He is known for his brilliant intellect. He is also thorough and approachable. An exceptionally good advocate.
James was a former housing law solicitor admitted in 1992 before being called to the Bar in 1998. Since then he has become "one of the leading lights for social housing work" (Chambers and Partners 2010) and practises in all areas of housing law including: residential landlord and tenant, unlawful eviction and harassment, allocations and homelessness and injunctions. He specialises particularly in housing cases involving human rights issues, complex possession proceedings, homelessness appeals, and disputes involving multiple parties and agencies.
James is recommended for his “substantial experience in public law challenges against public bodies in the North” (Chambers and Partners 2012). He is regularly involved in public law and human rights cases across all areas of law, challenging decisions of public authorities and tribunals. This including judicial reviews relating to community care, with a particular interest in the interface of community care and asylum support, mental health, education, housing and homelessness. He advises on the impact and rights and obligations under the ECHR across all areas of practice.
One of James' most notable cases is the Supreme Court case of Manchester City Council v Pinnock  UKSC 45, which held that proportionality of an eviction can be raised as a defence in claims brought by public authorities reversing three earlier decisions of the House of Lords. He also appeared in the House of Lords in McCann  the leading test case on ASBOs.
James is recognised as a “leading expert on all aspects of housing law” (Chambers and Partners 2016) and his practice includes residential landlord and tenant (public/private). In particular it includes: possession proceedings, disrepair and housing related personal injury, unlawful eviction and harassment, judicial review, allocations and homelessness (Housing Act 1996 appeals), housing benefit, and injunctions. He also represents trespassers, gypsy and traveller cases, and cases involving Mobile Homes Act 1983. James’ experience also includes enforcing private rented sector standards under the Housing Act 2004 and Environmental Protection Act 1990, cases involving disabled facilities grants, mortgage possessions, and property law generally. He has experience of acting on behalf of those with diminished capacity through instructions from the Official Solicitor and in homelessness cases involving clients with mental health problems.
James is recommended for his “substantial experience in public law challenges against public bodies in the North” (Chambers and Partners 2012) and is regularly involved in public law and human rights cases across all areas of law. This involves challenging decisions of public authorities and tribunals, including judicial reviews relating to community care with a particular interest in the interface of community care and asylum support, mental health including MHRT delays, education and housing and homelessness. He advises on the impact and rights and obligations under the ECHR across all areas of practice.
James undertakes judicial review of community care and mental health decisions including failing to carry out assessments, unlawful eligibility criteria, the exclusion of persons subject to immigration control from community care services, failing to put care plans into effect, failing to provide services in an emergency and failing to ensure compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.
James undertakes Court of Protection work and displacement of nearest relative cases.
James has a particular interest in the use of methods addressed apparently at Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), including Public Spaces Protection Orders, being misused for social control.
James has experience of defending those against whom injunctions are sought and challenging existing injunction. This also extends to defending those against whom gang injunctions are sought and challenging existing gang injunctions. He has been instructed in a number of leading cases in the Court of Appeal concerning Article 6 challenges to the nature and extent of interim gang injunctions. James also appeared in a challenge to a begging injunction brought by Leeds City Council in 2015.
James undertakes discrimination claims in goods and services relating to premises, and the conduct of public authorities.
James has a particular interest in local authority powers and duties including compulsory purchase, planning, education and social services.
James accepts instructions in relation to Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and breach of confidence claims.
Contributor on Housing Law Issues to Legal Action, Roof, Independent Lawyer and other legal publications. Articles include:
James’ Privacy Notice may be viewed by clicking here.
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