For full information in relation to our response to COVID-19, please click here.
To watch our #WilberforceWebChats, a series of topical discussions concerning issues arising in the current climate, please click here.

Call +44 207 306 0102 or contact us

James Ayliffe QC

Call: 1987    QC: 2008

+44 (0)20 7306


James’s experience in the commercial field includes:

  • banking & finance;
  • civil fraud;
  • company;
  • financial services;
  • insolvency;
  • joint ventures & partnership.

Some examples of other commercial cases handled by James include:

  • advising major provider of outsourcing services regarding termination and ‘step-in’ issues;
  • advising private equity firm regarding issues arising under an agreement for the sale of shares in a Turkish retail business;
  • acting for local authority in dispute with major waste recycling business regarding the proper interpretation of their respective obligations under long-term contract for recycling of waste;
  • acting for well-known FTSE 100 company in LCIA arbitration concerning operation of complex £2bn re-financing arrangements;
  • advising private equity firm regarding contractual rights against vendor of software business;
  • advising packaging company in relation to dispute with its logistic services supplier regarding proper performance of its contractual obligations;
  • acting for printing company defending a multi-million-pound claim by a government agency for breach of contractual duties to protect confidential material from theft;
  • acting for a hotel owner in multi-million pound LCIA arbitration relating to alleged breaches of operating and management agreement in respect of a major hotel in Saudi Arabia;
  • advising Russian investment bank in relation to claim by executive recruitment firm for fees for alleged services in connection with the recruitment of top executives;
  • representing a provider of share and bond trading services in multi-million pound dispute with IT suppliers;
  • representing licensor in defence of US$80m LCIA arbitration regarding alleged breach of international licence agreement governing use of well-known brand and trademark in connection with sale of handbags;
  • advising manufacturer of street cleaning vehicles on contractual claim against company responsible for the cleaning of London boroughs;
  • Acting for international financial services group defending £20m claim for alleged fraudulent misrepresentation in relation to the sale of insurance business;
  • representing vendors of air conditioning business in claim for deferred consideration for sale of shares;
  • advising local health authority in relation to issues arising under complex contractual outsourcing arrangements;
  • acting for licensor in US$20m claim for alleged repudiation of an international licence for the use of a well-known brand in connection with the sale of watches.

James has been listed in the directories for commercial chancery work for many years. Chambers & Partners 2020 notes the breadth of his commercial chancery practice and describes him as “simply outstanding; he’s very bright and user-friendly. He provides measured and balanced advice and is a persuasive advocate.” “He’s a very good, strong QC. He’s shown himself to be pretty adept at handling the commercial strategy as well as the law.” Chambers & Partners 2019 also describes him as “extremely good in court”, “very good at reading judges and anticipating what they are going to say”, “good strategically” and “strong” on drafting.

Much of James’s commercial work has off-shore or cross-border elements. Some representative cases include:

  • acting for Russian joint venture partner in successful defence of BVI proceedings for alleged misrepresentations in relation to establishment of joint venture vehicle;
  • acting in BVI proceedings for setting aside of statutory demand served on joint venture company on grounds of prospective inability to pay US$6 million loan note;
  • acting for Dubai and Brunei investors in LCIA arbitration concerning alleged breaches of hotel management agreement in respect of hotel in Saudi Arabia;
  • acting for defendant to US$30m claim by Cayman- and Netherlands Antilles-based hedge fund vehicles;
  • advising Jersey financial regulator regarding responsibility of overseas firms operating through serviced offices and other facilities in Jersey;
  • advising in relation to alleged misappropriation of Ukrainian media interests and enforcement of US judgment against Cypriot company (owned by Channel Islands trust) to which such interests had been transferred.

The international dimension in James’s commercial work is reflected in his listing for offshore work in the directories. Chambers & Partners 2019 describes him as “truly international in his scope” and “very user-friendly, very knowledgeable and someone who provides clear advice”.  The Legal 500 also notes the range of his offshore work.