Robert James

Robert James

Bristol The Paragon Counterslip Bristol BS1 6BX
London 20 St Andrew Street London EC4A 3AG
Mobile 07766445109

Partner - Disputes

Robert is a litigation partner who advises on high-value and complex disputes, predominantly for clients within the agricultural sector. Robert’s practice centres on a wide range of commercial disputes, inheritance disputes and wider real property disputes.

Professional reputation

Robert is consistently ranked as a leading lawyer in his field by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, with the recent Legal 500 2023 recommending him in the fields of Agriculture, Commercial Litigation and Contentious Trusts and Probate respectively.

He has been described in the legal directories and by commentators as “an exceptional operator”, “a top performer in the industry” and “among the very best in country”. In particular, he is noted for “his commercial instinct which makes him a standout”, “his ability to absorb complex information followed by rapid analysis” and for his “extreme level of detail and Rolls-Royce service”. He is particularly noted for expertise in his proprietary estoppel claims.

Commercial disputes

Robert’s commercial disputes practice ranges from claims in relation to breach of commercial agreements including contracts for the sale of goods or supply of services, warranty claims and misrepresentation through to business ownership disputes. In terms of the latter, Robert is regularly instructed in respect of unfair prejudice petitions, pre-emption rights, misconduct issues and claims in relation to partnership dissolution, retirement provisions and associated accounting elements.

In addition, Robert has wide-ranging experience of professional negligence claims against lawyers, surveyors and financial advisors.

Inheritance disputes

Robert is a specialist in this area and is a full member of the ACTAPS, the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

Robert regularly acts and advises in relation to trusts and estates, including claims relating to the construction and validity of wills, issues relating to capacity and undue influence, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 and wider disputes concerning breach of duty and actions to remove trustees and personal representatives.

Real property disputes

Robert deals with all sorts of real property disputes and has a particular interest in proprietary estoppel having been involved in a number of high-profile cases including acting for the successful appellants in the Supreme Court decision in Guest v Guest (2022). The balance of his practice is made up of disputes concerning easements (including public rights of ways), restrictive covenants and co-ownership of land.

Much of Robert’s work is confidential, but a summary of his relevant experience includes:

  • Acting for the appellants in the Supreme Court proprietary estoppel case of Guest v Guest (2021)
  • Acting for the successful claimant son in relation to a £8.5m proprietary estoppel claim in connection with a 650-acre farm near Oxford in the Gee v Gee [2018] case
  • Acting for an outgoing partner during a £6m family farming partnership dispute concerning the extent of partnership property, retirement provisions and its associated accounting
  • Acting for a majority shareholder in an agribusiness company in defending a high value s.994 unfair prejudice petition
  • Acting for a client in connection with claims concerning ownership of land and breach of trust, which involved complex issues of capacity, undue influence and lifetime gifts
  • Advising a large agribusiness on an £8m contractual dispute involving misrepresentation and breach of warranty claims
  • Advising on landmark and multi-million-pound civil proceedings brought by alleged victims of modern slavery, which included aspects of breaches of agricultural wages legislation, gangmasters legislation, contract, personal injury, harassment and human rights
  • Acting for clients in bringing proceedings against a local authority for malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office following a wrongful prosecution for breach of environmental regulations
  • Acting for a client in a £3m professional negligence claim against their former solicitors and QC
  • Advising a leading food supplier in connection with defamation, injunctive relief and associated reputational management issues following false media reports

Accolade 1 Accolade 2 Accolade 3

Clients have described Robert as 'truly professional', 'very able' and 'consistently attentive and supportive'. - Legal 500