Michael James

Called 1989


Michael maintains an extensive commercial litigation practice, spanning chancery matters, company law, consumer credit, insolvency, professional negligence, unfair prejudice claims and minority shareholder disputes.

Having previously worked in the City of London in investment banking, Michael has applied his rich business and financial expertise over three decades at the commercial Bar.

Michael carries a formidable reputation as a cross examiner and is lauded by clients and judges alike for his pragmatic and creative approach, driven by the commercial realities of each case.

Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending time tending to his garden and an active sporting life keeping up with his five children.

Michael can speak in both French and Italian.

Areas of Expertise

Michael undertakes all forms of consumer and commercial contract disputes, including the drafting of shareholder agreements, sale agreements and IP licences.

Michael accepts instructions in individual and corporate insolvency matters, including contesting winding up petitions, administration petitions and other insolvency applications.

Michael has become one of the foremost minority shareholder dispute practitioners in the North Eastern circuit.  He successfully acted for the petitioner in Re Watercor Ltd [2017] EWHC 1814, an unfair prejudice claim involving a quasi-partnership company.  It was held that the court may assume that a purchaser would have included a formula taking into account subsequent performance.

Michael has wide ranging experience in consumer credit.

When claims for PPI first arose in the early 2010s, Michael took a role in drafting the early templates for pleadings under s.140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for a local firm of solicitors which arose oput of the then leading case of Harrison v Black Horse [2011] EWCA Civ 1128.

He has since appeared on behalf of defendants in PPI, mortgage mis selling and a wide range of other credit matters.

Michael has a wealth of experience representing claimants in actions against mortgage brokers, surveyors, accountants, solicitors, architects and other professionals in Chancery Division.

In February 2021, Michael was the first counsel able to successfully resist a Defendant’s application to strike out a mortgage mis selling claim in Ross v Attanta [2021] EWHC 503 (Comm).  The application turned on limitation date of knowledge pursuant to s.14A Limitation Act 1980.

Michael represents claimants and defendants in all aspects of landlord and tenant, commercial and residential matters.  His experience in property work includes easements, boundary disputes, restrictive covenants, property related torts and equitable rights and interests.

He is also an experienced counsel in partnership disputes, trusts, the administration of estates and intestacy disputes.

Chancery Bar Association BPC Northeast Forum

Michael regularly provides in-house talks to clients on a variety of legal topics.  He recently gave a series of seminars on professional negligence and has acted as a national moot judge. Michael has also given lectures on advocacy at Newcastle University and ran a course of lectures to law librarians at Westminster University.

LLB (Hons) Law, East London University