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James Bickford Smith

James Bickford Smith

Call: 2008

Barrister

"He's a pleasure to work with, grasps issues quickly and is prepared to work extremely hard to deliver the required output." "He's commercial, supportive and adds great value."

Chambers UK Bar 2021

“A brilliant advocate who understand cultural variables and has the ability to stay calm in some heated negotiations."

Legal 500 EMEA

James Bickford Smith

"He's a pleasure to work with, grasps issues quickly and is prepared to work extremely hard to deliver the required output." "He's commercial, supportive and adds great value."

Chambers UK Bar 2021

“A brilliant advocate who understand cultural variables and has the ability to stay calm in some heated negotiations."

Legal 500 EMEA

Contact

James has a busy practice across his specialisms of commercial, employment and partnership law. 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 Queens Counsel and as sole adviser.

Recent work examples:

Commercial

  • Junior for TRM in BNP Paribas S.A v Trattamento Rifiuiti Metropolitani S.p.A [2018] EWHC 1670 (Comm), [2019] EWCA Civ 768, [2020] EWHC 2436 (Comm), international swaps, bank finance and jurisdictional dispute, Commercial Court and Court of Appeal (led by Charles Samek QC);
  • Sole Counsel successfully resisting Chancery appeal brought by debtor challenging assignment of Bank non-performing loan portfolio: Nicoll v Promontoria (Ram 2) Ltd [2019] EWHC 2410 (Ch) and at 2020 Bankruptcy Trial (against QC);
  • 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.

Employment

  • 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 QC);
  • Resisting injunction application concerning alleged misuse and retention of confidential information by departed senior executive (against QC);
  • 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.

Partnership/company

Most of James’ partnership and LLP instructions comprise confidential & sensitive disputes in professional or financial services firms, recently:

  • Acting for partner in 1890 Act solicitors’ partnership subject to detriment after pregnancy and pregnancy-related illness (against QC);
  • Acting in two LLP expulsion disputes;
  • Acting for two members of an algorithmic trading fund in a dispute with a departing member and a BVI nominee company concerning asset & IP ownership and valuation.
  • Acting in a long-running LLP Unfair Prejudice Petition. Main issues: exclusion, diversion  of business opportunity.
  • Advising a market-leading professional services partnership facing claim of direct disability discrimination & relating to PHI cover against background of very long-term sickness absence.

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:

“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.”

Commercial

International

Employment (High Court)

Employment (Statutory)

Banking & Finance Litigation

Insolvency

Partnership & LLP

TUPE and Restructuring

Personal Background

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