James is recognised as a Band 1 Leading Junior in Employment Law on the Western Circuit by the Legal 500. He has been described as “highly experienced in dismissal and discrimination matters” (Legal 500 2019), “very thorough and an excellent advocate” (Legal 500 2020) and “highly skilled in technical legal issues and is confident and convincing. Clients are often impressed by his performance at Tribunal” (Chambers and Partners 2020).
He has a successful nationwide employment practice, instructed on behalf of both Claimants and Respondents across England and Wales and routinely in week long or multi-week hearings. He is often involved in cases concerning large public or professional bodies, such as the NHS, Police Forces, Solicitors Firms or Charities.
Solicitors are delighted with his down to earth yet no nonsense approach to litigation, and his ability to give realistic and pragmatic advice to his clients with regards to prospects of success and settlement. James works alongside Solicitors from giving initial advice on merits, through to drafting the ET1 or ET3, representation at CMDs and PHRs and ultimately at Tribunal and EAT. He also has significant experience of reaching successful outcomes at Judicial Mediation.
Whilst accepting instructions in all areas of employment law, due to his prior experience in the Crown Court, James is frequently called upon to deal with cases of whistleblowing or discrimination, or where there is an issue of dishonestly, owing to his thorough, thoughtful and robust advocacy style.
He has a particular interest in the enforceability of restrictive covenants in employment contracts, and is regularly instructed to appear in County and High Court to seek injunctive relief on behalf of employers.
James often lectures on updates in employment law. He has previously delivered well received seminars on restrictive covenants and an update on whistleblowing dismissal and detriments in light of Jhuti v Royal Mail. He is currently providing training on maternity discrimination in the workplace.
James is able to accept direct access instructions and is a pupillage supervisor as well as Chambers’ Head of Pupillage.
Pulman v Merthyr Tydfil College Ltd UKEAT/0309/16/JOJ – application of section 19 Equality Act 2010, relationship between sections 15 and 20 Equality Act and Burns/Barke principal.
Twenty Four Seven Recruitment Services Ltd and Others v Afonso and 190 Others  IRLR 4 – definitions of Regulation 10(1)(a)(i) and (iii) of the Agency Worker Regulations 2010
Harrison v Aryma Limited UKEAT/0085/19/2708 – approach that the ET should adopt when issues concerning section 111A(3) and (4) ERA 1996 are raised.
Recent Instructions include:
Re: TM. James is currently instructed by the Claimant, a PCSO, in a claim of race and disability discrimination brought against the Metropolitan Police. Judgment reserved after six days of evidence.
Re: CC. Representing the Respondent in a sexual harassment claim concerning allegations of sexual assault by a male employee after a work night out.
Re: PD. Defending a Respondent, a Solicitors Firm, in a claim for constructive unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination brought by a former Equity Partner.
Re: CS. James was instructed on behalf of an Academy Trust in proceedings brought by a former member of teaching staff for religious discrimination and harassment.
Re: LB. James successfully argued at trial that the Claimant had been constructively dismissed owing to the mis-application of the Respondent’s contractual discretion applying Wednesdbury principles.
Re: NG. James was instructed to represent the Office of a Member of the European Parliament to defend allegations of disability discrimination. The claim was dismissed.
Re: BC – James represented a Respondent College in the East Midlands for a 14 day hearing concerning 36 allegations of public disclosure detriments and direct race discrimination. All elements of the claim were dismissed.
Re: BF – Successfully defended a Housing Charity against 42 allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation, as well as constructive dismissal. The Tribunal accepted James’ forceful submission that elements of the claim were “a logical and legal nonsense”.
Re: K – Represented the Claimant in a multi-facted discrimination claim with the central issue being an allegedly forged contract over nine days of evidence. James sought (and was granted) the unusual step of an order for disclosure by physical inspection at the Respondent’s premises after large disclosure issues arose.
Re: LG – Represented the Claimant in a five day whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claim against an NHS Trust with linked HCPC proceedings.
Re G – Represented the First Claimant in a six day case concerning whistleblowing after the Claimant raised concerns about abusive practices and care of a vulnerable adult. In a reserved Judgement the Tribunal found that James’ client had been the victim of a “calculated campaign” by the Respondent after she blew the whistle. At the remedies hearing James successfully argued for a maximum Vento award, resulting in £52,000 in compensation and an additional £10,000 in costs.