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Jonathan Polnay KC

'He is outrageously good and instils confidence from the outset.’Chambers UK 2023

Call 2000    Silk 2024

Practice Profile

Jonathan is widely regarded as one of the best juniors at the Criminal Bar. He is the “go-to junior” for legally and factually complex cases such as those involving offences of terrorism, homicide, serious organised crime, complex fraud and cyber-crime.

He has been instructed in some of the most high-profile cases in the criminal courts, which include the recent prosecutions of the murder of Sir David Amess MP, John Worboys (‘the black cab rapist), the PC Harper trial and the trial concerning the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants. He brings to all cases his fierce intellect, unstinting hard work and dedication and an approachable and down-to-earth manner. He is much admired for his excellent and incisive judgment and legal knowledge as well as his ability to communicate complex evidence in a way that is clear and attractive to juries.

Jonathan is ranked in Tier 1 as a leading junior in both Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide 2023 and the Legal 500.

He is Junior Treasury Counsel, based at the Central Criminal Court having been appointed by the Attorney-General in November 2017.

Jonathan accepts instructions from all specialist divisions of the Crown Prosecution Service, Solicitors and when appropriate Direct Professional Access "DPA". Instructions in privately funded matters are accepted subject to The (New) Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorized Persons 2012. Jonathan's Privacy Policy can be downloaded here.

Reported Cases:

  • R v Shaikh and anor [2021] EWCA Crim 45 – Approach to calculating minimum term in life sentences imposed for terrorist offending
  • R v Long, Bowers and Cole [2020] EWCA Crim 1729 – Interaction between the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and unlawful act manslaughter.
  • McIntyre [2020] 4 WLR 144 – Sentencing powers of Court-Martial on an elected trial
  • Riley [2019] EWCA Crim 816 – Role of the Attorney General as guardian of the public interest
  • Zaheer [2019] 1 Cr App R (S) 14 – Appropriate level of adjustment in sentence for attempts
  • James [2018] 1 WLR 2749 – Special Court convened to consider procedure on renewed applications to appeal
  • Thompson [2018] 1 WLR 4429 – 5-Judge Court of Appeal considered extended sentence provision
  • Muss [2018] 1 Cr App R S 17 – Level of sentence for large-scale DDoS attacks
  • Bala [2017] MHLR 375 – Historic manslaughter appeal
  • Dorling [2016] EWCA Crim 1750 – CCRC reference on murder conviction 
  • Barre [2016] Crim LR 768 – When manslaughter should be left as an alternative to murder 
  • Hamilton [2016] 2 Cr App R S – Approach to be taken to drug smuggling in prison
  • Bhatti [2016] 1 Cr App R 1 – Special procedure warrants in relation to credit reference 
  • Henry [2015] 2 Cr App R 1 – Double jeopardy trial, definition of ‘new’ evidence 
  • Patel [2013] Med LR 507 – Actus reus in offence of ill-treatment of mental patients
  • King [2012]  EWCA Crim 805 – Covert surveillance involving breaches of PACE 
  • A, B, C, D [2011] 2 WLR 647 – Parasitic accessory liability, pre-Jogee 
  • Jordan  [2009] EWCA Crim 953 - Single act propensity/coincidence in bad character


Jonathan Polnay to be appointed Senior Treasury Counsel

20 February 2024

Chambers are delighted to announce that the... Read More

King’s Counsel Appointments

15 February 2024

We are delighted to announce that Catherine... Read More

Opening statement at the Independent Inquiry Relating to Afghanistan

13 October 2023

Oliver Glasgow KC has this week made the opening statement as counsel to the... Read More

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