Gerard McMeel is both an academic lawyer, specialising in commercial law and banking law, and a practising Barrister, with over two decades experience of trial work, appellate advocacy, urgent commercial applications and advisory work. He will be sworn in as Queen’s Counsel on 16 March 2020. He has held Chairs at three leading UK universities. From July 2020 he will be the Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Reading. He lectures and supervises in contract law, commercial law and banking law. Gerard was previously the Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Manchester, a Professor of Law at the University of Bristol, and he is a prolific legal author. He has held visiting positions at Duke University, Tel-Aviv University, the University of South Carolina, Hong Kong University and Singapore Management University.
As a Barrister Gerard practises in the commercial and financial spheres, with a particular focus on banking and financial services litigation. Gerard’s commercial practice regularly includes advising on the meaning and effect of contractual terms and boilerplate clauses. He has expertise in commercial fraud, and a particular interest in unjust enrichment and restitution. His financial services practice includes: investor claims; commercial disputes involving networks of financial intermediaries, and between product providers and appointed representatives; and regulatory and disciplinary work in respect of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Gerard’s significant cases include: Anderson and others v Sense Network Ltd, (Court of Appeal)  EWCA Civ 1395,  Bus LR 1, and (Jacobs J)  EWHC 2834 (Comm),  Bus LR 1601 where he was trial advocate for 95 victims of a Ponzi scheme; Swynson Ltd v Lowick Rose LLP  UKSC 32,  AC 313 in the Supreme Court (with Hugh Sims QC); Bull v Gain Capital Holdings Inc  EWHC 539 (Comm) (with Hugh Mercer QC); TFL Management Services Ltd v Lloyds TSB Bank plc  EWCA 1413,  1 WLR 2006; Westwood Independent Financial Planners v Financial Conduct Authority (22 November 2013; Upper Tribunal); AXA Sun Life Services plc v Campbell Martin Ltd  EWCA Civ 133,  2 Lloyd’s Rep 1; Seymour v Caroline Ockwell & Co  PNLR 758; and 21st Century Logistic Solutions v Madysen  2 Lloyd’s Rep 92
Gerard routinely acts in multiple claimant investor claims (such as Bull v Gain Capital for 495 claimants) and for high net worth individuals, including acting for Mr and Mrs Alan Shearer in their multi-million pound claim against Suffolk Life Pensions Ltd and Suffolk Life Annuities Ltd (Suffolk Life), a Self-Invested Personal Pension provider and a life insurance company, and other parties. The claims related to permissible assets in their SIPP, unregulated collective investment schemes and traded life policy investments. The trial commenced on 14 July 2017 before Mr Justice Leggatt in the Commercial Court, and on the second day the Shearers settled their claims on commercial terms. Gerard also appeared in Adams v Carey SIPP (with John Virgo) for the investor in a test case on the responsibilities of of Self-Invested Personal Pensions provider firm for esoteric assets introduced by an unauthorised intermediary, in the Chancery Division, London; the Financial Conduct Authority intervened. Judgment awaited.
Gerard also acts as an expert witness on English law issues.
Gerard is ranked in both main legal practitioner directories Chambers & Partners in three practice areas - Commercial Dispute Resolution, Professional Negligence and Banking & Finance – and in the Legal 500, together with Who’s Who Legal – UK Bar for Banking & Financial Services.
- “Excellent with clients” (Chambers & Partners: Banking & Finance)
- “He is an expert in this field and very good on his feet.” (Chambers & Partners: Professional Negligence)
- “He’s very likeable, and few barristers have a greater grasp of financial services regulations.” (Chambers & Partners: Commercial Dispute Resolution).
- “Gerard has encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services law and remains pre-eminent in the field.” (The Legal 500; Ranked No 1 Junior).