James Dawson

Year of Call: 1994
Email Address: james.dawson@3pb.co.uk
Telephone: 01962 868 884

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James’ expertise in discrimination, contract and employment law makes him ideally placed to advise on the issues that arise in the education context; whether between students/ parents and educators, between teachers/ lecturers and their principals or between educational facilities and third parties. He understands the funding arrangements of Academies from central government and the obligations they impose upon providers. He is an expert in the impact on the Equality Act 2010 both in respect of services and facilities. He has been recognised for having “first-class commercial and strategic instincts” which enable him to get to the issue in a case and assist in a speedy satisfactory resolution.

Examples of James’ previous cases include:

Higher and Further Education

  • Representing an Oxford college sued for disability discrimination when a student was excluded from a ball.
  • Advising and representing a university lecturer accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student.
  • Claiming against a University that gave a misleading reference in respect of a former lecturer.
  • Representing a college sued for disability discrimination by a student disciplined for behavioural reasons.
  • Representing an Oxford College in respect of equality issues including whether it should be painting historic steps in contrasting colours for partially sighted persons.
  • Advising and representing a University sued for victimisation.
  • Advising a Professor whose tenure was removed.

Schools and Academies

  • Representing a school sued for religious discrimination by a Muslim pupil referred to the PREVENT counter-terrorism programme.
  • Advising a local authority in respect of a teacher who would not acknowledge the new self-identified gender of a student.
  • Advising an Academy on claims against a former head teacher arising out of the possible misuse of school funds.
  • Representing a fee paying school in a public interest disclosure claim.
  • Reviewing and advising on contracts for Academies and Voluntary Aided schools.
  • Advising an Academy in respect of a teacher who was not able to write for more than 2 minutes.


‘Very intellectual and a quick thinker on his feet.’

Legal 500 2018/19 - Employment – Leading juniors - Western

'He is bright, approachable and client friendly.'

Legal 500 2018/19 - Employment – Leading juniors - London

‘He is very methodical and prepares well.’

Legal 500 2017/Employment – Leading juniors

‘He has a real fighting streak and is superb with witnesses.’

Legal 500 2017/Leading individual

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

Legal 500 2016/Employment – Leading juniors

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

Legal 500 2016/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. He is notable for his significant appellate level practice.'
Strengths: “He is able to draw on a wealth of knowledge and tactical astuteness to offer clear, intelligent advice and representation that is hard to beat.”

Chambers UK 2019

"He's absolutely my number-one barrister: if we have anything that's very complicated or high value he's our go-to man. If we have something that we think will end up in the Supreme Court then we'll use him. He's outstandingly down to earth and seems to have no ego at all – fantastic to work with."
Recent work: Represented a senior surveyor in a high-profile and high-value sex discrimination and unfair dismissal claim against BP.

Chambers UK 2018

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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