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 4 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, counter fraud, costs, 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 and Environmental
Jonathan Mitchell is head of the Ropewalk Chambers’ Planning and Environmental Team. He has been praised for his in depth knowledge of planning law.
He has a wide range of experience in all planning matters. Together with his colleague in Chambers, Graham Machin, he successfully represented English Nature (now part of Natural England) at the major planning inquiry, which lasted 12 months, held in connection with a significant infrastructure project proposed by Associated British Ports in Southampton Water to construct a 6 berth container terminal at Dibden Bay, which had the potential to affect a number of international protected nature conservation sites. Nature conservation grounds were a key reason for refusal of the application.
He has also prosecuted cases on behalf of English Nature and undertaken appeals and inquiries in to the notification and protection of SSSI’s.
He is regularly instructed on behalf of local planning authorities and private developers in connection with all planning related matters including prosecution and enforcement.
Public Sector and Not For Profit
Jonathan is head of the Public Sector and Not for Profit Team.
He has extensive experience of local government matters, in particular in relation to issues of statutory interpretation. He not infrequently appears in the Administrative Court. He has clerked Educational Appeal Tribunals.
He has a particular interest in highways related matters and has appeared in several inquiries in connection with highway diversion and creation orders. He appeared in the case of the Personal Representatives of Parker v Nottinghamshire County Council  EWHC 229 (Admin), which concerned a footpath modification order affecting the Trent Navigation Act 1783 and an award under the North Muskham Inclosure Act 1771.
He also appeared in the case of Grubb v Price Waterhouse Coopers and Notts County Council  3 L.G.L.R. 15 and  BLGR 32, Blofield J, a judicial review of the decision of a local government auditor.
He has also conducted a number of village green inquiries under the Commons Land Registration Act 1965 (now the Commons Act 2006) acting on behalf of both applicants and land owners. His village green experience proved invaluable in the personal injury case of Cole v Davis-Gilbert  EWCA Civ 396 (tripping accident on a village green).
Recently he represented a local authority in a prosecution brought under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960: White v South Derbyshire DC  EWHC 3495 (Admin).
Property and Chancery
Jonathan frequently undertakes property and chancery work involving land disputes of all kinds, including landlord and tenant work. He particularly enjoys boundary and right of way disputes and is known for his practical and sensible advice in what can be highly charged situations.
He has particular expertise in cases involving nuisance to land. He successfully represented a local authority in connection with a claim brought by a farmer who had lost his potato crop allegedly because the local authority had failed to clear its drainage ditches thereby causing water to back up in the system and waterlog the farmer’s potato field.
Recently he successfully fended off a claim against a construction company, who had inadvertently injected concrete into a nearby sewer: Northumbrian Water Ltd v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd  EWHC 1940 (TCC).
Drawing on his pre-Bar experience, Jonathan has an active commercial practice. He has a sound practical and commercial sense and is able to guide clients to commercially prudent solutions for their legal problems. He is well aware that litigation is not an ideal solution and encourages his clients to participate in alternative ways of resolving their disputes, in which he is well able to assist.
He represented both a firm of vets and a feed supplier, who had both had the temerity to sue on unpaid bills, to defend a multi-million pounds counter-claim brought by their pig farmer client. The case required a detailed understanding of the management and nutrition of a herd of pigs as well as forensic accountancy. The counterclaim was withdrawn very shortly before trial.
He has wide experience in professional negligence claims of all kinds and has conducted numerous claims for and against professionals of all stripes including accountants, lawyers, architects and medical practitioners.
Jonathan has wide experience in all manner of personal injury claims including catastrophic injury cases. He has achieved a 7 figure settlement for a client injured in a motor cycle accident whilst riding the Isle of Man TT course. The case had particularly difficult liability issues.
Being a very keen cyclist, he was able to bring an additional element to a case involving a catastrophically brain injured cyclist for whom he recently achieved a multi-million pounds settlement.
Further cases on behalf of catastrophically injured clients (tetraplegia and brain injury) continue.
He appeared in the case of Day v Tasker and Multiflight Ltd QBD Leeds DR 18th December 2009, which involved a detailed exploration with multiple expert witnesses of the cause of a helicopter crash and required a detailed understanding of both flying skills and helicopter control systems.
He recently appeared successfully on behalf of a local authority in a case in which it was alleged that a bridge had been negligently designed and built so that local cyclists persistently cycled under it and suffered head injuries. By focusing the court’s attention properly on the law he was able to demonstrate that no liability attached.
Other notable cases include Noble v The RH Group Ltd  PIQR P235 CA (contractual indemnity in a personal injury case), Blanksby v Turner  PIQR P272 CA (practice and procedure; service of claim form) and Cole v Davis-Gilbert  EWCA Civ 396 (tripping accident on a village green).
He has long experience of disease related work and, in particular noise induced hearing loss, hand arm vibration white finger and asbestos related diseases. He brings a detailed knowledge of the law of limitation to disease cases.
He represents both Claimants and Defendants and is frequently engaged in large multi-claimant cases.
He has also represented a pilot who complained of gas and fumes entering his cockpit.
Jonathan is also regularly instructed in clinical negligence claims.
Sadly more and more claims are being made fraudulently. Jonathan is a prominent member of the Ropewalk Chambers’ team set up to assist insurance companies resist fraudulently brought claims.
He brings his robust and vigorous cross examination and detailed forensic skills to bear to achieve a successful outcome for his insurance clients.
Jonathan has significant experience in Magistrates’ and Crown Courts both prosecuting and defending cases brought under:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Environmental Protection Act 1990
- The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981
- The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (in one of which cases it was necessary to cite a case in which one Garrow had appeared!)
- The Town & Country Planning Act 1990, which cases demand particular attention to detail.
Jonathan has appeared in a range of notable cases including:
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 and Notts County Council  3 L.G.L.R. 15 and  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)