Kavan Gunaratna

Year of Call 2004

General Profile

Kavan has a commercial-chancery practice and particular expertise in the fields of insolvency, property and commercial litigation. He joined Chambers in 2006, having read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, before being called to the Bar with an ‘Outstanding’ classification (ranking in the top 10 of over 500 pupils in his year at bar school), and having been awarded Lord Mansfield, Sir Robert Megarry and Hardwicke scholarships from Lincoln’s Inn, as well as the Buchanan prize for being the top scholar in his Michaelmas call. The greatest proportion of Kavan’s work is litigation-based and he is therefore frequently on his feet, appearing in the High Court, County Courts and before Tribunals in all of his fields of practice.


The Directories


Between Chambers & Partners UK, Chambers & Partners Global and the Legal 500, Kavan is ranked as a leading junior in the fields of Chancery Commercial, Insolvency/ Restructuring and Property/Real Estate Litigation. Comments about him include the following:


"A model advocate. Calm and persuasive, he has an extraordinary eye for detail and very effective at communicating with lay clients." "He's great for anything with a technical angle, and he's very clear thinking." (Chambers & Partners 2018)


"He is very good technically and his cross-examination skills are fantastic." (Chambers & Partners 2018)


"He's an excellent lawyer who prepares very well and is very much a go-to person for complex insolvency matters." "Kavan is very user-friendly, succinct and easy to understand, which is very helpful with lay clients. He is responsive and easy to work with." He's very bright, extremely clever and he picks up things very quickly." "He's great for anything with a technical angle. He's very clear-thinking, obviously extremely bright and I think he punches way above his call." "He's exceptionally user-friendly, bright, calm and good on his feet." (Chambers & Partners 2018)


‘He goes above and beyond to do a top-quality job.’ (Legal 500 2017)


‘His advocacy skills are stunning; he patiently yet forcefully argues his client’s case and is unflappable.’  (Legal 500 2017)


“He is one of the best barristers in the area. He can apply the law in a second, and doesn’t panic, whatever the situation” (Chambers UK 2017)


“He is a delight to work with, and is unflappable and creative” (Chambers UK 2017)


“Clients love him. He is great, he’s thorough, he’s very good on his feet, and he’s very charming” (Chambers UK 2017)


“He’s very sensible, very persuasive and very good with clients” (Chambers UK 2017)


“With Kavan you’ll always get someone who has gone through all the papers with a fine-tooth comb, so his advice is very strong” (Chambers UK 2017)


“An engaging advocate who has a very good manner in court” (Legal 500, 2016)

“Unfailingly brilliant—a very reliable choice” (Legal 500, 2016)


“He is highly intelligent, quick to get to the bottom of an issue, articulate and charming” (Chambers UK 2016)


“If we want a top job done thoroughly, he is the person we call.” (Chambers UK 2016)


“His intellectual ability is unquestionably high” (Chambers UK 2015)


“His pleadings are exceptionally well drafted.” (Chambers UK 2015)


 “He is exceptionally user-friendly and good on his feet.” (Chambers Global 2015)


“He is very experienced and faultless in his advocacy.” (Chambers UK 2016)


“He is a wonderful opponent - very able and slightly deadly” (Chambers UK 2016)


“He is a very able advocate... he takes good points and is very professional.”  (Chambers UK 2016)


“[He] has a really good manner with difficult clients.” (Chambers UK 2016)


“He is clever and a good team player.” (Chambers UK 2016)


 “A rising star – very clever and astute (Legal 500 2015)


“He is very clever, very thorough and knows how to obtain the ear of the court.”  (Chambers Global 2015)


“Has developed a strong commercial chancery practice and regularly acts for public and private sector clients in property and insolvency litigation”. (Chambers Global 2015)


“[He has] excellent legal analysis and clarity of expression” (Legal 500 2015)


“[He is] very knowledgeable on insolvency matters for a relatively junior counsel but also a very good advocate.” (Legal 500 2014)


“[He is] very bright and capable of handling complex cases - a star for the future.”  (Legal 500 2014)


“[He] has a wide-ranging property litigation practice which tallies well with his insolvency and professional negligence expertise.” (Chambers UK 2014)


He is very good with clients; thorough in his advice, good in court and a pleasure to work with.” (Chambers UK 2014)


“He is easy-going, bright and effective.” (Chambers UK 2014)


“He’s very sharp-witted and well prepared.” (Chambers UK 2014)


“sure-footed and accessible”(Legal 500, 2013)


“responsive, meticulous, pragmatic and approachable” (Chambers UK 2013)


“[He has an] experienced and commercial approach to insolvency” (Legal 500, 2012)


“[He is] highly articulate"and “excellent on his feet” (Legal 500, 2011)


He has impressed with his “commercial grasp” and “safe pair of hands” and is marked out as “one to watch” (Chambers & Partners 2011) 



Notable Cases


Kavan’s reported cases include the following:


Okon v The London Borough of Lewisham [2017] EWHC 1933 (Admin)


Salt v Stratstone Specialist Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 745; [2016] RTR 17; [2015] CTLC 206


Zelouf v Khanna [2016] EWHC 205 (Ch); [2016] BPIR 1288


Okon v London Borough of Lewisham [2016] EWHC 864 (Ch); [2016] RA 281


Re Arrowfield Services Ltd [2015] EWHC 3046 (Ch)


Tailby v HSBC Bank plc [2015] BPIR 143 (Ch)


ABN Amro Commercial Finance plc v McGinn & Others, Re: Jenks Sales Brokers Ltd (In Administration) [2014] EWHC 1674 (Comm) [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 333


Begley v Taylor [2014] EWHC 1180 (Ch)


Thompson v Redbridge LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 984; [2015] RVR 5

Bevin v Datum Finance Ltd
[2011] EWHC 3542 (Ch)

Davenham Trust Ltd v White [2011] EWCA Civ 747; [2011] Bus LR 1443

White v Davenham Trust plc
[2010] EWHC 2748 (Ch); [2011] Bus LR 615; [2011] BPIR 280; [2011] BCC 77

London Borough of Redbridge v Mustafa aka Basturk
[2010] EWHC 1105 (Ch); [2010] BPIR 893





Contributor to: Property Insolvency (Butterworths); Annotated Guide to Insolvency Legislation (Lexis Nexis); The Landlord & Tenant Factbook; Estates Gazette Q&A articles.



Areas of Emphasis


Insolvency – all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency 

Property – covering all types of real estate litigation, commercial landlord and tenant disputes, and residential lease and tenancy disputes


Commercial – all aspects of general commercial litigation and banking litigation, including commercial fraud, asset recovery, guarantees, secured lending and contractual disputes


Company, Partnership and Commercial Chancery



Career & Associations


MA (Cantab), Law - Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Lord Mansfield, Sir Robert Megarry and Hardwicke scholar of Lincoln’s Inn, with Buchanan Prize, 2004

Chancery Bar Association

Property Bar Association 


Insolvency Lawyers’ Association



Privacy notice

Kavan collects, uses and is responsible for your personal information collected during the course of providing legal services as a barrister. He is the data controller in respect of this information for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.

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