James Wibberley

Year of call: 2009

"He seems experienced beyond his age - he's highly articulate and very considered."
Chambers UK 2018

James James

James is a commercial and employment barrister, with experience of dealing with a wide range of disputes within the County Court, High Court and Employment Tribunal. He has a particular interest is cases that throw up novel or complex points of law and regularly deals with cases that straddle the divisions between his main practice areas.

Employment & Discrimination

James has a strong interest in cases that fall along the boundary between commercial and employment law, such as those involving restrictive covenants, restraint of trade and claims for breaches of fidelity and/or fiduciary duty. He has experience of acting on behalf of both employers and employees in such disputes.

In addition, James has experience of dealing with a range of matters within the Employment Tribunal including:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Constructive dismissal
  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Employer contract claims
  • Claims for unpaid wages and unlawful deductions
  • Discrimination claims (in particular disability discrimination)
  • Redundancy payments
  • Tribunal Procedure
  • TUPE transfers
  • Restrictive covenants

In addition to his advocacy work, James also has experience of drafting and advisory work within a wide range of employment disputes. Due to his joint commercial and employment focus, James is ideally placed to advise on cases giving rise to difficult legal issues such as breach of contract and frustration. He is also equally comfortable in dealing with employment cases in both the Employment Tribunal and the High Court.

James is a regular speaker on employment and discrimination matters, and was recently asked to run a training session for the Treasury Solicitor's Department on Costs in the ET.


James has a broad based commercial practice, and is regularly instructed to deal with cases involving the following areas:

  • Contractual disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • Debt Claims
  • Sale and supply of goods and services
  • Agency agreements
  • Construction
  • Consumer credit
  • Mortgage possession
  • Commercial property disputes
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Insurance and re-insurance

In addition, James has a keen interest in cases involving restraint of trade, breaches of confidentiality and breaches of fidelity or fiduciary duty. He has recent experience of advising employees on the enforceability of restrictive covenants within their contracts of employment, and advising an individual who had been accused of assisting in the setting up a competitor company before terminating his employment.

Having had a broad common law practice before moving to Guildhall, James retains an interest in commercial disputes surrounding personal injury litigation. His experience includes drafting and advisory work on contribution claims between insurers, advising on issues of coverage and indemnity under RTA, EL and PL policies, and bringing indemnity and/or contribution claims under maintenance and servicing agreements.

James is currently being led in a TCC test case involving claims for inducing a breach of contract and unlawful interference with economic interests on behalf of a party accused of settling claims behind the back of its opponent’s solicitors in order to avoid paying legal fees.

Professional Negligence & Indemnity

James has a growing professional negligence practice and is regularly instructed (on both the Claimant and Defendant side) to deal with claims involving:

  • Solicitors & Barristers
  • Financial Advisors
  • Insurance Brokers
  • Surveyors
  • Construction Professionals

Much of James’ professional negligence work dovetails with his other areas of practice. He is regularly involved in cases where disputes have arisen about advice on costs exposure or litigation funding; often where coverage said to be provided by BTE or ATE is refused. James also deals with more conventional insurance disputes, again sitting alongside his more mainstream commercial practice. 

James has a growing construction practice. In addition to dealing with claims for defective works, he is regularly asked to advise on issues of design and valuation, both for self-builders and commercial lenders. He is acutely aware of the multifaceted nature of constriction litigation.

Costs & Litigation Funding

James has a strong interest in all areas of costs and litigation funding. In addition to dealing with more conventional inter partes costs disputes such as drafting pleadings and attending detailed assessment hearings, James has experience of providing generic advice on the enforceability of funding arrangements, and is regularly asked to advise on issues of coverage and indemnity relating to BTE and ATE insurance agreements.

There is a significant overlap between this area of James' practice and his wider commercial work. James is therefore ideally placed to advise on solicitor - own client disputes and professional negligence cases involving disputes around the advice given about funding arrangements and/or costs liability.

James has experience of wasted costs and non-party costs applications both in commercial (including applications for costs against directors of insolvent companies) and personal injury disputes. He also deals with disputes surrounding the costs of insolvency proceedings.

James is regularly instructed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to run arguments on the correct level of success fee in NIHL cases following the decision of the High Court in Patterson v MOD [2012] EWHC 2767.

Technology & Construction

James deals with a wide range of construction disputes arising from both residential and commercial developments. These disputes include claims for payment, delay and disruption, and defective workmanship as well as more niche matters such as the enforcement of adjudication awards and representing clients at arbitration hearings. James also has experience of dealing with disputes under the Party Wall Act 1996 and claims in nuisance and/or negligence for damage caused to neighbouring properties.

In addition, James’ wider professional negligence practice regularly involves clams against Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers. James also has experience of dealing with claims against solicitors involved in the purchase and sale of development land (for example failure to advise on restrictions on development and/or listed building status).

Banking & Finance

James has a growing banking and financial services practice advising and representing lenders, insurers, advisors, and consumers alike.

The majority of James’ banking work relates to the enforcement of mortgages and other loan agreement (including those regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 1974).  James also has recent experience of claims involving consumer hire and consumer purchase agreements, and claims against credit providers under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act following the default or collapse of suppliers.

James has a particular interest in cases involving allegations of misrepresentation, fraud or undue influence, as well as cases giving rise to claims under the provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, both within the context of mortgage agreements and the provision of financial services more generally.  Many of the cases that James has dealt with involve claims under section 39 of the FSMA and/or the common law principles of agency.

There is a substantial overlap between James’ banking and financial services work and the other areas of his practice, in particular in relation to professional negligence claims.  In addition though, James has recent experience of dealing with claims by advisors for the payment of sales commission and disputes surrounding asset purchase agreements involving the sale of financial services businesses.



Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior (Up and coming Individual)

His practice includes disputes arising from professional negligence and breach of contract. He specialises in the financial services sector.

Strengths: "Approachable, technically excellent and great to work with." "He is commercial, pragmatic and not afraid to get off the fence."

Recent work: Advised the claimant in a case against Octopus Investments, which concerned loss arising from misrepresentation, negligent mis-statement and breach of contract.

Costs Litigation

Leading Junior - Band 4

Experienced in costs and litigation funding, he advises on such matters as own-client disputes and the enforceability of funding arrangements. He also assists with wasted costs and non-party costs applications.

Strengths: "His knowledge is first-rate and comprehensive. He is a pleasure to instruct and deal with as his knowledge on costs is matched by his enthusiasm."

Recent work: Acted in Gavin Edmondson Solicitors Limited v Haven Insurance Company Limited, a test case involving the direct settlement of six personal injury claims by a defendant insurer.

Professional Negligence

Leading Junior (Up and Coming Individual)

Junior with a growing professional negligence practice. He is often seen acting for both claimants and defendants. He is adept at handling claims involving solicitors, financial advisers and insurance brokers.

Strengths: "He's enthusiastic and exceedingly bright. He's very willing and digs deep." "He seems experienced beyond his age - he's highly articulate and very considered."

LEGAL 500 2017

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

‘A fantastic “hands-on” barrister.’


Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leading Junior (Up and coming Individual)

Handles matters including restrictive covenants and costs disputes. Sources note the quality of his written advice.

Strengths: "He was pragmatic, gave clear advice and negotiated a good settlement."

Recent work: Advised the claimant, Bank of Ireland, in a professional negligence dispute against Mortimer & Carey concerning valuation reports on buy-to-let flats.

Costs Litigation

Leading Junior - Band 4

Experienced in costs and litigation funding, he advises on such matters as own-client disputes and enforceability of funding arrangements. He also assists with wasted costs and non-party costs applications.

Strengths: "He's extremely knowledgeable and it's hard to beat him."

LEGAL 500 2016

Commercial, Banking, Insolvency & Chancery Law

Leading juniors

'He is very practical and approachable.'

LEGAL 500 2015

Commercial, Banking & Insolvency

Leading juniors

'He is extremely approachable and happy to talk through options.'


For further information and enquiries please contact:

Employment & Discrimination: Chris Checketts

Commercial: Mike Norton

Costs & Litigation Funding: Heather Bidwell, Wendy Shaw & Justin Emmett


  • Junior Counsel to the Crown, having been appointed to the Attorney General's Regional Panel of Counsel


  • LLB, Nottingham Law School - First Class
  • History (Modern), Keble College Oxford, First Class