James specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, banking and financial services, civil fraud, energy, regulatory & professional disciplinary law, and aviation. He regularly appears as sole or junior counsel in the English courts, tribunals, and international arbitrations.

Much of James’s work is international, including arbitrations under DIFC, LCIA, ICC and GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre rules. He has significant experience of litigation and arbitration in the Caribbean, the Far East (Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong) and a number of Middle East jurisdictions (including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain). In 2014 he spent 3 months on secondment to the litigation and arbitration department of an English law firm in Dubai.

James is a contributing editor to Atkins on Financial Services, Jordan’s Regulatory and Disciplinary Proceedings, and Butterworths Financial Regulation Service.


‘He is extremely hardworking, produces excellent written submissions and is extremely good in legal analysis.’

Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018

James undertakes a wide range of banking and financial services work, both contentious and non- contentious. He is an editor of the Financial Services volume of Atkin’s Court  Forms (2014  edition; 2018 edition forthcoming) and a contributor to Butterworths Financial Regulation Service (on EU financial services law) and the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.

Recent financial services instructions include:

  • Acting on appeal in Medsted Associates Ltd v Canaccord Genuity Wealth (Intl) Ltd [2017] EWHC 1815 (Comm), concerning fiduciary duties of brokers (led by Hodge Malek QC).
  • Advising on subordinated debt in a shipping finance dispute in Hong Kong.
  • Advising a European central bank on resolution action under the Banking Resolution and Recovery Directive.
  • Advising on regulatory proceedings brought by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Application for permission to appeal to Court of Appeal in Roberts v FCA [2015] UKUT 0408 (TCC) (prohibition order against former CEO of Catalyst Investment Group Ltd).
  • Acting for Swiss Bank J. Safra Sarasin on appeal in the largest ever case before the DIFC courts, regarding alleged mis-selling of $200m of financial products, Al-Khorafi v Sarasin-Alpen and Bank Sarasin (with Hodge Malek QC and Yash Bheeroo).
  • Judicial review of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission concerning disciplinary action against a Guernsey firm (led by Richard Lissack QC and Robin Barclay).
  • Advising the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman in relation to pensions transfers.
  • Defending disciplinary proceedings brought by the London Stock Exchange.
  • Acting for ICAP in relation to LIBOR fixing investigations by the FCA and international regulators (with Hodge Malek QC).
  • Acting for RBS/NatWest as part of a s.166 skilled person team in the FCA-approved review of sales of Interest Rate Hedging Products.
  • Advising on a shipping finance appeal in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court  in Malaysia, Kish Acme Tower Co v Maybank (led by Hodge Malek QC).
  • Advising a South Korean oil company challenging a $700m English law security deed.
  • Assisting in the leading Supreme Court case on PPI and the Consumer Credit Act, Plevin v Paragon Finance [2014] UKSC 61 (with Hodge Malek QC and James Strachan QC).
  • Acting for various lenders in mortgage possession claims and Consumer Credit Act proceedings.
  • Acting against various banks in relation to IRHPs, Tailored Business Loans and PPI.

James advises on complaints and challenges to the Financial Ombudsman Service, and has acted for the FOS in a number of judicial reviews. He also has experience of investigations and prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office, having acted in SFO v Evans [2014] EWHC 3803 and [2015] EWHC 1525 (Celtic Energy prosecution, led by Michael Beloff QC and Gabriel Moss QC).

In non-contentious work, James advises on all aspects of FCA/PRA regulation, capital adequacy, client money, takeovers and mergers, securities and derivatives, loan agreements, bond issues, guarantees, performance bonds, charges, letters of credit and consumer credit. He recently advised on a major bond issue by a social housing provider and on increased costs claims by a building society. He has a particular interest in Islamic Finance, and has advised in relation to Sharia law in commercial disputes connected with various Gulf States.

James’s commercial practice includes commercial litigation and arbitration, banking and financial services, fraud, energy, IT, telecoms and media, unfair prejudice petitions and applications under the Insolvency Act 1986 and Companies Act 2006,  and applications for disclosure and interim relief such as freezing, delivery up and search orders.

Much of James’s work is international, particularly in the Middle East and Far East. This has included arbitrations under DIFC, LCIA, ICC and GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre rules. He has particular experience in conflicts of laws and jurisdictional disputes. In 2014 he spent 3 months on secondment to the litigation and arbitration department of an English law firm in Dubai.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Acting in a sale and purchase dispute concerning an open-cast coal mine.
  • High-value director’s bonus dispute, Simpkin v Berkeley Group Holdings plc [2017] 4 WLR 116 (including successfully defending an injunction application to restrain use of alleged LPP documents stored on employer’s IT system).
  • Acting on appeal in Medsted Associates Ltd v Canaccord Genuity Wealth (Intl) Ltd [2017] EWHC 1815 (Comm), concerning fiduciary duties of brokers (led by Hodge Malek QC).
  • Applications to obtain evidence under the Hague Convention in support of U.S. proceedings concerning alleged theft of trade secrets, Bladeroom Group  Ltd v Facebook (sole counsel).
  • US$60m fraud claim alleging theft of bearer shares and funds from bank accounts, spanning the BVI, New York and Chile, Bascunan v Elsaca (led by Hodge Malek QC).
  • Representing an international oil company in two $800m concerning tract participation in an offshore oilfield (led by Sean Wilken QC and Jess Connors).
  • Acting for Swiss Bank J. Safra Sarasin on appeal in the largest ever case before the DIFC courts, concerning alleged mis-selling of US$200m of financial products, Al-Khorafi v Sarasin-Alpen and Bank Sarasin (with Hodge Malek QC and Yash Bheeroo).
  • £3.5m GCCCAC arbitration in Bahrain under Saudi substantive law and Bahraini procedural law (sole English counsel).
  • US$4.5m claim under s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 concerning a dispute over control of a TV station in Ukraine, NMDC v Kagalovsky (led by James Ramsden QC).
  • Shipping finance appeal in Malaysia, Kish Acme Tower Co v Maybank (led by Hodge Malek QC).
  • Advising a South Korean oil company on challenging a US$700m English law security deed (led by Hefin Rees QC).
  • Freezing injunction relating to the Al-Bader oil fraud, Kuwait Oil Tankers Company v Al Mutawa (with James Ramsden QC).
  • Various claims against banks in relation to Interest Rate Hedging Products.
  • £260m oil and gas dispute spanning Singapore, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

James regularly advises on anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing and bribery issues, most recently in relation to major casinos and during the sale of a £60m hotel. He has significant experience in relation to issues of disclosure and legal professional privilege, including Simpkin v Berkeley Group Holdings plc [2017] 4 WLR 116 and advising on LPP during the Coulson/Brooks phone-hacking trial.

James regularly acts in international arbitrations as sole or junior counsel, and has experience of arbitrations under DIFC, LCIA, ICC and GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre rules. Current and recent work includes:

  • Representing an international oil company in two $800m arbitrations concerning tract participation in an offshore oilfield (led by Sean Wilken QC and Jess Connors).
  • £3.5m GCCCAC arbitration in Bahrain under Saudi substantive law and Bahraini procedural law (sole English counsel).
  • £260m oil & gas joint venture dispute spanning Singapore, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

James regularly acts for regulatory and professional bodies, individuals and firms on all aspects of professional and commercial regulation. He has particular experience in relation to financial services professionals, legal professionals, accountants and insolvency practitioners. He also advises on regulation of the gaming industry under the Gambling Act 2005. He is a contributor to Jordan’s Regulatory and Disciplinary Proceedings (8th  edition, 2015 and 9th edition, 2017).

James practises in all areas of financial services regulation, including advising firms on compliance, anti-money laundering and investigations. He has acted in major regulatory cases including in relation to LIBOR and Interest Rate Hedging Products. He acted in Roberts v FCA [2015] UKUT 0408 (TCC) (concerning the collapse of Catalyst Investments). He acted for a firm subject to disciplinary proceedings by the London Stock Exchange. He has also acted in a judicial review of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission concerning disciplinary action against directors of a Guernsey firm. See the Banking & Financial Services section of his profile.

James has acted for the Law Society/SRA on intervention challenges, interim applications, applications for disclosure and for delivery up and search orders against firms subject to intervention, as well as appearing for solicitors before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) and in appeals to the High Court. He is also instructed by solicitors’ firms on compliance and money laundering issues.

Recent cases include:

Anjum v Law Society (intervention challenge).

Law Society v Siddiqi (search and seizure order in respect of Saints Solicitors LLP).

Law Society v Li (application for information and documents under s.44B and Sch.1 of the Solicitors Act 1974).

Law Society v Pathania (disclosure and inspection application).

SRA v Manak & Dhillon [2016] EWHC 1914 (Admin) (defending the SRA’s appeal to the High Court after the SDT struck out allegations as an abuse of process) (led by Greg Treverton-Jones QC).

Advising solicitors on investigations by the SRA and matters ranging from the Legal Services Act 2007 and alternative business structures to legal professional privilege.

James was a Clerk to the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal (2014-17).

James regularly advises on matters relating to accountants and insolvency practitioners, including members of ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA. He acts for accountants and IPs subject to investigations and disciplinary proceedings, including appearing before ICAEW’s Disciplinary and Review Committees. He has advised regulators on issues such as appearance of bias, money laundering requirements, and tax avoidance schemes.

James has significant experience of regulation under the Gambling Act 2005, the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice, and associated legislation such as the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. He advises on issues such as anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing, UK and international sanctions, payments, cheques and s.81 of the Gambling Act, online gaming, unfair contract terms, problem gambling and social responsibility.

James has acted in commercial/regulatory judicial reviews including:

  • Acting for the Financial Ombudsman Service in several substantive and jurisdictional challenges.
  • A judicial review of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission relating to disciplinary action against a Guernsey firm (led by Richard Lissack QC and Robin Barclay).
  • R (Barraud) v CAA (airspace changes at Gatwick Airport) (with John Steel QC).
  • R (Oxford Aviation Services) v Secretary of State for Defence and CAA [2015] EWHC 24 (Admin) (regulation of civilian aircraft using military aerodromes) (with John Steel QC and Duncan Sinclair).
  • R (RMT) v Secretary of State for Transport (challenge to franchising of the East Coast Main Line railway).

James has particular experience of election law, including acting in election petitions. He has acted for local authorities, candidates, election petitioners, and the Electoral Commission, and regularly advises on issues such as registration of political parties, election expenses, donations and party funding. Current and recent work includes:

  • Advising on election expenses for May 2017 local government elections.
  • Advising on 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly elections triggered by resignation of deputy First Minister.
  • Advising on issues arising during the EU Referendum.
  • Advising on the Boundary Commission’s review of constituency sizes.
  • Sole counsel for successful petitioner in election petition concerning postal vote fraud in Woking, Ali v Bashir [2013] EWHC 2572.
  • Tower Hamlets.
  • King’s Park, Hackney election petition.

James has acted in commercial claims for and against airlines, aviation-related judicial reviews, and in claims under EU law and the Montreal Convention. He has good knowledge of ICAO, EASA and CAA regulation, as well as aircraft financing issues.

Recent work includes:

  • Judicial review of the CAA concerning airspace changes at Gatwick Airport, R (Barraud) v CAA (led by John Steel QC) (settled after permission granted by Court  of Appeal).
  • Acting for London  Oxford and Biggin Hill airports in claim clarifying the CAA’s statutory responsibilities for civil aircraft using military aerodromes, R (Oxford Aviation Services) v Secretary of State [2015] EWHC 24 (Admin) (with John Steel QC and Duncan Sinclair).
  • Acting for an airline in a claim regarding ticketing fraud.

James has acted in disputes in a number of energy sectors, including oil & gas, coal and renewables. Current and recent work includes:

  • Acting in share purchase dispute concerning an opencast coal mine.
  • Dispute concerning an introducer agreement in the oil & gas industry.
  • Representing an international oil company in two $800m arbitrations concerning tract participation in an offshore oilfield (led by Sean Wilken QC and Jess Connors).
  • £260m oil & gas joint venture dispute spanning Singapore, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
  • Successfully defending SFO’s prosecution of former directors of Celtic Energy and others, alleging a £160m fraud concerning restoration obligations for South Wales coal mines, SFO v Evans [2014] EWHC 3803 and [2015] EWHC 1525  (led by Michael Beloff QC and Gabriel Moss QC).
  • Advising the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on reform of energy sector regulators including Ofgem and the Competition Commission.
  • COMBAR
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Financial Services Lawyers Association
  • LCIA Young International Arbitration Group, ICC Young Arbitrators Forum, Young ICCA, Young ICSID,
  • ICDR Young & International
  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit

Islamic Finance Qualification, Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (2014)

GDL and BPTC, City University (2010/11)

MPhil, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Pembroke College, Cambridge (2009), Distinction (top in year)

MA, English, Merton College, Oxford (2008), Double First

First prize, Times Law Awards (2012)

Phoenicia Scholarship, Bar European Group (2012) Mould Senior Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2011)

Lee Essay Prize (second place), Gray’s Inn (2011) Bedingfield Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2010)

City University Prize for Public Law (2010) David Karmel Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2009)

Members’ English Prize for best dissertation, University of Cambridge (2009) Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship (2008-2009)

Fowler Prizes for performance in Finals (2008) and Moderations (2006)

College Exhibition (2006) and Postmastership (2007)

James is committed to pro bono and volunteers with the Legal Response Initiative (advising developing countries at UN Climate Change Conferences) and the Bar Pro Bono Unit. Before starting pupillage, James undertook internships with the Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka and the Public Law Project.