James has experience in all areas of criminal law and primarily undertakes instructions in cases involving fraud, bribery, corruption, and financial crime. He has a reputation as a determined barrister who provides an outstanding service to both his professional and lay clients. His meticulous case preparation, intelligent advocacy and strong interpersonal skills make him a popular choice for solicitors across numerous legal fields.

James regularly accepts instructions in cases involving global financial and regulatory investigations into widespread international bribery and corruption against both corporates and professionals. His in-depth knowledge of financial crime comes from having defended, investigated and prosecuted some of the most complex and challenging allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in recent years. This experience is recognised by his appointment to the SFO Advocate Panel Scheme.

Having acted for all sides in this field, James is able to provide insightful advice in relation to every stage of an investigation into both corporates and individuals alike, including:

  • The initial stages of an investigation, including intelligence gathering and pre-charge strategy
  • Mutual Legal Assistance requests, European Investigation Orders, and law enforcement in other jurisdictions
  • s2 notices, search warrants, and grounds of arrest
  • Voluntary, s2 and PACE interviews
  • Deferred Prosecution Agreements
  • SOCPA agreements
  • Disclosure – including ‘big data’ cases involving millions of items of material
  • The strengths & weaknesses of a case, the admissibility of evidence, judicial review, and abuse of process arguments
  • Jurisdiction
  • LPP and PII
  • Advising on charge
  • Extradition
  • Trial strategy

In addition to business crime, James has dealt with a range of serious and complex cases concerning allegations of violence, dishonesty, drugs and sexual offences. He also has experience in cases brought by the CPS in fraud related matters, including cash forfeiture and confiscation proceedings.


BA (Hons) Ancient History, Newcastle University
Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP Law School
Bar Vocational Course, Northumbria University

Further Professional Information

Appointed to the SFO Advocate Panel Scheme (Band B)
Middle Temple JJ Powell Middle Temple Scholarship


James is a keen sportsman with rugby, football (an ever-hopeful Sunderland fan) and cycling being his personal favourites. James has also represented both professional and semi-professional Rugby Union sides since the age of 18.

Practice Areas



James is currently instructed as Junior Counsel for the SFO in a fraud in which the SFO is investigating and prosecuting individuals accused of defrauding major banks for over £100m.

James is currently instructed as independent LPP counsel in an ongoing SFO fraud investigation.

James was instructed in an advisory capacity for a director at an established UK business, who is no longer a party of interest following representations made by those instructing. The SFO investigation is ongoing.

SFO v Alstom Network UK and others
Instructed as Junior Counsel on behalf of Terence Watson (formerly Alstom’s country president for the UK and managing director of Alstom Transport UK & Ireland) in Phase 3 of the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into the French transport company Alstom. The trial in Phase 3 related to allegations of corruption in a Budapest Metro rolling stock contract in Hungary. Mr Watson was acquitted at trial.

James was instructed as counsel for the SFO in an investigation into a former FTSE 100 multinational natural resources company. The investigation is focused on allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption around the acquisition of substantial mineral assets.

SFO v Rolls Royce PLC and others
James was instructed as junior counsel as part of the SFO’s counsel team in its investigation into Rolls Royce Plc. The Rolls Royce investigation is one of the highest profile bribery and corruption cases ever to be prosecuted in the UK and resulted in a record fine for a corporate body.

SFO v GlaxoSmithKline & Others
James was instructed as Junior Counsel in the SFO’s investigation into the commercial practices of GlaxoSmithKline PLC and its subsidiaries. The SFO was investigating both corporate and individual offending across multiple jurisdictions.


Voluntary Work
James has also worked as a volunteer for the Free Representation Unit and various Legal Advice Centres, giving advice on a pro-bono basis in relation to wide ranging issues.