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Chambers of Michael Furness QC

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Joanna Smith QC

Work 020 7306 0102
Wilberforce Chambers (Chambers of Michael Furness QC)


Joanna’s broad litigation practice encompasses advice and advocacy in the fields of professional liability, professional regulation, commercial litigation, arbitration (domestic/international), construction, adjudication, mediation (as a qualified mediator) and insurance. Her advocacy has been complimented at the highest level by Lord Neuberger in Cavendish v Makdessi [2015] UKSC 67 as showing “considerable forensic skill”.

On the commercial/contract side, Joanna successfully led the winning team in the Supreme Court in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Makdessi [2015] UKSC 67, a seminal case which has redefined the doctrine of penalties. In 2016/2017, her reported commercial court cases include Tiuta v Rawlinson & Hunter [2016] EWHC 3480 (comm), a decision on the consequences of a Part 36 Offer; Team Y&R Holdings Hong Kong Limited v Ghossoub [2017] EWHC 2401 (comm), a fight over an anti-suit injunction application and applications to set aside orders for service out of the jurisdiction and for alternative service and Towergate Financial (Group) Limited v Clark [2017] EWHC 2330 (comm), a summary judgment application in a claim for breach of indemnity provisions in a share purchase agreement. The latter two cases are awaiting the outcome of applications to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

In the field of professional liability, Joanna has recently appeared before the Supreme Court in Tiuta v De Villiers [2017] UKSC 77, a valuer’s negligence claim in which the ‘but for’ test of causation has been put under the spot light in the context of the very particular facts of that case. In 2016/2017 Joanna has appeared in The Connaught Income Fund Series 1 v Hewetts Solicitors [2016] EWHC 2286 (Ch) (a case which will be considered by the Court of Appeal at a 2 day appeal in 2018) and in the Court of Appeal in Orientfield Holdings v Bird & Bird LLP[2017] PNLR 31, an appeal involving causation issues in a claim involving solicitors.

Joanna’s recent work in the construction field has involved acting in May 2017 for a Joint Venture Contractor in a multi-million USD two week arbitration relating to the construction of airport facilities in the Gulf applying UAE law.

In the regulatory sphere, this year, Joanna has acted on behalf of the Financial Reporting Council and has prosecuted a substantial audit firm and two audit partners within that firm for misconduct (in a two week trial in October 2017).


Called 1990; qualified mediator 2003; QC 2009; director of Bar Mutual 2015.


Professional Negligence Bar Association; Commercial Bar Association; Chancery Bar Association; TECBAR; The Society of Construction Arbitrators (Supporting member); Director of Bar Mutual.


King’s School, Ely; Christ Church College, Oxford (1989 BA First Class Hons Jurisprudence); John V Lovitt Prize for Jurisprudence; Hardwicke, Mansfield and Denning scholar of Lincoln’s Inn; called 1990; qualified mediator 2003; QC 2009.

London Bar

Commercial litigation

Within: Leading Silks

Joanna Smith QC - Wilberforce ChambersAn excellent advocate, she is dynamic and inspires confidence.

Within: Commercial litigation

Wilberforce Chambers has 'excellent strength in depth' and is often the 'first port of call on all Chancery, trust matters'. The barristers are 'first-class specialists and masters of their brief' who 'never disappoint'. Clients note that the set's 'expansion in recent years has turned them into a full-service set to deal with any area of law'. A major highlight has been the significant role several members have had on the AHAB v SAAD dispute, including Tom Lowe QC and John Wardell QC who are on opposing sides. Joanna Smith QC was also instructed to represent the apellants before the Supreme Court in Frederick v Positive Solutions Financial Services Limited.

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Within: Leading Silks

Joanna Smith QC - Wilberforce ChambersShe has an established construction practice.

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Professional negligence

Within: Leading Silks

Joanna Smith QC - Wilberforce ChambersExtremely sharp and personable.

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