James has an international commercial practice, specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration.
He has a particular interest in cross-border disputes, private international law and has experience of working with teams in different languages and on issues relating to a number of different jurisdictions including offshore jurisdictions such as The Bahamas, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.
Alongside international arbitration, James has a breadth of experience of high-value commercial litigation, is regularly instructed in the Chancery Division and Commercial Court and has appeared (led) in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
James is bilingual in Italian and a native speaker. As a barrister, he is regularly instructed in commercial matters involving Italian language and with Italian speaking clients. Previously, James has worked as a research assistant to leading Italian academics, Prof. Guido Alpa (La Sapienza Università di Roma) and Prof. Attila Tanzi (Università di Bologna).
He has extensive academic experience, particularly in contract law. Before joining the Bar, James taught law at Oxford University, teaching a number of undergraduate subjects including contract law to students across different colleges. Since starting his practice, James has conducted a series of training sessions with leading international law firms on the interpretation of performance bonds in the construction sector and is also a contributing editor to Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts (4th Edn.)
James has developed a broad commercial practice, with a particular interest in matters involving complex questions of private international law. Alongside his trial experience, James also has wide range of experience advising and/or preparing a range of different procedural matters in the Chancery Division or Commercial Court, including:
- Applications for freezing injunctions,
- Applications for security for costs,
- Amendments to statements of claim,
- Applications for a counterclaim and permission for expert evidence,
- Case Management Conference & PTR.
Recent cases include:
- Gian Angelo Perrucci v Orlean Invest Holding Ltd  EWHC 2038 (Comm) (London Circuit Commercial Court (KBD), led by Andrew Holden, XXIV Old Buildings Chambers): Acted for the Defendant responding to a summary judgment/strike out claim in relation to multi-million pound dispute over the termination of a consultancy agreement between a Swiss resident and a BVI company (Defendant also brought an application to amend its statement of case). Click here for judgment.
- Athena Capital Fund SICAV-FIS S.C.A. & Others v Secretariat of State for the Holy See  EWCA Civ 1061 (Court of Appeal, led by Charles Hollander KC, Brick Court Chambers with Samar Abbas Kazmi, Atkin Chambers): James appeared in the appeal of the case management stay below in the same matter where ongoing criminal proceedings were taking place in the Vatican City State (see below).
- Gabriele Volpi & Delta Ltd v Matteo Volpi  EWCA Civ 464 (Court of Appeal, led by Andrew Holden, XXIV Old Buildings Chambers): James successfully represented the Respondents in an appeal of the factual findings of the below action, in a decision in which the Court gave an important summary of the proper approach to appeals on questions of fact as well as the relevant principles relating to the presumption of advancement. For the judgment click here.
- Athena Capital Fund SICAV-FIS S.C.A. & Others v Secretariat of State for the Holy See  EWHC 3166 (Comm) (Commercial Court, led by Michael McParland QC with Samar Abbas Kazmi, Atkin Chambers): Application to challenge jurisdiction or stay a claim for declarations where the context of the claim was a criminal investigation (and later trial) taking place in the Vatican City State. Click here for judgment which contained an important consideration of the approach to jurisdiction under the Brussels Recast Regulation, Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 6.34 and the principles governing a case management stay.
- Gabriele Volpi & Delta Ltd v Matteo Volpi  EWHC 2143 (High Court Chancery Division led by Andrew Holden, XXIV Old Buildings Chambers): James successfully represented the Claimants in their claim for the repayment of a CHF 6 million loan in relation to the purchase of an apartment near Lugano, Switzerland. The four-day trial took place in July 2021 and for the judgment click here.
- PJSC Rosgosstrakh v Starr Syndicate Ltd & Others: (Commercial Court) led by Michael McParland QC with Samar Abbas Kazmi) for 20 reinsurers operating in the London market in resisting enforcement of a set of Russian judgments obtained by a Russian insurance company in relation to an aviation reinsurance policy.
Recent instructions also include:
- Advising and preparing an application under s. 9 of the Administration of Justice Act to register two orders for costs made in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas with the courts of England & Wales.
- Advising and preparing an application for an interim charging order following judgment on the substantive claim in the Chancery Division.
- Acting (early 2020 – early 2021) as consultant counsel for the Financial Ombudsman Service: provided numerous advices on a range of matters relating to financial services law and regulation.
James has gained a broad practice in international arbitration, including both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations as well as associated appeals and challenges in the supervisory court.
He is comfortable working within a larger team of barristers and solicitors on high value matters and both during pupillage and since, has built up particular experience of matters relating to a number of different jurisdictions across Europe, the Middle East and offshore jurisdictions such as The Bahamas.
Recent experience includes:
- LCIA Arbitration: acting for a BVI oil and gas logistics company in respect of a US$150 million loan dispute with another BVI company. James is led by Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings Chambers.
- The Bahamas, ongoing arbitration challenges and appeals out of ad hoc arbitration: assisting in relation to a series of challenges and appeals made pursuant to sections 89, 90 and 91 of The Bahamas Arbitration Act 2009 in The Supreme Court of The Bahamas following an ad hoc arbitration. James is led by Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings Chambers. The dispute involves complex and some novel questions of Bahamian arbitration law and procedure and has included:
- An application to stay an ongoing arbitration made pursuant to the Arbitration Act 2009 or the Court’s inherent jurisdiction;
- Responding to an application for security for costs pursuant to s. 92(6) of the Arbitration Act 2009;
- An application for interrogatories made pursuant to Order 26 Rule 1 of the Rules of the Supreme Court;
- Determining the Court’s ability to grant permission to appeal an arbitral award under the Arbitration Act 2009.
- UNCITRAL arbitration (Bahamas seat): acting for the settlor in a high value trusts arbitration concerning a dispute over a series of distributions made by the trustee of Bahamian trusts to the settlor and beneficiary (junior counsel led by Elspeth Talbot-Rice KC, Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings Chambers). The dispute involves complex questions of trusts law including rectification, fraud on a power, breach of trust, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
- DIFC-LCIA Arbitration (DIFC seat): assisting Rachael O’Hagan (as part of pupillage) in the preparation for a hearing determining quantum in a large-scale construction dispute.
Through the course of his work, James has gained extensive experience in drafting/assisting in the drafting of different pleadings and skeleton arguments for procedural applications, case management conferences and substantive matters. He has experience of trial preparation, cross-examination preparation of factual and expert witnesses as well as appearances in substantive and procedural hearings.
During his pupillage in January 2018, James was a member of the winning team from 39 Essex Chambers in the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Mediation Skills Competition 2018.
Trusts and Offshore / International
James has a growing practice specifically in trusts and/or international trusts work and has gained a wide experience advising or assisting with matters in different jurisdictions including The Bahamas, Bermuda and/or matters involving cross-border elements.
- Advising a protector of a series of Bermudan trusts (as well as an English trust) as to his rights and duties as a protector under the various settlements, as well as his position following his removal from office by the Trustee and beneficiaries.
- Advice and research on the choice of law principles governing a series of complex transactions including the assignment of shares by a Liechtenstein foundation in a BVI company to another BVI company.
- UNCITRAL arbitration (Bahamas seat): acting for the settlor in a high value trusts arbitration which concerning a dispute over a series of distributions made by the trustee of Bahamian trusts to the settlor and beneficiary (junior counsel led by Elspeth Talbot-Rice KC, Michael Black KC with Andrew Holden at XXIV Old Buildings Chambers). The dispute involves complex questions of trusts law including rectification, fraud on a power, breach of trust, knowing receipt and dishonest assistance.
James is also developing a practice in construction law more generally.
He has a specific interest in guarantees and performance bonds and how they operate more widely in the construction context. He has given with Alexandra Bodnar, Keating Chambers a number of training sessions to leading international law firms on recent developments in the construction bonds sector (with a particular focus on the decision in Yuanda (UK) Company Ltd v Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd  EWHC 468). Alexandra and James have written on this topic and for further information see here (Part One) and here (Part Two).
He is a contributing editor to Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts (4th Edn) and has edited the first chapter dealing with issues relating to construction contract formation. Prior to practising at the Bar, he taught (amongst other subjects) Contract Law to undergraduate students at the University of Oxford.
Further, as part of his pupillage, he gained experience of drafting statements of case, advices and legal research notes in a variety of matters in the construction sectors including:
- Jurisdictional challenges in an adjudication (preparation of advice in relation to possible grounds for challenge and drafting the response to a referral notice);
- TCC proceedings concerning defective works on a domestic property (assisted in preparation and drafting of factually and legally complex defence to the claim made);
- A financial matter involving issues of misrepresentation and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (drafting Particulars of Claim and short advice concerning various issues pertinent to the claim).
Administrative and Public
James has been involved in a number of high-profile cases since being taken on as a tenant in 2018 and has gained experience of matters involving complex questions of constitutional law and European Union law.
Notable instructions include:
- Junior counsel for the Interested Parties in the Supreme Court hearing of Privacy International v Investigatory Powers Tribunal  UKSC 22 (led by Sir James Eadie KC, Kate Grange KC and Catherine Dobson). The decision concerned the effect of s. 67(8) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 as well as Parliament’s ability to legislate to oust the High Court supervisory jurisdiction in certain circumstances. For more information click here.
- Advising on various questions of EU free movement law following a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), including the effect of Regulation 1346/2000 (‘Insolvency Regulation) on the interpretation of EU free movement rights and the principles governing the scope of Article 45 TFEU in the context of pensions and insolvency.
- Junior counsel to the Infected Blood Inquiry chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff.
- Junior junior instructed by the Government Legal Department, with respect to the judicial review challenge to the third runway at Heathrow.