Duncan McNair

Duncan McNair

Commercial, Litigation



Cubism Law “… compares well to other non-Magic Circle litigation practices.”

‘indefatigable’ consultant Duncan McNair acts in company, partnership and banking disputes: he is ‘the client’s champion’.

Legal 500 – 2015

Duncan McNair read law at Bristol University, where he was also Vice-President of the University Debating Union. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1983. He was a senior assistant solicitor at Lovells (now Hogan Lovells), then a partner at Lawrence Graham.

Duncan is a widely known commercial litigator. He has been involved in many substantial company, partnership and banking disputes. He also specialises in insolvency, professional negligence, contested probate and trusts matters and serious clinical negligence claims. Duncan is experienced in injunctive and other urgent remedies and asset tracing, often with an international dimension. Duncan is currently undertaking substantial work for numerous victims of mis-selling of property in Cyprus and related problems and has been at the forefront of moves to progress claims against all major Cyprus banks towards resolutions.

Amongst many leading cases he has conducted, in 2010 Duncan McNair acted for the successful third party interveners in the landmark case across Europe of A, B and C v The Republic of Ireland heard before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. For his work in this case Duncan was featured as “Lawyer in the News” in The Law Society Gazette in 2011.

In 2011 Duncan again acted successfully for interveners in another major case, BPAS v The Secretary of State for Health, heard in the Administrative Court in London. Following this Duncan was named by The Times newspaper as their “Lawyer of the Week”.

In December 2012 Duncan McNair was asked by the RSPCA to lead a major enquiry into their Freedom Food animal welfare assurance scheme, the only such scheme recognised as a mark of higher animal welfare both in the UK and throughout the European Union. Serving on Duncan’s Panel were the former cabinet minister and Secretary of State at DEFRA, the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, and Professor David Main, a leading veterinary scientist. The Panel was assisted by Christopher Laurence MBE, past Chief Veterinary Officer of the RSPCA. The Panel took evidence from a wide range of parties involved in and concerned with animal food production, including major businesses engaged in the farming, agriculture and food retail markets and their supply chains. The McNair Report was delivered in May 2013. All the Report’s recommendations have since been unanimously approved and adopted by the governance of the RSPCA and are presently in the course of implementation. The McNair Report can be viewed here.

In 2014 Duncan led a team acting for an intermediary company in a claim for substantial damages and injunctive relief against a major global manufacturer under Article 102 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union and s18 of the Competition Act 1998 for an abuse of a market dominant position in relation to the termination of supplies. The case settled before trial.

Duncan McNair is regularly asked to contribute to the sound, visual, print and electronic media on a range of topical issues of importance. These often focus on significant legal cases which he has conducted, and developments in the food, retail and animal welfare areas, and other matters arising from the McNair Inquiry and Report. Some examples appear at the links below:

Duncan is personally involved in assisting various NGOs and charities in mobilizing opinion in the campaign to save Asian elephants from extinction. He is the co-founder of the pressure group Save The Asian Elephants – www.stae.org In 2015 he was invited to address the major meeting of the year of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare (APPGAW) in the Houses of Parliament.

Duncan is a highly regarded and popular public speaker. He has addressed the Annual Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and the University of Cambridge Union. He also speaks annually in the Houses of Parliament.

Duncan was the co-founder, legal adviser to and governor of a major independent school.

Duncan’s books “The Morello Letters” (2006) and “More Morello Letters – Pen pal to the super stars” (2011) have both been named Number 1 bestsellers for humour-parody by Amazon shortly after publication. Both books have been widely reviewed and acclaimed. In 2012 The Morello Letters was included by BBC Radio 4 listeners amongst their funniest books ever in Open Book’s Listeners’ Funniest Books hosted by Mariella Frostrup, link:  Open Book Listeners’ Funniest Books

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