James was called to the Bar in 2003 as a Benefactors Scholar. Since 2013 James has practiced in family law, having until then also practiced in crime. James can accept instructions directly from members of the public.
James is instructed to represent parties in care and other public law applications. The clients he represents often include those with mental health difficulties (including those represented by the Official Solicitor), those who lack confidence in “the system”, or are children themselves (either as a parent or with the capacity to instruct directly).
The types of cases James deals with include those involving serious allegations of harm against children (including extreme violence and/or sexual abuse) complex factual issues (such as multiple parties or allegations) and difficult/novel legal points, including those with no established precedent or where there are international jurisdictional issues.
James has been instructed in cases involving judicial review. As a former criminal practitioner he is also instructed in cases where there is a ‘cross over’ between criminal and family law, either because of parallel proceedings or other issues.
James is instructed on behalf of parents, children and other family members in private law applications. He is often instructed for clients who are either vulnerable or exasperated by the legal process.
James’ cases often involve serious allegations against the other parent or family members (including murder, rape, or involvement in terrorism) and/or sensitive issues such as who a child should live with when both parents have died or whether a parent should be allowed to move abroad with a child.
James represents parties in matrimonial finance and related applications. He is regularly instructed in cases involving serious conduct allegations (such as fraud, covert surveillance and blackmail), where assets are alleged to have been concealed or where assets form part of the proceeds of crime (including dealing with the interplay between the criminal process and family jurisdiction).
James is also experienced in dealing with cases where assets are held abroad or other international issues arise, such as the enforcement of child maintenance orders.
James is instructed in applications for protective orders. These cases can involve serious allegations (rape, kidnap, being forced to smuggle drugs into the country) or difficult family relationships, such as parents seeking an order against a child.
LA v. SB and others  EWHC 2307 (Fam). Led by Queen’s Counsel for a local authority. The case involved a determination of whether a finding of fact hearing involving allegations of abduction and arson should be reallocated to a different Judge.
YZ v. LCC and others  EWHC 2262 (Fam). Appeared for a mother. The court heard an application for the discharge of a care order, in a case where the children had been removed from their parents in part because of the high levels of conflict between them.
M (Children) (admission of expert evidence)  EWCA Civ 607 and All ER (D) 39 (Apr). Appeared for a local authority before Lord Justices McFarlane and Peter Jackson. The court dealt with an appeal against a finding that a mother had given her two children sedative drugs, to support her case that they had been sexually abused by their father.
A, B, C, D and E (Children: Placement Orders: Separating Siblings)  EWFC B11. Appeared for a grandmother. The court refused to approve a care plan for four siblings to be placed for adoption separately with no order for post placement contact and compelled the local authority to change the care plan. The case is reported as Re A, B, C, D and E (Children: Placement Orders: Separating Siblings)
A, B, C, D and E (Children: Care Plans)  EWFC B56 and  All ER (D) 41 (Sep). Appeared for a grandmother. The court decided that it could not make applications for placement orders without further assessment of the attachment between five siblings.
H (Care Order: Designated Local Authority)  EWFC 39 and  1 FCR 389. Appeared for a local authority. Legal argument over which local authority should be designated under a care order for five Slovakian Roma children living with their learning-disabled mother.
C (Children)  EWCA Civ 1634. Appeared for a mother. The case concerned allegations that the mother had concealed her relationship with a man convicted of killing a young child.
R (on the application of H) v Kingston Upon Hull City Council and others  EWHC 388 (Admin) and  1 FLR 1094. Appeared for mother in concurrent judicial review and care proceedings. The court considered the lawfulness of the local authority removing children from the care of their family without first bringing the case to court.
R v Boyes  EWCA Crim 441. Led by Queen’s Counsel for the defence. An appeal against a conviction for dangerous driving which led to the victim being caused permanent disabling injuries.
A (Interim Contact: Observations on Parents)  EWHC 4273 (Fam). Appeared for the children. The court considered an application for contact by a father with a conviction for rape. See also  EW Misc 29 (CC). Later appealed in A (A Child)  EWCA Civ 543.
R v Cosgrove  EWCA Crim 764. Appeared for a serving soldier in a courts-martial appeal against a sentence imposed for assaulting another solider with a glass and causing permanent scaring to his face. The sentence was reduced to allow the appellant to deploy to Afghanistan.
R v Johnson  EWCA Crim 2833. Appeared for the defence. An appeal against a life sentence six years after it was imposed, based on an error in the psychiatric evidence considered by the sentencing court.
Robbie the Pict v Crown Prosecution Service  EWHC B10 (Admin). Appeared for the respondent. An appeal to the Administrative Court on the grounds that the regulations authorising the use of hand held speed cameras were unlawful.