James is regularly recommended for the quality of his legal analysis, his persuasive advocacy in court, the practicality of his advice, and his sensitive and responsive interaction with clients.
He is ranked by Legal 500 for both Private Client: Trusts and Probate and Property Litigation, and by Chambers & Partners and Chambers HNW for his Traditional Chancery practice. His inter-disciplinary expertise means that much of his work concerns disputes involving multiple areas of law. This is reflected in some of his recent reported decisions, which include: Gohil v Kumara  EWHC 1809 (Ch), Abdelnoor v Barker  EWHC 1468 (Ch),Ware v Ware  EWHC 694 (Ch) and Fantini v Scrutton  EWHC 1552 (Ch).
James’ busy practice spans a number of Chambers’ key practice areas, and particularly focuses on:
- Probate, inheritance and trust disputes, including 1975 Act claims, trustee/executor removal and TLATA claims;
- Landlord and Tenant issues, both residential and commercial, including pubs and licensed premises;
- Property, including covenants, easements, nuisance and boundary disputes;
- Court of Protection applications, particularly concerning Property and Affairs;
- Charity law, including advising charitable trustees and disputes over charity property; and
- Commercial and contractual disputes, including arbitrations and interim applications such as freezing injunctions.
James is a skilled and highly effective advocate, who appears regularly in the High Court and County Courts. He also has significant experience of offshore litigation, particularly in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
James is (with Sidney Ross) one of the authors of the Fifth Edition of Ross on Inheritance Act Claims.
Before coming to the Bar, James taught at secondary and tertiary level in England and Vanuatu, and is equally comfortable being instructed in both English and Bislama.
James is also a qualified and experienced mediator, and welcomes instructions as a mediator in any of the areas in which he practices.
Trusts & Estates
James is regularly instructed in onshore and offshore contentious private client matters, often including complex and difficult family relationships.
Recent highlights include:
- Inheritance disputes, including 1975 Act claims, including:
- Re W: A complex dispute involving a derivative claim to set aside a lifetime transfer on the basis that it was procured by undue influence and/or breach of fiduciary duties.
- Re R: A dispute focusing on the beneficial ownership and valuation of shares forming part of the deceased’s estate.
- Re N: A claim for provision by two siblings in very difficult family
- Re J: A claim for provision made by an estranged spouse who had been disinherited by the deceased’s will.
- Contested probate proceedings, including:
- T v W: a challenge to the validity of a will on the basis of undue influence, lack of knowledge and approval, and lack of formal validity.
- Re J: a challenge to the validity of a will on the basis that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity when making his final will.
- Applications to remove or pass over executors and trustees, including:
- Robinson v Robinson  EWHC (Ch): A three day high court trial focusing on the removal of the trustees of two trusts on the basis of a number of breaches of trust and breaches of fiduciary duty.
- Ruhl v Ruhl  EWHC (Ch): An application to pass over one of the executors of a will on the basis that her conduct had prevented the administration of the estate.
- H v J: An application to remove a co-executor due to their conflict of interests arising from claims the estate had against them.
- Advising in respect of trustee liability for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duties, including in respect of offshore trusts in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
- Representing the family of one of the victims of the Universal Wealth Management scandal. Successfully obtained judgment, followed by wide-ranging freezing injunctions, orders for disclosure, Norwich Pharmacal Orders and Third Party Debt Orders in order to trace and recover the monies that had been unlawfully retained.
- Crociani v Crociani: involved on behalf of the successful claimant in this long-running claim for breach of trust (led by Eason Rajah QC).
“James is always happy to have informal discussions about potential and ongoing instructions and is a pleasure to work with. His advocacy is top-notch and judges appreciate his clear, methodical approach to unravelling often hotly contested facts and applying legal principles. He is a safe pair of hands who can be trusted to judge the situation and adapt his approach accordingly.”
“Spot on in his advice, he is a very persuasive advocate who is excellent to work with as he is a good guide to the instructing solicitor and lay client.”
Chambers UK 2024
‘James is fantastic to work with. He is responsive and has a great eye for detail. He can step back and look at the bigger picture and understands the client’s needs which he factors into advice and strategy.’
‘Extremely personable and a very able advocate. James makes himself available and goes the extra mile to provide excellent client service, even on short notice. He has a very strategic approach and is a great asset to have in your corner.’
Legal 500 2024
“James is a brilliant lawyer and an all-round great guy. He knows his stuff and is someone that can be relied on in any situation. I always feel better having him in my corner.”
“He approaches cases with good humour and is loved by clients.”
Chambers UK 2023
“James is always happy to pick up the phone and goes above and beyond with both his instructing solicitors and clients. He is very down to earth with clients who, without exception, always love him and feel reassured by his presence. James is excellent on his feet and can always be relied on at a mediation to get the best possible result for the client. James is incredibly knowledgeable and his written work is always excellent.”
“James is clear and concise in his advice, giving good guidance and direction. He has an excellent manner with clients and very responsive.”
Legal 500 2022
‘Has an excellent bedside manner with clients. His research and advice is spot on. He is a safe pair of hands. He will always go the extra mile.’
The ‘pragmatic‘ James Poole is recognised as a rising star of the Bar.
Legal 500 2020
- Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding), City Law School (2016)
- Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn (2016)
- Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2016)
- Graduate Diploma in Law (Commendation), City Law School (2015)
- Hardwicke Award, Lincoln’s Inn (2015)
- Lord Bowen Scholarship, Lincoln’s In (2015)
- MA Modern History, University of Oxford (2009)
- “Persons Unknown”, New Law Journal, 21 November 2014 (with Tim Lawson-Cruttenden)
James Poole is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is regulated by the Bar Standards Board [Bar Council Ref 67708]. He is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/077] 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 278659634.