Our Barristers
  • Overview

    James specialises in disputes concerning trusts, wills, and estates, where he is described as “superb” (Legal 500, 2022). He also acts in general commercial matters.

    His practice ranges from the high-value (a claim against a £118 million estate) to the bizarre (a disputed trust made primarily to benefit a tortoise).

    His reported cases include:

    • Lattimer v Karamanoli [2023] EWHC 1524 (Ch) (rectification and construction of will; £10 million estate)
    • Chiemelu v Egemonye [2023] W.T.L.R. 17; [2023] W.T.L.R. 23; [2023] W.T.L.R. 35 (spousal 1975 Act claim)
    • Fennessy v Turner [2022] WTLR 1295 (adult child 1975 Act claim)
    • F v R [2022] EWCOP 49 (variation of will trust)
    • Fullard v Kershaw [2022] EWHC 2189 (Ch) (costs of proceedings to remove executors)
    • Eade v Hogg [2021] EWHC 1057 (Ch) (rectification of will to determine company shareholding; £6.4 million estate)
    • Fellner v Cleall [2021] EWHC 3599 (Ch) (costs of proceedings to remove administrator)
    • Blu-Sky Solutions Limited v Be Caring Limited [2021] EWHC 2619 (Comm) (penalty and onerous / unusual clauses in telecoms contract)
    • O. Trading Ltd v Favorite Border LDA [2021] 10 WLUK 420 (unless orders; 1.2-million-euro loan dispute)
    • Rochford v Rochford [2021] WTLR 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.

  • Trusts, Wills & Estates

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

    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 spouse (Alexander Learmonth QC appeared for the business partner), with both parties succeeding in rectifying the will. The gross estate value was £6.4 million.

    Lattimer v Karamanoli [2023] EWHC 1524 (Ch) was another rectification case concerned with the revocation by marriage of a will in a £10 million estate. James’ client successfully defended a strike-out application on the basis that the will might be rectified to state expressly that it had been made in contemplation of marriage.

    In Fullard v Kershaw [2022] EWHC 2189 (Ch) and Fellner v Cleall [2021] EWHC 3599 (Ch), James acted in proceedings to remove the personal representatives of estates. In both cases, the personal representatives stepped down during the proceedings, which concluded with James’ clients receiving their costs.

    James regularly acts in 1975 Act claims, appearing for the successful claimants in Fennessy v Turner [2022] WTLR 1295 (affirmed on appeal) and Rochford v Rochford [2021] WTLR 951.

    James also appears in the Court of Protection on trusts and estates matters, having appeared in Re LMS [2020] EWCOP 52 and F v R [2022] EWCOP 49, both applications concerning the variation of a will to create a disabled person’s trust.

    In pupillage, James’ experiences included Griffin v Higgs [2018] EWHC 2498 (Ch), Patel v Patel [2017] EWHC 3229 (Ch), and Goss-Custard v Templeman [2018] EWHC 2476 (Ch) (all with Alexander Learmonth).

    James also acts in offshore disputes, having been instructed in matters governed by the laws of Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, where he advised the successful claimant in Mueller v Parc Aviation Services at first instance and on appeal: SUM20/0091 and 2DS 2023/01.

    James is a contributor to leading textbook, Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks – Executors, Administrators and Probate. He has written for the Trusts and Estates Law & Tax JournalToday’s Wills and Probate, the New Law Journal, and the STEP Journal on trusts and estates matters. He also writes headnotes for the Wills & Trusts Law Reports.

  • 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.

  • Qualifications / Education

    • BA Law (Senior Status), St John’s College, Cambridge (First Class)
    • BA History, Lincoln College, Oxford (First Class)
  • Prizes

    • 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)
  • What the directories say

    “His ability to find a decisive case authority that makes the difference is remarkable. He is a junior that performs well beyond that which is expected for his call.”

    Legal 500 2023 – Private Client: Trusts and Probate, 

    “James is superb. He has a unique style particularly suited to this area of work. He presents arguments in a logical, engaging and relatable manner. He reads judges well and knows what points matter.”

    Legal 500 2023 – Private Client: Trusts and Probate

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