Jacob Gifford Head

Called:2010 Middle Temple

Specialisms:Arbitration, Commercial, Crime, Financial & Regulatory Crime, Courts Martial, Employment, Family, Direct Public Access, Insolvency, Personal Injury, Property



Jacob has a broad practice in commercial, general civil, employment, criminal and family law, as legal disputes are rarely confinded to single, discrete areas of law.


His strengths are providing clear, practical advice to individuals and companies together with fearless advocacy in court.


In addition to this brief summary, Jacob also maintains a website at http://www.giffordhead.co.uk which includes fuller profile, details of significant cases, and articles about various areas of law.


Jacob’s main civil interests are in commercial and contractual disputes, property and chancery, appearing in the High and County Court as well as carrying out advisory work.


Civil: Commercial & Contractual


Jacob is regularly instructed in commercial and contractual disputes, representing companies that range from multi-national corporations to unincorporated firms. Most cases touch on the interpretation and performance of contracts, although many range more widely into regulations, intellectual property work and even tort.


Having worked in Mauritius during 2015 for Thomas More International, he also has particular interest and experience in international disputes, including arbitrations (particularly under SIAC and MIAC) and the conflict of laws.


Examples of recent cases


  • Re: a Bank: Representing one of the UK’s largest banks in a number of claims arising out the mis-selling of interest rate hedging products to corporate customers.

  • Rawlinson and Hunter Trustees et al. v. Serious Fraud Office: Disclosure counsel in this high-profile, £300 million claim which arose out of the Serious Fraud Office’s failed investigation into the collapse of Kaupthing Bank.

  • S Ltd. v. C. Ltd: Sole counsel for the defendant in a telecommunications trial, brought in negligence, representing a company accused of “slamming” another’s lines.

  • P Ltd v. G: Breach of contract trial where the substantive dispute was over a question of electrical engineering. Detailed understanding of the subject matter was required to cross-examine effectively.


Civil: Property & Chancery


Jacob carries out a full range of property work. In addition to conventional applications for sale or possession, he has experience with dilapidations, forfeiture, boundary disputes and questions of land ownership.


In terms of chancery work, he welcomes instructions, particularly advisory, as to questions of company law, including the incorporation and dissolution of limited companies and other bodies corporate. He also deals with the winding up of companies and associated matters (e.g. director disqualification proceedings, examinations under the Insolvency Act etc.).


Jacob is also regularly instructed in traditional chancery matters, such as wills and trust disputes and matters of personal bankruptcy.


Examples of Cases:


  • G v SoS: Successfully represented a director who sought permission of the court to act as a director of a phoenix company notwithstanding his disqualification for omissions which led to the winding up of its predecessor.

  • S et al. v T et al.: Dispute relating to a contact formed during the dissolution of a company.

  • R v M Ltd: Long-running dilapidations trial, involving questions of recovery caps under s.18.

  • N Ltd v. N Ltd: Successful action for relief from forfeiture in a commercial property dispute.

  • X v. X & X: Mortgage possession case turning on questions of undue influence and constructive trusts.

  • L v. E: Defending in a complex property action where the Claimant had delayed for over 16 years in enforcing a costs order.

  • Numerous applications for possession; winding up and bankruptcy petitions &c. &c.


Civil: PI, Public & Other Areas


Jacob has regular experience in personal injury, ranging from simple uncontested infant approval hearings or credit hire trials to involvement in complex multi-track cases in the High Court.


He also has been involved in a range of high-profile public law cases over a wide-range of areas. He is  particularly interested in Freedom of Information and Data Protection issues and welcome instructions relating to the preparation and advancement of such requests.


Finally, Jacob enjoy cases which involve unusual areas of law, such as actions for conversion, bailment or defamation and welcome instructions where creative use of the law is needed in order to find a solution to the client’s problems.


Jacob’s criminal practice is predominately defence-based in the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts. It includes the full range of offences, from drugs and violence to fraud and money laundering. I particularly welcome instructions in cases which are factually or legally complex, including those where the defendant simply wishes to put the Crown to proof.


Examples of Successful Defences on Points of Law

  • R v. S: ABH trial stayed as an abuse of process due to Crown failures in disclosure.

  • R v. H: Successful submission of “no case to answer” to a possession of offensive weapons charge where the defendant told Police he carried a knife for his own “protection”.

  • Numerous acquittals following the exclusion of at-the-scene confessions.


Examples of Successful Defences when the Crown is Put to Proof

  • R v. AB: Successful defence in a handling stolen goods case arising out of a robbery. The entirety of the police interview was excluded. The defendant did not advance a positive case or give evidence and was acquitted on the basis of doubts raised as to continuity evidence.

  • R v. G: Successful defence of a driver charged with driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance. No positive case was advanced and the defendant was not called to give evidence: after exclusion of an at-the-scene confession and forensic evidence, the court found that it could not be sure that the defendant was driving as opposed to being a passenger in the car.


Examples of Fraud and Financial Crime

  • R v. G: Successful defence in a counterfeit bank-note case, including the successful exclusion of an at-the-scene confession by the defendant.

  • R v. B: Successful defence of a student charged with money laundering as part of a substantial CHAPS fraud.


Examples of Defence Work in Cases of Violence, Drugs or Sexual Crimes

  • R v. A: Advisory work in relation to a high-profile murder trial, on the question of the meaning and effect of the expression “under the Queen’s peace” in the definition of murder.

  • R v. M: Defending in a sexual assault, involving cross-examining juvenile defendant via. live-link.

  • R v. X: Successful defence in a drugs case following the exclusion of the Crown’s forensic evidence identifying the seized package as drugs.

  • Numerous trials relating to allegations of assault.

Road Traffic Offences
Jacob also has experience with defending road-traffic offences, particularly drink-driving, driving with no insurance and failure to stop. Jacob is often instructed both at the early stages in proceedings, when it may be necessary to explore fully all options with the client, and also at the appellate stage, usually beginning with an application to suspended disqualification pending appeal.


Jacob accepts instructions in a wide-range of family cases.


His most frequent family work is in private law children cases, ranging from “straight-forward” contact disputes to applications for removal from the jurisdiction or relocation.


He also accepts and welcomes instructions in care / public law children cases, particularly acting for the parents, where a willingness to challenge and push for a favourable resolution is of particular importance. Here he finds having a background in criminal law is an invaluable advantage.


Jacob also has experience in divorce and financial relief cases, particularly when there are overlapping civil proceedings, and he finds that a knowledge of civil law and procedure, particular with regards to property and bankruptcy, is of great importance.


All of these overlapping skills are particularly useful for Court of Protection cases, and he welcomes instructions in cases concerning administration of property and welfare.


Examples of Recent Cases

  • Re X: Court of Protection action relating to capacity to manage property and financial affairs. (Court of Protection)

  • L v. L: Relocation dispute involving questions of the applicability of relocation case-law to shared-residence cases. (County Court)

  • S v. S: Opposing an application for temporary removal. (County Court)

  • Re X: Care proceedings involving allegations of substance misuse and neglect. (County Court)


Jacob welcomes instructions for both the claimant and respondent in cases under all Employment Tribunal jurisdictions. He has a particular interest in the area of overlap between Employment Tribunal and Court claims and so particularly welcome cases involving allegations of breaches of contracts.




Selwyn College, University of Cambridge,  MA (History and Archæology of Mesopotamia, the Near East and Ægean).


College of Law, London, LLB (Graduate Diploma in Law and Bar Vocational Course).