Leeds 0113 228 5000
Newcastle 0191 221 2121
Called 1993 Email James
James is Head of Chambers after acting as Deputy Head of Chambers. James is also Head of the PLP Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team.
He leads a specialist team of 65 barristers with responsibility for team development, standards and client relations.
James has practiced exclusively in damages and disease litigation for over 25 years and is identified by his peers and the major legal publications as a leading practitioner noted for his client care, negotiation and advocacy skills.
He has substantial experience acting on behalf of Claimants and Defendants in claims of maximum severity, having a particular interest in brain, spinal and psychiatric injuries.
James was appointed a part-time Judge in 2008 (Recorder-civil).
"An excellent trial barrister who is able to present cases clearly and positively to maximise the prospects of a successful outcome." "Calm, thorough and very good in conference."Chambers & Partners 2020
James is routinely engaged in cases of maximum severity and fatal accidents due to trauma and disease.
He provides advice in cases with issues of capacity, complex care & aid packages, rehabilitation planning and with financial complications. Much of his time is spent providing case progression advice about the selection of experts, settlement strategies and helping aid the swift resolution of a case.
James is recommended by clients for his strong advocacy and analytical skills both at trial and at appellate court level.
He is an effective communicator, very experienced negotiator and many of his claims compromise at mediation or settlement meetings.
Psychiatric injury, abuse, harassment & occupational stress
Psychiatric injury and illness is encountered as a direct or secondary consequence of many claims. James is sensitive to the difficulties experienced by many and is especially aware in the interplay between head injury, psychological illness and pain conditions.
James has been involved in many sexual and physical abuse claims involving religious orders, children’s groups, local authorities and claims arising from positions of trust. He appeared it what was thought to be the first claim for damages for rape within marriage attracting national media attention.
James was in the vanguard of the development of the ‘6’ pack health & safety regulations appearing in Home Office v Lowles  EWCA (Civ) 985, Jakto Transport Ltd v Derek Hall  EWCA civ 243 and Taylor v. Wincanton Group Limited  EWCA Civ 348.
There are few workplace accident scenarios he has not contested at trial.
He has particular expertise in mining, construction, falls from height and engineering claims and enjoys cases involving specialist liability expert evidence.
Multiparty litigation, issues of contribution and contractual indemnity are the staples of this work.
James appears at inquests for deaths arising from industrial disease, road traffic, work and medical accidents.
James routinely advises in fatal accident claims; whether arising from road or work place accidents or as a result of occupataional disease.
He has considerable experience formualting claims for loss and advising on issues of dependency. He commonly has to provide swift practical advice when there is a short life expectancy.
James has a strong following in occupation disease litigation. Especially but not limited to asbestos related injury, occupational cancers, WRULD, HAVS & NIHL. Complex causation, actionability of injury and epidemiology are areas of particular interest.
In the past 12 months James has been involved in contested trials including; a sample group HAVS action with 23 Claimants, with Prof. Lutman analysing the 2000 & 2015 Coles guidelines and in a silicosis case with disputed radiological evidence.
Limitation is a staple of James’s occupational disease trial work. James has great experience of this since appeared in Cressy (Brian) v (1) E Timms & Sons Ltd (2) E Timms & Sons Holdings Ltd  EWCA.
Chambers and Partners 2021 - Band 1
"He has excellent client care skills and is very pragmatic in his approach to cases."
Legal 500 2021 - Tier 1
'Has a superb disarming manner and the ability to get straight to the nub of the issues in a case, which immediately puts clients at ease. He is a supreme advocate and negotiator. Briefs are dealt with in a timely manner his advice is invariably first class.’
Chambers and Partners 2020 - Band 1
A well-respected junior and head of the personal injury team at Parklane Plowden. He handles both industrial disease and catastrophic injury claims, and also has a specialist focus on employers' liability. He is particularly well regarded for his expertise in asbestos-related matters. He represents claimants and defendants, both at first instance and on appeal. He is praised for his creative drafting and down-to-earth manner.
Strengths: "An excellent trial barrister who is able to present cases clearly and positively to maximise the prospects of a successful outcome." "Calm, thorough and very good in conference."
Legal 500 2020 - Tier 1
‘ A superb advocate. ’
Chambers & Partners 2019 - Band 1
"Extremely personable, very easy to work with and down-to-earth. He is highly experienced and very impressive." "Very intelligent - he never misses a point and is incredibly thorough."
Legal 500 2018/2019
"He inspires confidence in clients and immediately puts them at ease."
Chambers & Partners 2018 - Band 1
A well-respected junior and head of the personal injury team at Parklane Plowden. He handles both industrial disease and catastrophic injury claims, and also has a specialist focus on employer's liability. He represents claimants and defendants, both at first instance and on appeal. He is praised for his creative drafting and down-to-earth manner.
Strengths: "He gives clients confidence and presents things in a way that the client can understand. He's not put off by paperwork and goes through everything with a fine-tooth comb." "He has a pleasant personality that immediately puts clients at ease. He is extremely thorough and everything you want in an advocate."
Recent work: Represented one of the defendants in a claim for £4 million relating to a rope access accident in which the claimant was rendered partially tetraplegic.
Legal 500 2017
"He has an impressive skill for revealing pertinent facts by shrewd questioning."
Chambers & Partners 2017
A well-respected junior and head of the personal injury team at Parklane Plowden. He is equally capable of handling both industrial disease and catastrophic injury claims, and also has a specilaist focus on employer's liability. He represents claimants and defendants, both at first instance and on appeal.
Strengths: "He's very knowledgeable and robust. He has a very positive approach towards litigation: he always sees the solution and works towards it."
Recent work: Acted in Hall v CPL Ltd, a claim arising out of a sidewall mining accident where liability was disputed.
Legal 500 2016
"He is always in control of a case and has excellent decision- making abilities"
Chambers & Partners 2016
Instructed by national law firms and insurers on personal injury and industrial disease claims. Cases related to mining are a specialism of his. Instructing solicitors value his manner with clients, outstanding advocacy and availability.
Strengths: "He is extremely thorough with a great eye for detail. He takes a pragmatic approach and has good negotiating skills." "He is an affable and ferocious opponent. I was impressed with his cross-examination of experts."
The Legal 500 2015
"He is experienced in a wide range of catastrophic injury cases and asbestos-related matters."
Chambers & Partners 2015
Advises predominantly on personal injury and disease work on behalf of trade unions and insurers nationwide. He is an expert on asbestos injuries, with particular knowledge of mesothelioma.
Expertise: “He is very persuasive and can extract exactly what we want the witness to say in cross-examinations.” “His client care skills are exceptional.”
Recent work: He acted in Russell Moulton v Midlands Co-Op & Others in relation to mesothelioma and issues of breach of duty.
The Legal 500 2014
"His advice and advocacy is of a high quality"
Chambers & Partners 2014
Acts primarily in cases relating to industrial disease and asbestos exposure, and is known for the breadth of his specialist expertise in the field. He also has significant experience with complex catastrophic injury claims.
Expertise: "His court skills are second to none - his ability to think on his feet is quite remarkable. His demeanour with clients is excellent; he's always well prepared and he puts clients at ease."
Recent work: He represented the victim of a building site accident whose leg was amputated after a dumper truck overturned. The case was settled after liability was denied by the construction company.
Legal 500 2013
"James is recommended, and has a strong following among insurers."
Chambers & Partners 2013
'James Murphy has focused his personal injury practice on disease and multiple injury claims. He "is extremely customer-focused," according to those instructing him, who include a number of trade unions and insurers. He acted in the case of Littledyke, a claim regarding a worker whose legs were crushed by an unbanked excavator.'
Legal 500 2012
James Murphy's ‘ability to think on his feet is second to none’
Chambers & Partners 2012
The "outstanding" James Murphy wins the respect of insurance companies and trade unions for his serious injury, amputation and liability work.
Legal 500 2011
"Excellent on his feet".
Chambers & Partners 2011
He is noted for his skilful approach to high-value employers' liability claims, rated as a "particulary intelligent trial advocate." who is "excellent at explaining the position to clients in a language they can understand."
Chambers & Partners 2010
He is the "epitome of the modern silk." "Up on current trends, a real team player and always willing to muck in, he is as far away from the old-style, distant barrister as you can get."
Examples of current caseload- 2020
Home Office v Lowles  EWCA (Civ) 985
Leading authority on regulation 12 (3) Workplace Health Safety and Welfare - Regulations 1992
Cressy (Brian) v (1) E Timms & Sons Ltd (2) E Timms & Sons Holdings Ltd  EWCA Civ 763 Definition of 'identity of the Defendant' pursuant to s.14(1) c of the Limitation Act 1980
Jakto Transport Ltd v Derek Hall  EWCA civ 243
The correct approach to the credibility of a witness. In particular when there is expert engineering evidence.
Taylor v. Wincanton Group Limited  EWCA Civ 348
Consideration of 'suitability' pursuant to reg. 12(1) of the Workplace Regulations.
2008 - Recorder (Civil) sits as a Judge in the County Court
2010 - Accredited Pupil Supervisor & NE Circuit Advocacy Trainer
2012 - Appointed Counsel to the T&N compensation scheme for victims of asbestos exposure
2015- Head of PICN Team
2016- Deputy Head of Chambers
2020 - Head of Chambers
BA (Hons) Political Theory and Institutions, Liverpool University
CPE, University of Huddersfield
Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA)
Association for Victims of Medical Accidents (AVMA)