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James Kirby

James Kirby is a Chancery barrister specialising in trusts and estates, mental capacity, inheritance claims and private client taxation.

James appears regularly in the High Court, County Court and Court of Protection, and has also been instructed in the Court of Appeal, the Upper Tribunal and First-tier Tribunal. He is equally happy being instructed on his own account or as a junior within a wider team.

James is an editor of Williams on Wills (11th edition, 2021).

Before becoming a barrister, James was a Research Fellow in History at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Commercial Chancery

Recent highlights include:

  • Providing legal research, advice and drafting 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
  • Representing clients in winding up and bankruptcy petitions
  • Assisting in drafting an application notice and skeleton argument for setting aside service of a freezing order out of the jurisdiction
  • Representing a solicitor’s firm at a CCMC in a claim concerning unpaid legal fees


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

Associations & Memberships

  • Member of the Chancery Bar Association
  • Member of the Court of Protection Bar Association
  • Member of ConTrA (Contentious Trusts Association)
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society


Williams on Wills (11th edition, 2021) (with Francis Barlow KC, Susannah Meadway and James MacDougald).

Statutory Wills and Probate Disputes: Contested Wills in the Court of Protection’, Private Client Business, 2022, 3, 104-111 (with Richard Dew).

Tax Planning in the Court of Protection’, Lawskills (Sep. 2018).

James has also published a number of articles in leading historical journals and a book (on Victorian historiography) with Oxford University Press.

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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