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.
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.He is listed as a leading barrister in Chambers & Partners:
"Sources repeatedly stressed the high quality of his advocacy, as well as his powerful intellect. He is an advocate experienced in the tribunal and courts at all levels.”
"He is incredibly precise and technical, whilst also a very commercial and persuasive advocate."
"Sensible, pragmatic and very pleasant to deal with…”
"He is praised for his grasp of legal principles, with numerous interviewees commenting on his standout academic strength. His practice is diverse and takes in an array of High Court work”.
Repeat clients include City, US, West End, Regional and specialist law firms. Within those firms James works regularly with banking and finance, dispute resolution, 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
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; when cases fight, however, James is known for his resilience and effectiveness as a trial advocate. After gaining much trial experience in Tribunals the length and breadth of the country he is now primarily briefed in highly charged or legally complex cases against better resourced Respondents.
James is the Deputy Chair of our Partnership and LLP group. His LLP and partnership practice involves both classic Chancery matters and work with more of an employment flavour.
Work in 2014-15 has included:
While James is happy dealing with contentious LLP and partnership work, the majority of his work in this field is advisory and as such confidential. James is familiar with the pressures that partnership disputes can create on those involved in them, and he remains focused on exploring ways of resolving issues early and/or before they proceed to litigation.