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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



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 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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