James Potts

Year of call:
2011
Email:
james.potts@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

James Potts specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, banking and financial services, civil fraud, energy (including oil & gas disputes), regulatory & professional disciplinary law, aviation, procurement and judicial review.

He has appeared as an advocate in all types of court and tribunal in England & Wales. Internationally, James has experience of litigation and arbitration in the BVI, Singapore, Malaysia and a number of Middle East jurisdictions. He is admitted to practise in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) courts.

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

Commercial


James has a broad commercial practice, encompassing commercial litigation and arbitration, banking and financial services, fraud, energy (including oil & gas disputes), professional negligence, insolvency litigation, intellectual property and applications for disclosure and interim relief such as freezing and search orders. He regularly appears in the High Court and county courts as sole or junior counsel.

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:

  • $60m fraud claim spanning the BVI, New York and Chile (led by Hodge Malek QC)
  • Acting for Swiss Bank J. Safra Sarasin on appeal in the largest ever case before the DIFC courts, concerning alleged mis-selling of $200m of financial products, Al-Khorafi v Sarasin-Alpen and Bank Sarasin (with Hodge Malek QC and Yash Bheeroo)
  • Advising on a £3.5m GCCCAC arbitration in Bahrain
  • Multi-million dollar arbitration concerning tract participation in an offshore oilfield (led by Sean Wilken QC and Jess Connors)
  • 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 $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)
  • Acting against various banks in relation to mis-sold Interest Rate Hedging Products
  • £260m oil and gas dispute spanning Singapore, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
  • Claims for tortious conversion of sports and vintage racing cars.

James regularly advises on money laundering 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 advising on LPP during the Coulson/Brooks phone-hacking trial.

James has particular experience of banking and financial services litigation. See the Financial Services section of his profile for details.

Regulatory & Disciplinary


James advises and acts for regulatory and professional bodies, individuals, firms, and government departments on all aspects of professional and commercial regulation. He is a contributor to the 8th edition of Jordan’s Regulatory and Disciplinary Proceedings (2015).

Financial services

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 recently acted in Roberts v FCA [2015] UKUT 0408 (TCC) (concerning the collapse of Catalyst Investments). See the Banking & Financial Services section of his profile.

Solicitors and barristers

James has acted for solicitors before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) and in appeals in the High Court. He is currently instructed to defend the SRA’s High Court appeal in SRA v Manak (led by Greg Treverton-Jones QC). He has advised solicitors on investigations by the SRA and matters ranging from the Legal Services Act 2007 and alternative business structures to legal professional privilege. James is appointed as Clerk to the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal.

Accountants

James regularly advises on matters relating to accountants, including members of ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA. He has particular experience of ICAEW’s disciplinary procedures, having undertaken a secondment to ICAEW’s legal department and acted for it in disciplinary cases.

Administrative & Public


James has acted in a number of judicial reviews concerning regulation and public procurement, including:

  • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review concerning airspace changes at Gatwick Airport, R (Barraud) v CAA (ongoing)
  • Acted for London Oxford and Biggin Hill airports in a judicial review of the Civil Aviation Authority concerning regulation of military aerodromes, R (Oxford Aviation Services) v Secretary of State [2015] EWHC 24 (Admin) (with John Steel QC and Duncan Sinclair)
  • Acted for rail unions in a procurement challenge to the franchising of the East Coast Main Line railway.

James also has a niche practice in election law, including election petitions. Current and recent work includes:

  • Sole counsel for successful petitioner in a high-profile election petition concerning postal vote fraud, Ali v Bashir [2013] EWHC 2572
  • Tower Hamlets
  • King’s Park, Hackney
  • Advising on issues including the European Referendum, Scottish voting reform, and election funding and expenses.

International Arbitration


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:

  • High-value arbitration concerning tract participation in an offshore oilfield (led by Sean Wilken QC and Jess Connors)
  • Advising on a £3.5m GCCCAC arbitration in Bahrain (sole English counsel)
  • Advising on a £260m oil & gas joint venture dispute spanning Singapore, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

Aviation & Aerospace


James has acted in commercial claims for and against airlines, in 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.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Acting in a judicial review of the CAA concerning airspace changes at Gatwick Airport, R (Barraud) v CAA (with John Steel QC, ongoing)
  • Acted for London Oxford and Biggin Hill airports in a judicial review that clarified the CAA’s statutory responsibilities for the safety of civil aircraft using government 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.

Banking & Financial Services


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) and a contributor to Butterworths Financial Regulation Service (on EU financial services law) and the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.

James has been instructed in a number of prominent financial services cases including:

  • Advising a central bank on resolution action under the Banking Resolution and Recovery Directive
  • Application for permission to appeal to Court of Appeal in Roberts v FCA [2015] UKUT 0408 (TCC) (concerning 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)
  • Acting for ICAP in relation to LIBOR fixing investigations by the FCA and international regulators (with Hodge Malek QC)
  • Acting for RBS as part of a s.166 skilled person team in the FCA-approved review of sales of Interest Rate Hedging Products
  • 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 against various banks in relation to mis-sold IRHPs and PPI
  • Advising on a shipping finance appeal in the Court of Appeal in Malaysia, Kish Acme Tower Co v Maybank (with Hodge Malek QC)
  • Advising a South Korean oil company challenging a $700m English law security deed.

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

In non-contentious work, James regularly advises on all aspects of FSMA regulation, takeovers and mergers, securities and derivatives, loan agreements, bond issues, guarantees, performance bonds, charges and letters of 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.

Energy


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

  • Acting in a dispute concerning an introducer agreement in the oil & gas industry
  • Multi-million dollar arbitration 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 defended Serious Fraud Office’s £160m prosecution of former directors of Celtic Energy and others, concerning restoration obligations for South Wales coal mines, SFO v Evans [2014] EWHC 3803 (led by Michael Beloff QC and Gabriel Moss QC)
  • Advised Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on reform of energy sector regulators including Ofgem and the Competition Commission.

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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