James Bradford

James Bradford

Call: 2016

James is a busy junior with a broad commercial chancery practice, which focuses on domestic and international commercial disputes, arbitration, trusts & offshore litigation.

He has a breadth of experience of very high-profile commercial litigation: he is regularly instructed in the Chancery Division and Commercial Court and has appeared (led) in the Court of Appeal, Privy Council and Supreme Court. He also has experience on matters relating to a number of different offshore jurisdictions including The Bahamas, Guernsey, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

He is currently instructed in one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2024 (see here), the upcoming trial of which has been separately described in the British media as the “trial of the century” (example link here). He has recently appeared (led) in an appeal to the Privy Council (in April 2024), at which he was given an opportunity to conduct some of the advocacy.

James is bilingual in Italian and a native speaker. As a barrister, he is regularly instructed in commercial matters involving Italian language and with Italian speaking clients. Previously, James has worked as a research assistant to leading Italian academics, Prof. Guido Alpa (La Sapienza Università di Roma) and Prof. Attila Tanzi (Università di Bologna).

He has extensive academic experience, particularly in contract law. Before joining the Bar, James taught law at Oxford University, teaching a number of subjects including contract law to undergraduate students across different colleges. Since starting his practice, James has conducted a series of training sessions with leading international law firms on the interpretation of guarantees and performance bonds, is also a contributing editor to Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts (4th Edn.) and has written widely on a range of topics.

Areas of experience

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  • Commercial Litigation

    James has a broad commercial practice across a range of different sectors, with a particular interest in matters involving complex questions of private international law and civil fraud. Alongside his trial work, James is very experienced advising and/or preparing a range of different procedural matters in the Chancery Division or Commercial Court.

    He is regularly instructed in high profile commercial matters and is currently instructed in one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2024 (see here), the upcoming trial of which has been separately described in the British media as the “trial of the century” (example link here). He also appeared (led) in an appeal at the Privy Council in April 2024.

    His commercial experience includes:

    • Application by an Italian company to challenge jurisdiction and/or strike out the claim and/or seek a stay of a claim for declaratory relief made in England relating to purported information and advice given by a financial consultancy firm.
    • Advising and drafting pre-action correspondence in relation to a proposed claim involving complex questions of company law, allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, account of profits and equitable compensation.
    • An application to register two Bahamian costs orders under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1920.
    • Application for an interim charging order following judgment on the substantive claim in the Chancery Division.
    • Acting (early 2020 – early 2021) as consultant counsel for the Financial Ombudsman Service, providing numerous advices on a range of matters relating to financial services law and regulation.

    James has a keen academic interest in commercial law more generally: for instance, he has given a number of training sessions to leading international law firms on developments in the performance bonds sector with Alexandra Bodnar (Keating Chambers) and has taken part in various panel discussions on the recent case law on trial witness statements in the Business & Property Courts of England & Wales following the introduction of CPR PD 57AC. He is also a contributing editor to Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts (4th Edn) and has edited the first chapter dealing with issues relating to contract formation. Prior to practising at the Bar, he taught (amongst other subjects) contract law to undergraduate students at the University of Oxford.

    Reported cases of note:

    • Gian Angelo Perrucci v Orlean Invest Holding Ltd [2022] EWHC 2038 (Comm), London Circuit Commercial Court (KBD), led by Andrew Holden – Acted for the Defendant responding to a summary judgment/strike out claim in relation to multi-million pound dispute over the termination of a consultancy agreement between a Swiss resident and a BVI company (Defendant also brought an application to amend its statement of case).
    • Athena Capital Fund SICAV-FIS S.C.A. & Others v Secretariat of State for the Holy See [2022] EWCA Civ 1061, Court of Appeal, led by Charles Hollander KC (Brick Court Chambers) with Samar Abbas Kazmi (Atkin Chambers) – James appeared in the appeal of the case management stay below in the same matter where ongoing criminal proceedings were taking place in the Vatican City State.
    • Gabriele Volpi & Delta Ltd v Matteo Volpi [2022] EWCA Civ 464, Court of Appeal, led by Andrew Holden – James successfully represented the respondents in an appeal where the Court gave an important summary of the proper approach to appeals on questions of fact as well as the principles relating to the presumption of advancement.
    • Athena Capital Fund SICAV-FIS S.C.A. & Others v Secretariat of State for the Holy See [2021] EWHC 3166 (Comm), Commercial Court, led by Michael McParland QC with Samar Abbas Kazmi (Atkin Chambers) – Application to challenge jurisdiction or stay a claim for declarations where the context of the claim was a criminal investigation and later trial taking place in the Vatican City State. The judgment contained an important consideration of the approach to jurisdiction under the Brussels Recast Regulation, Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 6.34 and the principles governing a case management stay.
    • Gabriele Volpi & Delta Ltd v Matteo Volpi [2021] EWHC 2143, Chancery Division, led by Andrew Holden – James successfully represented the claimants in their claim for the repayment of a CHF 6m loan in relation to the purchase of an apartment near Lugano, Switzerland after a four-day trial.
    • PJSC Rosgosstrakh v Starr Syndicate Ltd & Others, Commercial Court, led by Michael McParland QC with Samar Abbas Kazmi (Atkin Chambers) – Acted for reinsurers operating in the London market in resisting enforcement of a set of Russian judgments obtained by a Russian insurance company.
  • International & Offshore

    James has substantial experience of offshore and international work with ranked industry leaders. He has gained a broad range of experience of international trust litigation, is used to working on high-profile matters and is regularly instructed to advise or assist with matters involving different jurisdictions such as The Bahamas, Guernsey and Bermuda.

    He has a particular interest in trust arbitrations and how they operate in different jurisdictions such as The Bahamas. Indeed, he has been instructed in one of the leading decisions in The Bahamas on the question of the scope and application of the Arbitration Act 2009 (The Bahamas) to trust arbitrations: Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & others, 2020/APP/sts/00013 (click here for reported judgment).

    Alongside his practical experience, he is a co-author of the Chancery Bar Association’s response to Law Commission Consultation Paper 257 which reviewed the Arbitration Act 1996 and advocated adapting the provisions of the legislative framework to facilitate trust arbitrations in England & Wales (see here for the full paper). 

    Reported cases and recent experience:

    • Hammersmith-Stewart v Cromwell Trust Company Ltd: Advising the Plaintiff in major trust litigation in the Supreme Court of The Bahamas concerning a dispute arising out of two Bahamian trusts. Led by Simon Taube KC (Ten Old Square Chambers) and Andrew Holden (XXIV Old Buildings) (and previously Eason Rajah KC, as he then was, of Ten Old Square Chambers) with local counsel. The proceedings have already led to a number of important reported judgments in The Bahamas which decisions include:
      • Adam Stewart & Others v Cheryl Hamersmith-Stewart & Others SCCivApp. Nos. 108 of 2022 & 132 of 2022: Court of Appeal of The Bahamas. Significant decision which restated the proper approach to privacy applications in the jurisdiction, the open justice principle and Article 20 of The Bahamas Constitution. The Court also gave important and valuable guidance on the scope of Section 77(3) and (4) of the Bank & Trust Company Regulations Act 2020. Click here for reported judgment.
      • Cheryl Hamersmith-Stewart v Cromwell Trust Company Ltd & Others 2021/CLE/gen01043: Supreme Court of The Bahamas (22 June 2023). Important decision for The Bahamas and common law jurisdictions dealing with the proper approach to “no contest clauses”. The decision stands as one of the few authorities dealing with this issue. Click here for reported judgment.
    • Volpi Delanson Services Ltd & Others 2020/APP/sts/00013: Advising and assisting in relation to a series of challenges and appeals made pursuant to sections 89, 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009 arising out of a trust arbitration. James is led by Michael Black KC, Elspeth Talbot Rice KC and Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings (with local counsel). The case has led to a number of important reported judgments dealing with various novel questions relating to the Bahamian Arbitration Act 2009 and how it applies to trust arbitrations:
      • Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & Others (Supreme Court dated 28 December 2023): One of the most significant decisions currently in the jurisdiction on the scope and nature of s. 89, s. 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009. The decision considers (amongst other things) whether the parties can appeal an arbitration award on a point of law with the leave of the court but without the consent of the parties and the degree to which the doctrine of separability applies to trust arbitrations. Click here for reported judgment.
      • Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & Others (Supreme Court dated 13 June 2022): The decision concerned (amongst other things) an application to stay an ongoing arbitration made pursuant to the Arbitration Act 2009 or the court’s inherent jurisdiction. The Court found that it had jurisdiction to grant the application pursuant to s. 67 of the Arbitration Act 2009. Click here for reported judgment. 
    • Advising an applicant seeking disclosure from a trustee in the Royal Court of Guernsey in relation to a dispute arising out of a Guernsey trust. Led by Simon Taube KC (Ten Old Square Chambers) and Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • Advising a protector of a Guernsey trust in proceedings in the Royal Court of Guernsey concerning an application to determine the proper construction of a trust settlement. Led by Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • Advising a protector of a trust in proceedings brought by the settlor in an offshore jurisdiction for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. Led by Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • Advising a protector of a series of trusts (English and Bermudian) as to his rights and duties as a protector, as well as his position following his removal from office by the trustee. Led by Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • UNCITRAL arbitration (Bahamas seat): acting for the settlor in a high-value trusts arbitration concerning a dispute over a series of distributions made by the trustee of Bahamian trusts to the settlor and beneficiary (led by Elspeth Talbot-Rice KC, Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden). The dispute involves complex questions of trusts law including rectification, fraud on a power, breach of trust, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
    • Advising a BVI company on jurisdiction issues and the merits of a proposed claim to enforce a Bermudian promissory note in England against a proposed English party.
    • Advising a BVI company on jurisdiction issues in relation to a proposed claim to enforce a Swiss loan agreement in England against a proposed English party.
    • Advice and research on the choice of law principles governing a series of complex transactions including the assignment of shares by a Liechtenstein foundation in a BVI company to another BVI company.
  • Arbitration

    James has substantial experience of international arbitration matters, including both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations as well as associated appeals and challenges to the supervisory court. He has built up particular experience of matters relating to a number of different jurisdictions across Europe, the Middle East and offshore jurisdictions such as The Bahamas.

    He has a particular interest in trust arbitrations and how they operate in different jurisdictions. James has practical experience of trust arbitration (see below) and has co-authored the Chancery Bar Association’s response to Law Commission Consultation Paper 257 which reviewed the Arbitration Act 1996 and advocated (amongst other things) adapting the provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 to cater specifically for trust arbitrations (full paper here).

    Recent experience includes:

    • LCIA Arbitration: acted for a BVI company in respect of a US$150m loan dispute with another BVI company. Led by Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden.
    • Volpi Delanson Services Ltd & Others 2020/APP/sts/00013: Advising and assisting in relation to a series of challenges and appeals made pursuant to sections 89, 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009 arising out of a trust arbitration. James is led by Michael Black KC, Elspeth Talbot Rice KC and Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings (with local counsel). The case has led to a number of important reported judgments dealing with various novel questions relating to the Bahamian Arbitration Act 2009 and how it applies to trust arbitrations:
      • Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & Others (Supreme Court dated 28 December 2023): One of the most significant decisions currently in the jurisdiction on the scope and nature of s. 89, s. 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009. The decision considers (amongst other things) whether the parties can appeal an arbitration award on a point of law with the leave of the court but without the consent of the parties and the degree to which the doctrine of separability applies to trust arbitrations. Click here for the reported judgment.
      • Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & Others (Supreme Court dated 13 June 2022): The decision concerned (amongst other things) an application to stay an ongoing arbitration made pursuant to the Arbitration Act 2009 or the court’s inherent jurisdiction. The Court found that it had jurisdiction to grant the application pursuant to s. 67 of the Arbitration Act 2009. Click here for the reported judgment.
    • LCIA Arbitration: acting as a Tribunal Secretary in a construction dispute for sums allegedly due under a dredging and reclamation works contract between two UK incorporated companies.
    • UNCITRAL arbitration (Bahamas seat): acting for the settlor in a high-value trusts arbitration concerning a dispute over a series of distributions made by the trustee of Bahamian trusts to the settlor and beneficiary (led by Elspeth Talbot Rice KC, Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden). The dispute involves complex questions of trusts law including rectification, breach of trust, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
    • DIFC-LCIA Arbitration: assisting Rachael O’Hagan (as part of pupillage) in the preparation for a hearing determining quantum in a large-scale construction dispute.
  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    James has a broad range of experience in trust litigation and regularly acts with ranked industry leaders. He has acted or is currently acting in a number of high-profile matters and is particularly experienced in advising trust protectors in relation to trust settlements in different jurisdictions. He is regularly instructed in litigation with leading practitioners in the field (including Andrew Holden, the author of “Holden on Trust Protectors”, one of the first specialist practitioners’ text on the subject).

    James also has a particular interest in trust arbitrations and how they operate in different jurisdictions such as The Bahamas. Indeed, he has been instructed in one of the leading decisions in The Bahamas on the question of the scope and application of the Arbitration Act 2009 (The Bahamas) to trust arbitrations: Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & others, 2020/APP/sts/00013 (click here for reported judgment).

    Reported cases:

    • Hammersmith-Stewart v Cromwell Trust Company Ltd: Advising the Plaintiff in major trust litigation in the Supreme Court of The Bahamas concerning a dispute arising out of two Bahamian trusts. Led by Simon Taube KC (Ten Old Square Chambers) and Andrew Holden (XXIV Old Buildings) (and previously Eason Rajah KC, as he then was, of Ten Old Square Chambers) with local counsel. The proceedings have already led to a number of important reported judgments in The Bahamas which decisions include:
      • Adam Stewart & Others v Cheryl Hamersmith-Stewart & Others SCCivApp. Nos. 108 of 2022 & 132 of 2022: Court of Appeal of The Bahamas. Significant decision which restated the proper approach to privacy applications in the jurisdiction, the open justice principle and Article 20 of The Bahamas Constitution. The Court also gave important and valuable guidance on the scope of Section 77(3) and (4) of the Bank & Trust Company Regulations Act 2020. Click here for reported judgment.
      • Cheryl Hamersmith-Stewart v Cromwell Trust Company Ltd & Others 2021/CLE/gen01043: Supreme Court of The Bahamas (22 June 2023). Important decision for The Bahamas and common law jurisdictions dealing with the proper approach to “no contest clauses”. The decision stands as one of the few authorities dealing with this issue. Click here for reported judgment.
    • Volpi Delanson Services Ltd & Others 2020/APP/sts/00013: Advising and assisting in relation to a series of challenges and appeals made pursuant to sections 89, 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009 arising out of a trust arbitration. James is led by Michael Black KC, Elspeth Talbot Rice KC and Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings (with local counsel). The case has led to a number of important reported judgments dealing with various novel questions relating to the Bahamian Arbitration Act 2009 and how it applies to trust arbitrations:
        • Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & Others (Supreme Court dated 28 December 2023): One of the most significant decisions currently in the jurisdiction on the scope and nature of s. 89, s. 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009. The decision considers (amongst other things) whether the parties can appeal an arbitration award on a point of law with the leave of the court but without the consent of the parties and the degree to which the doctrine of separability applies to trust arbitrations. Click here for reported judgment.
        • Volpi v Delanson Services Ltd & Others (Supreme Court dated 13 June 2022): The decision concerned (amongst other things) an application to stay an ongoing arbitration made pursuant to the Arbitration Act 2009 or the court’s inherent jurisdiction. The Court found that it had jurisdiction to grant the application pursuant to s. 67 of the Arbitration Act 2009. Click here for reported judgment.
    • Advising an applicant seeking disclosure from a trustee in the Royal Court of Guernsey in relation to a dispute arising out of a Guernsey trust. Led by Simon Taube KC (Ten Old Square Chambers) and Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • Advising a protector of a Guernsey trust in proceedings in the Royal Court of Guernsey concerning an application to determine the proper construction of a trust settlement. Led by Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • Advising a protector of a trust in proceedings brought by the settlor in an offshore jurisdiction for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. Led by Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • Advising a protector of a series of trusts (English and Bermudian) as to his rights and duties as a protector, as well as his position following his removal from office by the trustee. Led by Andrew Holden with local counsel.
    • UNCITRAL arbitration (Bahamas seat): acting for the settlor in a high-value trusts arbitration concerning a dispute over a series of distributions made by the trustee of Bahamian trusts to the settlor and beneficiary (led by Elspeth Talbot-Rice KC, Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden). The dispute involves complex questions of trusts law including rectification, fraud on a power, breach of trust, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
  • Public & European Law

    James has been involved in a number of high-profile cases and has gained experience of matters involving complex questions of constitutional law and European Union law.

    Notable instructions include:

    • Privacy International v Investigatory Powers Tribunal [2019] UKSC 22, Junior counsel for the interested parties in the Supreme Court led by Sir James Eadie KC (Blackstone Chambers), Kate Grange KC (39 Essex Chambers) and Catherine Dobson (39 Essex Chambers) – The decision concerned the effect of s67(8) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 as well as parliament’s ability to legislate to oust the High Court supervisory jurisdiction in certain circumstances.
    • Infected Blood Inquiry – Junior counsel to the Infected Blood Inquiry chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff.
    • Advising on various questions of EU free movement law following a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), including the effect of Regulation 1346/2000 (‘Insolvency Regulation) on the interpretation of EU free movement rights and the principles governing the scope of Article 45 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in the context of pensions and insolvency.

Other information

  • Professional Memberships and Appointments
    • Chancery Bar Association (ChBA)
    • Contentious Trusts Association (ConTra)
    • Commercial Bar Association (Combar)
    • Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
  • Scholarships and prizes

    Lincoln’s Inn

    • 2017 – Shelford Scholarship
    • 2016 – Buchanan Prize
    • 2014 – Lord Denning Scholarship
    • 2014 – Accommodation Award and Hardwicke Entrance Award

     

    Law Faculty, Oxford University

    • 2015 – Law Faculty Prize for Highest Mark in Comparative Public Law on the Bachelor of Civil Law degree
    • 2015 – Law Faculty Prize for Highest Mark in Criminal Justice, Security & Human Rights on the Bachelor of Civil Law degree

     

    Jesus College, Oxford University

    • 2015 – Sankey Scholarship
    • 2015 – 2014 – College Prize for University Prizes and Achievement in University Examinations (BCL and Finals)
    • 2014 – Peter North Award
    • 2012 – Nikolas Tarling Scholarship for academic achievement
    • 2012 – Lawrence Exhibition for academic achievement
    • 2011 – First Year Law Prize
    • 2011 – College Prize for Achievement in University Examinations (for achieving a Distinction in Law Moderations)
  • Academic History

    2016 – 2017 – MPhil in Law, Jesus College, Oxford University (graduation 2022)

    2015 – 2016 – BPTC, BPP University (Holborn, London) – Outstanding

    2014 – 2015 – Bachelor of Civil Law, Jesus College, Oxford University – Distinction

    2010 – 2014 – BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe (Italian Law), Jesus College, Oxford University– First Class Honours

  • Career History

    Previous Employment

    • Lecturer in Law, Jesus College Oxford (2016 – 2017) – Tutor of European Union Law (teaching undergraduates at Jesus College, Oxford and Regent’s Park College, Oxford)
    • Lecturer in Law, Jesus College Oxford (2015 – 2016) – Tutor of Contract Law (teaching undergraduates at Jesus College, Oxford)
    • Lecturer in Law, Jesus College Oxford (2015 – 2016) – Tutor of Human Rights Law (teaching postgraduates and finalist undergraduates of the Law Faculty of Oxford University)
    • Lecturer in Law, Jesus College Oxford (2015 – 2016) – Tutor of Criminal Law (teaching first year undergraduates at Jesus College, Oxford and Trinity College, Oxford)

     

    Research Assistance and Italian Experience

    James is bilingual in Italian and has worked as a:

    • Research Assistant to Professor Guido Alpa (Professor of Civil Law, La Sapienza University, Rome) and Professor Mads Andenas KC (Hon) (Professor of Law, University of Oslo and former UN Special Rapporteur on arbitrary detention).
    • James assisted in translating and editing Alpa & Andenas, “Fondamenti del diritto privato europeo” (“Foundations of European Private Law”) from the original Italian into English.
    • Research Assistant to Prof. Attila Tanzi, Professor of International Law, University of Bologna (edited the English translation of his book on International Law).

     

    During 2012 – 2013, James went on an academic exchange to the Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy. He undertook courses in constitutional law, institutions of private law, European law and comparative public law. The subjects were taught and examined in Italian.

     

    Volunteering and further experience

    James has previously volunteered at Liberty (2015 – 2016) as an advice and information volunteer. This involved responding to clients and providing practical advice.

    In January 2018, James was a member of the winning team from 39 Essex Chambers in the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Mediation Skills Competition 2018.

  • Languages

    James is bilingual in Italian and a native speaker. As a barrister, he is regularly instructed in commercial matters involving Italian language and with Italian speaking clients. Additionally he speaks French to a high level.