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James practises principally in the fields of employment and discrimination lawcommercial law and civil actions against the police. He also practises in the fields of mediasportspublicelection and human rights law.

James was awarded the Chambers & Partners Employment Silk of the Year 2019 and Legal 500 Employment Silk of the Year 2017.  He has been ranked at Band 1 in both directories for many years. Prior to becoming a Silk before he was 40, he had been ranked in the highest band of juniors in employment, election and police law for several years, being nominated for Employment Junior of the Year on several occasions.

  • Employment

    James is one of the country’s leading employment barristers, equally at ease acting for employers and employees.  He is regularly instructed by most of the leading firms of solicitors and has particular familiarity with representing clients in the following sectors: financial services, professional and legal services, medicine, sports and technology.

    James has very extensive experience in conducting long and complex trials. In recent years he has been involved in some of the most high-profile and challenging employment claims in England. He has a particular interest in restraint of trade, confidentiality, privacy, whistleblowing and disability issues and is very familiar with the issues that arise in cases which have a high media interest.

    James is also a very experienced appellate practitioner and has appeared in more than 50 reported employment cases from the High Court and EAT to the Supreme Court. These reported cases illustrate the breadth of his practice, covering all forms of discrimination, whistleblowing, human rights, contract, restrictive covenants, TUPE, working time, trade unions, and more.  The range and number of reported cases indicate that James is operating at the cutting edge of employment law.

  • Police Law and Associated Human Rights Work

    James has undertaken civil actions against the police and associated human rights work throughout his practice and is recognised as a leading silk in the directories.

    The bulk of this work consists of actions for assault, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. He has successfully represented claimants against different police forces following trials before juries and judges sitting alone. Examples of such work include Francis v. CoP for the Metropolis (all torts – £65,000 damages) and Ford v. Ch. Constable of South Wales (all orts – £22,500 damages).

    His experience in this field extends to actions for conversion/trespass to goods (Mills v. National Crime Squad and Ch. Constable of Kent Police – £13,000 damages) and misfeasance in public office (Geraghty v. Ch. Constable of Greater Manchester Police).

    He has also acted in litigation arising out of the first trial for the murder of Damilola Taylor.

  • Commercial Law

    James conducts increasing amounts of commercial law, initially arising out of his employment practice, but now extending to non-employment related contractual and commercial disputes. He has a developing commercial arbitration practice including claims involving foreign jurisdictions, conflicts of laws, fraud and conspiracy.  He is a registered lawyer at the court of the Dubai International Finance Centre.

  • Election Law

    James appeared for the petitioner, Elwyn Watkins, in his successful challenge to the election of Phil Woolas in Oldham East & Saddleworth on the ground that he had published falsehoods about his opponent, the first such successful challenge in 99 years (Watkins v. Woolas [2010] EWHC 2702 QB).

    He represented the independent mayor of Tower Hamlets in the challenge to his election: Erlam v. Rahman [2015] 1 WLR 245.  He advised a number of MPs in respect of investigations into allegations of breaches of electoral spending rules in the 2015 General Election.

  • Investigations

    James has conducted a number of confidential and independent internal investigations into disciplinary and grievance issues. He was instructed to investigate the death of Amnesty International researcher, Gäetan Mootoo, in 2018, and his report can be found here.


  • Other Work

    James is keen to apply the skills honed in his primary practice areas to work in other fields.  Since taking Silk, he has conducted work in sports law (including under FA Rules arbitrations), media law and regulatory/professional disciplinary law.  He acted for the successful appellant doctor in Bawa-Garba v. General Medical Council [2019] 1 WLR 1929, one of the leading cases on the courts’ jurisdiction to interfere with the decisions of specialist disciplinary tribunals.


  • Pro-bono Work

    James appears in the EAT under the ELAAS scheme and is instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit.  He is happy to consider any requests for pro bono assistance.

  • Other Information

    James is in demand as a speaker and broadcaster, and writes widely on topics of interest. He is the author of the chapters on harassment and discrimination in Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Precedents of Pleadings and is a contributing author to the Butterworths Employment Law Guide. He is a member of the Industrial Law Society, the Employment Lawyers Association, the Police Action Lawyers Group, the Bar Pro Bono Unit and ELAAS. He speaks excellent French.

Privacy Notice

James is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, James needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read James’ privacy notice in full, please see here.

James is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards.


“He is a brilliant advocate and is impressive in his ability to identify all of the nuances in a case in a short period of time.” “He is absolutely terrific and an absolute star in big whistle-blowing and discrimination cases; he knows the papers inside out, is a devastating cross-examiner and great to work with.”

Chambers and Partners 2021 (Employment, Band 1)

“A skilful and tough cross-examiner, who doesn’t take any prisoners.” “He is an impressive advocate who makes good legal arguments.”

Chambers and Partners 2021 (Election, Band 1)

“A pleasure to work with – fantastic legal knowledge, a great cross-examiner and really client friendly.”

Legal 500 2021 (Employment, Tier 1)

“He’s a very good advocate who is quick to pick up on difficult legal issues.”
Chambers and Partners 2020 (Election, Band 1)

“The ultimate tactician. He gets up to speed swiftly, analyses the issues and then plays the cards like a poker genius.”
Chambers and Partners 2020 (Employment, Band 1)

“Very, very smart.”
Chambers and Partners 2020 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant, Band 2)

“Fantastic cross-examiner particularly with tricky claimants and reads the court really well.”
Legal 500 2020 (Employment, Band 1)

“A brilliant tactician and original thinker.”
Chambers & Partners 2019 (Employment, Band 1)

“Excellent tactical advice and a fantastic manner with clients.” “A real team player who is brilliant with clients.”
Legal 500 2018 (Employment, Band 1)

“A tremendous operator who prepares meticulously and can recall information flawlessly off the top of his head.”
Legal 500 2018 (Election Law, Band 1)

“An extremely impressive trial advocate. His legal arguments are excellent, his court manner is firm and he is a tenacious fighter for his clients. An extremely hard worker.”
Legal 500 2018 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)

“He is a brilliant cross-examiner, very impressive with clients, and gauges the mood of the Tribunal very well.”
Chambers & Partner 2017 (Employment, Band 1)

“He has a flair for advocacy and a passion for the rights of victims, and is excellent both with clients and in negotiation.” “He is a thorough and experienced trial advocate.”
Chambers & Partners 2017 (Police Law: Mainly Claimant)