James has a busy practice across his specialisms of commercial, employment and partnership law. His practice includes DIFC/ADGM work, for which he is rated as a Tier One junior in both commercial and employment matters. An experienced and versatile advocate, in 2020 he has appeared in the Commercial Court, the Business and Property Courts (Chancery Division; Circuit Commercial Courts), the Insolvency and Companies Court, the Court of First Instance of the DIFC, and the interim applications court of the QBD. This advocacy work is combined with numerous instructions as a junior, both as part of teams led by King’s Counsel and as sole adviser.
Recent work examples:
James is the Chair of our Partnership and LLP group. The L500 2023 UK Bar describes him as having “standout expertise acting for individual LLP members in high-stakes exit disputes”. His practice encompasses disputes litigated in arbitration/the Chancery Division and in ETs. Many of his cases involve disputes in two of these at once, with James instructed in both to ensure a joined up approach.
The ensuing work has ranged in scale from very high-value disputes where James has been lead junior (in one case led by 3 silks) to cases where James is instructed on his own from first advice through to trial. James’ expertise at trial is well-known. It reflects advocacy experience gained in courts and tribunals from Cardiff to Dubai.
His experience of heavy partnership litigation has made James familiar with the pressures this can place on the partners involved. He remains focused on exploring ways of resolving issues early and/or before they proceed to litigation. He takes pleasure in the fact that many of his partner clients enjoy very successful careers after – as well as before – instructing him. Over the last two years he has achieved several seven figure settlements for individuals as well as extricating a number of LLPs economically from “bet the firm” disputes, with minimal reputational impact.
- Junior for TRM in BNP Paribas S.A v Trattamento Rifiuiti Metropolitani S.p.A  EWHC 1670 (Comm),  EWCA Civ 768,  EWHC 2436 (Comm), international swaps, bank finance and jurisdictional dispute, Commercial Court and Court of Appeal (led by Charles Samek KC);
- Sole Counsel successfully resisting Chancery appeal brought by debtor challenging assignment of Bank non-performing loan portfolio: Nicoll v Promontoria (Ram 2) Ltd  EWHC 2410 (Ch) and at 2020 Bankruptcy Trial (against KC);
- Sole Counsel for well-known national charity, recovering monies paid away following payment fraud. Secured Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust orders against multiple financial institutions (Soole J, Whipple J), a Worldwide Freezing Order (Whipple J) continued on return date (King J), and judgment (Robin Knowles J). More than half of stolen monies recovered.
- Defending start-up professional services firm in two team move claims brought by rivals, and advising on further individual recruitments.
- Junior for the Defendants in first team-move trial heard in the DIFC: ED&F Man Capital Markets MENA Limited v Hussain (1) RJ O’Brien MENA Limited (2) Ghallami (3) (led by Tom Montagu-Smith KC);
- Resisting injunction application concerning alleged misuse and retention of confidential information by departed senior executive (against KC);
- Counsel for corporate Defendants in Chancery proceedings arising out of a senior executive exit, with disputes over shareholdings, options, and the exercise of contractual discretion by a board;
- Defending unlawful deductions claims brought by union concerning hourly rates payable pursuant to formulae in historic terms and conditions, following TUPE transfers.
In company law, James is currently instructed in several unfair prejudice & breach of fiduciary disputes in England & Wales and in similar disputes in the DIFC.
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.
James works with both domestic and international litigation teams. Over the last eighteen months James has worked on cases involving the law of and/or legal teams from: the BVI, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland (Geneva), the UAE (Dubai), Uganda, and the US.
Feedback has included:
“A brain on legs who goes the extra mile for his instructing solicitor.”
“He is very good at detail, he leaves no stone unturned and he is a good person to have on your side.”
“He is a very clever barrister and he is the one to go to for a novel idea.”
“James is fiercely intelligent, commercially astute, and has an easygoing but disciplined style with clients and the court alike. He knows when to seek specialist input on cases of his, and works diligently and rigorously in everything he does – an excellent lawyer.”
“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.”
“Terribly user-friendly, gets the result and gets it done, rolls up his sleeves and is not afraid to muck in.”
“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.”
“Sensible, pragmatic and very pleasant to deal with…”
“Previously an academic at Oxford University who now frequently takes on complex employment disputes, often appearing in High Court injunctive relief cases. Clients and peers comment on his mental acuity and strategic approach to his advocacy.”