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James is a commercial and chancery specialist. He is ranked in The Legal 500 as a ‘Rising Star’ (Tier 1) in Private Client: Trusts and Probate, and in Chambers & Partners in Chancery (Traditional), in which he is described as “extremely effective and an advocate who is able to hold his own against silks” with “ fantastic written advocacy” which is “far and away above his years of call”. Recent editions have praised James as a “star in the making” and “everything you want in a capable junior”, being “very intelligent, commercial and sensible” with “meticulous attention to detail” and “very good with clients”.
In the UK, James has a broad practice with particular expertise in contentious trusts, commercial disputes and civil fraud work. He appears regularly, both as sole counsel and as part of a term, at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court / Privy Council.
James also has a significant international practice. His trusts practice includes advising and acting for settlors, trustees, beneficiaries and protectors. His commercial and fraud work also often includes proceedings and applications for interim relief in offshore jurisdictions. In recent years, James’ instructions have involved cases in Guernsey, Jersey, Cayman, The Bahamas, BVI, Nevis, TCI, Liechtenstein, and Malta.
In the UK, James regularly appears in the High Court, the County Court and before arbitral tribunals, both as sole counsel and as part of a larger team. Much of James’ work has an international element. In recent years, James’ instructions have involved cases in Cayman, The Bahamas, BVI, Nevis, TCI, Guernsey, Liechtenstein, and Malta.
Recent notable instructions include:
- Lucas v Gilbert  2 WLUK 177. James acted as sole counsel in a 3-day trial concerning a joint venture in respect of a property development, which concerned allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty and undue influence. See link here.
- Lim and others v Ong and others. James acts (led by James Bailey QC) for the claimants in a wide-ranging commercial fraud proceedings. In support of their claims, the claimants applied for and obtained ex parte freezing and quia timet injunctions. See  EWHC 3414 (Ch) and  EWHC 225 (Ch).
- Z Trust litigation. James acts (led by Emma Jordan) for the former trustee of a Jersey trust. The matter was heard before a 7-member panel of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in June 2021 to determine the status of a trustee’s equitable lien and its priority in circumstances where the trust is ‘insolvent’.
- M Trust James acts for the trustee of extremely high value trusts administered in Guernsey in the context of removal proceedings and restructuring of the trusts.
- Ad Hoc Arbitration. James acts (led by John Martin QC and Fenner Moeran QC) for the claimant beneficiary in a multi-billion dollar trusts dispute, concerning a contested distribution of the entirety of the trust assets to the settlor-beneficiary. The proceedings raise issues of rectification, mistake, breach of trust, dishonest assistance and unconscionable receipt.
- Eva Green v White Lantern. James acts (led by Max Mallin QC) for White Lantern in a commercial dispute between film star Eva Green and a production company in respect of the termination of a sci-fi thriller.
- Morina and others v Scherbakova and others. James (led by Giles Richardson) acts for the widow of a deceased Russian businessman in high value international probate litigation and related proceedings concerning the ownership of shares in a BVI company.
- Al-Dowaisan v Al-Salam. James (led by Nikki Singla QC) acted for the Claimants in a wide-ranging commercial dispute. The judgment contains important guidance on fiduciary duties, the duty to account, and the defence of illegality in the context of tax evasion. See  EWHC 301 (Ch).
- Meridian v Batista: James acted (led by Graeme Halkerston) for the successful applicant in the Cayman Islands, obtaining a Worldwide Freezing Order against the Brazilian oil magnate and sometime 7th richest man in the world, Eike Batista. The case makes new law in respect of the circumstances in which a court will grant WFOs against non-residents and in support of ‘treble damages’ claims.
- Deutsche Bank v SHI and Vik; SHI v Sarek et al: James acts (led by Tim Penny QC) for Receivers appointed over assets of a Turks and Caicos Islands company previously controlled by Alexander Vik. James has appeared as sole counsel in the English High Court and has acted in litigation in England, Guernsey, and the TCI. See e.g.  EWHC 3265 (Comm).