Our Barristers
  • Overview

    James is ‘expedient, efficient, concise and reliable” and “always goes above and beyond what is asked of him without question” (Legal 500 UK Bar 2023). James is a versatile advocate described as “down to earth with excellent communication skills he is bright, responsive and thoughtful.”

    James has fast developed a busy practice across a range of complementary commercial chancery areas both on and offshore, leading to his being ranked as a Tier 4 Leading Insolvency Junior as well as a Legal 500 Rising Star of the Trusts and Probate Bar. James was also nominated as a STEP awards young practitioner of the year 2023 finalist. James is accordingly adept at dealing with complex disputes engaging multiple overlapping areas of law.

    Regularly appearing in his own right in the High Court and County Courts, James’ recent notable cases include a successful 2-day High Court trial in Manolete Partners v Bawcutt (2024, unrep), preventing an open-ended stay in Re Traxx (Aggregates) Ltd [2023] EWHC 236 (Ch) a successful high court insolvency/mortgage receivership appeal in Castle Trust v Batra [2022] EWHC 2678 (Ch) and arguing novel points concerning the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 in Beasley v Georgiou (2022 HC, unrep).

    James also writes and speaks extensively on his areas of practice. James has published work in Trust and Trustees and the Corporate Rescue and Insolvency Journal, has spoken at R3 seminars, international conferences and regularly delivers specialist in-house training directly to firms.

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

  • Trusts, Wills & Estates

    James is a Rising Star of the Trusts and Probate Bar (Legal 500, UK Bar 2023) and has been described as “down to earth with excellent communication skills. He is bright, responsive and thoughtful.”

    James has gained extensive experience of trusts and estates disputes including offshore litigation in the Isle of Man and Jersey and of non-contentious matters. To his core trust and estates practice James adds extensive knowledge of fiduciary issues in an insolvency context, asset recovery, real property and trusts in commerce. James continues to advise on a long running TSP provider liquidation in the Isle of Man. James has a particular knowledge of co-trustee/executor claims and has written on Will variations for the leading international journal Trusts and Trustees.

    James regularly works on matters including:

    • Applications for trustee or executor removal amongst other Part 64 procedures (including analogous issues of trusts in liquidation e.g. distribution plans).
    • Co-habitation (ToLATA), proprietary estoppel, trust related fraud and trust administration.
    • Contentious probate claims (undue influence, knowledge and approval, capacity etc).
    • Associated claims by and against estates, e.g. constructive trusts, proprietary estoppel, possession, accounts.
    • Claims for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
    • Rectification and rescission of trust instruments, including sham trusts.
    • Liquidations, bankruptcies and administrations engaging insolvency, trusts and property law considerations.
    • Particular issues arising in respect of costs in trusts and estate litigation.
    • Constructive and resulting trusts claims, tracing and associated personal claims e.g. knowing receipt/dishonest assistance.
    • Non-contentious procedures including limited grants, S.116 applications and strategies surrounding caveats, warnings and appearances.

    James’ recent instructions include

    • Acting as junior to Alexander Learmonth KC seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in Hudson v Hathway [2022] EWCA Civ 1648.
    • A three-day proprietary estoppel trial including issues of countervailing benefit receipts.
    • Advising the administrators of a well-known high-street estate agent with issues of client account funds and deposit return of trust moneys.
    • Advising on the construction of a Will in relation to a substantial Isle of Man estate.
    • Successful 2-day trial acting for a judgment creditor challenging a trust deed of the family home as a sham.
    • Successful without notice and on notice proprietary freezing injunction against a trustee of land for an improper house sale in the domestic setting.
    • Advising upon the tax implications of multiple variations to an estate’s distribution.
    • Drafting a deed of variation to utilise NRB and RNRB allowances and appearing at the associated court approval hearing.
    • Advising in a partnership dissolution dispute involving trust of land issues, estate administration, executor misfeasance and challenged lifetime transactions.
    • A professional negligence claim against solicitors for failing to sever a joint tenancy of land.
    • Advising executors on the correct interpretation of a testamentary disposition to a registered charity and associated issues of trustee decision making, conflicts and powers.
    • Successfully obtaining the order for the immediate removal of an executor and denial of the executor’s indemnity.
    • 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.
  • Property

    James’ work embraces the full range of Chambers’ real property and landlord and tenant specialisms, including TOLATA proceedings, mortgages/receivership, business tenancy 1954 Act renewals, proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts of land, nuisance and trespass/possession. James has a strong grasp of the interaction between real property issues with trusts/estates and insolvency/bankruptcy.

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • Acting as junior to Alex Learmonth KC seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in Hudson v Hathway [2022] EWCA Civ 1648, the landmark decision concerning detrimental reliance and constructive trusts of the family home
    • A successful two-day trial before HHJ Gerald rectifying a commercial lease to insert a rent review provision.
    • Successful High Court appeal in Castle Trust v Batra [2022] EWHC 2678 (Ch) concerning bankruptcy and a commercial lender’s alleged liability for their appointed mortgage receiver.
    • Successful 2-day trial acting for a judgment creditor challenging a trust deed of the family home as a sham
    • A three-day proprietary estoppel trial before HHJ Owen including issues of countervailing benefit receipts
    • 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.
    • Successful without notice and on notice proprietary freezing injunction in Bristol High Court against a trustee of land for an improper house sale in the domestic setting.
    • Defending mortgage possession proceedings with issues of a mortgagee in administration, misrepresentation and estoppel.
    • Defending commercial L&T recovery proceedings with issues of insurance cover, rent cesser and misrepresentation.
    • Advising on a challenge to service charges in respect of a multi-million pound apartment development.
  • Insolvency

    James is a Tier 4 ranked Leading Insolvency Junior described as:

    ‘Expedient, efficient, concise and reliable. James always goes above and beyond what is asked of him without question and is prepared to squeeze in work with tight deadlines without any effect on the quality of his advice, drafting or advocacy” (Legal 500 UK Bar 2023).

    James has accordingly developed a very busy insolvency and company practice covering all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency.

    James has gained significant experience in respect of claims against directors for breach of duty together with Insolvency Act antecedent recovery claims. James is regularly instructed by IP’s/office holders, litigation funders and individuals (debtors and creditors). James has a particular knowledge of co-director/office holder claims acting, speaking and writing in the field.

    James also welcomes instructions concerning directors’ disqualification proceedings and related pre-action steps.

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

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • Successful two-day trial before ICCJ Jones in Manolete v Bawcutt (2024, unrep) involving recovery of a DLA, challenging improperly declared and applied dividends in breach of the creditor’s interest duty and recovering unauthorised payments.
    • Advising upon and drafting defence proceedings in a multimillion-dollar claim against Jersey directors and corporate service provider (unled) including issues of vicarious liability for appointed directors.
    • Successfully resisting an open-ended stay delaying breach of duty proceedings in Re Traxx (Aggregates) Ltd [2023] EWHC 236 (Ch).
    • Successful High Court appeal before James Pickering KC in Castle Trust v Batra [2022] EWHC 2678 (Ch) concerning bankruptcy and a commercial lender’s alleged liability for their appointed receiver.
    • Successfully resisting a remuneration challenge of a trustee in bankruptcy’s fees and expenses in the High Court.
    • 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 the liquidators of a well-known high-street estate agent with issues of client account funds and deposit return of trust moneys and distribution plans.
    • 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.
    • Advising on a transaction at an undervalue with a conveyance of a beneficial interest between spouses and upon recovery claims with allied issues of trustees liens for indemnity.
    • 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.
    • James is also well versed in advising upon vesting orders involving corporate dissolution.
  • Civil Fraud

    Civil fraud arises in and interacts with all of James’ core practice areas of trusts/estates, insolvency and real property. James advises upon and acts in cases concerning issues including, freezing/proprietary injunctions, knowing receipt/dishonest assistance/tracing, shams, Norwich Pharmacal and non-party disclosure orders, misrepresentation and undue influence, rescission and unjust enrichment.

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • Successful 2-day trial acting for a judgment creditor challenging a trust deed of the family home as a sham.
    • Successful without notice and on notice proprietary freezing injunction against a trustee of land for an improper house sale in the domestic setting.
    • Acting in Powell v Rad [2022] EWHC 1344 (Ch) concerning the alleged fraudulent misappropriation of funds by staff from a family resident in Monaco, with considerations of misrepresentation, quistclose trusts, jurisdiction and freezing relief.
    • 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.
    • Defending proceedings concerning the payment of fully and half-secret commissions.
    • 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.
    • Claims against errant directors under the Companies Act for breach of duty and under the Insolvency Act in respect of voidable preferences/TUVs.
    • Advising on questions of unjust enrichment, tracing, knowing receipt and transactions at an undervalue in relation to an insolvency process involving multiple corporate entities.
    • Advising on a wrongful trading claim with a potential value of £2 million.
    • Preparing witness statements in a matter regarding fraudulent share sales, acquisitions and accounting.
  • Company & Partnership

    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 also welcomes instructions concerning directors’ disqualification proceedings and pre-action steps.

    James has also recently advised on a number of cases involving complex questions of dissolution, restoration and the effect of both upon corporate property, claims limitation and vesting orders for real property assets.

    James is currently acting in a partnership dissolution dispute involving trust of land issues, estate administration, executor misfeasance and challenged lifetime transactions.

  • Commercial Litigation

    James’ continues to develop a busy and varied commercial practice advising on cases including:

    • Claims regarding aircraft leasing breaches with significant cross-border considerations including international Swiss-rules arbitration proceedings
    • Contractual disputes including misrepresentation, mistake, undue influence, breach, estoppel
    • Banking and financial services including Quincecare claims
    • Assignment challenges
    • Debt factoring
    • Loans, guarantees and indemnities
    • Unjust Enrichment (in which James ranked 1st in his year at UCL)
    • Asset recovery strategies (including inter alia receivership, pension enforcement and insolvency procedures)

    James’ recent instructions include:

    • Advising upon high value aircraft leasing disputes with cross-border jurisdiction considerations with ongoing commercial court litigation
    • Advising upon unlawful restraint of trade covenants in a joint venture contract.
    • Advising upon, and drafting proceedings concerning, the application of proprietary estoppel concepts to claims in respect of share ownership of large business.
    • 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.
  • 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)
  • What the directories say

    “Expedient, efficient, concise and reliable. James always goes above and beyond what is asked of him without question and is prepared to squeeze in work with tight deadlines without any effect on the quality of his advice, drafting or advocacy.”

    Legal 500 UK Bar 2024 – Insolvency, Tier 4

    “James is down to earth with excellent communication skills. He is bright, responsive and thoughtful.”

    Legal 500UK Bar 2024 – Private Client: Trusts & Probate, Rising Star Tier 1

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