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James Bailey QC

Call: 1999    QC: 2019

+44 (0)20 7306 0102jbailey@wilberforce.co.uk

Commercial

James is renowned as “an excellent advocate who commands a courtroom; he is very bright and good with clients” (Chambers UK Bar 2019). His recent commercial work covers a broad range of disputes stretching from urgent freezing orders (often involving fraud) to much longer document-heavy matters requiring detailed forensic analysis. The substantive scope of his work takes him into many different industries, including pharmaceuticals, travel and transportation, construction and engineering, sport, fund management, telecommunications and litigation funding to name a few.

“He is a barrister who can rescue the client from a tight corner” who “has a really attractive style in court and is clearly very brainy” (Chambers UK Bar).

Although James thrives being on his feet, he recognises the importance of early and clear advice and guidance in the search for a satisfactory outcome that does not demand the time and expense of a full trial. As was observed recently: “He’s very good in conference as he is very direct and doesn’t sit on the fence. He very much works alongside you and is very supportive.” (Chambers UK Bar 2019). A keen advocate of pragmatism and teamwork in complex litigation, “he is enthusiastic, bright and increasingly impressive” and “offers excellent, clear commercial advice” (Chambers UK Bar).

James is also instructed to advise on commercial transactions, including in particular share purchase agreements, with those instructs emanating from corporate departments as well as litigation departments of substantial law firms. His considerable experience of where contractual arrangements have gone wrong leave him well placed to assist in their drafting. He “turns work around quickly and to an exceptionally high standard” (The Legal 500 2019).

Recent experience:

  • James acts for Hamish Hurley in high profile litigation against Mandy Gray. Having obtained $120million in divorce proceedings against her former husband, and embarked upon a six year relationship with Mr Hurley pursuant to which they jointly own property worth tens of millions, Ms Gray now claims sole ownership of the portfolio.
  • In 2019 James acted for two defendants resisting the enforcement of a $1.5bn US arbitration award pertaining to a dispute in the steel industry, and obtained by ArcelorMittal USA LLC. The case involved broad ranging freezing and search orders in England in circumstances where few, if any, assets were to be found in this jurisdiction (reported at [2019] EWHC 724 (Comm)).
  • In 2018, James acted as lead advocate in an international arbitration concerning the design and construction of a €65million hydroelectric dam and power plant in Eastern Europe. The case required a detailed understanding not only of engineering, but also of the foreign law governing the substantive contractual dispute.
  • James’s work will often involve jurisdiction issues and in 2018 he acted in the dissolution of a multinational architectural firm, which concerned legal structures in England, Dubai and the British Virgin Islands. The case required a three day hearing in the Chancery Division to determine the most appropriate forum for the parties to resolve their differences.
  • James acted (also in 2018) for the consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll in his acquisition for the Force India Formula 1 motor racing team, previous under the control of Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya. The transaction was not only exceptionally complex, but also ground-breaking and for the first time the FIA permitted the purchase of the assets and goodwill of an F1 team rather than requiring the purchase of the team company itself.
  • James is frequently instructed in urgent applications to court to preserve not only assets, but also control of corporate vehicles. He appeared in the long-running and controversial Thevarajah litigation concerning an alleged fraud against the purchase of certain special purpose vehicles. The case took him to the Court of Appeal twice, and thereafter to the Supreme Court, serving as a powerful and successful illustration of the importance of making accurate strategic and substantive decisions when advancing interim applications.