James is a specialist in areas of disputes including, employment, property disputes, mediation and Financial Services disputes. He also works with the property team on complex land matters as well as helping companies to manage their debt recovery and workforces.
Examples of his work include:
- Helping a company to defend allegations of unfair dismissal by a former staff member.
- Pursuing a claim of constructive unfair dismissal and sex discrimination by a veterinary nurse to a successful four-day final hearing with Counsel.
- Helping businesses to fairly dismiss troublesome employees without facing any claims for unfair dismissal or discrimination.
- Advising on several hundred Settlement Agreements/Compromise Agreements for exiting staff of businesses of all sizes.
- Helping a director/business owner turn a £30,000 employment claim into a £300,000 business exit agreement at mediation.
- Helping a couple who live next door to a building plot when the builder started to bulldoze the boundary hedge, claiming to own land up to a metre into their garden. James stopped the builder, and saw the case through to final hearing where the hedge line was declared the boundary.
- Negotiating with a neighbouring house builder on behalf of clients whose garden was threatened, establishing the boundary line, and securing compensation for the disturbance/loss of amenity from the builder.
- Helping a farmer whose livestock suffered when their water supply was cut off by a developer of an adjacent residential site. James secured the renewal of the water supply and compensation.
- Acting for a lady whose former cohabitee would not accept her entitlement to the sale proceeds of jointly-owned property. James secured the proceeds and pushed the case into a mediation, where a fair settlement was agreed and fulfilled.
- Acting many joint property owners who needed to ask the Court to define their interests or get a property sold (TOLATA).
- Acting for a couple who bought a house where there was an undisclosed neighbour dispute. At mediation they agreed an amount of compensation for the diminished value of their property and costs.
James has helped many business owners who have faced the need to resolve issues with other directors or shareholders. Likening the problems business partners often face to a divorce, longstanding relationships can break down, and lead to financial difficulties and emotional distress. James is a keen advocate of mediation for resolving internal difficulties in business’ ownership and governance and has taken many disputes to a successful mediation, as the most cost-effective and appropriate method of resolving such matters without causing undue harm to the business itself.
Cases include those where one partner has taken more than their fair share, or where one partner has brought in family members or favourites at the expense of the other, as well as cases of severe financial mismanagement.
James has also advised on senior executive exit situations both for businesses and executives again using mediation or court/tribunal action as required including those involving restrictive covenants or potentially sensitive issues.
Financial Services complaints & claims
- Acted for a couple whose claim on a critical illness policy, on diagnosis of thyroid cancer was refused. Although the Financial Ombudsman Service found against them after a 2-year investigation, I re-examined the case, identified weaknesses in the insurer’s position, threatened litigation and secured a six figure out of court settlement plus costs from the insurer ;
- Acted for a life policy sales team manager whose career was ruined by an unfair reference, litigating and securing a six figure settlement at mediation ;
- Acted for an IFA in dispute with his network over a suspension of his position, secured removal of suspension and compensation plus costs (2001-2003) ;
- Acted for the Claimants in SEYMOUR v. OCKWELL & CO. AND ZURICH IFA LTD. 2005 EWHC 1137 QB, a FSA-bulletined High Court claim against an IFA and the finance company, securing return of six figure investment with interest and costs. This case established some liability of the finance company (as well as against the IFA) for the product recommendation to the investors and was the subject of national press reports in mainstream and financial press, including Law Society Gazette’s “Lawyer in the News” (2005/6) ;
- Overturned a legal expenses insurer’s refusal to indemnify a property dispute using the Financial Ombudsman Service securing refund of costs paid privately and future support for the action;
- Advised on negligent financial advice on sale of a mortgage protection policy by a Bank;
- Advised on failure to pay claim on car policy following loss of vehicle;
- Advised on failure to pay claim on life policy for non-disclosure of medical condition;
- Acted for IFA network against individual IFAs owing commission overpayment/clawback debts;
- Acted for bank employee subject of unfairly prejudicial reference in subsequent financial services industry career;
- Acting for a number of clients duped into landbanking schemes;
- Acting for clients duped into remortgaging to buy unbuilt commercial property abroad.
- Acted for IFA in dispute with network over payments for business written;
- Acted for mortgage advisor in unfair dismissal claim against employer;
- Acted for investors losing capital due to stockbroker purchasing volatile high-risk shares out of mandate (six figure settlement);
- Securing compensation for elderly couple mis-sold an interest only mortgage late in life resulting in loss of their home;
- Pursued claims relating to mis-sold investments in CentrePoint Development a collapsed Arizona property investment UCIS, Axiom Legal Financing Fund, Harlequin Property, and other UCIS investments using the FOS and the FSCS to secure compensation;
- Acting against various Banks relating to mis-sold Swaps and Interest Rate Hedging products, including assisting with the FCA Review and High Court litigation.
Through providing Debt Recovery services, James has recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds for business clients, using various techniques and procedures. To help you understand the Debt Collection process take a look at our legal guide.
James says: “Litigation is a minefield but, if you involve an expert at the outset, the paths through it lead to resolution. Speaking to a solicitor avoids costly mistakes, the case being sidetracked down blind alleys and ensures you’re taken seriously. We can deliver outcomes that you might never have considered, maximise your chances of success by putting the case properly and succinctly, and ensure that you don’t bury the good bits under piles of bad. In short, we work to achieve resolution in a cost-effective way.”
Qualifications and Experience
- Law degree in 1994
- Qualified as a Solicitor in 1997
- Accredited mediator trained by ADR Group in 2004
- Member of the Financial Services Lawyers’ Association
- Member of the Employment Lawyers’ Association
- Member of the Property Litigation Association
- Member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association
- Has specialised in civil litigation Disputes since 1995
James speaks French as an additional language.
Supervised by Elizabeth Fry