Practice Overview

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

He has appeared unled in the following reported cases:

  • Fellner v Cleall [2021] EWHC 3599 (Ch) (costs of proceedings to remove administrator)
  • Blu-Sky Solutions Limited v Be Caring Limited [2021] EWHC (Comm) (penalty and onerous / unusal clauses in telecoms contract)
  • Eade v Hogg [2021] EWHC 1057 (Ch) (rectification of will to determine company shareholding)
  • I.O. Trading Ltd v Favorite Border LDA [2021] 10 WLUK 420 (unless orders; 1.2-million-euro loan dispute)
  • Rochford v Rochford [2021] W.T.L.R. 951 (1975 Act claim; costs of failing to mediate)
  • Carpmaels & Ransford LLP and Collyer Bristow LLP v Regen Lab SA [2021] EWHC 845 (Comm) (debt claim arising from patent litigation)
  • Zauli v Lughi [2020] Lexis Citation 282 (enforcement of 2.7-million-euro Member State judgment subject to appeal under Brussels I recast)
  • Re LMS [2020] EWCOP 52 (variation of will trust)
  • Razaq v Baig [2019] EWHC 3490 (Ch) (right of partners to continue business of dissolved partnership)

He is instructed in on- and off-shore disputes.

James has first-class degrees in history from Lincoln College, Oxford and law from St John’s College, Cambridge. He received the two highest student scholarships awarded by Lincoln’s Inn. Before coming to the Bar, he 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).

    In Carpmaels & Ransford LLP and Collyer Bristow LLP v Regen Lab SA [2021] EWHC 845 (Comm), James acted for two firms of solicitors in upholding a judgment of circa £600,000 of unpaid fees.

    In Blu-Sky Solutions Limited v Be Caring Limited [2021] EWHC 2619 (Comm), James’ client resisted a debt claim arising under a telecoms contract whose clauses were found to be onerous, unusual, and unlawful penalties.

    Other instructions include opposing a jurisdictional challenge and obtaining an unless order in a 1.2-million-euro loan dispute (I.O. Trading Ltd v Favorite Border LDA [2021] 10 WLUK 420); a successful appeal in a partnership dispute (Razaq v Baig [2019] EWHC 3490 (Ch)); assisting the Secretary of State for Transport in a claim brought by Eurotunnel which attracted national media attention; 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, Wills & Estates

    Eade v Hogg [2021] EWHC 1057 (Ch) concerned the proportions of a valuable company shareholding which passed to a deceased’s business partner and spouse. James appeared for the deceased’s spouse (Alexander Learmonth QC appeared for the business partner), with both parties succeeding in rectifying the will.

    In Re LMS [2020] EWCOP 52, James’ client applied to execute a deed of variation of a will. The application, which was contested by the Official Solicitor, created a disabled person’s trust under which a beneficiary’s entitlement to benefits was preserved.

    In Rochford v Rochford [2021] W.T.L.R. 951, James’ client, despite being an adult child with a valuable property, achieved a significant award under the 1975 Act. The judgment also shows the penalties that may be imposed on a party who fails to mediate.

    In Fellner v Cleall [2021] EWHC 3599 (Ch), proceedings to remove an administrator were settled. James’ client obtained her costs of the proceedings and denied the administrator an indemnity from the estate.

    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.

    His recent instructions include an action to trace sums misappropriated from a circa £2 million trust, advice on sexual abuse claims against an 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 STEP Journal, The Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal, Today’s Wills and Probate, and the New Law Journal. He also writes headnotes for the Wills & Trusts Law Reports and has been seconded to a private client firm.

  • Civil Fraud

    James acts in claims involving deceit, civil fraud, unlawful means conspiracy, and contempt of court. He is currently instructed in a fraud claim against a firm of solicitors and a conspiracy claim against several parties alleged to have moved assets between companies to avoid enforcement of a judgment.  

    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

    Qualifications / Education

    Attorney-General’s Junior Junior Panel

    BA Law (Senior Status), St John’s College, Cambridge (First Class)

    BA History, Lincoln College, Oxford (First Class)


    Awards

    Lord Mansfield Scholarship, Lord Bowen Scholarship, Residential Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)

    Squire Scholarship, Alfred Hall Prior Scholarship, McMahon Law Studentship, Wright Prize, Jacovides Prize (St John’s College, Cambridge)

    Gibbs Prize, Drummond Prize, LH Martin Prize, Trapp Exhibition, Grimshaw Exhibition (Lincoln College, Oxford) 


    Languages

    French (competent)


    Memberships


    Public Access

    Yes