk QC is a member of the Bar European Group, Trading Standards Institute (corporate member), the Food Law Group, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association and the CBA


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