Skip to content

James MacDougald

"He gets very involved in cases and fights tenaciously for the client."
(Chambers UK 2019)

James MacDougald has a general Chancery practice including litigation, advice and drafting in all of Chambers’ core disciplines. He has particular experience of private client work and advises regularly on wills, trust and estate administration, capital taxation, Court of Protection matters, contentious trust and inheritance disputes and family provision claims.

As a litigator, James appears in trust and estate disputes both as sole counsel and as part of a team. He also undertakes property, insolvency and general commercial litigation in the High Court and the County Court. While the majority of his cases are litigated in the English courts, he has also recently been instructed in trust disputes in Jersey, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

Before coming to the Bar, James worked as an assistant editor at the Daily Telegraph.


Practice Areas

Private Client: Contentious

James has a busy contentious practice in trust and estate litigation.

Reported Cases:

  • Barker v Confiance Ltd [2019] EWHC 1401 (Ch): non-party costs order
  • Twin Benefits v Barker [2017] EWHC 1882 (Ch): variation of costs order
  • Twin Benefits v Barker [2017] EWHC 538 (Ch): non-party disclosure
  • Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing [2017] EWCA Civ 74: Data Protection Act and trusts.
  • Shergill & Ors v Khaira & Ors [2017] EWHC 769 (Ch): Dispute over trusteeship of Sikh temple
  • Bathurst & Anor v Bathurst & Ors (Rev 1) [2016] EWHC 3033 (Ch): Variation of trusts application
  • The Longleat litigation [2016]: Junior counsel for the continuing trustees in a contested application to remove trustees.
  • Davidson v Seelig [2016] EWHC 549 (Ch): Junior counsel for the trustees in a late application to amend concerning the locus standi of trust protectors.
  • G v G [2016] EWHC 2587 (Ch)

Private Client: Non-Contentious

James frequently advises on non-contentious matters relating to trusts, estates and associated taxation. His recent work includes:

  • Advice on the partitioning of a trust
  • Advice on proving a disputed will
  • Advice on the application of consumer credit rules for inter-trustee loans
  • Advising on and drafting an application to widen trustees’ power of investment under s. 57, Trustee Act 1925

Reported Cases

  • South Downs Trustees Ltd v GH: section 57, Trustee Act 1925

Capital Taxes

James regularly advises trustees and individuals on inheritance tax and capital gains tax. His recent work in this area includes:

  • Advising on the inheritance tax consequences of revocation and appointment of trust property
  • Advising on the new residence nil-rate band rules
  • Advising on non-resident capital gains tax on a property sale.

Court of Protection

James accepts instructions in Court of Protection matters, particularly in relation to property and affairs. He has recently advised on the procedure for statutory will applications.


James accepts instructions in real property and landlord and tenant matters and has experience of possession proceedings.


“He’s one of the most efficient and enthusiastic juniors.”

“He’s very helpful, conscientious, straightforward and easy to deal with.”

“A junior with an impressive mind, whose knowledge base in trusts is superb for one of his call.”


Chambers UK 2021

Very bright, excellent drafting and advocacy. Sound advice. Very good on less common procedural issues.

Legal 500 2020

“He’s one of the most efficient and enthusiastic juniors I have come across

“He’s very helpful, conscientious, straightforward and easy to deal with.”

Chambers HNW 2020

“He is super bright, willing and never lets me down. He is quite thoughtful in nature and very willing to talk things through. He’s very approachable and clients have a lot of confidence in him.”

Chambers UK 2020

“Has a keen eye for detail and knows trusts inside out.”

Legal 500 2020

“James MacDougald is very impressive. His cross-examination of witnesses and thoroughness is admired. He quickly gets to grips with the key issues and advises pragmatically and strategically. He has a very personable touch with clients who are just as impressed with his advocacy.”

HNW Guide 2019

“Very young but already very accomplished in his field, he has excellent technical skills and is always strong and forthright in his opinions.”

“He gets very involved in cases and fights tenaciously for the client.”

Chambers UK 2019

“His technical knowledge is very good and he gets to grips with things very quickly. Even though he is a young junior, he really inspires confidence in solicitors and clients. He is very thoughtful in his approach and never shy to give his opinion on matters.”

HNW 2018 Guide

“A highly rated junior”

“Already very accomplished in this field.”

“He is very cerebral and he is shaping up to a really excellent technical lawyer”

“He thinks through things deeply and always comes back up with very practical advice.”

“He is brilliant at dealing with counsel on the other side. He gets very involved in cases and fights tenaciously for the client.”

Chambers UK 2018

“Even though he is a young junior, he really inspires confidence in solicitors and clients. He is very thoughtful in his approach and never shy to give his opinion on matters.”

“He is wonderful and really knows his stuff.”

Chambers HNW 2017


  • Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding), College of Law (2011)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law (Commendation), College of Law (2010)
  • BA (First Class), University of York (2009)

Associations & Memberships

  • Chancery Bar Association


James is an author of Williams on Wills (10th ed.) and a contributor to the TolleyGuidance series on Inheritance Tax Planning.

Recent published articles:

Speaking Engagements

James regularly gives talks on private client matters and has presented seminars on family trusts, inheritance tax (in particular, the residence nil-rate band), intestate succession, offshore trusts, rescission and rectification of trust instruments and tax planning in the Court of Protection.

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.


  • Hardwicke Award, Lincoln’s Inn (2010)
  • Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn (2011)

James MacDougald is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales. He is regulated by The Bar Standards Board [Bar Ref 22569] and is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/071] 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 170343630.

Barrister Portfolio
Barristers / Name Call CV Email

Remove All

Click here to email this list of barristers to a colleague.