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James E. Petts

James Petts’s practice is in the fields of Chancery and commercial, with a particular focus on contentious matters involving especial forensic rigour, either in terms of the law or facts, including claims involving an element of fraud or where there are serious disputes of primary fact (e.g. relating to undue influence or disputed oral agreements).

James’s interest in claims involving a significant element of fraud or dishonesty come from the first three years of his practice at the Bar in which he practised in criminal law, before going on to develop a successful Chancery and commercial practice. James is the (civil) education secretary to the Fraud Lawyers’ Association and contributes to Westlaw Topics on fraud related subjects.

Partnerships & LLPs

James’s practice includes contentious cases relating to partnerships, their formation and dissolution.

Recent cases

  • Acting for the claimants in a professional negligence claim against a major firm of solicitors arising out of a settlement of a significant partnership and company dispute regarding a family business of property rentals and care homes at a mediation, which settlement resulted in several further years of litigation.

Reported cases

  • Khan v. Nationwide Solicitors [2014] EWHC 841 (QB) – acting for the successful respondent in an appeal against the striking out of a claim on the basis of a partnership agreement in circumstances where James successfully argued that the partnership agreement was not binding until it had been signed by all of the four intended partners, having been signed by only three, and in circumstances where there was no evidence of the non-signing intending partner having done anything by way of acting on the basis of the agreement (even though the other three arguably had).


  • LL. B. (hons. – first class) University of Reading
  • B. C. L., St. Hugh’s College, Oxford


  • Bar Standards Board Independent Decision-making Body
  • Civil education secretary, Fraud Lawyers’ Association
  • Advocacy trainer, Middle Temple

Associations & Memberships

  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Fraud Lawyers’ Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Advocate
  • Middle Temple


  • Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents – vol. 3(1) auctioneers, estate agents and valuers – co-contributor, 2018 and 2022 reissues
  • Westlaw Topics – sole contributor to:
    • deceit and fraudulent misrepresentation;
    • dishonest assistance; and
    • knowing receipt
  • The substance of the rule of law – International Bar Association Journal, September 2019
  • Licences, death, wills and trespass [2023] P. C. B. 169

For more information and advice

Call: +44 (0)20 7405 0758


Pricing Policy

Unless otherwise agreed my Clerk will calculate my fees based on my current hourly rate. My rates are reviewed annually and details can be obtained from my Clerk. Once a rate is set for any particular case the hourly rate will only ever be adjusted with express agreement between my Clerks and those instructing me. All fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate where applicable.

James E. Petts is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is regulated by the Bar Standards Board [Bar Council Ref 44149]. He is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/084] to provide legal services, please refer to the BMIF website for full details of the world-wide cover provided. He is registered for VAT under the reference 661114567.

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