James Ramsden QC

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“an absolute star”

Chambers & Partners

“Highly persuasive and hard-working advocate who puts clients at ease…he is extremely impressive with clients and on his feet in court.”

Chambers & Partners

James Ramsden QC has an expansive international practice in commercial dispute resolution, regulatory, disciplinary, media, sports and public law serving a diverse clientele of City, corporate, governmental and regulatory clients.

He is recognised by Chambers UK 2018 and Chambers Global as a leading Silk in commercial dispute resolution described as “an absolute star” and “a totally dedicated and stellar leader”. He is a committed and versatile advocate who is known for leading cohesive and effective teams in complex and often time-constrained assignments.

James has appeared as lead advocate in several of the notable Commercial Court and commercial chancery cases of recent years including; BTA v Ablayazov & others, TNK-BP v Lazurenko, Wilcox LLC v Balmore Invest, Kolyada v Yurov, Green v Vossen Capital Partners LLP, Ojsc Tnk-BP Holding & Anor v Lazurenko & BNP Paribas S.A. v OJSC Russian Machines & JSAMC Ingosstrakh-Investments.

In September 2018 James obtained the first UK freezing and disclosure orders over cryptocurrency and in three successive applications for similar orders has forged an unrivalled expertise in tracing and securing cryptocurrency in domestic and cross-border claims.

James is also at the forefront of sanctions cases, currently advising four significant corporate clients in SE Asia, India and Russia on the impact of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and the implication of secondary sanctions. James has forged unrivalled contacts in Washington, enabling effective liaison with OFAC in obtaining licences in derogation of sanctioned transactions.

James is currently instructed in Singapore in the largest ever civil fraud, concerning the alleged US$5.6bn diversion of funds from the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Malaysian Development Berhad, “1MDB”. James’ expertise in money laundering compliance has led to his retention by several City law firms as standing Counsel on AML and CTF compliance.

He is also instructed in Moldova to identify and trace the proceeds of that country’s $1bn banking fraud. On 2nd August 2018 James jointly presented with Quinitel Intelligence a report on the fraud at the Sputnik Centre in Chisinau.

James is also currently retained to advise several individual, corporate and trust clients on the developing jurisdiction of Unexplained Wealth Orders.

As a sub-set of his commercial practice James has a significant tax practice, appearing in the FTT, UT and Administrative Court in a variety of challenges to HMRC. In March 2017 he led a claim against HMRC by 700 UK taxpayers challenging the vires of advance payment notices. In April 2018 he secured a landmark decision in the FTT in Patel v HMRC establishing that HMRC had no statutory power to open enquiries into tax returns voluntarily submitted by taxpayers.

James’ wider commercial litigation experience has given him particular expertise in multi-jurisdictional claims and in disputes concerning jurisdiction and proper law. In April 2018 he appeared before the Court of Appeal of Grand Cayman on behalf of The International Banking Corporation in multi-jurisdictional enforcement proceedings against Algosaibi Corporation

James is a leading expert in pre-emptive remedies, especially pre-action disclosure, evidence preservation and asset freezing orders.

James also has particular expertise in proceedings for contempt of court for breach of pre-emptive orders. Since 2015 he has secured orders for committal to prison for breach of disclosure and freezing orders on 4 occasions for terms ranging from 6 – 18 months.

James frequently acts in complex regulatory proceedings on behalf of the SRA and in FCA proceedings at first instance and before the Upper Tribunal. James is Panel Counsel retained by the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority and by ICAEW and IPReg. In March 2018 he successfully defended a challenge before the Court of Appeal to the Law Society’s intervention regime in Neumans v Law Society [2018] EWCA Civ 325.

Recognising his expertise in civil fraud, asset tracing, money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, in May 2007, James was appointed to the Attorney General’s List of Counsel instructed to carry out complex asset-tracing and confiscation applications under the Proceeds of Crime Act and the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

James has been admitted to or advised in multiple jurisdictions including, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, US, Russia, Ukraine, Iceland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Uruguay, Australia, BVI, Jersey & Isle of Man. He was recently admitted to the Cayman Bar.

James lectures widely on AML, CTF, fraud and asset recovery and is author and contributing editor for the authoritative practitioner’s reference, Butterworths’ Financial Regulation Service.

James also has an expansive arbitration practice, most recently appearing at the IDRC in London in defence of a $24m cross-border contractual claim.

James is a member of the Executive Board of market-leading security and business intelligence provider, Quintel Intelligence.


“Highly persuasive and hard-working advocate who puts clients at ease.” “When he is into the detail he is extremely impressive with clients and on his feet in court. He is able to pick out key issues.” Chambers UK 2016

“Rises in the rankings for the second year following appearances in high-value disputes and the receipt of praise from solicitors and peers at the Bar.” Chambers UK 2016

Regulatory & Disciplinary

James is consistently ranked as a leader at the London Bar in Regulatory and Disciplinary work;

Gains the trust and respect of clients” Chambers UK
Personable and persuasive” and “readily gets judges on side” Legal 500

James is Panel Counsel retained by the Law Society and Solicitors Regulatory Authority and by ICAEW and IPReg.

As a leading expert in AML and CTF work, James is retained by a number of City legal and financial institutions to advise on AML and CTF regulatory issues. This work extends to FCA compliance and disciplinary proceedings and advice on EU, UN and US sanctions.

James has particular expertise in issues concerning the tracing and recovery of assets in civil fraud cases and is regularly instructed by government and public bodies in large scale fraud investigations.

James’ regulatory work extends to the sports arena. He has been consistently recommended in the Legal 500 as a leading sports lawyer: [James] “handles various high profile sports cases and has developed particular expertise in equine work” Legal 500

In recent years he has been instructed by British and Olympic show jumpers Michael Whittaker and Robert Smith. He has acted for Gus Poyet with other former footballers and presently acts for 15 current premiership players and managers in claims against IFAs, banks and accountants arising from the miss-selling of tax management schemes.

James has advised and acted in disciplinary proceedings for the MCC and before the RFU and advised Team GB at the London Olympics.

James has considerable expertise in the policing and removal of offensive and defamatory material on web publications, twitter & facebook and has pioneered use of the Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013 for that purpose.

Administrative & Public

James is recommended in the Legal 500 in Administrative & Public Law for making “sound and independent judgments” and for “pragmatic and solution-orientated advice”

As a public lawyer James has been consistently recognised as a leading practitioner and appeared for the claimant in R (Huitson) v HMRC [2011] EWCA 893 the leading authority on the application of retrospective legislation on A1P1 rights. The case is now pending before the European Court of Justice.

In March 2017 James was lead advocate in the test case of Dickinson & Others v HMRC before Mr Justice Charles in the Administrative Court, challenging the vires of advance payment notices on abuse of power grounds.

James is regularly instructed in cases at the interface between commercial, regulatory and public law.

James is also an experienced appellate advocate. He appeared before the Privy Council in January 2009 on an appeal from the High Court in St Lucia and in December 2010 he returned to the Supreme Court in a complex cross-border dispute concerning the rights to telecom franchises in Kyrgyzstan. This was the first “paperless” appeal heard in the Supreme Court using exclusively electronic document management and presentation.

James is committed to pro bono work and a significant part of his time is allocated to work for those who could not otherwise afford to pay for legal advice and representation. He has a particular interest in and commitment to injunctive and anti-harassment applications in cases of forced marriage. He also regularly acts pro bono for other lawyers, most recently in a complex and sensitive judicial review.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

James also acts as arbitrator and mediator, having arbitrated disputes as diverse as contract, copyright and professional negligence. He also increasingly acts as arbitrator in disciplinary proceedings. James has an expanding mediation practice.


James has been consistently ranked as a leader in Commercial Dispute Resolution by Chambers UK, described as:

“An impressive advocate at trial.” “He provides sound, honest advice.” Chambers UK (2019)
“Always impresses with his knowledge and his calm approach to any matter.” “He’s really confident on his feet and not thrown by anything when he’s under pressure.” Chambers UK (2019)
“Charming, impressive on his feet and a pleasure to work with.” Legal 500 (2018)
“He is businesslike, commercial, and clear and direct with clients.” “He’s a very confident orator, and someone who can provide unequivocal and detailed advice on the merits of the case.” Chambers UK (2017)
“Highly persuasive and hard-working advocate who puts clients at ease …..he is extremely impressive with clients and on his feet in court.” Chambers UK (2016)
“James provides clear, commercially astute advice and clients appreciate his supportive and straightforward approach.” Chambers UK (2014)
“an absolute star“… “with a smooth and confident approach“… “and commercially focused advice”  Chambers UK (2013)
” He provides advice that is not just legally sound but also commercially sensitive, which is what you need as a client.” Chambers UK (2012)
“A highly regarded advocate whose smooth style masks a steely determination to win” Chambers UK (2011)
“A superb tactician” Chambers UK (2010)
“clever and tactical approach to litigation” Chambers UK (2009)
“(He) dazzles in trial. From day one he focuses on how to sell the case to the judge. His penetrating performance in cross examination is matched by an extremely good bedside manner with clients” Chambers UK (2008)

James is also recommended as a leader in Commercial Dispute Resolution by Chambers Global 2016 who say:

“Rises in the rankings for the second year following appearances in high-value disputes and the receipt of praise from solicitors and peers at the Bar. He focuses on international asset recovery and fraud proceedings, and offers further expertise in regulatory and public law matters.”

The Legal 500 [2013] recommend James in Administrative & Public Law: “sound and independent judgments” (2010) and “pragmatic and solution-orientated advice” (2011);

Commercial Litigation: “He is willing to argue difficult cases to the fullest extent.” (2016) “He shows brilliant advocacy and client-handling skills, and is quick to spot the winning argument.” (2015);

And in Entertainment/Media and Sports Law: “gains the trust and respect of clients” (2009)
“Personable and persuasive” and “readily gets judges on side” (2010)
“handles various sports cases and has particular expertise in show jumping” (2011)

He is also ranked by Legal Experts, 2012 as a leading expert in Administrative & Public Law (inc Judicial Review)

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

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