Gerard McMeel

Year of call: 1993

 "He's excellent with clients and very responsive. He's a go-to for financial services work."
Chambers UK 2019

Gerard Gerard

Gerard acts and advises in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Banking and Financial Services matters. He has appeared in a wide variety of courts and forums, including, recently, the Court of Appeal, the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division, the Bristol and Cardiff Mercantile Courts, the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and in an international commercial arbitration in London.

Banking & Finance

Expertise in financial services matters comprises long-standing experience in negligent investment advice cases, involving independent financial advisers, company representatives, stockbrokers and other intermediaries.

Gerard acts for life offices, general insurance companies, trust companies, financial advisers and in disputes involving networks of IFAs and between product providers and appointed representatives. He advises on all aspects of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, including financial promotion and collective investment schemes. Gerard also deals with disciplinary and enforcement matters involving the Financial Services Authority.

Gerard acted in the leading investment case of Seymour v Ockwell. Subsequently, he advised and represented Zurich companies in various matters, including disputes in the Queen's Bench Division in London, the Chancery Division, the Bristol Mercantile Court, the Birmingham Mercantile Court, the Leeds Mercantile Court and Manchester Mercantile Court, as well as acting for other insurer clients, including Legal & General, Liverpool Victoria and AXA Sun Life.

Gerard's practice also encompasses general insurance work, including advising general insurers on policy avoidance and cover issues.

A significant proportion of the advisory work over recent years has involved the provision of advice to high net worth individuals on the consequences for their portfolios of the financial crisis, and potential claims against financial advisers, brokers and banks.

Significant Cases

  • Sccessfully represented the investors in the leading case of Seymour v Caroline Ockwell & Co and Zurich IFA Ltd [2005] EWHC 1137 (QB), [2005] PNLR 798.
  • Successfully obtained judgment for Zurich in its dispute with a former intermediary, Ivan Massow, pioneer of the "pink pound", who had made allegations of corporate homophobia against Zurich Advice Network and Allied Dunbar.
  • Successfully resisted proceedings brought against Zurich and one of its representatives by the Nigerian international and Portsmouth FC football player Nwankwo Kanu in the Chancery Division before Etherton J.
  • Represented Zurich at trial in November 2008 before Sir Thomas Morison in the Queen's Bench Division in Allied Dunbar v Matania and Pullen; a dispute between Zurich and a former appointed representative, in which the intermediary had claimed that prominent international rugby players were mis-sold investments. This matter settled after 5 days. The matter attracted press coverage as a result of England's Simon Shaw providing evidence ("Rugby aces scrum down in court over 'mis-sold' policies worth thousands of pounds" Mail on Sunday, 15 November 2008; Evening Standard 16 November 2008).
  • Successfully represented the Zurich group in Allied Dunbar v Webwatch Limited (two judgments dated 1 June and 14 July 2009: a trial spread over eight days in the Bristol Mercantile Court); obtained judgment for over £600,000 and reducing the alleged million pound plus counterclaim to a sum of £60,000. Instructed by Bevan Brittan. In his judgment HHJ Sir Mark Havelock-Allan QC described Gerard as a "formidable opponent", adding: "Mr McMeel is a specialist in the law of financial services and a co-author of a major textbook on that topic."
  • Successfully represented AXA Sun Life in a dispute with a financial adviser concerning failure to provide information concerning GARs in the Leeds Mercantile Court in Carroll v AXA Sun Life Services Ltd [2010] EWHC 2233 (Merc), which included exploration of the limitation issues arising from 'chain of information' cases (based on Seymour v Ockwell) and the impact of a determination of the Financial Ombudsman Service (in the light of Law Society v Sephton).
  • Represented former appointed representatives of AXA Sun Life in resisting AXA Sun Life's appeal; in AXA Sun Life Services plc v Campbell Martin Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 133; the case established that AXA's entire agreement clause did not exclude its liability for misrepresentations by its employees, and that its standard clause restricting set-off was ineffective under the Unfair Contracts Terms Act 1977.
  • In February 2011 represented an offshore, high net worth investor in a claim against his UK stockbrokers before Mr Justice Kitchin sitting in the Chancery Division in Bristol concerning offshore investments, unauthorised intermediaries and ss 27 and 28 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 in a two day summary judgment hearing: Bijlani v Pritchards Stockbrokers Ltd.
  • Successfully represented a corporate property investor in respect of alleged misrepresentations and non-disclosure in respect of an unregulated collective investment scheme in property in a summary judgment application in May 2011 in the Chancery Division in London.

Commercial

Gerard's commercial practice includes a wide range of contractual and commercial matters, including:

  • Sale of goods and supply of service
  • Storage and distribution
  • Carriage and other bailment issues
  • Asset finance and agency agreements (including the Commercial Agents Regulations)
  • Expertise on contractual interpretation issues and drafting of standard terms

He regularly provides advice and acts in cases with an international component, and has expertise in the standard export and import terms and international carriage conventions.

Pre-emptive commercial remedies, including:

  • Summary judgment
  • Default judgment
  • Freezing injunctions
  • Search orders
  • Interim delivery up of goods
  • Interlocutory injunctions

International and conflicts issues, including:

  • Jurisdiction
  • Choice of law

Claims for restitution including:

  • Mistaken payments
  • Common law actions for recovery of money and property
  • Tracing and constructive trusts

Gearard's expertise also includes legislative and regulatory control of contractual provisions (including European contract law), including the impact of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

In 2012 Gerard acted as an Expert Witness for the European Parliament in Brussels in respect of the regulation of unfair contract terms under the proposed Common European Sales Law. He is a contributor to Dannemann and Vogenauer, The Common European Sales Law in Context (2013). Gerard is a member of the Advisory Group of judges, practitioners and academics in respect of Professor Burrows’s forthcoming Restatement of the English Law of Contract.

Recent Cases

  • AJ Building and Plastering Ltd v Turner [2013] EWHC 484 (QB).
  • AXA Sun Life Services Plc v Campbell Martin Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 133.

Recovery of Misapplied Funds

Urgent and interlocutory commercial remedies including injunctions and freezing orders and particular expertise in claims for restitution of the proceeds of fraud and other misdirected funds. Gerard has a long-standing interest in the emerging law of unjust enrichment and restitution. He recently acted for Lloyd’s Bank in the Court of Appeal in TFL Management Services v Lloyd’s Bank plc [2013] EWCA 1415, concerning issues of unjust enrichment and indirect benefit.

Gerard was a member of the Advisory Group of judges, practitioners and academics in respect of Professor Burrows’s A Restatement of the English Law of Unjust Enrichment (Oxford University Press, 2012). Gerard has been the Regional Editor for England and Wales of the Restitution Law Review since 2001.

Recommendations


CHAMBERS UK 2018

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Highly experienced junior counsel whose banking and finance practice centres on the representation of banks, insurance companies and financial intermediaries. He is especially expert in handling claims arising out of unsuccessful investments, Ponzi schemes and interest rate swap mis-selling. He also deals with enforcement proceedings and disciplinary matters relating to the Financial Service Authority.

Strengths: "He provides excellent analysis and is very user-friendly."

Recent work: Acted in a professional negligence appeal in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the quantification of damages and collateral benefits in connection with a corporate takeover.

Commercial Dispute Resolution 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Noted for his expertise in banking and finance matters. He is adept at handling cases concerning unregulated collective schemes, interest rate swaps and film finance schemes. He frequently acts for investors, banks and high net worth individuals.

Strengths: "He's very likeable, and few barristers have a greater grasp of the financial services regulation of the last 20 years." "He's very user-friendly - clients really like him, too."

Recent work: Acted in a professional negligence appeal by an accountancy firm concerning a negligently prepared due diligence report on a target company.


LEGAL 500 2017

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

‘A specialist in financial services litigation.’


CHAMBERS UK 2017

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Highly experienced junior counsel whose banking and finance practice centres on the representation of banks, insurance companies and financial intermediaries. He is especially expert in handling claims arising out of unsuccessful investments, Ponzi schemes and interest rate swap mis-selling.

Strengths: "A first-class financial services specialist."

Recent work: Represented 452 investors in bringing a Commercial Court claim against a US foreign exchange company which had allegedly solicited hundreds of millions of dollars from investors by way of an unauthorised UK representative. 

Commercial Dispute Resolution 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Held in very high regard for his work in the fields of banking and finance, and especially commended for his academic prowess. He regularly acts for banks, investors and high net worth individuals. 

Strengths: "He is very measured and calm, with excellent analysis." "He has been our barrister of choice for a long time. He has a nice easy manner with us and with the clients; he's an effective advocate but also very good in conference."


LEGAL 500 2016

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

'A winning combination of being a genuine financial services expert and very user-friendly.'


CHAMBERS UK 2016

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Has visibility in high-profile financial and banking matters respresenting both sides of the docket, and is also needed for his academic presence in the sector. He is particularly familiar with the Financial Services and Markets Act which informs much of his work for banks and other financial insitiutions. He also represents individual claimants. 

Strengths: "He has the ear of the court and the confidence of both the judges and the opposition as well. He's an academic by nature so he knows the law inside-out and really gets into the detail." "We consider him to be very skilled and knowledgeable in the area of financial promotions and regulated activities."

Recent work: Represented a group of over 80 individuals in claims against the hedge fund Pentagon following its collapse, and Canada Life which allowed it to operate broker-managed funds through offshore structures in the Isle of Man.

Commercial Dispute Resolution 

Leading Junior - Band 1

Has a commercial practice which emphasises financial services work and also encompasses contractual and property litigation. He is also noted for his expertise in ADR, including mediation and arbitration. 

Strengths: "He is extremely knowledgeable and pragmatic. He has a breadth of knowledge which he conveys in such a straightforward way. He is interested in approaching issues from all angles and is always cheerful to boot!"

Recent work: Acted for Churngold Recycling in a claim concerning an alleged unlawful search by the Environment Agency. The claim was heard in Bristol Mercantile Court, including an interlocutory appeal in the Court of Appeal concerning the remedy for interference with property.


LEGAL 500 2015

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'Very responsive, and and original thinker.'


CHAMBERS UK 2015

Banking & Finance

Leading Junior - Band 1

Has a strong commercial banking practice complemented by strengths in financial services and commercial dispute resolution. He is highly regarded for his technical acumen, particularly in cases concerning EU regulation.

Expertise: "He's excellent both on paper and on his feet, as well as with clients." "He's an expert in matters concerning commercial contracts and restitution."

Recent work: Acts for a collection of more than 400 investors in a dispute with a US FX company that allegedly solicited millions of dollars of retail investors' money in breach of the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior - Band 1

Has a broad commercial practice with a heavy focus on financial service matters. He has appeared in a variety of courts and forums, and regularly advises and acts on cases with an international element.

Expertise: "He is extremely pleasant to work with, very quick and diligent, and very likeable. He is an intellectual giant." "He is very knowledgeable and very pleasant to deal with."

Recent work: Acted for hundreds of investors in a dispute against Gain Capital LLC, a US foreign exchange company, for breach of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.


LEGAL 500 2014

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'Recommended for commercial litigation, and banking and finance disputes.'


CHAMBERS UK 2014

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Handles a range of commercial litigation and financial services disputes. He is noted for his particular expertise in financial intermediary disputes.

Expertise: "He is an excellent barrister who is the expert in the financial services sector."

Recent work: He acted on behalf of more than 300 investors in a High Court action against a US foreign exchange company which had allegedly solicited millions of dollars of investors' cash via an unauthorised UK representative.

Banking & Financial Services

Wins acclaim for his financial services regulation expertise. Recently instructed on numerous interest rate swap mis-selling claims.

Expertise: "He's very good with clients, very good with detail and the law and very responsive." "A proper expert in the field."

Recent work: Acted on behalf of Ageas Insurance in connection with a civil fraud claim arising out of staged road accidents.


LEGAL 500 2013

Commercial Dispute Resolution

The 'clear and persuasive' Gerard McMeel.


CHAMBERS UK 2013

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Gerard McMeel is both Professor of Law at the University of Bristol and a first-rate barrister. Sources rate him for his ability to provide "unexpected interpretations of the law," and he is another who is seen as a noted problem solver within the set.


LEGAL 500 2012

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Gerard McMeel's practice has a focus on financial services matters.


CHAMBERS UK 2012

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Solicitors perceive Gerard McMeel as being blessed with "an excellent mix of academic ability and great commercial nous." He is also possessed of "a fine way with clients, guiding them through complex issues with ease." He bolsters his commercial disputes practice with extensive expertise of financial services litigation.


CHAMBERS UK 2011

Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Gerard McMeel is also recognised for his commercial litigation expertise. He regularly handles complex, high-value financial services and commercial contractual disputes. "He is very user-friendly, excellent in court and gets results", say sources."


LEGAL 500, 2010

Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Gerard McMeel is 'an expert in financial services, approachable and pragmatic'."


CHAMBERS UK 2010

Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Gerard McMeel is a very strong academic lawyer with extensive financial services expertise. Sources say, he is 'absolutely spot-on in terms of how he delivers advice, thinking about how his audience will deal with it.' One peer described him as 'a very penetrating pleader,' ,who is 'very authoritative in cases on his own turf'."


CHAMBERS UK 2009

Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Combining 'powerful academic intellect with strong commercial sense,' Gerard McMeel handles a workload ranging from ordinary day-to-day issues to high-profile cases with an international element. His practice incorporates both commercial litigation and financial services work."


CHAMBERS UK 2008

Commercial Dispute Resolution

"Gerard McMeel is increasingly seen as 'leading the way on financial services,' an area that, along with commercial disputes, forms the majority of his practice. His recent matters of note include advice provided to Zurich/Allied Dunbar in various cases. For example he offered counsel on Zurich'0s franchise contract dispute with former London mayoral candidate Ivan Massow, and defended proceedings brought against Zurich and one of its representatives by the Nigerian international and Portsmouth FC football player Nwankwo Kanu. He has a growing reputation for 'delivering sound commercial advice'."


CHAMBERS UK 2007

"Gerard McMeel handles both commercial and financial services disputes. This 'pragmatic and extremely bright advocate delivers sound commercial advice' and is very good with clients who feel like he is part of their team. He appeared in a delivery up hearing, concerning over 100 cars that arose out of the collapse of MG Rover. He further represented the investors in a claim involving an offshore bond in the Bahamas which collapsed amidst allegations of fraud."

CLERK CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information and enquiries please contact:

Commercial: Chris Checketts

Appointments

  • Professor of Commercial Law, University of Manchester (2013-Present)
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Singapore Management University (2010-Present)
  • Professor of Law, University of Bristol (2002-2013)
  • Reader in Commercial Law, University of Bristol (2001-2002)
  • Visiting Professor of Law, University of South Carolina (2000-2001)
  • Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Capital Markets (Law School), Duke University (2001)
  • Lecturer in Law, Merton College, University of Oxford (1991-1993)

Memberships

  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • The Society of Legal Scholars
  • Western Chancery & Commercial Bar Association
  • Western Circuit

education

  • Duke of Edinburgh Scholar (Inner Temple)
  • Major Scholarship (Inner Temple)
  • Inns of Court Studentship (Inns of Court)
  • Pegasus Scholarship (Inns of Court)
  • Richards Butler Prize for International Trade Law, University of Oxford
  • MA in Jurisprudence, BCL
  • Brasenose College, University of Oxford
  • St Mary's College, Blackburn