James Duffy

James Duffy

Call 2005

"Really excellent at rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in cases. He is very sensible and good at reading and understanding how to put a case before the judge. He's a great person to have on your team."


Chambers & Partners

For enquiries please contact

Mark O’Neil
Team Leader
+44 (0)20 7842 3777
Click here to email

Fraser Linning

Fraser Linning
Team Leader's Assistant
+44 (0)20 7842 3708
Click here to email

Expertise

Notable Aviation & Travel Cases


Durham Tees Valley Airport v bmibaby

Acting (led by Akhil Shah QC) for the low-cost airline in a substantial dispute concerning the economic operation of low cost airlines and their contractual relationships with regional airports, following the Court of Appeal decision on liability ([2011] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 731). The case involved complex expert evidence in the fields of aviation network profiling and airport economics.


Shaker v VistaJet

Acting (with Akhil Shah QC) for VistaJet, a leading luxury aviation company for private jet charter and ownership, in a case concerning the aborted sale of an aircraft and which raised issues as to the enforceability of agreements to agree and contractual estoppel.


London Luton Airport v APCOA Parking

Acting as sole counsel for Luton Airport in its claim in the Commercial Court which involved the proper construction of a concession agreement.

James is frequently instructed in relation to a wide range of banking and finance disputes of varying levels of complexity and size.

Notable Banking & Finance Cases


Barclays Bank v UniCredit [2012] EWHC 3655 (Comm)

Acting for Barclays in its substantial claim against the German and Austrian subsidiaries of UniCredit (led by David Railton QC and Giles Wheeler). The two-week trial of the action concerned whether it was “commercially reasonable” for a bank to refuse to consent to the early termination of a securitisation transaction unless and until it had received five years’ fees.


Merrill Lynch v Florence; UBS v Florence; Dexia v Florence

Acting for the City of Florence (led by Patricia Robertson QC) in its defence of claims issued by three investment banks involving the application of the court’s discretion in respect of claims for declaratory relief and the Italian local authority’s capacity to enter into certain derivative transactions.


Alexander & Others v Clydesdale Financial Services

Acting (with Andrew Mitchell QC and Tamara Oppenheimer) for Clydesdale Financial Services in connection with over 200 claims brought by consumers under s.75 and s.56 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 arising out of alleged mis-selling of timeshares.


Crédit Agricole & FGIC v IKB

Instructed (with David Railton QC and Derrick Dale QC) by the German bank IKB in defending one of the largest credit crunch-related claims in the Commercial Court. The claim involved allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation in relation to a series of structured securitisation transactions and in which the claimants sought over $2 billion in damages. The case settled shortly before trial, which had been listed for 10-weeks in Michaelmas term 2011. (Described as one of the top 20 trials of 2011 in The Lawyer.)


Dhadhi & Others v Barclays Bank

Acting (with Andrew Mitchell QC) for Barclays in respect of claims concerning wide-spread mortgage/valuation frauds and involving purchasers, solicitors and valuers. The trial of the action was listed for five weeks.


Office of Fair Trading v Abbey National & Others [2008] 2 All ER (Comm) 625; [2009] 2 W.L.R. 1286; [2010] 1 A.C. 696

Acting (with Bankim Thanki QC, Richard Handyside QC and Edward Levey) for Lloyds Banking Group in the test case brought by the OFT in respect of bank overdraft charges. James appeared in the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in relation to the trial of certain preliminary issues. (Described as one of the top 10 cases of 2009 in The Lawyer.) He has advised and represented the bank on various aspects in relation to the ongoing litigation in the county courts.


JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov & Others

Instructed (with Brian Doctor QC) in relation to various applications in the Chancery Division in connection with this very substantial litigation concerning the fraudulent misappropriation of hundreds of millions of dollars by Mr Ablyazov and others from BTA Bank in Kazakhstan.


Advising (with Richard Handyside QC) a payment service provider for credit and debit card transactions in relation to its complex contractual arrangements with VISA and MasterCard among others.


MASNOL v Edward Symmons

Acting (with Mark Simpson QC and Jamie Smith) in proceedings concerning the recoverability of the breakages costs of portfolio hedges.


Acting for Barclays Private Banking in its defence of a multi-million-pound claim regarding the alleged mis-selling of commercial property investment funds.


Acting for NatWest/RBS in a number of claims in relation to the alleged mis-selling of interest rate swap agreements.


Acting (with John Taylor) in relation to various claims for fraud and conspiracy in relation to substantial financial investments.


Instructed by Clydesdale Financial Services and Barclays as sole counsel in connection with various claims brought by consumers under s.75 and s.56 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 arising out of alleged mis-selling of products.


Advising a Luxembourg investment company in relation to claims arising out of the mis-selling of longevity contingent zero coupon notes.


Instructed by JP Morgan in respect of both a multi-million euro claim on a credit facility agreement and a claim for mistaken payment.


Acting for RBS in proceedings concerning the alleged misrepresentation of various loan facilities and guarantees. James was instructed as sole counsel for a trial listed for one week.


Acting for numerous banks (including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Capital One) in relation to various disputes involving Consumer Credit Act issues.


Appearing for Lloyds Banking Group in a claim concerning alleged negligent misrepresentations and advice.


Representing a lender in a substantial claim before the High Court concerning negligent advice.

James’ practice covers a wide range of domestic and international commercial dispute resolution, in both arbitration and litigation.

Notable Commercial Disputes Cases


Crédit Agricole & FGIC v IKB

Instructed (with David Railton QC and Derrick Dale QC) by the German bank IKB in defending one of the largest credit crunch-related claims in the Commercial Court. The claim involved allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation in relation to a series of structured securitisation transactions and in which the claimants sought over $2 billion in damages. The case settled shortly before trial, which had been listed for 10-weeks in Michaelmas term 2011. (Described as one of the top 20 trials of 2011 in The Lawyer.)


Office of Fair Trading v Abbey National & Others [2008] 2 All ER (Comm) 625; [2009] 2 W.L.R. 1286; [2010] 1 A.C. 696

Acting (with Bankim Thanki QC, Richard Handyside QC and Edward Levey) for Lloyds Banking Group in the test case brought by the OFT in respect of bank overdraft charges. James appeared in the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in relation to the trial of certain preliminary issues. (Described as one of the top 10 cases of 2009 in The Lawyer.) He has advised and represented the bank on various aspects in relation to the ongoing litigation in the county courts.


Barclays Bank v UniCredit [2012] EWHC 3655 (Comm)

Acting for Barclays in its substantial claim against the German and Austrian subsidiaries of UniCredit (led by David Railton QC and Giles Wheeler). The two-week trial of the action concerned whether it was “commercially reasonable” for a bank to refuse to consent to the early termination of a securitisation transaction unless and until it had received five years’ fees.


Merrill Lynch v Florence; UBS v Florence; Dexia v Florence

Acting for the City of Florence (led by Patricia Robertson QC) in its defence of claims issued by three investment banks involving the application of the court’s discretion in respect of claims for declaratory relief and the Italian local authority’s capacity to enter into certain derivative transactions.


Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees & Others v Serious Fraud Office


Acting for Vincent Tchenguiz and various corporate entities in a £200 million damages claim against the Serious Fraud Office (with Bankim Thanki QC and Rosalind Phelps).


Re: The Buncefield Incident - Shell v Total

Acting for Shell in the high-profile litigation arising out of the Buncefield Oil Depot fire in December 2005 (with Richard Handyside QC). James was instructed in relation to the quantum proceedings, drafting the claim for damages against Total amounting to over $150 million.


Quebec Tobacco Litigation

Acting (with Bankim Thanki QC) for a partner with Hogan Lovells in giving evidence in the class action before the Superior Court of Quebec against Imperial Tobacco.


UBM v GfK

Acting (led by David Railton QC and Marcus Smith) in relation to a multi-million pound claim concerning the proper construction of a share purchase agreement.


Ting v Akai Holdings

Acting (with Craig Orr QC) in interlocutory proceedings in Bermuda arising out of the collapse of Akai, Hong Kong’s biggest corporate bankruptcy. The case raised issues of res judicata, abuse of process and contractual construction.


Acting (with Richard Handyside QC) for the defendant in proceedings between two international private equity firms arising out of a transaction for the sale of an automotive business.


JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov & Others

Acting (with Brian Doctor QC) in various applications in respect of claims of legal professional privilege over certain seized documents.


State Street v Mourant

Acting for State Street in its claims under a share purchase agreement concerning the multi-national acquisition of various businesses.


Acting (with Marcus Smith QC) for a transportation business in relation to claims arising out of the purchase of a luxury chauffeur service.


Benedetti v April Holding

Appearing as sole counsel in an application in connection with the long-running dispute arising out of the acquisition of Wind Telecom.


Acting for Ecobank Nigeria in its application to set aside a registration order which had been improperly registered in the English courts.


Acting for an international trading company in relation to claims for breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance and tracing brought against its former director and advisors.


Acting for Aspinall’s Club, a high-profile London casino, in a number of disputes concerning the Gaming Acts and the Gambling Act 2005.

Notable Construction, Energy & Infrastructure Cases


Re: The Buncefield Incident - Shell v Total

Acting for Shell in the high-profile litigation arising out of the Buncefield Oil Depot fire in December 2005 (with Richard Handyside QC). James was instructed in relation to the quantum proceedings, drafting the claim for damages against Total amounting to over $150 million.


Acting as sole counsel in a five-day arbitration concerning the construction of a force majeure provision in an international coal supply agreement.


Acting for a manufacturer of electricity generators in relation to a substantial dispute with a company producing wind turbines which concerned the proper construction of a long-term supply contract.

In addition to work in connection with more substantial disputes, James is regularly instructed as sole counsel in relation to smaller scale disputes, across a range of insurance products and for a range of insurers, brokers and advisers (including the sale of life insurance policies, coverage disputes, and negligent mis-selling).

Notable Insurance Cases


American Reliable & CNA v Willis

Acting for over two years (with Christopher Hancock QC, Bankim Thanki QC, Richard Coleman and Alexander Gunning) for Willis in a claim brought by a reinsurer for losses in excess of $250 million arising out of the PA LMX reinsurance market. The claim involved allegations of dishonest assistance, misrepresentation and negligence, as well as an appeal on a point of case management (described as one of the top ten trials of 2009 in The Lawyer).


Morini Ltd v Moffatt Saunders

Instructed (with Mark Simpson QC) on behalf of an insurance broker in relation to a claim for negligence following a dispute as to the coverage of the policy.

Notable Professional Negligence Cases


American Reliable & CNA v Willis

Acting for over two years (with Christopher Hancock QC, Bankim Thanki QC, Richard Coleman and Alexander Gunning) for Willis in a claim brought by a reinsurer for losses in excess of $250 million arising out of the PA LMX reinsurance market. The claim involved allegations of dishonest assistance, misrepresentation and negligence, as well as an appeal on a point of case management (described as one of the top ten trials of 2009 in The Lawyer).


Morini Ltd v Moffatt Saunders

Instructed (with Mark Simpson QC) on behalf of an insurance broker in relation to a claim for negligence following a dispute as to the coverage of the policy.


MASNOL v Edward Symonds

Acting (with Mark Simpson QC and Jamie Smith) for a surveyor facing substantial claims for negligent valuation of commercial properties, including for the breakage costs of certain hedges entered into in relation to the loan portfolio.


Acting (with Craig Orr QC) for a private individual in bringing a claim in negligence against a well-known firm of tax advisors.

"He's a very clear and succinct drafter."


Chambers & Partners

"He is excellent and one of the best senior juniors at the Bar. He's very easy to work with, obviously very sharp and very intelligent."


Chambers & Partners

"His drafting is brilliant and he acts very sensibly. He knows the law very well and is easy to work with."


Chambers & Partners

"A hard-working and high-quality practitioner." "He has great strategic insight and is very good to work with."


Chambers & Partners

"An excellent banking junior - he has a lot of experience in this area and is a very safe pair of hands, he is also very pleasant to deal with."


The Legal 500

"He is very commercial and approachable."


The Legal 500

"Excellent technical skills, great team player, strong instincts."


The Legal 500

"He is a clever, analytical barrister who is also charming and popular with solicitors and clients."


The Legal 500

"Extremely commercial and bright, he's a man you want on your team."


Chambers & Partners

Chambers & Partners
  • Dispute Resolution: Commercial – UK (Global Guide)
  • Aviation
  • Banking & Finance
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
The Legal 500
  • Banking & Finance
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Professional Negligence

  • BA Law, Christ Church, Oxford (First)
  • BCL, Christ Church, Oxford (Distinction)
  • BVC, Inns of Court School of Law (Outstanding)

  • British Association for Sport & Law
  • Seconded to Mayer Brown Rowe & May (2006)
  • Lord Megarry Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2005)
  • Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2004)
  • Hugh Pilkington Scholarship, Christ Church, Oxford (2004)
  • Prize for best performance in Contract Law finals paper, Oxford University (2003)
  • John Radcliffe Exhibition for best College performance in Finals, Christ Church, Oxford (2003)
  • College Scholarships, Christ Church, Oxford (2001-2003)

  • Contributor to Sweet & Maxwell’s Civil Procedure Reports

  • German (basic)

For enquiries please contact

Mark O’Neil
Team Leader
+44 (0)20 7842 3777
Click here to email

Fraser Linning

Fraser Linning
Team Leader's Assistant
+44 (0)20 7842 3708
Click here to email

"He's a very clear and succinct drafter."


Chambers & Partners

"He is excellent and one of the best senior juniors at the Bar. He's very easy to work with, obviously very sharp and very intelligent."


Chambers & Partners

"His drafting is brilliant and he acts very sensibly. He knows the law very well and is easy to work with."


Chambers & Partners

"A hard-working and high-quality practitioner." "He has great strategic insight and is very good to work with."


Chambers & Partners

"An excellent banking junior - he has a lot of experience in this area and is a very safe pair of hands, he is also very pleasant to deal with."


The Legal 500

"He is very commercial and approachable."


The Legal 500

"Excellent technical skills, great team player, strong instincts."


The Legal 500

"He is a clever, analytical barrister who is also charming and popular with solicitors and clients."


The Legal 500

"Extremely commercial and bright, he's a man you want on your team."


Chambers & Partners

Chambers & Partners
  • Dispute Resolution: Commercial – UK (Global Guide)
  • Aviation
  • Banking & Finance
  • Commercial Dispute Resolution
The Legal 500
  • Banking & Finance
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Professional Negligence

  • BA Law, Christ Church, Oxford (First)
  • BCL, Christ Church, Oxford (Distinction)
  • BVC, Inns of Court School of Law (Outstanding)

  • British Association for Sport & Law
  • Seconded to Mayer Brown Rowe & May (2006)
  • Lord Megarry Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2005)
  • Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn (2004)
  • Hugh Pilkington Scholarship, Christ Church, Oxford (2004)
  • Prize for best performance in Contract Law finals paper, Oxford University (2003)
  • John Radcliffe Exhibition for best College performance in Finals, Christ Church, Oxford (2003)
  • College Scholarships, Christ Church, Oxford (2001-2003)

  • Contributor to Sweet & Maxwell’s Civil Procedure Reports

  • German (basic)

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