James’ core expertise is in professional negligence disputes involving tax, accounting and financial advice and services. His practice covers the following sectors: individual tax planning, investment advice, pensions, mergers & acquisitions and investment funds. He acts both for and against professional indemnity insurers.
James believes in making every effort to resolve disputes without recourse to litigation where possible. He is experienced in mediation and all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Where litigation is the only option, James takes a commercial and strategic approach.
James also has substantial experience in claims arising out of false statements in investment prospectuses. He has acted in some of the largest and significant group actions in this area and has developed deep expertise in group litigation, litigation funding and related matters.
James acts for both claimants and defendants, and his clients include high net worth individuals, private/family offices, investment funds, financial institutions and professional service providers.
- Adole Akinluyi & Ors v HSBC UK Bank Plc. James leads the team acting for the claimants, who are 175 individual investors in a film investment product known as Eclipse. It is alleged that HSBC is liable for losses as a consequence of its role in devising and promoting the product to investors.
- David McClean & Ors v Andrew Thornhill KC . James led the team acting for 110 claimants in this landmark claim against a tax KC who had allowed his opinion to be used to sell a tax incentivised investment scheme.
- The Ingenious Litigation. Acted for a group of the nearly 500 claimants in one of the largest pieces of group litigation to be brought before the courts outside the formal GLO regime, against more than 20 defendants in respect of their roles in promoting and advising on various film investment products.
- The Blair Partnership & Ors v SRLV Accountants (a firm). Acted for the claimants, who are well-known literary agents, in a professional negligence claim against their former accountants for advice given in connection with the acquisition and restructuring of their business.
- Premier Engineering Limited & Ors v Townsend Harrison Limited & Begbies Traynor LLP. Acted for the claimants in relation to insolvency and accounting advice given in the context of employee benefit trust arrangements.
James is ranked in The Legal 500 for tax-based professional negligence work and is described as “an outstanding litigator [who] has a keen mind and always thinks several steps ahead” and “combining a particularly astute legal brain with hard-edged commerciality”.
James is “Top Recommended” in Spear’s 500, where it is noted that he has “drawn praise for his work supporting clients in their disputes against promoters of failed film finance schemes.”
James was elected President of Association des Jeunes Advocats (AIJA) Commercial Fraud Commission 2018 – 2020.
James started his career as a barrister, practising from chambers in Inner Temple from 2005 to 2012. He then moved to a top-ranked litigation boutique before joining Stewarts in 2019.
James read Classics at Bristol University, before converting to Law at the University of Law.
Accreditations and Memberships
- Association des Jeunes Advocats (AIJA)
- Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA)
Publications and Media
When not at his desk, James tries to spend as much time outdoors as possible. He enjoys hill-walking, fishing, skiing and cycling.