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James Sharpe

Call 2009

“Hard working, pragmatic, approachable, clever, meticulous, insightful.”
(Legal 500, 2024)

Professional Liability

James regularly acts for and against a variety of professionals including solicitors (including matrimonial finance and pension sharing order disputes), accountants, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, IFAs and pension providers and administrators.

In the latest editions of Chambers UK Bar and Legal 500, James is recommended as a Leading junior:

  • Chambers & Partners (2024): “A safe pair of hands; He has an incredible intelligence.”
  • Legal 500 (2024): ‘Hard working, pragmatic, approachable, clever, meticulous, insightful.’


James acts in claims arising out of the full range of legal work including arising out of litigation and the settlement of litigation, commercial transactions,  SPAs, private equity, tax advice, commercial property, conveyancing, Friday afternoon frauds, ancillary relief and crime.

  • Hall v Saunders Law Ltd [2020] EWHC 404 – (with Daniel Shapiro KC) acted for Saunders Law in a successful summary judgment application on a claim brought by a litigation funder.
  • Perry v Raleys Solicitors (with Ben Quiney KC) acting as part of the team defending the series of claims arising from the alleged under-settlement of miner’s VWF claims by, amongst others, Raleys solicitors. Perry is a key Supreme Court decision reviewing important issues for solicitors’ negligence. It deals with the test for lost chances and honesty, the principles in Allied Maples, and questions of the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction (BLM).
  • Hinkel v Simmons & Simmons: James successfully struck out a claim alleging fraudulent misrepresentation against a counterparty’s solicitors arising out a failed property transaction ([2021] EWHC 3416 (Ch); [2021] EWHC 55 (Ch)) (instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP).
  • Business Finance Litigation: James acted on behalf of Simmons & Simmons, Leading and junior counsel in the longstanding litigation in the Financial List ([2022 EWHC 140 (Ch)) (instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP)

Insurance brokers

  • Chalfin -v- PIB Risk Services: (with Ben Quiney KC) defending a firm of insurance brokers in a Commercial Court claim.
  • Harwood Capital v Lonsdale Insurance Brokers: acting as sole counsel for the brokers in a claim that may rise up to £10m. The claim centres on an allegation that the brokers failed to procure sufficient cover so as to indemnity Harwood in respect of a claim being brought in the United State for assisting breach of breach of fiduciary duty and interference with contract. (Commercial Court)(instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP).
  • (with Ben Quiney KC) Instructed on behalf of a firm of insurance brokers to defend a £4m claim alleging that it had failed to properly assess the client’s insurance needs resulting in significant underinsurance following a catastrophic flood (instructed by Carter Perry Bailey).
  • British Amateur Gymnastics Association v (1) Zurich (2) Brit (3) Perkins Slade Limited (with Ben Quiney KC) acted for brokers in this long running multi-million pound coverage dispute arising from cover issued to the British Gymnastics Association. Issues arose relating to cover, non-disclosure, claims made policies, the practice in the Lloyds Market, brokers’ duties, and causation. In addition there was a particular dispute as to the placing and management of excess cover, which it was successfully argued could not be added as new allegations to the claim close to trial; British Gymnastics v Zurich, Brit & Perkins Slade [2017] EWHC 2500 (Comm) (Mills & Reeve).

Finance professionals

  • Confidential arbitration: (with Daniel Shapiro KC) acting on behalf of a bank in relation to a €90million claim made against it for its role as depositary of a fund.
  • T George v Shoosmiths v Chase de Vere: James is acting as sole counsel for a firm of IFAs in respect of a contribution claim being brought by a solicitor who had power of attorney of a HNV individual’s financial affairs. The main claim alleges that an investment of c. £9m should have been made on a joint names’ basis saving a tax liability and loss of investment gains. The claim is pleaded in the region of £4m (instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP).
  • Jago v Mortgage4you: (with Daniel Shapiro KC) acting on behalf of mortgage broker in respect of a claim that the mortgage adviser negligently advised an interest only mortgage. James is instructed on behalf of a number of mortgage brokers in a  raft of cases that are being brought with respect to mortgage advice given in the mid 2000s (instructed by RPC).
  • Successfully defended a trustee in bankruptcy against a professional negligence claim brought by the bankrupt (instructed by Browne Jacobson).


  • Amathus Drinks PLC & Ors v EAGK LLP & Anor [2023] EWHC 2312 (Ch): instructed on behalf of accountancy firm for alleged failure to detect a fraud. The case raises difficult issues as to the duty owed by an accountancy firm to a buyer and the effect of a Bannerman clause (instructed by RPC LLP).
  • Tower Boots London Limited v Haysmacintyre LLP: instructed on behalf of accountancy firm for alleged failure to advise correctly on VAT (instructed by CMS LLP).

Other professionals

  • James often acts for other professionals or quasi-professionals: for example fire service (Wembridge Claimants & Ors v East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service [2013] EWHC 2331 (QB) ) and Fire safety engineers: Howmet v EDL & ECS 157 Con. L.R. 1 & [2016] B.L.R. 555

Selected Cases

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  • Walter Wigglesworth Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2011)
  • European Commission Scholarship (unable to accept), Lincoln’s Inn (2009)
  • Blackstone’s Mooting Competition (finalist) (2009)
  • BVC, City Law School (2008 – 2009)
  • Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2007)
  • BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, Somerville College, University of Oxford (2004 – 2007)


  • PNBA


“James shows incredible energy, commitment and intellect.”… “James is just so easy to work with and so knowledgeable. He has a calming touch in stressful situations.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Easy to deal with both for solicitors and for clients. User-friendly and good legal analysis.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Hard working, pragmatic, approachable, clever, meticulous, insightful.”

Legal 500, 2024

‘James is great on his feet, calm and clear. He is also really excellent in conference. I always feel that I can chat anything and everything through with James, even on very difficult cases, or cases where there is no clear way through. Very collaborative and very commercial.’

Legal 500, 2023

‘James is a good lawyer and very approachable, particularly with clients, and very good at marshalling the litigation.’

Legal 500, 2023

“James is highly sought after.” “He is an excellent barrister.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

“He is a really nice individual to deal with. He is user-friendly and I trust his advice.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

“James has got incredible technical knowledge and is a very good and mature cross-examiner.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“James is a very effective operator – he has good communication skills and knows the law.”

Legal 500, 2022

“James is extremely easy to work with and reliable – gets down to the core of the case and avoids distractions.”

Legal 500, 2022

“He has all of the relevant precedents at the forefront of his mind. Presents well to professional and insurer clients and is a reassuring sounding board on complex issues.”

Legal 500, 2021

“Does a good and detailed job, with sound judgement and common sense. A true all-rounder, who is bright, personable and commercial – a great asset to any team!”

Legal 500, 2021

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