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Jonathan Forrester

Work 028 9027 1341
Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Work Department

Dispute resolution, construction.


Jonathan is the Managing Director of Cleaver Fulton Rankin specialising in real estate litigation, construction disputes, disputes about Wills and Trusts and commercial litigation. Jonathan is especially adept at handling high value class actions in property disputes. Cases have ranged from a multi million pound class action on behalf of 66 residents of a housing development, to acting in a dispute between joint venture partners in connection with a landmark commercial property, which settled for a sum in excess of £100m. Jonathan is also currently acting for Titanic Quarter Limited in relation to the enforcement of contracts for the sale of apartments at the Arc Residential Complex. He has also developed a strong reputation in the area of probate and trust litigation. In particular, he regularly acts for major charities in proceedings concerning the validity of wills, Inheritance Order claims, construction summonses and rectification proceedings. He has previously been described by Legal 500 interviews as ‘a truly excellent litigator’, who provides ‘excellent litigation advice’. Jonathan is also a keen proponent of alternative dispute resolution and has successfully completed the alternative dispute resolution and mediation training provided by the Law Society of Northern Ireland.


Trained Cleaver Fulton Rankin; qualified 2001; assistant solicitor, Cleaver Fulton Rankin 2001-04; associate, Cleaver Fulton Rankin 2004-08; Partner/Director, Cleaver Fulton Rankin 2008 to 2017. Managing Director, Cleaver Fulton Rankin 2017 to present. Current directorships: Cleaver Fulton Rankin. Publications of note: Jonathan has published several articles on a variety of legal issues in the Northern Irish Press and Business magazines, including the Belfast Telegraph, Business First and the Institute of Legacy Management newsletters. He has also given presentations to numerous local businesses and NICVA.


Law Society of Northern Ireland; Society of Construction Law.


Queen’s University Belfast (1997, LLB Hons); Queen’s University Belfast (1999, MSc Information Management); Queen’s University Belfast (2001, Institute for Professional Legal Studies).

Northern Ireland

Dispute resolution

Within: Dispute resolution

Cleaver Fulton Rankin ’s ‘excellent’ litigation team is ‘responsive, flexible, accommodating, enthusiastic, hardworking and possesses a strong commercial sense’. Practice head Patrick Fleming (‘shrewd and approachable’) is leading advice to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in an ongoing dispute brought by a contractor concerning an asbestos surveying services contract. In another mandate, Aaron Moore , who is well known for his expertise in property matters, represented the Charles Shiels Charity in a claim against the project architect and building contractor responsible for the design, contract management, redevelopment and refurbishment of 18 charitable houses in Northern Ireland. Fergal Maguire (‘his communication skills are exceptional and his advice is meticulous, clear and easy to follow’) is acting for Victoria Housing Estates in a dispute with three former directors concerning alleged misappropriation of funds worth £20m; this matter is complex as some of the funds were allegedly diverted to a number of associated companies set up by one of the directors and as the client is now registered as a charity, the diverting of assets could be considered actionable. Managing director Jonathan Forrester (‘driven and pragmatic’)  advises on high-value construction disputes, and Michael King has expertise in intellectual property disputes.

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Northern Ireland: Private client

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Within: Personal tax, trusts and probate

Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s ‘extremely efficient and knowledgeable’ private client team has expertise across a wide range of matters, including disputes in relation to wills and estates, related tax matters, estate planning, controllership issues and the administration of high-value trusts. The group frequently represents high-net-worth clients in multimillion-pound matters and advises charity clients on estate administration issues. Recent work includes disputes over the validity of wills, the protection of assets for vulnerable recipients and providing cross-border tax advice to high-net-worth clients with assets kept in different jurisdictions. Michael Graham leads the team, which includes managing director Jonathan Forrester, who is highly recommended for his contentious probate and trusts litigation expertise. William Cross retired in October 2017.

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