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James Kirby

James Kirby joined Ten Old Square in October 2018 following the successful completion of his pupillage in Chambers.

James is a Chancery barrister who has experience across many of Chambers’ core specialities including Private Client; Property; Court of Protection; Capital Taxes; Partnerships & LLPs; and Charities. He appears regularly in both the High Court, the County Court and the First-Tier Tribunals.

Prior to becoming a barrister James was a Research Fellow in History at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the author of a number of articles in leading historical journals, as well as a monograph published by Oxford University Press.


Practice Areas

Private Client: Contentious

James’ experience includes:

  • Appearing in a Part 8 directions hearing in the High Court regarding the removal of executors in a £multi-million estate
  • Appearing successfully to strike out a TOLATA claim over the family home as an abuse of process
  • Appearing successfully in a claim for a division of chattels under s.188 of the Law of Property Act 1925
  • Drafting a settlement agreement in a 1975 Act dispute involving insolvency and survivorship issues
  • Settling witness evidence in 1975 Act proceedings
  • Attending mediation and drafting mediation position statement in a claim for family provision under the Inheritance Act 1975
  • Drafting a Part 8 Claim Form and witness statement in an application by executors for directions in the administration of an estate
  • Assisting in the preparation for trial (including skeleton argument and cross-examination notes) of a claim for undue influence regarding a will and the lifetime transfer of the family home
  • Drafting a letter before claim regarding breach of fiduciary duty by executors and trustees

Private Client: Non-Contentious

James’ regularly advises on matters concerning trusts and estates, Particular experience includes:

  • Advising an executor on conflict of laws issues relating to foreign assets
  • Advising trustees on terminable life interests in residential property (including tax consequences)
  • Drafting deeds of variation
  • Drafting a deed of appointment for an offshore trust
  • Drafting advice on a proposed application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 and related inheritance tax issues
  • Drafting advice on rectification of a trust instrument in a family settlement


James appears regularly in the County Court in landlord and tenant disputes. Other experience includes:

  • Appearing in a two-day interim application in a high-value mortgage possession claim in the High Court (led by Jonathan Gavaghan)
  • Appearing successfully to strike out a TOLATA claim as an abuse of process
  • Applying successfully for land to be vested in a residents’ management company under the Insolvency Act 1986
  • Appearing at final hearing of Part 8 Claim for an order for sale
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a dispute concerning breach of trust by the vendor of a property
  • Advising on a proposed application for an order for sale under TOLATA
  • Successfully opposing a tenant’s application for an injunction against a landlord
  • Representing a mortgagor’s tenant in mortgage possession proceedings
  • Appearing in the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property)

Court of Protection

James’ is a founding member of the Court of Protection Bar Association. Particular experience includes:

  • Advising on the effect of loss of capacity on a “right to reside” in trust property
  • Drafting a Position Statement for the Official Solicitor in a dispute concerning unauthorised gifts by an LPA attorney
  • Drafting advice regarding professional negligence and the creation and abuse of Lasting Powers of Attorney

Capital Taxes

James has appeared as a junior barrister for HMRC in the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) in a substantial test case concerning high-value income tax avoidance schemes. He also has experience of drafting statements of case and other documents for HMRC.

James’ experience relating to capital taxes includes:

  • Advising executors on deductibility of liabilities for IHT purposes
  • Drafting a deed of variation of a will including IHT and CGT elections
  • Drafting advice on a proposed application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 to mitigate liability for IHT on an intestate estate
  • Assisting Georgia Bedworth in a case involving CGT, corporate insolvency and cross-border issue



James has extensive experience of partnership and LLP matters. During his pupillage he sat with renowned partnership practitioners Jeremy Callman and Jonathan Gavaghan.

Particular experience includes:

  • Appearing in the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) in a four-day hearing concerning corporate partner tax avoidance schemes
  • Drafting a letter before claim in a partner exit dispute in a major professional services firm
  • Drafting advice concerning partnership property
  • Drafting written submissions for arbitration in a partnership dispute

Commercial Chancery

James’ experience includes:

  • Providing legal research and advice to a major financial institution on specialist trust and insolvency issues
  • Applying successfully for a vesting order under section 181 of the Insolvency Act 1986
  • Appearing regularly in the Winding Up Court and before Insolvency & Company Court Judges in chambers
  • Drafting an application notice and skeleton argument for setting aside service of a freezing order out of the jurisdiction


James’ experience includes:

  • Advising on the inheritance tax implications of a gift to a community benefit society
  • Advising on testamentary charitable gifts and CIO status


  • Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding), City Law School (2017)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction; Equity & Trusts Prize), City Law School (2016)
  • Princess Royal Scholarships, Inner Temple (BPTC and GDL)
  • DPhil in History, Balliol College, Oxford (2014)
  • MSt in History (Distinction), Balliol College, Oxford (2011)
  • BA in History (First Class – highest of year), Balliol College, Oxford (2010)

Associations & Memberships

  • Member of the Chancery Bar Association
  • Founding member of the Court of Protection Bar Association

For more information and advice

Call: +44 (0)20 7405 0758


James Kirby is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is regulated by the Bar Standards Board [Bar Council Ref 69244]. He is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/079] 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 304589790.

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