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James Shaw
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James has a wide-ranging commercial dispute resolution practice, encompassing commercial litigation, construction, insolvency, company, 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’ 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 Commercial Court 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.
  • Acting as sole counsel in the Chancery Division concerning the alleged ultra vires exercise of powers by a company and its directors.
  • 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 e-disclosure.
  • Acting at trial defending a claim for specific performance involving fraud and forgery issues, including the use of expert handwriting evidence.
  • Obtaining judgment in a Chancery Division unjust enrichment claim following the collapse of an international investment proposition.

James is a member of the Government Legal Department’s ‘Junior Junior’ panel and accepts instructions in government matters in appropriate cases. He has experience working on high-profile and sensitive matters via both government and private instructions.

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 Commercial Court 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 interim injunctive relief regarding the allegedly unlawful retention of commercial goods.
  • Drafting a security for costs application in respect of a substantial counterclaim.
  • Resisting and making various interlocutory applications for specific disclosure and related orders.

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 in conjunction with wrongful and fraudulent trading issues.
  • 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.

Banking & Finance

James has a growing 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

  • Advising on the terms and enforcement of personal guarantees in the context of business and property transactions.
  • Acting for a well-known currency exchange platform in litigation concerning contractual termination fees.
  • Advising on English law limitation issues concerning a foreign-held chattel mortgage.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in proceedings to enforce various contractual indemnities and personal guarantees in relation to a loan of c.£1 million.

Companies, Joint Ventures & Partnerships

James has excellent experience in this area and has a particular interest in boardroom disputes. He frequently appears on a range of matters in the Companies Court (ChD).

Recent Work

  • Acting as sole counsel in Chancery Division proceedings concerning the alleged ultra vires exercise of powers by a company and its directors.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a substantial shareholder/quasi-partnership dispute following completion of a joint venture.
  • Advising and acting in a number of proceedings involving allegations of breaches of directors duties by company shareholders.
  • 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 various applications under the Companies Act 2006, including for restoration to the register of companies and for rectification of the register of charges.

James’ experience in contentious insolvency matters (including director misfeasance issues) 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 excellent 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.

Franchising

James welcomes instructions in franchising matters, which are complemented by his significant commercial litigation and advisory experience.

Corporate Insolvency

James has experience of 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 the Chancery Division (Insolvency and Companies List) in contested winding up petitions and applications to restrain the presentation or advertisement of 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 and acting in a number of proceedings involving allegations of breaches of directors duties.
  • Advising on wrongful trading and the ‘asset-stripping’ economic torts against directors.
  • Obtaining an order restraining the presentation of a winding up petition against a construction company.
  • Appearing in the Insolvency Court in proceedings concerning the validity of a liquidator appointment where there had been conflicting IP appointments.
  • Assisting a senior member of Chambers in drafting misfeasance proceedings 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.

Personal Insolvency

James is regularly instructed in personal insolvency matters, including in relation to 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.

James also has excellent experience advising on the terms and enforcement of personal guarantees, often arising out of business or property transactions.

Directors’ 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 accepts instructions in construction litigation, adjudications, adjudication enforcement, and arbitral disputes.

He also has a growing practice in matters where construction disputes and insolvency processes intersect.

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 a sub-contractor in respect of contractual and restitutionary claims against an employer where the main contractor had become insolvent.
  • Advising a director of a construction company in respect of personal guarantees, including as to the scope and application of the rule in Holmes v Brunskill.
  • Acting for a main contractor in restraining the presentation of a winding up petition by a sub-contractor seeking to exert pressure for payment on the grounds that (i) the sums were genuinely disputed and (ii) no crystallised debt had arisen under the relevant payment provisions.
  • Advising in respect of a breach of contract and negligence claim arising out of allegedly defective commercial boiler installations.

James 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 professional negligence matters 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 growing experience of costs litigation.

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.

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.

Mortgages

James accepts litigation and advisory instructions concerning secured lending arrangements, including appearing in matters regarding the enforcement of legal mortgages over residential property.

He also has experience of advising in respect of chattel mortgages in respect of goods held in foreign jurisdictions.

You can find further information on James’ experience in this and related areas under the ‘Banking & Finance’ tab of his profile.

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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