James became a tenant at Three Stone in September 2019 (having been called to the Bar in July 2019). He originally qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and a solicitor advocate in 2010. During his career in private practice, he has worked at 3 major international law firms: Slaughter and May; White & Case LLP; and most recently at Jenner & Block LLP, where he was a partner in its London office.
James has a broad commercial practice working for corporate and banking clients (including a six-month period effectively seconded to a major investment bank), encompassing international arbitration and complex commercial disputes, often with cross-border elements. He has gained substantial experience of applying for post-arbitration award/judgment enforcement measures and in that connection has dealt with a wide range of applications for relief and related jurisdictional issues. This is an area of particular interest and he has published a number of articles in the field. James’ experience of general commercial work, international arbitration (commercial and investment), the recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards and banking and finance disputes is set out in ‘Cases of Interest’ below.
James accepts instructions in a range of chambers’ work, with a particular focus on commercial litigation and arbitration, commercial chancery and investor–state disputes. He is recommended in Chambers & Partners for Commercial Dispute Resolution.
Areas of expertise
Cases of interest
Recent instructions include:
General Commercial/Civil fraud
Transworld Payment Solutions UK Ltd (in liq) v FCIB & Deuss
Acting (with Christopher Parker KC and Caley Wright) in a c.£280 million claim relating to MTIC fraud.
ConfidentialActed (as sole counsel) for a high-performance racing car engine manufacturer in its claim under an engine lease agreement in the London Circuit Commercial Court.
ConfidentialAdvised (as sole counsel) a technology company in relation to its claim under a contract for the development of a scalable distributed ledger system in the London Circuit Commercial Court.
ConfidentialActed (with Stephen Auld KC) for the claimant bank in CPR Part 8 proceedings in the Commercial Court for non-disclosure and ancillary orders in support of proceedings in the British Virgin Islands under s.25 Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982.
Haskell Elias v David Mamistvalov & Soda Holdings Ltd (2021)Acted (as sole counsel) for the defendant in interlocutory High Court proceedings concerning a dispute between 2 individuals in relation to ownership and control of an English limited company.
International Arbitration (commercial and investment) and related proceedings
Cruz City v Unitech & OrsAdvising Cruz City (with Simon Colton KC and Nehali Shah) in ongoing proceedings in aid of enforcement of LCIA arbitration awards worth US$500m. Includes, in the Isle of Man, successfully resisting an application to strike out and for summary judgment in respect of Cruz City’s application for declaratory relief, and successfully resisting an application to set aside a Chabra freezing order.
The Republic of Sierra Leone v SL Mining Ltd (2021)( EWHC 929 (Comm)).Appearing (as sole counsel) for the Republic of Sierra Leone in proceedings in the Commercial Court relating to a US$1.9bn ICC arbitration, in relation to applications for (a) security for costs, and (b) costs
ConfidentialDavid Lord KC) in relation to the scope of an arbitration clause in articles of association for the purposes of US (SDNY) proceedings.Advised (with
Confidential (2021)Advising an investor in relation to claims in public international law, including under the Energy Charter Treaty, and certain BITs.
OffshoreArnage & Ors v Walkers (A firm) Cayman – Advising (with Mark Simpson KC and Nico Leslie) the defendant firm in a $490 million professional negligence claim in the Cayman Islands arising out of the uncovering of alleged frauds in a major Brazilian bank.
Re Seahawk China Dynamic FundCayman – assisting Appleby in its representation of the petitioner in a just and equitable winding up petition and application to appoint provisional liquidators in respect of an investment fund worth over US$400m.
Confidential (2021-22)BVI – Advised the defendant bank in connection with ongoing proceedings concerning a claim to set aside a Tomlin Order for fraud and unlawful means conspiracy, including in relation to an application to challenge the BVI court’s jurisdiction.
ConfidentialBahamas/Cayman – Advising in relation to questions of jurisdiction regarding allegations of a complex large scale (US$400m) civil fraud.
Briefline Assets Ltd v Falin & Anor (2021)BVI – Advised (with John Carrington KC) the claimant/respondent in relation to an application to continue and cross-application to discharge an ex parte WWFO.
Re a Cayman Islands Trust (2020)Cayman – Junior counsel in a team advising a Cayman Islands trustee of a £20m trust in relation to allegations of breach of trust and gross negligence. The case also involved allegations of undue influence, lack of capacity, proprietary estoppel and conspiracy.
James’ work prior to transferring to the Bar includes, by way of example:
- Advised individual defendants to civil claims brought against them by a foreign tax authority in relation to an alleged £1bn withholding tax fraud. Involved complex conflict of laws and jurisdictional issues.
- Advised an Eastern European bank on complex conflict of laws issues arising in relation to a dispute connected to a finance agreement and an apparent fraud.
- Represented a Turkish business consultant in a contractual dispute under a Consultancy Agreement.
- Represented a minority shareholder in a BVI-registered mining company in relation to a dispute concerning shareholder rights (BVI Commercial Court).
- Represented the aircraft owner and head-lessor in a claim against the sub-lessee for sums to compensate them for the loss of the sale of the aircraft to a third party and other losses following late redelivery (Pindell Ltd & Anor v Airasia Berhad (formerly known as Airasia SDN BHD)  EWHC 2516 (Comm);  2 All E.R. 396 (Comm).
International Arbitration (commercial and investment)
- Advised an investor in a significant investment treaty claim against a South American state.
- Advised a US defence contractor in relation to a high-value breach of contract dispute (LCIA Rules, London seat).
- Represented an investor in a significant investment treaty claim against an Eastern European state in relation to real estate projects (UNCITRAL Rules).
- Advised an investor on protections and dispute resolution mechanisms under the Agreement for the Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and various bilateral treaties.
- Represented an investor in a BVI-registered mining company in relation to a dispute concerning information-provision obligations and repayment covenants in an Investment Agreement (LCIA Rules, London seat).
- Represented a defence contractor in relation to a $100m breach of contract dispute relating to a contract change mechanism (LCIA Rules, London seat).
Recognition and Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards
- Acting in ongoing multi-jurisdiction enforcement proceedings on behalf of the award creditor in respect of two LCIA arbitration awards now worth over US$500m obtaining a range of relief from the Courts in England, Isle of Man, Cyprus and India including disclosure orders, WWFO, Chabra relief and receivership orders. Numerous reported decisions, including:  EWHC 1323 (Comm),  2 All ER (Comm) 1137;  EWCA Civ 1512;  EWHC 1323 (Comm);  EWHC 3131 (Comm),  1 All ER (Comm) 336;  EWHC 467 (Comm);  EWHC 3704,  1 All ER (Comm) 305;  EWHC 86 (Comm);  EWHC 597 (Comm); Ex.P.132/2014 11 April 2017 (Delhi High Court); CHP/2013/66 4 July 2018 and 4 February 2019 (Isle of Man High Court).
- Obtained a recognition and enforcement order in relation to a Chilean arbitration award and advising on enforcement options in England.
- Advised a US arbitration award creditor (ICC Award for over US$1.5bn) on enforcement options in England, including in relation to obtaining disclosure from non-parties.
Banking and Finance
- Advised a major export-import bank in relation to a dispute with bondholders, including advice on risks of interim and post-judgment relief being granted against it.
- Advised a major investment bank over the course of two years on issues arising under a complex credit default swap agreement. Included a six-month period effectively seconded to the bank.
- month period effectively seconded to the bank.
- MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence (Exhibitioner) – Lincoln College, University of Oxford
- Postgraduate Certificates in the Principles of Civil Procedure and International and Comparative Commercial Restitution – undertaken part-time at University College London
- MSc in Law and Finance – Worcester College, University of Oxford
- MPhil in Law (Private International Law) – Worcester College, University of Oxford
- ‘Prevention of Asset Stripping: Worldwide freezing orders’ – GAR, The Guide to Challenging and Enforcing Arbitration Awards (co-author; July 2019) (chapter 11).
- Securing enforcement of arbitral awards – the problem(s) with non-parties  Journal of Enforcement of Arbitration Awards. Draft version available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3343697
- International jurisdiction and the grant of post-judgment information-provision orders: post tenebras lux?  37(4) CJQ 484.
- ‘A corridor of uncertainty? Brexit, international jurisdiction and the space between adjudication and execution’  LMCLQ 448.
- MAC Clauses, Change and Grupo Hotelero (2014) 6 JIBLR 319 – referenced in L Gullifer & J Payne, Corporate Finance Law: Principles and Policy (2nd edn, Hart 2015) and P Mankowski, Rechtskultur (Mohr Siebeck 2016).
- ‘21st Century Alchemy: a case note on Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG v Royal Bank of Scotland’ (2010) 25 JIBLR 608.
- Tarn IS Ltd (in administration) v Kirby – Case Comment  28 CJQ 300.
- International Bar Association
- Society of Legal Scholars
James is recommended for Commercial Dispute Resolution in the Chambers UK Bar Directory.
“James Woolrich is very level headed and calm.”
“Excellent, bright and always willing to talk through the pros and cons of a case.“