Clerking team

Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty

Senior Clerk - Family and Court of Protection

Elisa Clement

Family Clerk

Ryan Barker

Assistant Senior Clerk (Matrimonial Finance)

Emma Manning

Matrimonial Finance Clerk

‘James is a brilliant advocate who has the ear of judges. Clients adore him as they know that he is passionate about achieving the best outcome for them. He has a fine mind and is able to see a way through even the most complicated and intractable cases.’

Legal 500, 2022

‘A careful listener who remembers the smallest details of cases and is spot-on with his advice. He has got the ear of the court and has the ability to gauge which point to pursue and when.’

Chambers UK Bar, 2022

James is a silk who has been ranked for many years in the professional directories as a barrister specialising in “heavy” and complex financial remedy cases. He also has considerable experience in relation to children work particularly with an international element. He is extremely numerate and is a formidable advocate. He sits as a part-time Judge authorised to hear complex Financial Remedy cases at the Central Family Court. He is Chair of the Family Law Bar Association (from January 2024) and was vice chair from January 2022 – December 2023.

James undertakes a limited number of direct access cases each year.

He is approachable and responsive. He has a plain-speaking manner which direct access clients in particular value and, as has been repeatedly recognised by the directories, has the ability to make the most complex legal issues simple.

He has a particular interest in enforcement of orders in family cases. He is able to recommend solicitors to direct access clients where appropriate.

Family finance

James is a silk who specialises in financial remedy cases (including all aspects of claims between unmarried partners). He was, prior to taking silk, cited for many years in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in family work, and also in Chambers UK Bar as a leading junior (Band 1) in both financial remedy and children work. He continues these rankings in silk. He is one of the few members of the bar who practises as a leader in both financial and children work and therefore is often instructed in both aspects of a family case.

The majority of James’ Family Law practice consists of financial remedy work in which he has experience at all levels. James practises mainly in the High Court and the Central Family Court dealing with ‘heavy’ cases involving high net worth clients, trusts, complex company structures and international issues. He has been instructed in a great number of cases where the assets far exceed £100m. He also deals with all aspects of financial disputes between unmarried couples and has acted for applicants and respondents in a significant number of claims for financial provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 involving high net worth individuals.

He has acted for a many ‘high profile’ clients including sports stars, musicians and actors.

He advises upon and drafts pre–nuptial agreements.

He has developed a particular expertise in the area of enforcement and has been successful in a number of complex enforcement cases.

He sits as a Recorder (part-time Judge) and is one of the few Recorders authorised to hear complex cases in the Financial Remedy Court.

Children (Public and Private law)

Private Law Children

Although James specialises in financial remedy cases (including all aspects of claims between unmarried partners) he also undertakes private law children work, particularly international relocation cases, and also international child abduction cases.

A proper understanding of the interaction between the financial aspects of the case and the private law children aspects can frequently make a real difference in relation to a positive outcome. This is particularly true in relation to private law children applications involving unmarried parents and also in relation to relocation applications.

He sits as a Recorder (part-time Judge) and is authorised to hear children cases.

Private FDR

James is one of the ‘go to’ people in the provision of Private FDRs or ‘early neutral evaluation’.

James has been ranked in the directories for many years as a practitioner who specialises in heavy and complex financial remedy cases. He is extremely numerate and is highly regarded by his peers making him a popular choice for Private FDRs. He has conducted over 100 Private FDRs and has appeared as counsel in an even greater number.

James sits as a Recorder (part-time Judge) and is one of the few Recorders authorised to hear complex financial cases in the Financial Remedies Court.

Parties value greatly the Judicial experience that he brings to cases together with his general approachability.

As the directories recognise he is a “details” person. His preparation is always thorough, and parties leave his hearings in the knowledge that they have received informed and authoritative assistance. He has a plain-speaking manner which the parties value and, as has been repeatedly recognised by the professional directories, the ability to make the most complex legal issues simple.

He had an enviable settlement rate (over 90%) and is rightly perceived by his peers as ‘straight down the line’ in terms of his approach and indications.

Family arbitration

James is a founding Board member of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) and he sits on the Advisory Committee to IFLA. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is qualified to conduct arbitrations in family matters under the IFLA scheme.

He has acted as an arbitrator in a significant number of cases in this developing area. His judicial experience and generally approach make him one of the ‘go to’ choices when parties are seeking a swift, confidential, adjudication in cases.

Invariably he provides his award in writing within 48 hours of a hearing. He also has experience of representing parties to arbitrations and in presenting cases under the IFLA scheme.

James has been ranked in the directories for many years as a practitioner who specialises in heavy and complex financial remedy cases. He is extremely numerate and is a formidable advocate.

He appreciates the subtle differences in the arbitral environment (as opposed to the court room) and adjusts his style accordingly, with favourable results.

ADR

James is one of the few members of the bar who practises as a leader in both financial and children work and as such is ideally placed to appreciate all aspects of family law disputes which so often are not confined to solely financial or children matters.

He approaches cases holistically bringing to bear his experience as a part-time Judge who is authorised to hear both complex financial and children matters.

He has been a mediator for over 15 years and is particularly adept at helping to resolve high conflict cases.

Awards and Scholarships

  • Prince of Wales Scholar (Joint Inns of Court – the major scholarship)
  • Holker Scholar (Gray’s Inn – the major scholarship

Education

  • Bluecoat School, Liverpool
  • Oriel College, Oxford MA (Jurisprudence)
  • Inns of Court School of Law (Bar Vocational Course)

Memberships

  • Recorder (2009)
  • Chair of the Family Law Bar Association (“FLBA”) (from January 2024)
  • Vice Chair of the Family Law Bar Association (2022 – 2023)
  • Executive Officer (Treasurer) of the FLBA (2006 – 2021)
  • Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers
  • Bencher of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (2021)
  • Member of the Honourable Society of The Inner Temple
  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Board member of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators Ltd (“IFLA”)
  • Advisory Committee member – IFLA
  • Elected National Committee Member FLBA (1996 to date)
  • Past Member of the Remuneration Committee of the Bar Council
  • Member of the Bar Council Quality Advisory Panel
  • Accredited Pupil Supervisor
  • Accredited Advocacy Trainer