James regularly acts on behalf of banks, building societies and other financial institutions. He advises on a wide range of matters relating to consumer credit and financial services. He was selected as the Banking & Finance Barrister of the Year (UK) by the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards 2018.

Drafting and advisory

  • The new consumer credit activities added to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001;
  • The Money Laundering Regulations 2007, Payment Services Regulations 2009 and Electronic Money Regulations 2011;
  • Collective investment schemes;
  • Drafting and advising on the required statutory content of consumer credit documentation;
  • Unenforceable regulated credit agreements and challenges to notices under the CCA 1974;
  • Connected lender liability under section 75 of the CCA 1974;
  • Unfair relationships and extortionate credit bargains under the CCA 1974;
  • Consumer credit advertising and financial promotions;
  • Liability in respect of undisclosed or secret commissions;
  • Penalties and unfair terms;
  • Alleged harassment of debtors.

Litigation

  • Representing banks and financial advisors in relation to the alleged mis-selling of investments and financial products, including alleged breach of the COB rules;
  • Representing creditors and brokers defending claims of mis-sold PPI and breach of the ICOB rules;
  • James regularly appears on behalf of creditors and assignees in debt recovery claims which are defended on technical grounds under the CCA 1974.

Regularly acts and advises in a broad range of commercial work. Examples of recent and current work include:

  • Acting in a claim issued in High Court relating to alleged dual financing of till equipment;
  • Acting as a sole advocate in the Court of Appeal on behalf of a finance company in the context of a large scale fraud committed by a vehicle fleet management company;
  • Advising on the liability of an original creditor to an assignee under warranties contained in a master assignment of credit card debts;
  • Acting on behalf of a merchant in a substantial charge back dispute with the merchant acquirer and card issuer following the fraudulent use of a credit card.

James regularly appears in mortgage possession and appeal hearings, as well as providing advice on the following matters:

  • Irresponsible secured lending, especially where this is alleged to give rise to an unfair relationship under section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974;
  • FSMA regulated mortgage contracts and the MCOB rules;
  • Applications under section 36 of the AJA 1970 and for time orders under the CCA 1974;
  • Overriding interests of beneficial owners in actual occupation;
  • Drafting pleadings and mortgage agreements, including equity purchase schemes.

James acts in insolvency proceedings brought against companies and individuals:

  • Experience of obtaining and resisting winding-up orders;
  • Appearing on applications to set aside statutory demands and bankruptcy hearings.

James also acts and advises in relation to criminal proceedings brought by trading standards departments and other prosecuting authorities, as well as civil claims for enforcement orders under the Enterprise Act 2000.

  • Santander UK plc v Harrison [2013] EWHC 199 (QB); [2013] Bus LR 501: Successfully represented the Claimant in the County Court, High Court and Court of Appeal in the leading case on the meaning of “credit in the form of a cash loan” and the interaction between securitisation and unfair relationships under the CCA 1974;
  • HFC Bank Plc v Moody [2013] CTLC 85: Successfully represented the creditor on an appeal where technical challenges were made by the debtor in relation to default notices and compliance with a request for a copy of the credit card agreement under section 78 of the CCA 1974;
  • Barnes v Black Horse Limited [2011] 2 All ER (Comm) 1130: Successfully represented the Defendant in the leading High Court authority on transitional provisions in Schedule 3 to the Consumer Credit Act 2006 relating to unfair relationships and extortionate credit bargains. The case also concerned the fiduciary and common law obligations owed by a lender when selling payment protection insurance (PPI) to consumers;
  • Merton LBC v Sinclair Collis [2011] 1 WLR. 1570: Appeared in the Administrative Court, led by Claire Andrews in chambers, on an appeal as to whether the supply of cigarettes by a vending machine to an underage purchaser amounted to a “sale” for the purposes of section 7(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933;
  • Kulkarni v Manor Credit [2010] 2 All ER (Comm) 1017, [2010] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 431: Acted as a sole advocate in the Court of Appeal on behalf of a finance company in the context of a large scale fraud committed by a vehicle fleet management company, with particular reference to claims made by innocent purchasers of vehicles under Part III of the Hire Purchase Act 1964 and the Factors Act 1889;
  • Teasdale v HSBC Bank plc [2010] EWHC 612, [2010] 4 Costs LR 543: Appeared in the satellite costs litigation relating to the costs of cases discontinued in the Carey litigation;
  • Carey v HSBC Bank plc [2009] EWHC 3417 (QB), [2010] Bus LR 1142: Instructed by numerous banks in the Manchester litigation leading up to the decision in the Carey case relating to sections 61 (prescribed terms), 78 (statutory copies), 140A (unfair relationships) and 142 (declarations of unenforceability) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

“Easy to work with, approachable, and a great expert in this area … He’s very assured and good with clients.” Chambers and Partners 2019

“James Ross … has a strong practice advising banks on consumer credit-related disputes … very well informed on the latest consumer laws. He is particularly commercial, cost-effective and tenacious … very cool, calm and collected in court.” Chambers and Partners 2014

  • General editor of Modern Financial Regulation, (the ‘Blue Book’), Jordan (2013).
  • Founding editor of the Consumer and Trading Law Cases (CTLC) series of law reports published by chambers and available on Westlaw.
  • “Recent developments in consumer credit (2010)” podcast available at CPDcast.com
  • “Overseas Purchases and Secret Commissions- the Good News for Consumers in 2007” Consumer Law Yearbook 2009, Ashgate
  • “Consumer Power: the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008” New Law Journal 2008, 158 (7317), 535
  • “Carry the Costs” Solicitors Journal 2007, 151 (28), 944
  • “The Serious Organised Crime Agency- should we be afraid?”, Criminal Law Review 2006, December, pp1019-1034 (with Professor Ben Bowling)
  • “A Brief History of Criminology”, Criminal Justice Matters Autumn 2006 (65) (with Professor Ben Bowling)
  • “SOCA: the Serious and Organised Crime Agency”, Criminal Justice Matters Spring 2006 (63) (with Professor Ben Bowling)
  • Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Consumer Credit Forum
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association

James is authorised to accept Direct Access instructions, usually from businesses and professionals.

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