Year of Call: 2004
Clerk: James Watson / Lee Fifield
James joined Chambers as a tenant in October 2014 following the successful completion of his pupillage. In October 2022 he was appointed a Deputy District Judge on the Wales Circuit.
In children matters, he is routinely instructed in complex private law cases involving multiple parties, allegations of sexual abuse and domestic violence, intractable contact disputes, international and national relocation, drug and alcohol addiction and mental health. He has considerable experience in Finding of Fact (Re: L) hearings and contested Final Hearings
James has acted in a broad range of public law cases on behalf of Local Authorities, private parties (including parents, grandparents and other family members) and for children by their Guardians. He has a wealth of experience dealing with contested cases involving a wide range of issues, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, severe neglect, domestic violence, substance misuse and the causation of non-accidental injuries to a child. He is mindful of the great number of vulnerable people that find themselves in care proceedings and is adept at working with parents with learning difficulties, intermediaries and cross-examining vulnerable witnesses. James also has experience in public law cases involving the Official Solicitor.
James has developed a practice in matrimonial finance, applications under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and cases concerning financial provision for children under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. James provides advice and represents clients in complex disputes, including cases concerning business interests and pensions
His work has included representing clients before District Judges, Circuit Judges and in the High Court.
Chambers UK 2022 report that James acts for clients in a wide range of children law matters and is noted for his Children Act work. He deals with cases concerning allegations of abuse and injury, which often involve the examination of complex medical evidence. They comment: "He is very approachable and changes his communication style to accommodate the character of the client who he is representing." "He has an ability to put clients at ease in stressful and difficult situations. He is very through in his preparation and comprehension of his brief."
The Legal 500 2021 recommends James as a Leading Junior in Child Law (Public and Private). They comment "An excellent up and coming barrister who is rated very highly particularly in relation to children matters."
Prior to starting pupillage James worked as a Legal Adviser in the Magistrates’ Courts for 9 years. He sat in the Magistrates’ Court, the Youth Court and the Family Proceedings Court.
James was educated at Olchfa Comprehensive School, Swansea before going on to read law at Cardiff University. He then undertook the Bar Vocational Course at Cardiff Law School.