James has a broad and developing chancery and commercial practice. He works across the full range of chambers’ areas of expertise, including in particular trusts and probate litigation, commercial and company disputes, civil fraud, insolvency, and aviation.

James regularly appears as sole counsel in the County Court and High Court, and undertakes a wide variety of drafting and advisory work. He is also frequently instructed as part of a counsel team on complex and high-value disputes. In keeping with chambers’ reputation, James enjoys working with lawyers and clients from other jurisdictions, and on matters involving international and conflicts of laws elements. He has recently returned from a three-month secondment to Walkers (Guernsey) LLP, during which he worked alongside the litigation team on a wide range of commercial, civil fraud, and trusts disputes.

Examples of James’s current and recent work include:

  • acting in a two-week trial in the Guernsey Royal Court seeking the dissolution of a $125 million limited partnership on grounds including fraudulent misrepresentation;
  • advising on a claim for dishonest assistance following a fraud in the value of $1.2 million;
  • acting (with Edward Cumming QC) on a complex ongoing dispute involving the administration of a family trust and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
  • acting regularly for defendant airlines (including British Airways, Icelandair, TUI, and Easyjet) in claims brought under EU Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention;
  • advising (with Edward Cumming QC) beneficiaries of a trust in relation to potential claims against present and former trustees and directors of underlying companies;
  • settling a defence and counterclaim for owners of a property in relation to a construction dispute following defective building works;
  • regularly appearing in the High Court in relation to corporate and personal insolvency matters, including winding up and bankruptcy petitions, and other related applications.

Further details of James’s experience are set out below.

Areas of experience

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  • Aviation

    James frequently appears in the County Court representing defendant airlines (including British Airways, Emirates, Icelandair, TUI, and easyJet) in claims made by passengers under EU Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention. He also has experience settling pleadings of such claims, both under the CPR and the European Small Claims Procedure.

    James’s wider experience in the aviation sector includes advising owners of a private aircraft as to the correct interpretation of a contract for repair. During pupillage, James also worked on a claim in which the purchaser of a part-share in an aircraft sought US$4m for breach of contract and conversion.

  • Banking and Financial Services

    During pupillage, James gained experience across a range of banking and financial services matters, including:

    • Mis-selling claims in relation to the sale of mortgages, pensions, savings products, and interest-rate swap products.
    • A judicial review of a final decision made by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
    • A claim involving the brokering of contracts for difference with a fraudulent and insolvent hedge fund.
  • Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery

    Since commencing practice, James has advised in relation to a potential claim for dishonest assistance in a fraud in the value of $1.2 million.

    During pupillage, James gained a broad experience of claims for personal and proprietary remedies in cases involving allegations of fraud and dishonesty, including:

    • A claim brought by an airline for deceit, breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy against seven defendants.
    • Proceedings for the fraudulent introduction of an insolvent hedge fund to a global brokerage firm.
    • A claim brought by an art dealer seeking the return of artworks which had been consigned on the basis of alleged fraudulent misrepresentations.
    • An application made by a company seeking rescission of the fraudulent establishment of a Limited Partnership.
    • An alleged oil trading fraud involving claims for unlawful means conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contractual duty, dishonest assistance, and knowing receipt.
    • A claim against a former employee alleged to have been stealing company money throughout her employment.
  • Commercial Litigation

    Throughout his pupillage, James worked with his supervisors on a wide range of commercial matters. Alongside developing his drafting skills in relation to advice, pleadings, skeleton arguments and other documents, he gained experience of issues concerning the conflict of laws and applications for interim relief (including freezing and proprietary injunctions). Cases James worked on included:

    • Assisting Edward Cumming QC in Yukos International UK BV & Ors v Merinson [2018] EWHC 335 (Comm) concerning the interpretation and scope of Article 23 of the Brussels Recast Judgments Regulation.
    • A claim by an investment banking advisor for unpaid success fees in relation to the introduction of a Chinese investor to a defendant property development company.
    • A claim brought against three pharmaceuticals companies for breaches of contract and fiduciary duty.
    • A claim for allegedly due commission payments following the sale of a business, engaging issues under the Estate Agents Act 1979.
    • A claim for breach of contract brought by a company acting as an intermediary in the egg production market against a couple running a free-range egg farm, involving arguments concerning contractual interpretation and penalty clauses subsequent to Cavendish Square Holding BV v Makdessi [2015] UKSC 67.
    • A claim for damages for breach of contract, conversion, and restitution for unjust enrichment concerning unpaid sums pursuant to a contract for the provision of telecommunications and security equipment and services.
  • Company

    During pupillage, James gained experience of a range of company law matters, including:

    • claims alleging breaches of directors’ duties;
    • winding-up petitions; and
    • unfair prejudice petitions pursuant to section 994 of the Companies Act 2006.

    James also assisted Edward Cumming QC in the mediation of a dispute involving the exclusion of a director and shareholder from the management of a large family business.

  • Construction & Projects

    James’s experience of construction disputes includes:

    • drafting a Defence and Counterclaim for a couple facing a claim for unpaid invoices having withheld payments to a builder due to defective work;
    • drafting a Particulars of Claim for the enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision following the incorrect performance of a contract for the construction of a block of apartments; and
    • during pupillage, assisting Hugh Miall in Harvil Roofing Limited v Lakehouse Contracts Limited (2017), a trial in the Technology and Construction Court of a claim against a building contractor for alleged breaches of an oral contract relating to the exclusivity of future work.
  • Insolvency

    James regularly appears in the High Court and County Court in both personal and corporate insolvency proceedings. He frequently acts for petitioners, debtors, and supporting creditors on bankruptcy and winding up petitions and at other related insolvency hearings, including applications to set aside statutory demands and applications for injunctions to restrain the presentation of a winding up petition.

    James also regularly advises on insolvency proceedings and disputes arising under the Insolvency Act 1986, including, for example, void dispositions of property under section 127 of the Act and claims under section 423 of the Act for transactions at an undervalue.

  • Partnership and Joint Ventures

    During pupillage, James assisted Hugh Miall in advising members of LLPs as to their liability under various partnership agreements to make contributions upon the LLPs’ insolvency.

  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    James has a wide range of experience in trusts and probate litigation, including:

    • Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
    • Claims for the removal of trustees and for breach of trust.
    • Applications for the disclosure of trust documents.
    • A claim for the rescission of a trust on the basis of mistake or misrepresentation.
    • Contentious probate disputes.
    • Rectification of wills under section 20 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982.

    James also assisted Edward Cumming QC in Lehtimäki v The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK) and others [2018] EWCA Civ 1605, concerning the scope of the court’s inherent jurisdiction to supervise charitable companies.