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James Shaw
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James has a wide-ranging commercial dispute resolution practice, encompassing commercial litigation, insolvency, company, construction, and professional negligence disputes. He is regularly instructed as sole counsel across his specialisms.

You can find further detail on James’ experience within each of the specialist area tabs of his profile.

James’ current and recent instructions include:

  • Acting as junior counsel in a c.£80 million contractual dispute arising out of the liquidation of public sector contractor Carillion (led by Paul Reed QC)
  • Acting as sole counsel in a claim to enforce a foreign judgment at common law for c.$79 million.
  • Advising as sole counsel on the enforcement of various syndicated lending agreements and related guarantees in respect of loans of c.$90 million, including advising on limitation, conflict of laws, and jurisdictional issues.
  • Assisting Nigel Jones QC and Sri Carmichael in proceedings arising out of a multi-million dollar fraud claim.
  • Assisting (unled) in the litigation of a substantial offshore dispute following the alleged post-acquisition constructive dismissal of the CEO of an international company, including considering issues of legal privilege, state secrecy laws, and disclosure duties in the context of e-disclosure data collection techniques.
  • Acting and advising as sole counsel defending a claim involving fraud and forgery issues in the context of a contractual claim for specific performance, declarations, and damages.
  • Obtaining judgment in an unjust enrichment claim following the collapse of an international investment proposition.

James is also a member of the Government Legal Department’s ‘Junior Junior’ panel and accepts instructions in government matters in appropriate cases.

James has also gained substantial experience at a leading silver circle firm, litigating a range of complex and high-value commercial, fraud, and commercial/chancery disputes, often in a sensitive reputational context. For instance, James was involved in Group Seven & Anor v Nasir & Ors [2017] EWHC 2466 (Ch) (upheld in Court of Appeal: [2019] EWCA Civ 614), IOEC v Dean Investments & Ors [2019] EWHC 472 (Comm) (involved prior to trial), Twin Benefits Ltd v Barker [2017] EWHC 177 (Ch), Barker v Confiance Ltd [2018] EWHC 2965 (Ch), Barker v Baxendale-Walker [2017] 10 WLUK 593, A v Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (2017) (anonymised), and A v B (compromised arbitral dispute with state-owned oil company).

Outside of work, James enjoys football, snooker, cooking, and travelling.

Commercial Litigation

James’ core specialism is as a commercial litigator and he has a particular interest in claims involving allegations of fraud and dishonesty.

Recent Work:

  • Acting in an £80 million contractual dispute arising out of the liquidation of public sector contractor Carillion (led by Paul Reed QC)
  • Acting as sole counsel in a claim to enforce a foreign judgment at common law for approximately $79 million.
  • Advising as sole counsel on the enforcement of complex syndicated lending agreements and related guarantees.
  • Assisting Nigel Jones QC and Sri Carmichael in proceedings arising out of a multi-million dollar fraud claim.
  • Obtaining judgment for c.£500,000 as sole counsel in an unjust enrichment claim following the collapse of a proposed investment
  • Drafting a security for costs application in respect of a substantial counterclaim
  • Advising on non-competition and inconsistent jurisdiction clauses in shareholder agreements following the acquisition of a business
  • Assisting a senior member of Chambers in a claim for mandatory injunctive relief and substantial damages for lost profits, including preparations to resist an interim mandatory injunction application.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a claim by a litigation funder concerning the construction of a Litigation Funding Arrangement.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim seeking to enforce various contractual indemnities and personal guarantees in connection with a loan facility.

James also worked on a range of complex and high-value commercial matters prior to joining the Bar, including commercial fraud litigation, oil & gas arbitrations, regulatory investigations, and commercial chancery disputes.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

James has excellent experience of bringing and defending claims involving allegations of fraud and dishonesty, often revolving around the economic torts.

Recent Work:

  • Acting and advising as sole counsel in a claim involving fraud and forgery issues in the context of a contractual claim for specific performance, declarations, and damages, including experience dealing with expert handwriting evidence.
  • Advising on the ‘asset stripping’ torts and wrongful and fraudulent trading.
  • Assisting Nigel Jones QC and Sri Carmichael in proceedings arising out of a multi-million dollar fraud claim.
  • Advising as sole counsel on post-judgment applications for the private cross-examination of individuals suspected of fraud regarding the extent and locations of their assets under CPR Part 71.
  • Assisting PJ Kirby QC in advising on a potential claim arising out of the termination of an international distribution agreement entered into allegedly in breach of EU and US sanctions.
  • Assisting in litigating civil fraud claims arising out of a €100m fraud perpetrated against the investment vehicle of an UHNW individual: Group Seven & Anor v Nasir & Ors [2017] EWHC 2466 (Ch)) (judgment for Claimants upheld in Court of Appeal: [2019] EWCA Civ 614).
  • Advising on allegedly fraudulent investment schemes similar to those exposed in the above litigation.
  • Assisting with defending a civil fraud claim worth over $70m arising out of the failed sale of an oil rig and raising conflicts of law issues, the illegality defence in the context of breach of EU and US sanctions, and abuse of process on grounds of political persecution
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a claim involving allegations that a written loan agreement was a sham document
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit in the context of a property transaction against a company and its directors

Banking & Finance

James is developing his practice in banking and finance litigation and has good experience of the kinds of issues which arise in this area. He has a particular interest in claims arising out of the trading of cryptocurrencies.

Recent Work:

  • Acting for a well-known currency exchange platform in litigation concerning contractual termination fees
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim on behalf of a lender seeking to enforce various contractual indemnities and personal guarantees in relation to a loan of c.£1 million
  • Drafting an Advice on the prospects of obtaining an extended civil restraint order against a borrower
  • Assisting in litigating dishonest assistance and vicarious liability claims against bank personnel and their employers

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

James has good experience in this area and has a particular interest in shareholder, director, and partnership disputes. He appears on a range of matters in the Companies Court.

His recent experience includes:

  • Successfully obtaining judgment in a claim for unjust enrichment arising out of a failed joint venture in the US.
  • Advising on non-competition clauses in shareholder agreements.
  • Making applications seeking restoration to the Register of Companies under s.1029 Companies Act 2006.
  • Drafting an Opinion on the enforceability of various anti-competitive restrictive covenants within the partnership agreement of a major LLP.
  • Assisting a senior member of Chambers in advising a majority shareholder of regarding alleged mismanagement of company affairs by its directors.

James’ excellent experience in contentious insolvency matters supplements this area of his practice well.

Employment & Executive Disputes

James accepts instructions relating to employment and executive disputes and has a particular interest in restrictive covenants disputes.

James has strong experience of disputes involving high-level employees and CEOs. For instance, he is currently instructed to assist in a substantial offshore dispute involving the alleged constructive dismissal of the CEO of an international company following its acquisition by foreign investors.

His other recent experience includes:

  • Appearing in the Employment Tribunal in whistleblowing and constructive dismissal claims.
  • Drafting Grounds of Resistance in a claim for wrongful dismissal, discrimination and victimisation, and advising on state immunity and other jurisdictional issues.
  • Drafting an Opinion on the enforceability of various anti-competitive restrictive covenants within the partnership agreement of a major LLP.
  • Assisting in a claim relating to alleged disability and gender-based discrimination.

 

Corporate Insolvency

James has experience of acting and advising on a wide range of corporate insolvency matters, including claims concerning the sale of company assets at an undervalue, directors’ misfeasance, antecedent transactions, and obtaining orders for sale. He also regularly appears in contested and uncontested winding up petitions.

James is currently instructed (unled) to assist in a claim worth over £14m considering cash flow insolvency, directors’ duties, and corporate governance issues in the Channel Islands and internationally.

His other recent experience includes:

  • Advising on wrongful trading and the ‘asset-stripping’ economic torts against directors.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a misfeasance claim under s.212 Insolvency Act 1986 against registered, de facto and shadow directors, alleging preferential and undervalued transactions and breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Advising on the effect of s.127 Insolvency Act 1986 on a transaction and the merits of a ‘change of position’ defence.
  • Assisting a senior member of Chambers in an international shareholder dispute arising out of the sale of a state-controlled company’s sole assets at a significant undervalue.

 

Personal Insolvency

James has excellent experience of personal insolvency matters and regularly acts for creditors, trustees in bankruptcy, and debtors.

His recent experience includes contested bankruptcy petitions, applications to set aside statutory demands, obtaining orders for sale and validation orders, applications to annul bankruptcy orders, and resisting urgent applications for stays of execution.

Director Disqualification

James has experience of advising in respect of director disqualification and accepts instructions from all interested parties, including directors, office-holders, and, where appropriate, concerned creditors.

Construction Litigation

James has good experience across a range of construction disputes and is comfortable advising and acting in construction litigation, adjudications (including adjudication enforcement), and arbitral disputes.

Recent Work:

  • Acting as junior counsel in a c.£80 million contractual dispute arising out of the liquidation of public sector contractor Carillion (led by Paul Reed QC).
  • Advising in respect of a breach of contract and negligence claim arising out of the allegedly defective commercial boiler installations.
  • Advising in respect of a potential claim for defective construction works, considering issues of limitation and contractual ADR clauses.
  • Acting for the Defendant to a claim for property damage caused by defective works.
  • Applying to strike out claim against employer for damage caused by sub-contractor (matter compromised).
  • Drafting an Opinion on the enforceability of liquidated damages provisions within a large oil and gas contract and the application of the ‘prevention principle’.
  • Drafting a Defence to a claim for payment under a sub-contract.
  • Drafting an Advice in a claim for negligent asbestos disturbance and trespass.
  • Assisting with preparations for a mediation in a large nuisance claim.

He is also regularly instructed on professional negligence claims against a range of construction and property professionals. Further details can be found within the Professional Liability tab on his profile.

Property & Construction Professionals

James has excellent experience of claims involving allegations of professional negligence or misconduct and is regularly instructed as sole counsel in such disputes.

Recent Work:

  • Acting and advising as sole counsel in a dispute concerning allegedly defective services by a firm of surveyors overseeing a large project at residential premises in London.
  • Acting as sole counsel in defending a negligence action against a property management company following multiple unsuccessful attempts to evict tenants.
  • Drafting an Advice in a claim for negligent asbestos disturbance and trespass.

 

Costs Litigation

James’ core specialisms regularly throw up costs issues and he has advised on and acted in a wide range of costs cases.

Recent Work:

  • Drafting a security for costs application in respect of a substantial counterclaim.
  • Acting in an application for wasted costs against a claimant’s solicitors following late discontinuance of a claim.
  • Assisted PJ Kirby QC in the Trucks Cartel Litigation (Road Haulage Association Ltd & Ors v MAN SE & Ors [2019] CAT 26), in which the Competition Appeal Tribunal decided a novel point of law with industry-wide consequences for litigation funders.

Prior to joining Chambers, James was part of a team acting for the Third Party Respondent in an application for a non-party costs order against a litigation funder and alleged controller: Barker v Baxendale-Walker [2017] 10 WLUK 593.

International

James has worked on a range of international litigation across a number of jurisdictions in Europe & the Channel Islands, the USA, Middle East, China and West Africa. He is developing a practice with a strong international element and is comfortable dealing with issues which frequently arise in cross-border disputes.

James’ current and recent instructions include:

  • Acting as sole counsel in a claim worth c.$79m seeking to enforce a foreign judgment at common law.
  • Assisting (unled) in a substantial claim in the Channel Islands concerning corporate activity in multiple European, Asian and West African jurisdictions, advising on a range of cross-border disclosure, privilege, and jurisdictional issues.

Commercial Landlord & Tenant

James has good experience of property and housing disputes and regularly appears as counsel in the County Court in this area.

Examples of James’ recent work include:

  • Acting for a landlord enforcing restrictive covenants against a bankrupted lessee in circumstances where the bankrupt’s legal interest has been invalidly transferred
  • Acting for trustees in bankruptcy seeking orders for the sale of residential property
  • Acting for a variety housing associations and local councils in injunction and possession proceedings
  • Assisting with defending a claim for forfeiture of a commercial lease agreed orally

Trusts of Land

James accepts instructions in relation to applications under section 14 TOLATA 1996 and other disputes as to beneficial ownership, including cases involving issues of proprietary estoppel.

Qualifications

BA, Jurisprudence (St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford)

Bar Professional Training Course (University of Law, London)

Scholarships & Prizes:

    • Major BPTC Scholarship (Astbury Award), Middle Temple
    • Performance Award, University of Law
    • Access to the Bar Award, Middle Temple

CSR

James accepts pro bono instructions in appropriate cases and has volunteered for a range of CSR initiatives, including:

  • Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit), offering pro bono legal and advocacy services to members of the public
  • The SPITE Project, which advises victims of revenge porn and related civil and criminal issues
  • The Own-It! Project, which advises arts students on IP and copyright issues arising in the course of their work
  • The Free Representation Unit (FRU)
  • The Access Project, which assists school-age students from under-represented backgrounds in their aspirations to apply to Oxbridge
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