James is a commercial barrister also sought out for the most challenging employment law claims and for crossover work (bonus disputes, restrictive covenant cases, team moves, LLP matters). He has over the last twelve months acted in cases proceeding in the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions of the High Court (including the Commercial Court and the Companies Court), in LCIA Arbitration, in County Courts, and in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. He is listed as a leading barrister in Chambers & Partners.
James has unusually extensive advocacy experience for a barrister of his call and often acts as sole counsel against more senior opponents, including silks. He is equally at home acting as part of large litigation teams led by silks and senior juniors.
Repeat clients include City, US, West End, Regional and specialist law firms. Within those firms James works regularly with arbitration, (commercial) dispute resolution, banking and finance, employment, and insolvency departments. James has also had a notably broad range of lay clients, a strong view that he learns something from each of them, and an equally strong determination to afford each of their problems equal importance. Corporate clients have included FTSE 100 companies, US, UAE, Cayman, Japanese, Icelandic, Italian and Spanish corporations, small and mid-cap businesses, and not for profit companies. Individuals successfully represented have ranged from senior City executives to airport cleaners.
James joined Littleton after obtaining a Double First and Doctorate from Oxford University, where he worked as a College Lecturer. He was a Lord Haldane and Lord Mansfield scholar of Lincoln’s Inn and won a Buchanan Award for his performance in Bar Finals.
Sample recent cases (for more details of recent work see tabs below):
Commercial, banking and finance
Crossover work, High Court Employment, LLP
James has broad experience of commercial work gained first at a magic circle commercial set and then at Littleton. He has a busy practice, being regularly used by a range of solicitors including City firms and sole practitioners either as sole advocate or adviser or as part of larger litigation teams. He has undertaken a secondment in a well-known banking and finance litigation team. Current or recent instructions include:
Past experience has seen James draft advices, notes, or pleadings in respect of claims which have proceeded to judgment in the High Court and/or Court of Appeal in each of the following fields: insurance; reinsurance; aviation; civil fraud; retail banking; investment banking; professional negligence; general commercial. In all his work James aims to provide clients with prompt, straightforward and commercially realistic advice based on meticulous research.
James has a broad employment practice focused on trial work, with experience of bringing or responding to claims of: unfair dismissal, race, sex, age and disability discrimination, unlawful deductions, breach of contract, lay-off redundancy, part-time worker discrimination, unjustifiable discipline (TULR(C)A), breaches of the WTR, and automatically unfair dismissal following protected disclosure or TUPE transfer.
Respondent clients have included small businesses, limited, public limited and multinational companies, public sector bodies, community organisations, a Trades Union, and charities. James enjoys learning about his client’s businesses or activities and considers it essential to do so. He is now increasingly instructed at an early stage to handle highly-charged or problematic cases for corporate and other clients he has represented in earlier Tribunal proceedings.
Claimant clients have come from all walks of life, and James has secured a number of high value settlements or awards. He is also careful to establish early what non-financial outcome if any a client seeks and then to work towards achieving this; settlement agreements have included provisions a) waiving restrictive covenants b) concerning detailed agreed references and c) concerning re-engagement on negotiated terms.
Cases as sole counsel include:
James is familiar with, and thrives on, bringing or resisting injunctive relief applications arising out of employment relationships. He is regularly instructed by both commercial and employment litigation departments:
As to the former, James worked for some nine months (led by Andrew Stafford QC and Jeffrey Bacon) as junior in the team move case of JM Scully Ltd v Minett and others, which included claims of: unlawful means conspiracy; breach of implied and express contractual terms; breach of fiduciary duty; inducement of breach of contract; unlawful interference; breach of equitable and contractual duties of confidence. James was involved in the case from the first draft of witness statements in support of the initial injunction application to the drafting of the settlement agreement on the eve of a ten day High Court trial. As to the latter, within the last twelve months James has acted as:
James is well-recognised for his work in the crossover area where insolvency and employment law meet. By way of professional recognition, James has been invited to deliver training to the Employment Lawyers Association on "Insolvency for Employment Lawyers” and to write on Employment Law/TUPE for R3. He is frequently the first port of call for insolvency lawyers seeking quick guidance on employment law issues, or employment lawyers seeking quick guidance on insolvency law. He has developed close relationships with leading Insolvency Practitioners and is often involved on a licensed access basis pre-appointment at the stage teams are assembled.
Given the time-critical nature of many decisions in this area James works collaboratively with a small group of other barristers to ensure that any specialist question can be answered rapidly if he is himself otherwise committed, and vice versa. Urgent queries should be emailed to James in the first instance and copied to firstname.lastname@example.org.
James is always happy to discuss restructuring options at an early stage pre-appointment and generally recommends that employment law input be sought as early as possible.
More recently, a significant amount of James’ caseload has involved acting for borrowers and other non-bank parties. Recent instructions include acting for a range of corporate and personal borrowers in claims arising out of banks breaching terms of pre-credit crunch loan agreements, and in defending lender actions for enforcement of securities (notably guarantees), particularly in the property sector.
James's examiners recommended his doctorate on the history of Normandy in the eleventh century for publication by Oxford University Press and he continues to prepare this for publication when time allows. In July 2011 he presented a paper to the 34th Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies in York. He has also delivered papers and taught in French.
Other interests include travel, art, and Italian cooking.