“Very impressive, wise beyond his years, and a good advocate” with “the ability to think on his feet” is how James is described in the latest edition of Chambers & Partners (2021). He is also noted as being “easy to get on with”, that his “attention to detail is excellent”, and “if you have situations where you really need to be rescued, he’s your man”.
James specialises in commercial/chancery, professional negligence and construction disputes and is recommended in Chambers and Partners 2021 and the Chambers and Partners Global Guide 2021 for Commercial Dispute Resolution. As a barrister he combines a positive and practical approach with sound judgment. Solicitors and clients find him user friendly and is often complimented on his clear confident and persuasive advocacy.
Further details of the work he undertakes, with recent examples, can be found below.
An Ad hoc insurance company arbitration between ATE Insurer and solicitor that issued thousands of ATE policies under numerous Coverholder agreements over a 7-year period. The insurer claimed that the solicitor agreed to an oral variation to the Coverholder agreements under which the solicitor agreed to bear a proportion of the adverse costs awarded, the solicitor then committed wholesale breaches of the Coverholder agreements and concealed the full extent of those losses. The claim was valued in the region of £9,000,000. James was led by William McCormick QC.
Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery
Representing a company being sued by numerous finance companies for allegedly executing numerous non-regulated hire agreements concerning office equipment. The company alleges that it knew nothing of these agreements and that its finance director conspired with the supplier to execute the hire agreements for their own benefit. The claim is worth approximately £900,000.
He is instructed in a range of commercial disputes that include contractual disputes, directors/trustees breach of fiduciary duties, construction disputes, minority shareholders, s.994 petitions, finance, and professional negligence. His experience in commercial litigation means that he can act in most types of insolvency matters.
Heat Trace (UK) Ltd v Heat Trace Ltd (2020)– Acting for the Claimant in this long running dispute in which the Claimant alleges that the Defendant breached the terms of a Distribution Agreement which has caused losses in excess of £1,000,000.
Namalco Construction v EMBD (2019) – A $150 million dispute involving significant infrastructure projects in Trinidad & Tobago. James is instructed as a junior on behalf of Namalco Construction. Namalco are seeking payment of approximately $150 million in respect of major road and infrastructure projects that they were contracted to complete by Estate Management & Business Development Company Limited (EMBD). The contracts in dispute are based upon the Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils (FIDIC) Red Book. The dispute is multi-layered and complex. EMBD have raised issues over the quality of the works, the quantities used, the prices applied and have made allegations that the Contract Supervisors failed to act independently. There are serious allegations that the bidding process was flawed because Namalco were part of a cartel.
McAlpine Grant ILCO v AFR Refrigeration Ltd  EWHC 106 (QB) – Dispute concerning the supply of a faulty refrigerator unit that caused damage to a third party’s high value pharmaceutical products.
Hart v Derek Ingram Limited and another (2020) – Acting on behalf of the Defendant in an issued TCC claim involving alleged defective construction works.
Rattan v Carter-Ruck Solicitors  5WLUK 633 – Acting for the Defendant in successfully striking out the Claimants application for a detailed assessment of a bill of costs. The Master found that the Claimants conduct amounted to an abuse of process.
First Call Services v Bulgari Hotel and Residence (2019) – Acting for the Defendant in a contractual dispute arising out of the provision of security services at its Knightsbridge Hotel.
Rugby BC v Mr and Mrs Tayton  EWHC 898 (QB) – Successfully obtaining an award of indemnity costs against the Applicant for failing to provide full and frank disclosure whilst obtaining a Freezing Injunction against Respondents.
Media & Entertainment
In conjunction with his commercial practice James is also developing a practice in Sports Law. He has recently achieved notable success in a matter that has attracted significant interest in the national press. The Claimant was an academy player (who because of his age cannot be named) with a Premier League Club when he was illegally approached by Liverpool FC. As a result, Liverpool FC was banned from signing academy players from other English clubs and being fined £100,000. Under the terms of the settlement with the Premier League and Liverpool FC, his client will be able to continue with his education at his current private school at no cost to him and be free to join another club within the academy system without that club being required to pay compensation in the sum of £49,000 to Stoke City FC, that sum having been settled.
Taray Investments Limited v Gately Heritage LLP  EWHC 716 – Five-day professional negligence trial in which James acted for the Claimants in which they sought damages from their solicitor for the lost opportunity of purchasing and developing a residential site.
James is currently being led by Lord Garnier QC in a professional negligence claim against a leading QC.
James is currently advising a firm of solicitors that is facing allegations of fraud and professional negligence arising out of a property transaction.
In the past 2 years James has been involved in a significant number of professional negligence cases against solicitors which have been successfully resolved at mediation.
James has a flourishing property practice that includes disputes relating to boundary positions, adverse possession, easements, restrictive covenants nuisance and mortgage (which include undue influence, capacity, enforceability and possession). He has significant experience in claims that involve issues surrounding the Consumer Credit Act 1974 that complements both his commercial and property practice.
Gelle v (1) Kamal (2) Akhtar – James was representing the Defendants in a mortgage repossession case where arrears were alleged to have been over £1M. The Defence raised three issues, the mortgage was void because it was a clog on the equity of redemption, alternatively the Claimant was in breach by failing to allow the Defendants to redeem the mortgage, and in the further alternative the mortgage and the Claimant’s conduct created an unfair relationship pursuant to section 140 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The matter was successfully concluded at a mediation.
(1) A Wahab (2) A Jan v S Akhter – A two-day trial concerning a long running family property dispute. The allegation was that Grandson had obtained a transfer of the Grandparents’ legal and beneficial interest in their home without proper consent. The case concerned allegations of undue influence, non est factum and priority of interests under the Land Registration Act 2002.
Motley v Shadwell Park Ltd  11 WLUK 213 – The Court of Appeal considered whether the Judge was correct in granting the Respondent relief from sanctions in forfeiture proceedings.