Photo of James Potts QC

James Potts QC

Call: 1994 Silk: 2013

Appointed Silk in 2013, James has 20 years’ experience of all aspects of corporate, insolvency, banking, financial services and general commercial law.

His work is predominantly contentious (although he maintains a strong corporate advisory practice) and he is an experienced advocate, appearing at all levels up to the Supreme Court and Privy Council, as well as in overseas jurisdictions.

He also has expertise in arbitration, mediation and expert determination (particularly in the context of shareholder/joint venture disputes and warranty claims).

He is client-friendly and approachable and seeks to provide clear, concise and commercial advice to clients.

 

 

I don't like to be against him - he's that good.

Chambers UK Bar

Litigation & Arbitration

  • Shareholder disputes
  • Joint venture disputes
  • LLP/partnership disputes
  • Professional negligence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty/misfeasance
  • Breach of warranty claims
  • Civil fraud and asset recovery
  • Interim remedies
  • Mediation and expert determination

Significant cases and transactions include:

Melvin v Roache Judgment of the Chief Justice (Gibraltar) 18 October 2017
Trial adjourned, affidavits directed and cross-examination ordered of Respondents to a shareholder dispute in respect of documents created after the dates on the face of those documents and deployed in pleadings and witness statements.

Brightside Group Ltd v RSM UK Audit LLP [2017] 1 WLR 1943
Acting for Claimant in professional negligence claim against auditors.  Successfully resisted application to dismissal of proceedings based on alleged non-service of Claim Form.

JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev [2016] EWHC 248 (Ch).
Successfully resisted application by trustees for discharge of a worldwide freezing order.  Real risk of dissipation in the context of rights as a protector of the trusts and facts indicating de facto control.

Birdi v Specsavers Optical Group Ltd [2015] EWHC 2870 (Ch); Official Transcript
Acted for Specsavers in s.994 petition at trial of issues under a s.994 petition.  Widescale allegations of impropriety rejected by the Court.  Petitioner failed to recover adjustments greater than the Respondents’ early Part 36 offer, leading to a substantial overall costs order against the Petitioner.

Dilato Holdings Pty Ltd v Learning Possibilities Ltd [2015] EWHC 592 (Ch); [2015] 2 B.C.L.C. 199
Acted for Applicant who successfully obtained injunctive relief to obtain access to books and records as a director and to restrain his removal as a director pending determination of his claim to a controlling interest in the company.

Airey v Taffinder & Ors (Re Hills Solutions Ltd) [2015] EWHC 3854 (Ch)
Acted for Claimant in successfully obtaining permission to continue a double derivative claim and a full indemnity from the company in respect of a restructuring of the group at an alleged undervalue.

Autonomy Corporation Ltd v Lynch and Hussain
Acting for HP entities in relation to a claim against former directors of Autonomy in a £3bn breach of fiduciary duty and deceit claim.

Re Charterhouse Capital Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 536; [2014] EWHC 1410 (Ch)
Acted at trial and on appeal for successful Respondents in relation to private equity firm unfair prejudice petition.

Arbitrations:

Currently acting in relation to an international UNCITRAL joint venture dispute arbitration.

Currently acting in relation to an arbitration of an unfair prejudice dispute

Halliwells v Austin [2012] EWHC 1194 (Ch)
Acted for former partner in successful summary judgment application defeating claims by liquidator of the firm.

Currently advising in relation to a large professional negligence claim.

Global Energy Horizons Corp v Grey [2012] EWHC 3703 (Ch)
Imposition of fiduciary duties in a non-traditional context.

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc v Hicks [2012] EWHC 2699 (Ch)
Acted for RBS in relation to contest for control of Liverpool FC.

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc v Hicks [2011] EWHC 287 (Ch)
Successful application for anti-suit injunction in relation to contest for control of Liverpool FC.

Fulham Football Club (1987) v Richards [2011] EWCA Civ 855
Leading case which established the arbitrability of shareholder disputes.

Re Microsulis [2008] EWHC 587
Successful strike out of unfair prejudice petition; costs against solicitors for breach of warranty of authority.

BTA v Ablyazov
Acted for proposed court receivers in various applications.

Great Future International v Sealand Housing Corporation & Ors [2002] EWHC 2454 (Ch)
Damages of over US$45million assessed; numerous hearings and applications in the Turks & Caicos Islands, freezing orders; committal for contempt of defendants.

Various recent proceedings in Gibraltar
Including an ongoing shareholder dispute, and a commercial dispute arising out of the insolvency of a law firm.

 

 

Restructuring & Insolvency

  • Winding up
  • Administration
  • CVAs
  • Receivership
  • Contentious insolvency
  • Cross-border issues
  • Directors’ disqualification
  • Misfeasance
  • Company charges

Significant cases include:

Recently advising HMRC on insolvency and commercial issues arising out of a very high value dispute.

Belmont Park Investments Pty Ltd v BNY Corporate Trustee Services Ltd [2011] UKSC 38
Scope of anti-deprivation principle in insolvency.

Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) v CRC Credit Fund [2009] EWHC 3228 (Ch)
Directions in relation to issues relating to client monies.

Sigma Finance Corporation (in administration) [2009] UKSC 2
Acting (without a leader) for Security Trustee in directions hearing to construction of provisions dealing with the distribution of assets in a security trust deed entered into by a structured investment vehicle.

Re Hans Brochier Holdings (unrep, 15 August 2006)
Test to be applied in establishing centre of main interest (COMI) of English company with business operations in Germany. Presumption rebutted.

 

 

Corporate

  • Reductions of capital
  • Cross-border M&A
  • Schemes of arrangement
  • Takeovers
  • Conduct of meetings
  • Company advisory
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Joint venture disputes

Significant cases include:

Re Dee Valley [2017] EWHC 184 (Ch)
High profile contested scheme of arrangement – acted for seven individual shareholders opposing the sanction of the scheme.

Hollis v Marylebone Cricket Club [2013] EWHC 3547 (QB)
Acted for MCC in successful resistance of injunction to restrain the holding of a general meeting of the Club.

Re Auger Investments Ltd [2012] EWHC 94
Security for costs against Liberian company in context of unfair prejudice petition.

MSL Group Holdings Ltd v Clearwall International Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 1440
Test for disguised distributions.

Fulham Football Club (1987) v Richards [2011] EWCA Civ 855
Leading case which established the arbitrability of shareholder disputes.

Re Woven Rugs [2010] EWHC 230 (Ch)
Acted for successful Petitioner at trial on s.994 petition. Backdated order and interest.

Re Microsulis [2008] EWHC 587
Successful strike out of unfair prejudice petition; costs against solicitors for breach of warranty of authority.

 

 

Memberships & Publications

COMBAR

Chancery Bar Association

Contributor to Buckley on the Companies Acts, Practice and Procedure of the Companies Court; Company Directors: Law and Liability; podcasts for CPDCast

 

 

Recognition

Chambers UK Bar 2017 (Company)

“Very commercial and user-friendly, he’s simply first class.” 

Chambers UK Bar 2017 (Commercial Dispute Resolution)

“Decisive, charismatic, persuasive, and someone who is able to process huge amounts of information quickly.” “He’s a very robust advocate and a brilliantly prepared cross-examiner

Chambers UK Bar 2017 (Restructuring/Insolvency)

 “He’s very available and very responsive.”

Chambers UK Bar 2017 (Chancery: Commercial)

“Realises that you can do your job to the highest standard without being unpleasant to other people. He’s immensely clever and a very good technical lawyer, whose advocacy is devastating.” “James is very effective in terms of understanding the tactics surrounding correspondence and the need to position yourself before trial. Once in court, he’s effective at the kind of hand-to-hand combat that goes on on a daily basis.

Legal 500 2017 (Commercial litigation)

A very robust advocate and a brilliantly prepared cross-examiner.’

Legal 500 2017 (Company)

 ‘An excellent barrister, his advice is always spot on.’

Legal 500 2017 (Insolvency)

 ‘Extremely pugnacious in court.’

Legal 500 2016 (Commercial litigation)

‘A very impressive and powerful advocate, who is user-friendly and extremely bright.’ 

Legal 500 2016 (Company)

‘He is very clever and has a good court manner.’

Chambers UK Bar 2016 (Restructuring/Insolvency)

“He has great technical ability and won’t run away from a fight.” “His legal analysis is insightful and fearless.”

Chambers UK Bar 2016 (Company)

“He is excellent – the advice he gives is very commercial and pragmatic.”

Chambers UK Bar 2016 (Chancery: Commercial)

“He has encyclopaedic knowledge of corporate law, and is spot-on in his judgement calls.”

Chambers UK Bar 2016 (Commercial Dispute Resolution)

 “Great advocate with a great brain.” “He has a fantastic grasp of accountancy detail and is always accessible. He’s an excellent team player.” 

Chambers UK Bar 2015 (Company)

“He’s just a delight to work with. He’s very clever, can see the big picture, and is really responsive. I’m sure he’s highly in demand but he always makes time for you.”

“He is a heavyweight advocate and a strategic thinker.”

Legal 500 2015 (Commercial litigation)

“He is one of the best advocates who has a way of putting things succinctly.”

Chambers Global 2014 (Dispute Resolution – Commercial)

Took silk in 2013, and is a strong presence at the Commercial Bar.  His practice has a particular focus on disputes involving insolvency and partnership matters.

“very bright, client friendly and approachable.”

“Excellent in his field, he gets to the point very quickly and is persuasive.”

Chambers Global 2014 (Insolvency / Restructuring)

A new silk who has made an excellent impression on both peers and clients. His excellent advocacy and drafting are complemented by his client-friendly approach.

“Very accessible, he provides clear, concise advice which enables the client to make informed decisions.”

Chambers UK Bar 2014 (Company)

A popular choice for company law matters, who is particularly praised and revered for his advocacy skills.  Also advises clients on insolvency and commercial law.

“He is a tremendous advocate, who is very well prepared and very bright.”

“I don’t like to be against him – he’s that good.”

 

Ranked in

Chambers & Partners –
Company, Restructuring & Insolvency, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chancery:Commercial

Legal 500 –
Company & Partnership, Commercial Litigation, Insolvency

Who's Who Legal –
Insolvency & Restructuring

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