James Davies

Year of Call: 2004
Email Address: james.davies@3pb.co.uk
Telephone: 01865 793 736

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Commercial

James has a commercial practice covering a range of areas with a particular emphasis on insolvency and bankruptcy, appearing for petitioners, debtors and officeholders.

James is the co-author of “Partnership Disputes” by Sweet & Maxwell. He advises directors and shareholders on a broad range of disputes including: unlawful dividends, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of shareholders’ agreements and unfair prejudice petitions.

His experience extends to factoring agreements, guarantees, the Commercial Agent Regulations,  franchising and high value sales of goods disputes.

Insolvency

James came to the Bar from a financial background having previously qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He has extensive experience of both corporate insolvency and bankruptcy, acting for debtors and officeholders and is a member of R3. He is able to use his accountancy skills in complex financial transaction cases, including breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, preferences and transactions at an undervalue.

He has particular experience of capacity issues arising in the course of insolvency. He appears regularly in the County Court, the Bankruptcy Court and the Companies Court. He has also appeared in the High Court on insolvency appeals.

Recent work has included:

  • Appearing for the liquidator on an application for a Berkley Applegate order to distribute client account monies where there had been a substantial shortfall on the client account
  • Appearing for the successful petitioner on contested winding-up petitions in the High Court
  • Appearing for the debtor in the determination of a trustee’s remuneration prior to an annulment application
  • Representing a bankrupt at a Section 366 examination
  • Representing a trustee in bankruptcy on appeal to the High Court on the meaning of 'needs' of the bankrupt in Section 335A of the Insolvency Act along with whether the court was entitled to consider the circumstances of the making of the original bankruptcy order on an application for an order for sale. The trustee’s appeal succeeded and the case is reported under Everitt v Budhram [2010] Ch 170
  • Advising a liquidator in a claim against the former director of a company wound up on public interest grounds for running a film financing scheme
  • Advising the liquidator on an application to restore the company in order to allow a mis-selling claim to be pursued resulting in a distribution to creditors.

Professional Negligence

James’s professional negligence practice encompasses a number of specialised areas including claims against solicitors, accountants, tax advisers, architects and surveyors. James is able to draw on his previous experience as a Chartered Accountant in financially complex cases. James also has experience of claims relating to misuse of funds, including client account monies, by professionals.

The types of disputes James has acted in include:

  • A claim against accountants for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of tax mitigation scheme which caused a substantial loss to James’s client
  • A claim against a professional executor arising out of the negligent distribution of an estate
  • Claims against solicitors in particular arising out of conveyancing and the conduct of litigation (including failure to advise adequately on funding and costs)
  • A claim against a surveyor for signing off the final certificate on major works without adequate inspection
  • A claim against a firm of accountants, and the accountant personally, for breach of fiduciary duty in relation to client account monies
  • Seeking a freezing injunction against an accountant who had made unauthorised withdrawals from a client’s bank account.

Other recent work includes:

  • Representing at trial in the High Court the seller in a breach of warranty/ fraudulent misrepresentation claim arising out of a share purchase agreement
  • Appearing for a franchisor at trial on the termination of a franchise agreement, including an injunction for enforcement of restrictive covenants
  • Acting throughout in a dispute concerning a shareholder agreement including representing at a four day trial at Central London County Court before His Honour Judge Dight
  • Acting for a building contractor on a Part 20 claim against a major builders’ merchants for the supply of defective wood. The case also raised a procedural point arising out of an error in not joining the Part 20 defendant correctly. James succeeded at trial and successfully defended the judgment on appeal to the High Court
  • Represented a household name waste disposal contractor in a trial concerning bribery of weighbridge operators including the use of covert surveillance footage and forensic  reconstruction of deleted records
  • Acting for a founder director/ shareholder in a West End consultancy in a minority shareholder dispute involving exclusion from management on a spurious basis. James acted from initial letter of claim through to a highly successful mediation
  • Representing at mediation an international supply company in a claim against directors where large quantities of stock had disappeared following a liquidation.

Recent cases:

Segar v Scott-Rees & Co. [2006] CL 2759
Representing the Respondent firm in an appeal considering solicitor's liens in the course of active litigation where the client is unrepresented.

Everitt v Budhram [2010] Ch 170
Representing the Respondent – appeal considered the meaning of 'needs' of the bankrupt in Section 335A of the Insolvency Act along with whether the court was entitled to consider the circumstances of the making of the original bankruptcy order on an application for an order for sale.

Mastermailer v Sandison & others LTL 21/4/2011
Representing the Appellant on an appeal to the High Court Judge against the Master’s decision to order security for costs in a complex case involving serious allegations against the former directors of a public company. Consideration of the extent to which on a security for costs application the Court must assume the claim will fail. Cited in the White Book.

Howden Joinery Ltd v Brain [2015] 3999 (QB)
Representing the Respondent, as he had at trial, where James had persuaded a Recorder to cure a defect in failing to join a Part 20 Defendant by joining them under CPR 19.2. James secured the dismissal of the appeal.

Publications

  • 6th Dec 2018

    Permission to Challenge a Trustee in Bankruptcy’s Remuneration

    James Davies analyses the case of Singh v Hicken [2018] EWHC 3277 (Ch); an appeal against the decision of a County Court judge refusing permission to Mr Singh, a discharged bankrupt, to challenge his trustee’s remuneration. Under Insolvency Rule 2016 18.35 the permission of the court is required before a bankrupt can make such a challenge.

    James Davies represented Mr. Hicken both at first instance, where permission was refused, and on appeal to the High Court where the appeal was dismissed.

    View Publication
  • 13th Mar 2018

    Commercial update: Unlawful distributions to directors, and limitation

    In order for limitation in a claim against a director to be extended under section 21, does he need to have direct control of assets taken from the company? James Davies considers the impact of the Supreme Court’s most recent analysis (Burnden Holdings (UK) Limited v. Fielding [2018] UKSC 14).

    View Publication

Recommendations

Leading junior who receives praise for his expertise in commercial disputes and property matters. He is noted for his expertise in cases concerning guarantees, partnerships and franchises. He is also frequently instructed in both corporate insolvency and individual bankruptcy cases. He regularly appears in the Bankruptcy Court, High Court and the County Courts.
"James gives very down-to-earth practical advice and is very approachable – you can always pick up the phone and run things past him." "The judges tend to like him a lot because he's very good at explaining the key issues and honing in on the areas that are particularly relevant to a claim."
Recent work: Appeared in Evans v Carter and Carter, acting for the trustee in bankruptcy in an application for an order of sale which raised complex unjust enrichment issues.

Chambers UK 2019/Commercial Dispute Resolution

Strengths: "He has very broad expertise and a huge amount of knowledge. The clients like him." "His knowledge of the relevant case law is second to none."

Chambers UK 2018/Commercial Dispute Resolution

'Renowned for his commercial dispute and property work. His areas of expertise include guarantees, partnerships and franchises. He also has a dedicated insolvency practice focusing on corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy.
Strengths: "He is very meticulous in his advice and good at identifying key issues quickly. He's a wonderful technical advocate who has an excellent client manner, he puts people at ease and explains things very clearly." "He has a very patient, calm manner in cross-examination, and he's very methodical." '

Chambers UK 2017/Commercial Dispute Resolution

'Frequently advises and appears in a wide range of commercial and property matters. He has particular expertise in issues relating to guarantees, partnerships and franchises.'

Chambers UK 2016/Commercial Dispute Resolution

'Highly sought after for all kind of business disputes. He has particular expertise in relation to franchises, partnerships and guarantees.
Expertise: "He's brilliant on detail. He's particularly good where there's a debate over figures or where there's issues over deals involving complex transactions." "He is thorough, well prepared, accessible and always successful!"'

Chambers UK 2015/Commercial Dispute Resolution

'Intrepid and imaginative' and 'very client-friendly'.

Legal 500 2018/19/Commercial - Tier 1

‘Fearless and clever.’

Legal 500 2017/Commercial, banking, insolvency and chancery law – Leading juniors.

'Excellent to work with, he is methodical and thorough in high-value commercial disputes.'

Legal 500 2016/Commercial, banking, insolvency and chancery law – Leading juniors.

'He is quick to provide current, practical and commercially astute solutions to clients'

Legal 500 2015/Commercial, banking and insolvency – Leading juniors.

‘recommended for commercial disputes and insolvency matters’.

Legal 500 2013/14/Commercial and Chancery.

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Academic qualifications

  • BA (Oxon)
  • BCL (Oxon) (Distinction)

Scholarships

  • Lord Denning Scholar (Lincolns Inn 2003)

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Fellow Chartered Accountant
  • Member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals
  • ADR Group Mediator

Professional bodies

  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association (PNBA)
  • R3

Direct Access

James Davies is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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