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Areas of Practice:

• Arbitration
• Commercial
• Family
• Direct Public Access
• Insolvency
• Personal Injury
• Property


• 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).


Jacob is an experienced barrister and a CEDR Accredited Mediator with a broad practice in chancery, family and general civil & commercial litigation. He particularly welcomes cases that are factually or legally complex and which require the creative use of law to resolve.

As a lawyer, his strengths are providing clear, practical advice together with fearless advocacy in court, whether he is working on his own or in a team leading or being led by others.

In recent years, he has become more interested in resolving disputes by agreement rather than determination. As a result, he is now developing a practice as a mediator, where his ability to build rapport and help parties find creative solutions to their problems is particularly important.

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.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution:

Jacob has recently qualified as a CEDR Accredited Mediator and is also a Civil Mediation Council Associate Mediator. He welcomes instructions as a mediator in all areas of civil law, including under the CMC Fixed Fee scheme where appropriate. For clients who prefer or require a more evaluative approach, he also welcomes instructions as an early neutral evaluator and, in relevant cases, as a private financial dispute resolution “judge”.

Chancery & Property:

Jacob accepts instructions in all areas of chancery and property as both a lawyer and a mediator.

Cohabitation & Other Property Ownership Disputes

Much of Jacob’s chancery work involves disputes about the ownership of property whether under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“TOLATA” / “TLATA”) or otherwise.

Many of these cases are cohabitation disputes where an unmarried couple disagreed about thebeneficial ownership or property in one or both of their names. However, he has also dealt with ownership disputes which arise between businesses or from failed partnerships and joint ventures.

He has been instructed in the full range of these cases, from implied common intention and resulting trusts, to disputes about written declarations of trust, together with other related areas such as promissory estoppel. Allegations of fraud or counterfeiting are a common theme and he has experience with these high-risk cases.

Jacob is happy to represent clients in these cases however they arise. Most commonly this is through a claim in the High or County Courts. However, he also has experience of representing clients in pre-action mediation; the Tribunals; the Family Court (intervening under theTL v ML [2005] EWHC 2860 (Fam) procedure); insolvency proceedings; and more unusual examples such as arising out of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Wills & Probate

Jacob provides advice and representation to clients in all major areas that arise about the administration of estates. This includes claims involving the validity, interpretation or rectification of wills; allegations of misfeasance in the administration of the estate (including fraud and theft); and applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

He has had good success in resolving these cases through mediation but is also experienced in court work if necessary.


Jacob welcomes instructions in all areas of corporate and personal insolvency. This can include conventional insolvency actions but also more complex issues such as the tracing and recovery of assets, including those located abroad.

Examples of recent reported cases:

Family and Court of Protection:

Jacob accepts instructions in all areas of family law.

Financial Remedies
Jacob has represented numerous clients in their applications for financial remedy. Clients appreciate his willingness to give clear and practical advice. His cases have included almost every conceivable area of dispute including third-party ownership, fraud, international assets and substantial familial trust funds. Here there is much overlap with his chancery work: he is often instructed in cases involving a third-party intervention into matrimonial finance proceedings.

He also has experience of the rarer financial remedy applications, such as those under Schedule 1, Children Act 1989 and s.17 Married Women’s Property Act 1882 as well as those cases with overlap with civil disputes.

Private Law
Jacob welcomes private law children cases, ranging from ‘straight-forward’ contact disputes to international cases; Hague Convention proceedings; and wardship cases. Many of his cases involve serious allegations made by one parent against another such as serious domestic abuse, including sexual violence against parents and children, or allegations that one parent has psychologically manipulated a child to be hostile to the other.

His particular expertise is in applications for removal from the jurisdiction or relocation, either permanently or temporarily.

Jacob has considerable experience in care and 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.

Court of Protection
Finally, Jacob has experience in all major jurisdictions within the Court of Protection, representing applicants, respondents and interested parties. He is particularly interested in the overlap between civil and Court of Protection actions.

Examples of recent reported cases:

A Mother v A Father [2023] EWHC 2983 (Fam): Fact-finding hearing concerning serious allegations made in the context of Hague Convention proceedings.

(A Child), Re [2020] EWHC 2784 (Fam): Hague Convention proceedings concerning the meaning of “actually exercising” rights of custody.

N v N (Afghanistan: Validity of an overseas marriage: Procedure) (Rev 1) [2020] EWFC B55: Contentious divorce and the family procedure rules. This reported judgment was overturned on an unreported appeal.

Re: EE (Children) (Habitual Residence) [2016] EWHC 3363 (Fam); [2017] 1 F.C.R. 500: Habitual residence of children who had spent extensive time in Latvia.

General Civil & Commercial:


Jacob is regularly instructed in commercial and contractual disputes, representing companies large and small. This work includes litigation, arbitration, other ADR and non-contentious work.

The areas of dispute can be extremely wide-ranging. They have included:

  • The interpretation and performance of contracts both in the UK and abroad.
  • Intellectual property including trademarks, copyright and patents.
  • Regulatory disputes.
  • Building and other construction disputes
  • Consumer protection, such as PPI claims.

Examples of recent high profile 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.

Landlord & Tenant

Jacob is often instructed in commercial and residential property disputes, such as applications for possession, disputes about forfeiture, dilapidations and disrepairs.

Personal Injury & Other Areas

Jacob has regular experience in personal injury, having carried out numerous EL, OL & RTA trials trials for both Claimants and Defendants. He is familiar with all of the usual issues which arise in these cases including allegations of fundamental dishonesty and disputes about credit hire.

Finally, Jacob welcomes less-common civil actions ranging as widely as bailment; conversion; or civil applications under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Examples of recent reported cases:

  • R. (on the application of Wilus) v Poland [2014] EWHC 2718 (Admin): Whether the non-availability of an interpretor for an appellant in the High Court violated Article 6 ECHR


Jacob welcomes instructions for both the claimant and respondent in cases under all Employment Tribunal jurisdictions and has experience of employment disputes in the Employment Tribunal; employment cases in the Civil Courts; and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

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