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James Bickford Smith

James Bickford Smith

Call: 2008


James Bickford Smith


James specialises principally in the fields of Commercial and Employment law. He also practices in the fields of Partnership and Insolvency law. He has extensive advocacy experience for a barrister of his call.

Recent work includes high-profile commercial and employment cases as a junior, and sole counsel instructions across the full spectrum of Chambers’ work. 2018/19 examples include:

  • Junior for TRM in BNP Paribas S.A v Trattamento Rifiuiti Metropolitani S.p.A, a dispute concerning the financing of a powerplant near Turin and related swaps contracts. Jurisdictional challenge in Commercial Court and Court of Appeal (led by Charles Samek QC);
  • Junior for the Defendants in the 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);
  • 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);
  • Sole Counsel for Claimant founder and shareholder in DIFC dispute with co-investor;
  • Civil fraud work for claimants and defendants, including applications for freezing orders;
  • Counsel for corporate Defendants in Chancery proceedings arising out of a senior executive exit, with disputes over shareholdings, options, Braganza and the exercise of contractual discretion by a board;
  • Restrictive covenant, confidential information, and springboard injunctions;
  • Partnership and LLP disputes;
  • Shareholder and company disputes, domestic and international (UAE/BVI).

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.”



Employment (High Court)

Employment (Statutory)

Banking & Finance Litigation


Partnership & LLP

TUPE and Restructuring

Personal Background

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