James Barnard

Called: 1993

Inn: MiddleTemple


Qualified for Direct Access 


Email: clerks@1ec.co.uk







James is an experienced commercial junior.  He was formerly a banker with a leading Japanese investment bank having overall responsibility for Italy. He practises in commercial and chancery litigation, including banking and guarantees, contractual disputes, professional negligence, fraud & asset tracing, and insolvency.

James has a wide experience of commercial disputes, both of an advocacy and advisory nature. He has excellent knowledge of procedural matters, and his expertise includes regular appearances at interim hearings including applications for interim remedies (such as freezing injunctions, search orders and security for costs), strike out/summary judgment applications, and disclosure applications.  Thanks to his linguistic abilities he acts in European cross-border disputes. He has a reputation for being a formidable cross-examiner and trial advocate.


Areas of expertise include:


Commercial litigation

Banking and Finance

Professional Negligence


Practice Areas


Commercial Litigation


James has a wide experience of commercial disputes (both of an advocacy and an advisory nature) which represents the core of his practice. Areas of law regularly undertaken by him include: contractual disputes; deceit, dishonest assistance, conspiracy to defraud and breach of fiduciary duty; factoring and invoice discounting; sale of goods and warranty claims.


Some of his recent experience includes:


EC English Holdings Ltd v Cambridge Education Group Ltd (2017)

James acted on behalf of the Claimant in relation to an application for an injunction to restrain the Defendant from breaching confidentiality provisions in a business sale agreement.


Symantec Ltd v ITway S.p.A. (2016) Comm

James acted for the Defendant in relation to a claim for monies due following the termination of a Distribution Agreement by the Claimant.  The case involved an application to challenge jurisdiction and an allegation that the Distribution Agreement was in essence an agency agreement, thereby entitling the Defendant to compensation in on termination in its capacity as commercial agent.


Gorse Erwin Ltd v Angel Solicitors (2016) QB

James acted for the applicant in relation to an application for permission to enforce against an alleged partner a judgment which had been obtained against a firm of solicitors.  The case involved issues surrounding whether the individual was an actual partner, or was held out as a partner, when the cause of action against the firm accrued.


Age Concern v Briers (2016) Ch  

James acted on behalf of the defendant to set aside a freezing injuction which had been made against the wife of a former employee who it was alleged had defrauded a charity of significant assets.  The case involved the consideration of issues relating to knowing receipt and the beneficial ownership of assets.


Al-Kharafi Aviation 2000 Ltd v Liza Transport Ltd (2016) QB

James acted for the Claimant in an application to recover a US$3 million deposit paid by the Defendant held by an escrow agent pursuant to an Aircraft Sale and Purchase Agreement.


GPUK LLP v MAC Professional Haircare Ltd (2016)

James acted for the Defendant in relation to a claim pursuant to a Merchant Services Card Processing Agreement for monies which had allegedly been paid out pursuant to fraudulent transactions.


Crane Legal Ltd v Amin (2015) Ch

James acted for the Defendants in relation to a claim which had been brought against them  to recover monies secured by an equitable charge.  The case included issues relating to the construction of the charge, whether it should be rescinded because it had been signed as a result of misrepresentations and independent legal advice had not been obtained.


Trant Engineering Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland plc (2015), TCC

James defended an unjust enrichment claim brought against a Bank by a construction company which provided building services to a commercial customer of the Bank. The case raised the interesting question of whether the construction company could leapfrog the client and sue the Bank in unjust enrichment, so as to turn the Bank into the de facto guarantor of the performance of the client’s obligations.




Banking & Finance


James is regularly instructed on behalf of major UK clearing banks and other major finance houses. Typical disputes relate to enforcement of different types of personal and corporate loan agreements, enforceability of guarantees, charges, validity of mandates and other banking related matters. He also carries out work relating to the regulation and provision of financial services, including cases related to speculation in derivative products, such as futures, options and contracts for differences, requiring extensive knowledge of financial markets and the way they operate.

James has repeatedly been recommended by Legal 500 in this field.

Some of his recent experience includes:

Bonnington Plastics v Ebury Partners UK Ltd (2017) QB

James is instructed on behalf of the Claimant against a financial services company which closed out various profitable forward foreign currency exchange positions and is now refusing to remit the proceeds of sale on regulatory grounds.


HSBC Private Bank (UK) Ltd v Stone (2016)

James acted for the Bank in relation to recover sums against a wife who had been granted a joint loan facility with her husband.  The case involved consideration of whether she had genuinely entered into a joint loan or whether she had in effect acting as surety of her husband’s debts as a result of his undue influence.


National Westminster Bank plc v Max De Kment (2016) QB

James acted for the Bank on an application by the Defendant to set aside a default judgment in the region of £7 million.  The Defendant alleged that he had a counterclaim because the Bank had allegedly negligently failed to conduct a Financial Conduct Authority Review into the sale of Interest Rate Hedging Products in accordance with the principles which had been laid down.


Ecobank v Reltex Supplies UK Limited (2016) Comm

James acted for the Defendant in relation to a claim to enforce a judgment obtained in Kenya pursuant to a guarantee and indemnity to support the borrowings of its Kenyan subsidiary.


Heffernan v The Cooperative Bank (2016)

James acted for the Claimant in relation to a claim to retain monies which had mistakenly been credited to her account pursuant to a cancelled cheque.  The case involved consideration ‘certainty of fate provisions’ introduced by the Office of Fair Trading in relation to cheque clearing procedures and whether the bank was estopped from reclaiming the monies.


National Westminster Bank plc v Ryan (2016)

James acted for the Bank which had made loans to a property developer of in excess of £5 million.  The claim related to the question of the enforceability of a no set off clause in the underlying loan agreements and a contract of guarantee.


Mallaghan Engineering Ltd v HSBC Bank plc (2016)

James acted for the Claimant in relation to a claim to recover monies which had been paid out by a Bank pursuant  a SWIFT payment order to an insolvent beneficiary bank in Cyprus after the claimant had given instructions to cancel the transaction.


Property 118 Ltd v Bank of Ireland (UK) plc (2015)

James acted on behalf of a large group of Buy To Let Landlords in a dispute with the Bank regarding their decision to increase the tracker differential on their base rate tracker mortgages.





James has a wide experience in personal insolvency and in company liquidations both as an advocate and in the provision of advice including:

statutory demands

winding-up petitions and bankruptcy petitions

matters arising during the course of a winding-up including examinations

preference, transactions at an undervalue

restrictions on the re-use of company names and the like


Some of his recent experience includes:


Salem Automech v Meadowbank VAC Alloys Ltd (2016)

Acted for the Applicant on an application to substitute a petitioning creditor in order to wind up the Respondent. 


Karan v Wanstead Sports Club LLP & others (2015) Ch

James acted for the Petitioner on an application to put a Limited Liability Partnership (the “LLP”) into members voluntary liquidation, alternatively that the LLP be wound up, alternatively for an order for sale of the members’ interest in the LLP.


Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited v Noel Burke (2015)

Acted for the Debtor, an individual subject to an IVA on an application to set aside the IVA pursuant to s.262 of the Insolvency Act 1986 on the grounds that there was an irregularity at or in relation to the Creditors’ meeting when the IVA was approved.


Monarch Properties (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) v Hampshire Trust plc (2015) Ch

James acted for the Defendant Bank, against an application by a liquidator who sought to allege that a legal charge was void pursuant to the Insolvency Act 1986 Section 127. The case revolved around the interesting questions of whether the liquidator was estopped from advancing a restitutionary claim for the sale proceeds of the charged property because he had acquiesced to the sale and whether estoppel could be relied upon as a defence to a statutory provision designed to protect the public interest.


Professional Negligence


James deals in a wide range of professional negligence claims and has particular experience in relation to solicitors (including where allegations of fraud are involved), financial practitioners, surveyors and valuers. He has acted in many cases, representing both the claimant and the professional.

He has been repeatedly recommended in the Legal 500 in this field.


Some of his recent experience includes:


Taylor v HSBC Bank plc (2016)

James acted for the Bank in a claim which had been brought by a borrower in relation to the negligence claim arising out of the sale of an insurance policy to cover borrowings in the event of diagnosis with a critical illness or his premature death.


Insight Group Ltd v Jirehouse Capital (2014) QB

James was instructed by Insight Group Limited in respect of a claim against its solicitors for negligent conduct of a professional negligence claim against Kingston Smith LLP a firm of chartered accountants. Jirehouse had mistakenly brought the claim against the Limited Liability Partnership (the “LLP”) instead of the former partnership (the “Firm”). The error was not noticed until after the limitation period for starting a new action against the Firm had expired.


Juliet Weems v A Firm (2014)

James in a claim against a firm of solicitors which had held itself out to Clydesdale Bank plc as having given the Claimant independent legal advice for the purposes of a bank guarantee and a legal charge. The Claimant consistently denied that she had ever attended the solicitors. James also relied on Section 199(1) (ii) (b) of the Law of Property Act 1925 in support of the contention that the solicitor’s knowledge of its own failures should be attributed to Clydesdale Bank, thereby relieving her of any liability to the Bank.



Inns of Court School of Law, BVC (1992-1993)

Queen Mother’s Scholar.  Merit


City University, Graduate Diploma in Law (1991-1992) Commendation


Bristol University (1983 – 1986)

Notable Cases


Dexia Crediop SpA v Provincia Di Crotone (Comm) (2013-2015)

Retained by the defendant, an Italian municipal authority in ISDA related proceedings concerning interest rate swap transactions entered into to restructure borrowing of £21 million. Crotone argued that Dexia made illicit profits from hidden costs embedded in the swaps and that the swaps are void or voidable due to breaches of Italian law, lack of capacity and fraudulent representations.


Listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 commercial cases of 2015.


“Conscientious, diligent and pugnacious.” (Legal 500)


“Very personable and good at getting to the bottom of difficult cases.”  (Legal 500)


“Under a charming exterior lies hard steel”  (Legal 500)


“He is very easy to work with and, and good at tackling tough cases and handling difficult clients.” (Legal 500)



Chancery Bar Association

British Italian Law Association

Commercial Bar Association

London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association

Skills & Interest


Art, Opera, Ballet, Theatre, Heritage, Literature, Cooking, Cricket


Languages:  Fluent Italian, Good French

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2010 - present

2010 - present