Practice Overview

James’ busy commercial chancery practice spans Chambers’ practice areas and he is particularly at home with complex disputes which engage multiple overlapping areas of law. James welcomes instructions across the full range of commercial-chancery work including insolvency, trusts and estates, property, commercial litigation, civil fraud and company.

James appears frequently in his own right in the High Court and County Courts. Recent reported decisions include successfully setting aside a statutory demand relying upon the penalty doctrine in Slowikowsa v Rogers [2021] EWHC 192 (Ch), defending against presentation of a winding-up petition under the Coronavirus test in Newman v Templar Corp Ltd [2020] EWHC 3740 (Ch) and led trial experience with Nigel Hood in a four-week High Court dispute with issues of civil fraud and partnership dissolution (Sidhu v Rathor [2020] EWHC 1916 (Ch)).

James is also a contributor to the forthcoming Third Edition of Gough on Company Charges, has written for Trust and Trustees and contributes to Lexis Nexis’ dispute resolution panel.

Before coming to the Bar, James spent ten months at Canada’s leading boutique litigation firm Lenczner Slaght as a Fox Scholar. Previously, James tutored trusts law at the London School of Economics and obtained first class honours in his LLB from University College London.

 

James can be instructed on a direct access basis.

  • Trusts, Wills & Estates

    James gained extensive experience of trusts and estates disputes during pupillage including offshore litigation and non-contentious matters. James has gained significant experience of trusts and fiduciary issues in the Isle of Man in a liquidation context. James has written on will variations for the leading international journal Trusts and Trustees. James has a particular knowledge of co-trustee/executor claims.

    James is familiar with trusts and estate practice, including:

    • James continues to advise in the complex liquidation of a large Isle of Man trusts and corporate service provider engaging issues of corporate insolvency, trusts and property law.
    • Applications for removal of trustees and executors, Beddoe applications and Benjamin orders, amongst other Part 64 procedures (including analogous issues of trusts in liqudation).
    • 1975 Act claims.
    • Rectification and rescission of trust instruments.
    • Contentious probate claims (undue influence, knowledge and approval, capacity etc)
    • TOLATA proceedings.
    • Particular issues arising in respect of costs in trusts and estate litigation.
    • Constructive and resulting trusts claims and tracing.
    • Non-contentious procedures including limited grants, S.116 applications and strategies surrounding caveats, warnings and appearances.

     

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • Drafting a deed of variation to utilise NRB and RNRB allowances and appearing at the associated court approval hearing
    • A professional negligence claim against solicitors for failing to sever a joint tenancy of land
    • Advising on the liquidation of a corporate trustee
    • Advising executors on the correct interpretation of a testamentary disposition to a registered charity
    • Advising on a contested application for a grant of letters of administration for beneficiaries entitled in the same degree
    • Successfully obtaining the order for the immediate removal of an executor
    • Advising on proprietary estoppel claim against an estate
    • Advising on various issues arising in estate administration including issues of the devolution of copyright
    • Advising on a TOLATA action between former co-habiting partners
    • Advising on the merits 1975 Act claims against an estate for financial provision
    • Advising on securing estate assets in a multi-jurisdictional administration
    • Advising on debt claims and recovery in the estate context including the assignment of causes of action and limitation questions

     

     During pupillage James assisted with:

    • An application for the rendering of an account and subsequent distribution from an executor.
    • A successful High Court trial challenging a will and lifetime transfers for undue influence and want of knowledge and approval.
    • Advising on setting aside appointments, indemnities and powers of attorney for mistake and undue influence in a family trust context.
    • Research addressing the operation of arbitration clauses in trusts disputes.
    • Drafting Particulars of Claim to set aside lifetime transfers for undue influence.
    • Research concerning changes to the proper law of trust administration, rectification of trusts for disabled persons and taxation of pension trusts.
  • Property

    James is familiar with the full range of Chambers’ work in real property and landlord and tenant matters, including TOLATA proceedings, leasehold enfranchisement, mortgages and business tenancy renewals. James has a strong grasp of the interaction between real property issues and insolvency/bankruptcy.

     

    James’ recent instructions include:

     

    • James continues to advise in the complex liquidation of a large Isle of Man trusts and corporate service provider engaging issues of corporate insolvency, trusts and property law.
    • Advising on and obtaining a Blue Jeans order for forfeiture.
    • Advice regarding corporate dissolution, share purchase agreements and escheat of freehold
    • Defending mortgage possession proceedings with issues of a mortgagee in administration.
    • Advising in respect of undisclosed mortgage broker commission claims.
    • Defending commercial L&T recovery proceedings with issues of insurance cover, rent cesser and misrepresentation
    • Drafting particulars of claim for rectification of a lease addressing rent review clauses
    • Advising on a challenge to service charges in respect of a multi-million pound apartment development.
    • Advising on a contemplated collective enfranchisement with issues of exterior fire cladding replacement service charge disputes
    • Successfully obtaining an interim and final injunction for the removal of trespassing vehicles without trial
    • Defending proceedings for a declaration and damages for infringement of an easement.
    • Advising on injunctive relief to prevent a sale at an under value by an LPA receiver
    • 1954 Act claims for renewal of a business tenancy.
    • Advising in relation to numerous dilapidations disputes concerning business premises.
    • Obtaining a stay of execution of a possession order on an urgent application in the High Court.
    • Advising on equitable accounting for interests in a marital home upon bankruptcy.

     

     

     

    During Pupillage James assisted with:

     

    • The trial of a preliminary issue in a contested lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
    • A four-day trial with issues of proprietary estoppel and a lease/licence dispute over a houseboat.
    • A two-day Land Tribunal trial for removal of a registered restriction involving considerations of illegality and the use of nominees.
    • Advising in a claim resembling P&P and Dreamvar, with additional considerations of an intermediary party.
  • Insolvency

    James is fast developing a very busy insolvency practice covering all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency matters. In particular James has gained significant experience in respect of claims against directors for breach of duty together with Insolvency Act claims under the antecedent recovery provisions. James is regularly instructed by IP’s/office holders, litigation funders and individuals. James has a particular knowledge of co-director/office holder claims.

    James’ insolvency practice frequently crosses paths with trusts and real property issues along with questions of directors’ liabilities.

     

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • James continues to advise in the complex liquidation of a large Isle of Man trusts and corporate service provider engaging issues of corporate insolvency, trusts and property law.
    • Successfully setting aside a bankruptcy statutory demand on the basis of the unenforceable penalty rules in Slowikowsa v Rogers [2021] EWHC 192 (Ch)
    • Advising on claims for recoveries against directors following failed EBT schemes
    • Claims against errant directors under the Companies Act for breach of duty and under the Insolvency Act in respect of voidable preferences/TUVs
    • Claims against debtors of an insolvent company involving questions of fixed and floating charge security and rectification of the companies and land registers.
    • Advising on a transaction at an undervalue with a conveyance of a beneficial interest between spouses.
    • A successful application to wind up a partnership with two bankrupt partners as an unregistered company under the Insolvent Partnership Order.
    • Advice on an English corporate administration with issues concerning intellectual property rights and non-assignment clauses and cross-jurisdictional Californian and Canadian arbitration considerations.
    • Advising on questions of unjust enrichment, tracing, knowing receipt and transactions at an undervalue in relation to an insolvency process involving multiple corporate entities.
    • Appearing on applications under 235-237 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to require cooperation with an office holder.
    • Advising on a wrongful trading claim with a potential value of £2 million.
    • Advice concerning a potential S.212 misfeasance action against delinquent directors of a company in liquidation for breach of fiduciary duty.
    • Numerous bankruptcy petitions appearing for both creditors and debtors, and associated applications.
    • Advising on the implications of retention of title security in liquidation.
    • An application for the appointment of an alternative first trustee in bankruptcy under The Administration of Insolvent Estates of Deceased Persons Order 1986.
    • Advising trustees in bankruptcy as to equitable accounting for a property between former spouses.
    • Advising on the novation of contractual liabilities in a pre-pack administration.
    • Advising on the effect of bankruptcy upon a shareholder’s voting entitlements.
    • Resisting applications for validation orders.
    • Pursuing and opposing winding up petitions, annulments and rescissions.
  • Civil Fraud

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • Appearing in a 4-week High Court trial concerning the misappropriation of assets and various issues of partnership law led by Nigel Hood (Sidhu v Rathor [2020] EWHC 1916 (Ch)).
    • Advising on an estates claim raising freezing injunctive relief, committal for contempt of court and the examination of a debtor under CPR 71 together with associated enforcement issues
    • Drafting proceedings concerning unlawful and lawful means conspiracy.
    • Applications for final charging orders and third-party debt orders in the High Court in the context of corporate fraud and misappropriation of company assets.
    • Preparing witness statements in a matter regarding fraudulent share sales, acquisitions and accounting.

     

    During pupillage James assisted with:

    • Advice regarding the misselling of interest rate hedging products and liability for negligent misstatement.
    • Assisting in skeleton argument preparation and advice concerning tracing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. James has also gained an understanding of compensation and confiscation orders under POCA and the interaction with civil enforcement.
    • An application for Norwich Pharmacal disclosure in a stock trading platform fraud.
    • Assisting with applications for domestic and worldwide freezing injunctions.
    • Conference advice regarding allegations of fraudulent forgery of a will signature.
  • Company & Partnership

    James has recently advised on a complex family dispute involving issues of company decision making, directors’ powers and discretionary trust powers in family settlements.

    James regularly advises on disputes concerning breaches of directors’ duties, often in an insolvency context. James has also gained experience of Company Law issues in an Isle of Man context whilst continuing to advise on an offshore liquidation.

    James is also familiar with applications to extend the period of registering company charges and for applying to restore companies to the register.

    James has also recently advised on a number of cases involving questions of dissolution, restoration and the effect of both upon corporate property and claims limitation

    During pupillage James assisted with:

    • Advice on vexatious resolutions and meetings of directors.
    • Drafting Particulars of Claim for breach of a joint venture investment agreement involving multiple corporate vehicles, unjust enrichment and constructive trust claims.
    • Advising in relation to Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies and Industrial and Provident Societies.
    • Drafting shareholder agreements for a settlement involving numerous family-owned corporate entities in multiple jurisdictions.
    • Advice and research concerning dispositions at an undervalue and directors' duties in the Cayman Islands
  • Commercial Litigation

    James’ continues to develop a busy and varied commercial practice. James’ recent instructions include:

    • Advising on rights under an advertising contract in connection with Gatwick airport.
    • Assisting with a large group action against a bank for the misselling of Spanish timeshare property (with Amit Karia)
    • A number of claims brought by assignees under factoring facilities against commercial debtors
    • Advising in respect of potential claims against trading platforms concerning spread betting losses
    • Advising an NHS Trust on resisting an application for pre-action disclosure in connection with a claim for misfeasance in public office.
    • Defending proceedings and security for costs applications pursued against a company for breach of a construction contract.
    • Providing advice in a large scale fraud and conspiracy action including conflict of law, limitation and enforcement considerations
    • Drafting a number of personal and corporate debt recovery claims
    • Drafting proceedings for breach of a deed of guarantee.
    • Assisting in drafting a defence to a debt claim with issues of conflict of laws, champerty, assignment and the Rome II Regulation

     

    During pupillage James assisted with:

    • An advice regarding the misselling of interest rate hedging products and liability for negligent misstatement.
    • Drafting a Defence resisting a claim for breach of a service contract.
    • Drafting pleadings in a claim under the Consumer Credit Act and Financial Services and Markets Act concerning regulated mortgage contracts.
    • Drafting pleadings in a claim arising from a failed joint venture, involving considerations of unjust enrichment, constructive trusts and nominee companies.
  • Additional Information

    Qualifications / Education

    • Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School (Outstanding)
    • LLB, University College London (First Class Honours)
      • Unjust Enrichment First in Year

    Awards

    • Major Scholarship (Inner Temple)
    • Harold G Fox Scholarship (Middle Temple)
    • Provosts Award for Academic Excellence (University College London)

    Publications

    Crowden v Aldridge: The Correct Approach to Variations?” in Trusts and Trustees, addressing deeds of variation.

     


    Memberships

    •  Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA)
    • R3
    • Property Bar Association 
    • Chancery Bar Association (ChBA) 

    Public Access

    Yes.