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Portrait of Jonathan Dames

Jonathan Dames


CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Jonathan has been a partner since 2007.  Jonathan’s practice has traditionally been split between energy project financing and infrastructure project finance. 

Jonathan has a wealth of experience in project finance, including PFI, PF2, NPD and other forms of PPP and structured financings.  He has delivered solutions involving bank debt, bond issues (public and private placements), mezzanine financing, holdco financings and portfolio financing and worked on many deals involving IFIs and ECAs.  He acts for a mix of sponsors, funders and contractors. These clients operate across an array of sectors including accommodation, airports, blue light/emergency services, custodial and justice, defence, education, energy, health, ports, railways, roads, telecoms/IT/satellites, utility and waste infrastructure. In the last few years, he has also had increasing focused on projects in distress and contractual counterparties in dispute.

Jonathan has been at the firm for 19 years. Prior to working at CMS he worked as a SAP consultant for Druid Systems, working for, among others, GE and Cadbury’s.

Jonathan is an active supporter of a number of CSR activities in the firm including doing pro bono work for the Duchenne Children’s Trust, raising funds for the George Oliver Foundation and actively supporting the firm’s charity of the year (currently War Child).

Jonathan is one of the founding members of the firm’s band “The Stragglers”, which began in December 2003. Jonathan plays guitar. The band plays at a variety of charity fundraising events as well as being the core of an Infrastructure industry “supergroup”: Superstructure. The Stragglers won the first Law Rocks! battle of the bands in 2009. The Stragglers went international in 2015 – playing in the inaugural Law Rocks! in Dubai. 

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"A top-quality financing lawyer."

Legal 500, 2020

"A one-stop-shop for financing issues"

Legal 500

Relevant experience


  • Grupa Lotos on the financing of the USD 2.8bn upgrade of an oil refinery located in Gdansk, Poland
  • Royal Bank of Scotland and National Australia Bank on the financing of the TRIG Fund revolving loan to refinance existing investments and make new investments in renewable energy projects.
  • Low Carbon Solar on financing of its portfolio of solar parks in the UK.
  • Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners on their acquisitions and refinancing of solar assets in the UK.
  • National Grid on its OFTOs
  • EBRD on the financing of a combined cycle gas turbine facility in Alchevsk, in the region of Lugansk, Ukraine
  • Aviva on its acquisition of wind assets from RES.


  • Aviva on the project financing of Rock Rails successful bid for the Moorgate Rail franchise.
  • Aviva and EIB on the GBP 300m Dumfries and Galloway non-profit distributing hospital project.
  • Acorn consortium, made up of John Laing, Interserve and Laing O’Rourke, on a GBP 170m Private Finance Initiative project to design, build, finance and operate a new children’s hospital at Alder Hey in Liverpool funded by the European Investment Bank and M&G private placement.
  • The Department for Transport on the financing of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project since 1997 and specifically in relation to: (i) a number of refinancings of Sections 1 and 2 of the CTRL involving issuing government guaranteed bonds, (ii) securitising the assets of CTRL (UK) to secure issuing public bonds and raising bank debt including financing from EIB and KfW; (iii)rolling stock leasing arrangements (including Project Velocity); (iv) the London & Continental Railways group debt assumption; (v) the restructuring and sale of Eurostar International Limited; and (vi) the procurement process and arrangement of a stapled financing solution for, and c.£2bn sale of, High Speed 1.
  • Vinci and NTrans consortium on the bank and Government guaranteed bond financing of the Moscow/St. Petersburg Toll Road PPP project.
  • Laing O’Rourke and Equitix on the Yorkshire batch of Priority Schools Building Programme.
  • Equitix on the West Yorkshire Police Training Project.
  • InfraRed on the refinancing of the HICL revolving loan to refinance existing investments and make new investments in PPP projects.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Member of the Law Society
  • International Project Finance Association
  • TIF
  • Major Projects Association 
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  • 1996 – LPC (Distinction), College of Law, London,
  • 1994 - MA Cantab – 2.1, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, Cambridge
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CMS ad­vises con­sor­ti­um on ac­quis­i­tion of fur­ther in­vest­ment in Ørsted's...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised a con­sor­ti­um com­prised of Equitix and The Re­new­ables In­fra­struc­ture Group (TRIG) on its agree­ment to ac­quire from Glob­al In­fra­struc­ture Part­ners (GIP) a fur­ther...
FCA con­sulta­tion on syn­thet­ic LIBOR - ces­sa­tion of ster­ling set­tings and...
On 30 June, the Fin­an­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity (the “FCA”) launched a con­sulta­tion on com­plet­ing the trans­ition away from the re­main­ing 1 month, 3 month and 6 month “syn­thet­ic” ster­ling LIBOR set­tings...
Tech­no­logy: a uni­fy­ing force
Com­pan­ies of­ten talk about the scourge of the silo, the farm­ing stor­age meta­phor that has come to rep­res­ent teams or de­part­ments that op­er­ate on their own. However, with tech­no­logy trans­form­ing vir­tu­ally every in­dustry on the plan­et, col­lab­or­a­tion across sec­tors has be­come es­sen­tial. Ad­di­tion­ally, the COV­ID-19 crisis has high­lighted the cru­cial role tech­no­logy, spe­cific­ally con­nectiv­ity, plays as the back­bone of our busi­ness world across all sec­tors, and once COV­ID-19 is brought un­der con­trol or even erad­ic­ated, it will prove es­sen­tial for so­cial and eco­nom­ic prosper­ity. For­ging links in di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects Jonath­an Dames, a part­ner at CMS in Lon­don, says that his team’s prac­tice tra­di­tion­ally centred on so­cial and eco­nom­ic in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy fin­ance, but is in­creas­ingly shift­ing to­wards di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, in­clud­ing fibre net­works and data centres.He says that these kinds of pro­jects re­quire close col­lab­or­a­tion between tra­di­tion­al pro­jects and pro­ject fin­ance law­yers and their col­leagues in Tech­no­logy, Me­dia & Com­mu­nic­a­tions (TMC), “We al­ways had cros­sov­er, and en­joyed great col­lab­or­a­tion with both the In­fra­struc­ture & Pro­jects and En­ergy Sec­tor Groups, for ex­ample, but now we are work­ing with the TMC Sec­tor Group much more closely be­cause we are fa­cing reg­u­lat­ory is­sues and re­gimes that we have nev­er faced be­fore such as Code Powers, the re­quire­ments of the Com­mu­nic­a­tions Act and re­lated le­gis­la­tion.“CMS has ex­tens­ive in­fra­struc­ture, en­ergy and tele­coms ex­pert­ise and is able to bring it all to­geth­er to cre­ate the skill set re­quired to de­liv­er long-term pro­ject fin­an­cing to tech­no­logy-based in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects.”Ad­di­tion­ally, the fund­ing of di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, such as the 10,000km El­laLink sub­sea cable between Brazil and Por­tugal, de­mands more com­plic­ated fin­an­cing struc­tures to cov­er the re­lated risks and cre­ate the op­tim­al cap­it­al stack to get the best all-in pri­cing. This has in­volved us­ing mezzan­ine fin­ance and vendor fin­an­cing for con­struc­tion, with a view to at­tract­ing cheap­er op­er­a­tion­al peri­od fin­an­cing in the me­di­um term. A sub­sea cable, cross­ing in­ter­na­tion­al wa­ters and land­ing in mul­tiple leg­al jur­is­dic­tions, is not, un­der­stand­ably, ex­posed to the same po­ten­tial threats and per­ils as a hos­pit­al or a con­ven­tion­al power sta­tion or a wind farm on a single site. So, not all the usu­al rules, mar­ket norms, leg­al con­structs and stand­ard mit­ig­ants ne­ces­sar­ily fit for a fin­an­cing of this type of as­set. Rise of the ma­chines The CMS In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty (IP) Group has un­sur­pris­ingly been at the fore­front of tech­no­lo­gic­al in­nov­a­tion, sup­port­ing cli­ents in the iden­ti­fic­a­tion, pro­tec­tion and com­mer­cial­isa­tion of their IP as­sets. Tom Scourfield, Co-Head of the group, is based in Lon­don and Warsaw, two cit­ies well-known for their tech­no­logy in­cub­a­tion. He ob­serves, “We are not only see­ing an in­crease in the use of tech­no­logy in col­lab­or­a­tion, but much more fre­quently, col­lab­or­a­tion with tech­no­logy it­self.”Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) is a grow­ing area of fo­cus. Pat­ent ap­plic­a­tions for AI tech­no­lo­gies have in­creased by 170,000 since 2013, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by the World In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty Of­fice (WIPO). In the field of AI pat­ents, there is cur­rently a fas­cin­at­ing de­bate around the ques­tion of pat­entab­il­ity of in­ven­tions cre­ated by AI ma­chines them­selves. Ac­cord­ing to Tom Scourfield, “Bey­ond pat­ents, we are also see­ing an in­creased use of AI in de­tect­ing and mon­it­or­ing coun­ter­feits and oth­er on­line brand harms. AI is also be­ing used to sup­ple­ment and sup­port the ana­lys­is of sim­il­ar­it­ies between com­pet­ing brands, wheth­er in terms of brand clear­ance or in­fringe­ment scen­ari­os.”Whatever de­vel­op­ments AI and oth­er in­nov­a­tion may bring, he thinks that one thing is cer­tain, “As IP law­yers, we al­ways have to be for­ward-think­ing, look­ing to pro­tect and se­cure com­pet­it­ive ad­vant­ages for our cli­ents in mar­kets and op­por­tun­it­ies that are not even fully es­tab­lished yet.” Pi­on­eer­ing new products Lon­don Funds part­ner Chris­toph­er Luck sees a real ap­pet­ite for new types of as­sets from the funds com­munity. He says that di­git­al tech­no­lo­gies are trans­form­ing the back-of­fices of as­set man­agers and are im­prov­ing the cus­tom­er ex­per­i­ence. Fund man­agers are be­com­ing bet­ter at stor­ing and har­ness­ing data, us­ing block­chain tech­no­lo­gies and plat­forms to make on­board­ing of know your cus­tom­er (KYC) in­form­a­tion and data pro­tec­tion a more stream­lined pro­cess. The use of smart con­tracts is also be­com­ing more pre­val­ent. Chris­toph­er Luck notes that the ad­vent of token­isa­tion, the pro­cess of con­vert­ing real as­sets in­to di­git­al rep­res­ent­a­tions (tokens) on a block­chain, has opened up the in­vest­ment mar­ket to a broad­er range of in­sti­tu­tion­al and re­tail in­vestors. “By demo­crat­ising or cre­at­ing more op­por­tun­it­ies for in­vestors, this is provid­ing ad­di­tion­al li­quid­ity in­to a num­ber of sec­tors, most not­ably real es­tate.” He says, “We are see­ing tokens at their most ad­vanced in the United States and Asia, and grow­ing in the UK and Europe.”  Un­der­stand­ing new en­vir­on­ments  In oth­er more tra­di­tion­al sec­tors, law­yers are in­creas­ingly be­ing ex­pec­ted to provide ad­vice on how to deal with the chal­lenges and op­por­tun­it­ies that tech­no­logy provides.Mark Ziek­man, Co-Head of the CMS Con­sumer Products Group, says, “In the con­sumer goods sec­tor, block­chain is mak­ing an im­pact, provid­ing the sup­ply chain and cus­tom­ers with a great­er de­gree of con­fid­ence in the proven­ance of a product and wheth­er it meets key sus­tain­ab­il­ity cri­ter­ia.”Cus­tom­ers, par­tic­u­larly mil­len­ni­als, are in­creas­ingly de­mand­ing in­form­a­tion around trace­ab­il­ity and audit­ab­il­ity to have con­fid­ence in FM­CG com­pan­ies, lo­gist­ics com­pan­ies and re­tail­ers.Fur­ther­more, Mark Ziek­man be­lieves that tech­no­logy in gen­er­al has played a pivotal role in ad­dress­ing wide­spread busi­ness dis­rup­tion caused by COV­ID-19, en­abling com­pan­ies to trans­form their busi­ness mod­els. Good ex­amples are res­taur­ants which al­most in­stant­an­eously changed their busi­ness mod­el to provide takeaways and food de­liv­er­ies. Shops shif­ted their fo­cus to selling on­line. These changes will not dis­ap­pear in the af­ter­math of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic. Shift­ing reg­u­lat­ory land­scapes Reg­u­lat­ors con­tin­ue to face the on­go­ing chal­lenge of keep­ing pace with in­nov­a­tion and the new mar­ket dy­nam­ics it cre­ates. ESG factors have come to the fore in the minds of reg­u­lat­ors as well and this think­ing is only go­ing to in­tensi­fy. Cristina Reich­mann, a Bucharest based part­ner in the CMS Bank­ing & Fin­ance Group, says that reg­u­lat­ors are al­ways hav­ing to re­spond to new eco­nom­ic mod­els and pub­lic sen­ti­ments. She has seen fast dis­rup­tion in the bank­ing sec­tor CEE, “Ro­mania, for ex­ample, has a his­tory of in­nov­a­tion, pre­vi­ously emer­ging as a ma­jor in­ter­na­tion­al out­sourcing hub and then be­com­ing a fintech centre with a num­ber of uni­corns.” She points to agile bank­ing and fintech, which are provid­ing great­er ac­cess and a broad­er suite of ser­vices to cus­tom­ers, and with this comes reg­u­lat­ory chal­lenges. She says, “There are a lot of com­pli­ance as­pects to be met and solved.”
Fin­an­cing European Di­git­al In­fra­struc­ture
CMS and TMT Fin­ance are proud to col­lab­or­ate to present a dy­nam­ic di­git­al pan­el as part of the 2021 TMT Con­nect series. In­vest­ment con­tin­ues apace in­to European di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture, which is see­ing...
Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment For­um in Am­s­ter­dam
We are pleased to in­vite you to the sixth CMS Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment For­um that will be held at the Eye Mu­seum in Am­s­ter­dam on 7 Novem­ber 2019.The for­um will dis­cuss pub­lic private part­ner­ships (PPP) in in­fra­struc­ture...
Oil & Gas: Un­wit­ting ‘on-de­mand’ bond by guar­ant­or
In Ru­bicon Vant­age In­ter­na­tion­al PTE Ltd v Krisen­ergy Ltd [2019] EWHC 2012 (Comm), the Com­mer­cial Court de­cided that the spe­cif­ic word­ing of a ‘char­ter­er guar­an­tee’ res­ul­ted in as­pects of it be­ing...
Oil & Gas, Com­mod­ity / Goods Sales and In­fra­struc­ture: Guar­an­tees - the...
The Com­mer­cial Court re­cently re-em­phas­ised in Longulf Trad­ing (UK) Ltd v Niyazi Onen Gida SAN AS & An­or [2019] EWHC 1573 (Comm) the im­port­ance of prop­erly com­ply­ing with the terms of a guar­an­tee when...
In­fra­struc­ture Fin­ance Re­view
On 13 March 2019, HM Treas­ury and the In­fra­struc­ture and Pro­jects Au­thor­ity, pub­lished a con­sulta­tion to kick-start the “In­fra­struc­ture Fin­ance Re­view” (the “Con­sulta­tion”) to as­sess the fu­ture...
Fin­an­cing In­fraT­ech
In the ‘Fu­ture Tele­coms In­fra­struc­ture Re­view’, pub­lished by the De­part­ment for Di­git­al, Cul­ture, Me­dia & Sport in Ju­ly 2018, it was es­tim­ated that around GBP 30bn of fund­ing would be re­quired...
CMS ad­vises Low Car­bon on its joint ven­ture with VPI Im­ming­ham in con­nec­tion...
CMS has ad­vised Low Car­bon on its joint ven­ture with VPI Im­ming­ham, own­er of one of the largest com­bined heat and power plants in Europe and part of the Vit­ol Group, to fund early stage en­ergy stor­age...
CMS An­nu­al Re­view 2015-2016
We are pleased to bring you ‘De­liv­er­ing leg­al ex­pert­ise to trans­form your busi­ness - CMS An­nu­al Re­view 2015-2016’.This pub­lic­a­tion shows how we at CMS stay close to the prac­tic­al, ‘real life’...
Hos­pit­al­ity Mat­ters - Au­tumn 2014
Wel­come to the latest edi­tion of Hos­pit­al­ity Mat­ters, our reg­u­lar bul­let­in for the ho­tels in­dustry. We are now in the fi­nal stretch of 2014, a year that has seen the hotel M&A mar­ket con­tin­ue to re­main...