Jonathan read law at UCW Aberystwyth and graduated in 1985, after which he joined the company secretariat of British Aerospace plc (now BAE Systems plc) where he spent four years.
From there he moved to the legal department of Yorkshire Television plc for two years. He then attended the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court Law School and was called to the Bar in 1992. He joined Ropewalk Chambers as a pupil that year and has remained with Chambers ever since.
Believing that variety is the spice of life, he has a broad ranging practice with particular interests and expertise in planning and environmental law, highways, local government, rights of way and other property disputes, professional negligence, personal injury and disease litigation.
He prides himself on being approachable and accessible to his clients and is always willing informally to discuss cases in which he is involved. He is a vigorous advocate in court, bringing careful attention to detail to his preparation in particular of technical matters requiring the assistance of expert witnesses.
He accepts instructions for professionals other than solicitors as well as direct access instructions. He is also an accredited mediator.
Away from the Bar, his interests extend to flogging himself up mountains only to hurl himself off them again on skis and bicycles, cross country running, wine and opera with a bit of gardening throw in. Given the opportunity he would keep pigs.
Planning & Environmental
Jonathan heads up our Planning and Environmental Team. He has acted in major planning inquiries, including the Dibden Bay Inquiry, the UK’s longest ever inquiry, and has a reputation for getting quickly to the heart of the issue and for thoroughness, particularly in cross examination of expert witnesses. He acts for both local authorities and developers and accepts direct access instructions.
Property & Real Estate
Jonathan thoroughly enjoys all property related cases. They are the stuff of history and human relations. He always seeks to give pragmatic advice and wherever possible to resolve such cases for his clients without resort to litigation; neighbours have to continue life together. He has wide experience in cases involving claims in nuisance coupled with a clear understanding of the law.
Jonathan’s practice in this area is focused on premises in disrepair or dangerous condition. This often requires an understanding of technical building issues. Cases where there are difficult issues of law are a particular speciality.
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Having started life working in industry, Jonathan has a sound appreciation and understanding of the commercial realities of life. He prides himself of giving pragmatic advice, which is not overly legalistic, aimed at delivering the result the client wants. He takes the view that litigation is to be avoided unless necessary and, if unavoidable, seeks to insulate his clients from adverse costs orders in the pre-litigation process.
Jonathan advises both insurers and policyholders in connection with policy coverage issues and in connection fraudulent or dishonest claims. He is particularly experienced in fire claims.
Public Sector & Not for Profit
Jonathan acts for many local authorities advising them on a wide range of difficult legal problems and liability issues, where the question of whether or not a duty of care is owed is not always clear cut.
Jonathan has lengthy experience both prosecuting and defending regulatory crime, particular in the planning, environmental and health and safety fields. In addition, he has worked with trading standards officers to assist them in their work. He always aims to take a realistic view of such cases on behalf of his clients and never shies from giving difficult advice.
Jonathan has many years’ experience of acting in matters of alleged professional negligence, particularly those concerning the construction, financial services and legal sectors.
Jonathan has wide experience of catastrophic injury cases, primarily involving cases of acquired brain injury. He has obtained damages in excess of eight figure sums on behalf of such Claimants. In addition, he has acted in claims concerning the severest spinal injuries, sometimes involving difficult liability issues.
Jonathan specialises in personal injury claims involving difficult liability issues, often involving multiple Defendants, as well as larger claims where the causation of the injuries in question is at issue. He particularly enjoys cases involving highways and construction sites.
Disease is one of the mainstays of personal injury work at Ropewalk Chambers and Jonathan has been involved in this work since he joined Chambers. He has wide ranging experience in such cases from noise-induced hearing loss to asbestos disease. He acts for both Claimants and Defendants and is known for giving robust, no-nonsense advice.
Jonathan has many years’ experience of acting on behalf of families and interested parties in Coronial matters. He has appeared in inquests across a wide range of issues over the course of twenty-five years at the Bar.
Jonathan has deep experience in dealing with claims involving technical issues and accident reconstruction, where an understanding of engineering and physics is required. He is able quickly to grasp such technical issues and to cross-examine experts effectively. As a keen cyclist himself, Jonathan is frequently instructed in actions involving cyclists, some of which have been of the utmost severity.
Jonathan’s practice is principally on behalf of Claimants. He has experience of a wide range of issues, from relatively minor claims to cases of catastrophic injury and fatality.
- Accredited Mediator
- Direct Access Qualified
- Planning and Environmental Law Bar Association
- United Kingdom Environmental Law Association
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
- Personal Injuries Bar Association
- LLB, University College of wales, Aberystwyth
- Northumbrian Water Ltd v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd  EWCA Civ 685.
- White v South Derbyshire DC  EWHC 3495 (Admin).
- Day v Tasker and Multiflight Ltd (QBD Leeds DR 18th December 2009): Helicopter crash.
- Personal Representatives of Parker v Nottinghamshire County Council  EWHC 229 (Admin): Footpath modification.
- Cole v Davis-Gilbert  EWCA Civ 396: Tripping accident on a village green.
- Blanksby v Turner  PIQR P272 CA: Practice and procedure, service of claim form.
- Noble v The RH Group Ltd  PIQR P235 CA: Contractual indemnity in personal injury case.
- Grubb v Price Waterhouse Coopers & Notts County Council  3 L.G.L.R. 15 &  BLGR 32, Blofield J: Judicial review of decision of local government auditor.
- Leeson v Quinn Court of Appeal (Civil Division) 28th February 2000: Appeal against adverse finding of liability in a road traffic accident.
"Down to earth and a very safe pair of hands."
Chambers & Partners 2020 - Personal injury
"He's very good at sorting the wheat from the chaff and focuses from the outset on what the key issues are going to be." "He's always well prepared, and is very realistic and straightforward in his advice."
Chambers & Partners 2019 - Personal injury
"Very well known for his expertise in environmental and planning cases."
Legal 500 2019 - Construction, planning and environment
"Well-regarded junior with capabilities in all manner of personal injury issues including RTAs and employers' liability claims." "He is very good in court. He has a clear understanding of the intricacies of certain complex areas of law and will go the extra mile for the case." "A skilful, first-rate advocate who is always well prepared and detailed in his approach."
Chambers & Partners 2017 - Personal injury
"Jonathan Mitchell is a key name for environmental and planning law matters."
Legal 500 2017 - Construction, planning and environment
"He never fails to impress; his advocacy is second to none and he translates complex issues into plain language."
Legal 500 2016 - Construction, planning and environment
"Well-regarded junior with capabilities in all manner of personal injury issues including RTA's and employers' liability claims." "Jonathan has very good advocacy skills". "Thoroughly experienced."
Chambers & Partners 2016 - Personal injury
"An experienced practitioner who is regularly instructed by local planning authorities."
Legal 500 2015 - Construction, planning and environment
"Has significant expertise in local government matters." "Praised for his 'in depth knowledge' of planning law."
Legal 500 2014 - Planning, public law and regulatory
Areas of Expertise
- Catastrophic Injury
- Commercial Dispute Resolution
- Criminal Regulatory
- Personal Injury
- Planning & Environmental
- Professional Negligence
- Property & Real Estate
- Public Sector & Not for Profit