Jonathan Barnes

Jonathan Barnes

Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9581
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Commercially minded and practical solutions are key drivers in Jonathan’s disputes practice. He strives to find the most cost-effective and sensible resolutions for his clients and firmly believes that a firm grasp of each client’s aims, paired with a good working relationship form a strong foundation for developing appropriate dispute resolution strategies and achieving results.

This could entail seeking a commercial settlement through negotiation and mediation or opting for a more formal resolution by way of litigation or arbitration. There is no fixed agenda and each matter is assessed on its own merits and with each client’s strategic goals and objectives in mind.

In this regard, Jonathan’s dispute resolution expertise and offering is broad. He is a qualified mediator with South African and United Kingdom qualifications who also specialises in High Court litigation and private arbitration, both internationally and domestically. He has expertise in transactional disputes, contractual claims, mining-related litigation, class action lawsuits and urgent High Court proceedings. He has also worked on arbitrations seated in Johannesburg, Paris, London and Mauritius facing tribunals convened under the auspices of the ICC, the LCIA and AFSA.

Currently, Jonathan is representing a multinational vehicle manufacturer in its ongoing class action lawsuit, which is breaking new ground in South Africa.

Jonathan has also recently been working on cross-border matters in Mauritius, Germany and the UAE, either as lead counsel or as local counsel instructed by international law firms.

Jonathan has been with Bowmans for 10 years, having joined the firm straight out of university. He became a partner in 2022.


  • LLM, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (2017)
  • LLB, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (2012)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (2010)

Professional Memberships

  • Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa (2015)
  • Accredited Mediator: Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, United Kingdom (2014)
  • Accredited Mediator: Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement (2014)

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Jurisdictions worked in/for: South Africa, Botswana, France, Germany, Nigeria, Mauritius, Tanzania, the UAE and the United Kingdom.

Domestic matters in which Jonathan has acted recently include:

  • Defending a global vehicle manufacturer in class action proceedings instituted in South Africa involving damages and other claims for billions of Rands.
  • Successfully defended South Africa’s largest brewery against a multi-million Rand damages claim in arbitration proceedings.
  • Successfully defending a non-profit sports club against historical land access claims brought in the High Court, and on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, arising out of alleged servitudinal and other access rights. The case was reported and made new law in the Supreme Court of Appeal. A subsequent attempt at a further appeal to the Constitutional Court by our opponent was dismissed.
  • Acting for a large corporate taxpayer in litigation proceedings against the South African Revenue Service.
  • Defending a multinational information technology company against alleged breaches of a commercial lease agreement.
  • Represented one of the country’s largest beverage manufacturers in commercial and contractual disputes across its range of operations.

International and cross-border matters in which Jonathan has acted recently included:

  • Assisting an international energy company with enforcement proceedings in Mauritius, the UAE and South Africa.
  • Acted for an international bank in relation to a disputed demand for payment of a substantial performance guarantee made by a South African company and the subsequent litigation flowing from the disputed demand.
  • Representing a global private equity fund in resisting an application to prevent a bank’s performance of its obligations under a performance guarantee relating to the Twin City Power Project in Ghana
  • Represented an African mining consortium in International Arbitration proceedings instituted in the International Chamber of Commerce.
  • Obtaining an urgent interdict against a Botswana publication and pursuing a damages claim against the same publication in respect of defamatory remarks made about a high net worth South African citizen.
  • Acting for an American financial products and services multinational corporation in litigation proceedings initiated by a local bank pertaining to the alleged repudiation of a South African governed contractual arrangement.


Publications & Insights