Call: 2017    
James McKean  
+44 (0) 20 7419 8000

Practice Overview

James’ practice focuses on commercial litigation, trusts, and estates.


His recent instructions include the enforcement of a 2.7-million-euro Member State judgment subject to appeal under Brussels I recast (Zauli v Lughi [2020] Lexis Citation 282), the variation of a will trust (Re LMS [2020] EWCOP 52) and a successful appeal in a partnership claim (Razaq v Baig [2019] EWHC 3490 (Ch)). He is instructed in on- and off-shore disputes.


Before coming to the Bar, James read history at Lincoln College, Oxford, coming fifth in his year and receiving the highest arts mark in his college. He then took a double-first in the accelerated senior status law degree at St John’s College, Cambridge, and received the two highest student scholarships awarded by Lincoln’s Inn. He has also worked in New Delhi and Shanghai.

  • Commercial Litigation
    • In Zauli v Lughi [2020] Lexis Citation 282, James acted successfully for an Italian judgment creditor seeking to enforce a 2.7-million-euro judgment against an English-registered company, in the face of a pending appeal to the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation. The judgment is a rare authority from the English courts on articles 38, 44, and 51 of Brussels I recast (regulation (EU) 1215/2012).


      His past instructions include a successful appeal in Razaq v Baig [2019] EWHC 3490 (Ch) (right of partners to continue business of dissolved partnership), assisting the Secretary of State for Transport in a claim brought by Eurotunnel which attracted national media attention, acting for an investment bank in a share trading dispute, and advice on English and Manx law in a cross-border agency claim.


      James’ experiences in pupillage included the following:

      • A six-week conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty trial – Brent London Borough Council v Davies [2018] EWHC 2214 (Ch);
      • A three-week commercial trial – UK Learning Academy Limited v The Secretary of State for Education [2018] EWHC 2915 (Comm); and
      • A £650 million claim brought by a hedge fund against a major bank.


      James writes for LexisPSL as a member of the panel of experts on Dispute Resolution.


  • Trusts and Estates
    • In Re LMS [2020] EWCOP 52, James acted successfully in an application to execute a deed of variation of a will. The application, which was contested by the Official Solicitor, succeeded in creating a disabled person’s trust under which a beneficiary’s entitlement to benefits was preserved.


      James is frequently instructed in claims involving the interpretation of, or challenges to, wills and trusts; advice for, or the removal of, personal representatives; issues of capacity, calumny, and undue influence; claims under the 1975 Act; and associated professional negligence.


      James’ current instructions include a claim involving several Guernsey and BVI trusts and an offshore shell company, an action to trace significant sums misappropriated from a circa £2 million trust, and numerous claims under the 1975 Act.


      His recent instructions include acting for the trustees of a major charitable trust in a tender dispute, advising on interpretation and taxation issues in a circa £6.5 million estate, and acting for an administratrix in a bigamous marriage dispute involving at least three wives of an intestate deceased.


      James’ experiences in pupillage included the following:

      • An application for removal of executors and subsequent costs appeal with Alexander Learmonth – Griffin v Higgs [2018] EWHC 2498 (Ch);
      • A committal for will forgery with Alexander Learmonth – Patel v Patel [2017] EWHC 3229 (Ch); and
      • A dispute involving the will of a former law lord with Alexander Learmonth – Goss-Custard v Templeman [2018] EWHC 2476 (Ch).


      James appears in the Court of Protection and the Family Court on trusts and estates cases.


      James has written for the Trusts and Estates Law & Tax JournalToday’s Wills and Probate, and the New Law Journal.

  • Civil Fraud
    • James acts in claims involving deceit, civil fraud, unlawful means conspiracy, and contempt of court.


      James’ experiences in pupillage included the following:

      • A six-week High Court conspiracy trial with Nigel Hood – Brent London Borough Council v Davies [2018] EWHC 2214 (Ch);
      • A confiscation claim arising out of a £38 million fraud with Nigel Hood – Mirchandani v Gheewala [2017] EWHC 3766 (QB);
      • An unfair prejudice and fraudulent misrepresentation claim with Nigel Hood;
      • Asset-tracing in the wake of a £70 million Ponzi scheme; and
      • A deceit claim against suppliers to an international sporting venue.
  • Additional Information

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