Practice Summary

John’s speciality is trial law and cross-examination of both factual and expert witnesses.

John has practised at the Johannesburg Bar since 1990 (as a Silk since 2005) and the London Bar since 2009. He has appeared in courts at all levels in both jurisdictions, including the Constitutional Court in South Africa and the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom.

He has appeared in some of the most contentious and high-profile cases in recent times in South Africa, including for the Competition Commission against the General Council of the Bar on a wide range of fees issues; and against a recent Minister of Health who sought to prohibit a newspaper from publishing details of her medical treatment in the context of a public debate about her health policies.

Areas of Experience (Select to add to the CV download)


He has a broad commercial practice, including contractual disputes, tax, copyright, restraints of trade and competition law; and he has reported decisions in all these areas. His clients have ranged from large multinationals to regulators and individuals. Most recently in the UK, he advised on aspects of the paraffin wax cartel.


John has expertise in tort, particularly in the fields of libel, privacy and wrongful arrest and prosecution. He has acted for individuals in both the UK and South Africa in libel cases, for local authorities in the UK and appears regularly for South Africa’s largest circulation newspaper.


John also appears in public law cases, including administrative, human rights, constitutional and regulatory law; and regularly advises both companies and public authorities on procurement and tender issues.

Academic writing

John has also written extensively on aspects of public law for both UK and SA publications and his article on legitimate expectations in the South African Law Journal has been cited in UK text books. He has also published articles on libel in both UK and SA journals. In a forthcoming European work, he argues that the new Commonwealth defence of reasonable (or responsible) publication is, in reality, the re-introduction of fault into the law of libel.

Recent Cases

Most recently in the UK, John has appeared in Consumer Credit cases. These include Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance Ltd and Anor at trial, in the Court of Appeal ([2013] EWCA Civ 1658 (16 December 2013); [2013] All ER (D) 152 (Dec)) and in the Supreme Court [2014] UKSC 61.

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“4-5 Gray's Inn Square is "a great presence on regulatory matters,”

Chambers UK