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Thomas James

Thomas has a broad chancery practice, incorporating advisory work, litigation and arbitration. He accepts instructions across the full range of Chambers’ practice areas, with a focus on wills, trusts and estates, related taxation work, commercial and property litigation, and partnership and LLP disputes. He regularly appears in the High Court, including on successful applications for freezing and interim injunctions, alongside specialist experience in the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and Court of Protection.

Thomas is equally happy acting led or unled and is often instructed against counsel considerably senior to him. He recently appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal in Gorbachev v Guriev [2022] EWCA Civ 1270, [2023] 2 W.L.R. 1.

Before joining Chambers, Thomas worked in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) as Judicial Assistant to the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Patten. He has tutored extensively in trusts law and now writes for Practical Law on a range of topics.

Recent reported highlights include:

  • Del Curto v Del Curto – Cross-border succession (ongoing); led by Professor Jonathan Harris KC and Richard Dew. See [2023] EWHC 2106 (KB).
  • Executors of the estate of Linington and another v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2023] UKFTT 89 (TC), [2023] WTLR 917 – Inheritance tax valuation of interests in settled property (ongoing); led by James Henderson.
  • Gorbachev v Guriev [2022] EWCA Civ 1270, [2023] 2 W.L.R. 1 Offshore trustee disclosure. See also [2023] EWCA Civ 327, [2023] 1 W.L.R. 2457 and [2022] EWHC 1907 (Comm); led by Richard Dew.
  • Paul v Paul [2022] EWHC 1638 (Fam) – Acting for minor beneficiary in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Thomas also frequently represents individuals in court pro-bono, receiving both the ‘Pro Bono Champion Award’ from the Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme (CLIPS), and recognition from Advocate for committing over 25 hours to pro-bono work in 2023.

Trusts & Estates

Thomas has significant experience acting and advising on trusts and estates matters, including those with an offshore element and related taxation issues. He has tutored extensively in trusts law and is a member of the Chancery Bar Association and Contentious Trusts Association. His experience includes:

  • Applications for disclosure from trustees and their legal representatives, including significant involvement in the Gorbachev v Guriev litigation and experience with data subject access requests.
  • Advising on the construction of trust instruments, including vesting and perpetuity periods, the class-closing rules, the scope of trust/fiduciary powers, and applications for rectification/rescission.
  • Applications under the Variations of Trusts Act 1958.
  • Advising on trust administration, including investment decisions, trustee appointment and retirement, the exercise of trust/fiduciary powers, and related taxation issues.
  • Drafting trust deeds and instruments.
  • Advising on powers of appointment, resettlement, the rule in Saunders v Vautier, and the dissolution of trusts.
  • Advising on trusts for minors, accumulation and maintenance trusts, and trusts for disabled beneficiaries (including related applications to the Court of Protection).
  • Claims concerning trusts of land, including disputes concerning the occupation of property, powers of sale, resulting trusts, and common intention constructive trusts.
  • Claims against trustees and personal representatives, including breach of trust (and related devastavit actions), claims for an account, and applications for removal or retirement.
  • Related professional negligence claims.
  • Administration applications under Part 64 CPR.
  • Advising on regulatory issues such as registration under the UK Trust Register.
  • Insolvent estates.

Qualifications


  • BPP Law School – Excellence Award
  • The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple – Diplock Scholarship
  • The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple – Certificate of Honour
  • BPP Law School, London – Bar Professional Training Course, Outstanding
  • BPP Law School, London – Graduate Diploma in Law, Distinction
  • University of Exeter – BA (Hons) History with Study Abroad, First Class

Associations & Memberships


  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Contentious Trusts Association
  • Court of Protection Bar Association
  • Association of Partnership Practitioners

Publications


For more information and advice

Call: +44 (0)20 7405 0758

Email: clerks@tenoldsquare.com

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.

Social links


Thomas James is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is regulated by the Bar Standards Board [Bar Council Ref 70491]. He is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/082] 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 386587924.

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