James Dawson

Year of Call: 1994
Email Address: james.dawson@3pb.co.uk
Telephone: 01962 868884

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Commercial

James has been a commercial practitioner since qualifying.

Company/Partnership Law and Disputes

James has over 20 years experience of representing companies and businesses of all types and sizes. He has represented sole traders and multi-national companies, shareholders and investors.

Recent cases:

  • Acting for the majority shareholder of a recycling company in a high value unfairly prejudicial conduct claim in the Bristol High Court
  • Acting for a 50% shareholder in a manufacturing company, dismissed as a director and excluded from management.
  • Advising a director of a recruitment company on the ability of the company to bring a derivative action claim
  • Acting for an optician and 50% shareholder in an optometrist business whose shareholding was fraudulently transferred out of his name and into the name of his co-owner.
  • Acting for a 50% shareholder in a dispute relating to a hairdressing business where the relationship between the shareholders was complicated by the fact they were mother and daughter.
  • Acting for the manufacturers of materials under Royal Warrant where one of the directors caused all of the stock and manufacturing equipment to be removed over the course of a weekend to an undisclosed location.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy

James has over 20 years experience of working in insolvency, often acting on behalf of liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy.

Recent cases:

  • Trustee in Bankruptcy of Gordon Robin Claridge v Claridge [2012] 1 FCR 388 : [2011] BPIR 1529
  • Trustee in Bankruptcy of Louise St John Poulton v Ministry of Justice [2011] Ch 1
  • Robert Harry Pick v Chief Land Registrar [2011] EWHC 206 [2012] 3 WLR 3
  • Acting for a local authority in a multi-day trial on the issue of whether a person bankrupted by it had mental capacity and whether the bankruptcy should be annulled, afterwards the judge commented that James’ preparation and advocacy was first-class
  • Advising the liquidators of a company on the liability of directors under the Companies Act who paid dividends to themselves totalling £325,000 at a time when HMRC was questioning the legitimacy of tax avoidance schemes the company had entered into. HMRC ultimately demanded tax payments of £389,000, causing the company to go into insolvent liquidation.
  • Acting for a trustee in bankruptcy in obtaining an Income Payments Order for in excess of £150,000 against a doctor
  • Acting for the trustee in bankruptcy in a multi-day trial before Chief Registrar Baister, resulting in the Registrar describing the bankrupt as possibly the worst witness he had ever seen
  • Acting for the liquidator of a solicitor’s practice who sought to present an expedited petition and serve the same out of the jurisdiction on the solicitor/ director who had made off with hundreds of thousands of pounds of the company’s money.
  • Advising a liquidator on the effect of a settlement agreement reached before the liquidator had become aware of additional payments made by the company to the directors before liquidation.
  • Acting for the liquidator of a company supplying recreational vehicles worth £120,000 on whether the rules of set off would apply.

Professional Negligence

James has over 20 years experience of business and commercial cases including allegations of professional negligence and allegations of breach by directors of their duties.

Recent cases:

  • Advising and representing a house developer in a claim against an architect who, in breach of his duties, failed to properly supervise building works. The case settled for a significant sum at mediation.
  • Representing a former employee in a claim against a solicitor arising out of advice given as to the compromise of a pensions claim
  • Representing a farmer in respect of the negligent conduct of a food nutrionist who caused a herd of high yielding cattle to suffer acidosis and associated complications

Breach of Directors Duties

Recent cases:

  • Acting for a well known trade union whose former General Secretary and Finance Secretary had arranged for over £150,000 of funds to be paid into his pension fund.
  • Acting for a high profile director of a charity who was alleged to have deliberately and wrongfully diverted sums from the charity to his pension fund while bullying his co-directors to prevent them from challenging him.
  • Advising the liquidators of a company on the liability of directors under the Companies Act who paid dividends to themselves totalling £325,000 at a time when HMRC was questioning the legitimacy of tax avoidance schemes the company had entered into. HMRC ultimately demanded tax payments of £389,000 causing the company to go into insolvent liquidation.
  • Acting for a company director being prosecuted for failing to keep proper accounting records
  • Acting for the manufacturers of materials under Royal Warrant where one of the directors caused all of the stock and manufacturing equipment to be removed over the course of a weekend to an undisclosed location
  • Advising an excluded director and minority shareholder on the ability of the company to bring a derivative action claim when other directors had failed to adequately deal with a conflict of interest.

Publications

  • 2nd Sep 2016

    James Dawson considers the decision in Re C. & M.B. Holdings Ltd; Hamilton and another (Joint Trustees in Bankruptcy of Charles Newell Brown) v Brown and another company [2016] EWHC 191 (Ch), where trustees in bankruptcy sought relief in relation to a company in which the bankrupt owned shares.

    View Publication

Recommendations

‘He prepares exceptionally well for his cases and his cross-examination is second to none.’

Legal 500 2016/London - Employment – Leading juniors

'He has a fantastic eye for detail, and first-class commercial and strategic instincts'.

Legal 500 2016/Western Circuit – Leading Individual

'He quickly absorbs and analyses complex information in order to establish the relevant issues." "He has a fantastic analytical mind and prepares exceptionally thoroughly.'

Legal 500 2015/Leading Individual

'Has a nationwide practice, representing both employers and employees with a focus on discrimination and unfair dismissal law. His crossover work in commercial law also contributes to his expertise in restrictive covenants and TUPE work.
Strengths: "He is incredibly bright, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of TUPE and provides a first-class and responsive service."'

Chambers UK 2017
 
'He clearly dedicates much time to the preparation of matters, and knows the papers back to front, so that he can use them to make points very clearly.'

Chambers UK 2016

'He is a clear, technically astute advocate who is very thorough and approachable. His knowledge of law is almost nerdy, and he uses it to such a powerful extent that he is incredibly convincing.'

Chambers UK 2015

 

Judicial Comment 

“I have already paid tribute to the argument of Mr Dawson” - Mr Justice Langstaff: Woods v Somerset County Council.

"We consider he conducted a difficult hearing in an exemplary fashion" - Extract from the judgment of the tribunal in Uche v Oxfordshire County Council.

“Mr Dawson … represented the Claimant with great skill....” - Judge Davies: Hayden v STRI

"[Mr Dawson's] preparation and advocacy ...was first-class" Judge in Budhram v Oxford City Council

Client Tributes 

  • An "excellent choice of barrister" (lay client).
  • "it was very reassuring to be so ably represented" (lay client).
  • "Thanks for giving me Mr Dawson for this job. He excelled and got us a good result" (instructing solicitor).
  • “Most importantly can you please convey our thanks to our barrister James Dawson who represented us so well; it was clearly evident that he had thoroughly prepared for the case. His knowledge of the facts and background information was very impressive and his skills in cross examination [were] excellent. He was very easy to work with and very supportive to those witnesses who were less confident at the prospect of being a witness”. (HR Partner of lay client).
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Academic qualifications

  • LLB Hons

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Fee Paid Employment Judge

Professional bodies

  • Employment Law Bar Association
  • Chancery Bar Association

Direct Access

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

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