Pump Court

Nick James

Call 2001

"‘He has a knack. He really knows his cases and tactically plays things just right’

Chambers 2024 (Financial Crime)

‘On his feet Nick is an extremely skilled advocate, one of very the best at the Bar, who combines meticulous preparation with exceptional client care.’

Legal 500 2023 (Fraud)

"Nick is courageous and unshakable in his commitment to his clients."

Chambers & Partners 2023 (Financial Crime)

Directory Quotes
  • “Nick is empathetic with clients and impressive in court.”  Chambers 2023 (Financial Crime)
  • “Nick is courageous and unshakable in his commitment to his clients.” Chambers 2023 (Financial Crime)
  • On his feet Nick is an extremely skilled advocate, one of very the best at the Bar, who combines meticulous preparation with exceptional client care.’  Legal 500 2023 (Fraud)
  • “He has the personality and the wit to deal with any client. He tailors his approach to specifically meet the individual client’s needs.”  Chambers 2023 (Crime)
  • “Judges are often persuaded by his no-nonsense approach to legal arguments.”  Chambers 2023 (Crime)
  • ‘In court, Nick never fails to read the situation perfectly, always knowing the best approach to achieve the best outcome.’  Legal 500 2023 (Crime)
  • “He is extremely good in court – a charismatic advocate.” Chambers 2022 (Financial Crime)
  • “Easy to work with, forceful and charismatic.  He is very good with juries.” Chambers 2021 (Financial Crime)
  • “Nick is an intelligent and pragmatic lawyer.” Chambers 2021 (Crime)
  • “Passionate about his clients’ cases, he will fight hard and make himself available to discuss matters at a moment’s notice. He has an excellent manner with clients in what can be extremely emotional circumstances.” Chambers 2021 (Crime)
  • “A really excellent, hard-nosed brief with a very instinctive sense of the right strategic moves.” Chambers 2020 (Financial Crime)
  • “He’s an incredibly good advocate and he builds a very good rapport with clients and solicitors.” Chambers 2020 (Financial Crime)
  • “He has an engaging personality and excellent rapport with lay and professional clients.” Legal 500 2020 (Crime)
  • “An advocate with an unperturbed manner but a steely resolve.” Legal 500 2020 (Fraud)

Instructing Nick James

To instruct Nick or for any further information please contact our clerks.

Clerk: John Grimmer
Telephone: +44 (0)7776 154 664
Email: Click here

Nick is recognised by the directories as a leading white collar fraud practitioner and is regularly instructed to defend Directors and professional clients.

Notable recent cases include successfully defending a former company director in a Bribery trial brought by the SFO and securing the acquittal of a Pastor at a Church which made fraudulent gift aid reclaims of £3.5m from 2013 to 2018.

Nick also defended a company director in Operation Balaban, a Carbon Credit fraud which collapsed when the Prosecution expert was exposed as unreliable and has appeared in the Court of Appeal in a series of appeals arising out of that experts behaviour (R v Byrne [2021] EWCA Crime 107). Nick previously represented a Barclays trader convicted of Libor rigging in the Court of Appeal (R v Pabon [2018] EWCA Crim 420), a key case on expert evidence in criminal trials.

Nick is ranked as a Leading Junior in Financial Crime in Chambers UK and for Fraud in the Legal 500.

Chambers UK Financial Crime describes him as ‘…empathetic with clients and impressive in court’ and ‘..courageous and unshakable in his commitment to his clients’.

The 2024 edition says ‘He has a knack.  He really knows his cases and tactically plays things just right.

Legal 500 says ‘On his feet Nick is an extremely skilled advocate, one of the very the best at the Bar, who combines meticulous preparation with exceptional client care.’

The 2024 edition says Nick is an engaging advocate who retains a personal and affable manner even when forcefully making points to a judge or jury. He has a wonderfully light touch. He is thorough and hardworking and will not miss points but makes sure that he is always focused on the ultimate issues.’

Nick also practices in Regulatory and Sports Law with experience in integrity and misconduct cases.  He recently acted for the Head of the Belarus Athletics Team who was charged with violations of World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct at the Tokyo Olympics.  World Athletics asserted that this was the most serious non-doping case it had brought.

Nick is a member of the CBA, FLA and ARDL.

Practice Areas

Fraud

Nick is recognised by the directories as a leading white collar fraud practitioner and is regularly instructed to defend Directors and professional clients.

Notable recent cases include successfully defending a former company director in a Bribery trial brought by the SFO and securing the acquittal of a Pastor at a Church which made fraudulent gift aid reclaims of £3.5m from 2013 to 2018.

Nick also defended a company director in Operation Balaban, a Carbon Credit fraud which collapsed when the Prosecution expert was exposed as unreliable and has appeared in the Court of Appeal in a series of appeals arising out of that experts behaviour (R v Byrne [2021] EWCA Crime 107). Nick previously represented a Barclays trader convicted of Libor rigging in the Court of Appeal (R v Pabon [2018] EWCA Crim 420), a key case on expert evidence in criminal trials.

Chambers UK Financial Crime describes him as ‘…empathetic with clients and impressive in court’ and ‘..courageous and unshakable in his commitment to his clients’.

The 2024 edition says ‘He has a knack.  He really knows his cases and tactically plays things just right.

Legal 500 says ‘On his feet Nick is an extremely skilled advocate, one of the very the best at the Bar, who combines meticulous preparation with exceptional client care.’

And Nick is an engaging advocate who retains a personal and affable manner even when forcefully making points to a judge or jury. He has a wonderfully light touch. He is thorough and hardworking and will not miss points but makes sure that he is always focused on the ultimate issues.’

Notable fraud cases


R v PL & Ors (2024)

Nick James, leading Molly Dyas, secured the acquittal of their client PL, charged with a £54m Money-Laundering Conspiracy, following a nine-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court. PL was alleged to be part of a group who used Chinese Underground Banking, an Informal Value Transfer System, to convert millions of pounds of criminal cash via bank accounts. Experts gave evidence about money-laundering operations and IVTS and the Jury were taken through hundreds of pages of text messages showing the operation in action. PL’s case was that he was operating a Money Service Business, but had no idea the money emanated from crime. He pleaded guilty to the regulatory offence of failing to register his business with HMRC and the Jury found him guilty of possession of £14,600 of criminal property. PL was sentenced to 18 months, a sentence he had served on remand. Three of his co-defendants were convicted of the Conspiracy.


R v SZ & Ors (2023)

Nick James, leading Huda Musa, secured the unanimous acquittal of his client SZ following a four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court for a £3.5m Cheat on the Revenue and associated money-laundering offences. SZ was a Pastor and administrator at a Church which made fraudulent gift aid reclaims from 2013 to 2018. It was alleged that SZ had assisted the senior Pastor, who was found guilty of all counts, to make the inflated claims. SZ’s case, that he had been trying to grow and market the Church and he had no knowledge of the size of the gift aid reclaims, was presented over a number of days using text messages, emails and contemporaneous Church promotional material.


SFO v NW & Ors (2022-3)

Nick successfully defended a company director charged with bribery and money laundering offences by the SFO. The 15-week trial of three men involved in the corporate fit-out industry concluded with unanimous acquittals on all counts. This was the culmination of an extensive SFO investigation lasting 6 years and generating some 4 million documents. The SFO alleged that bribes had been paid in order to win contracts subject to competitive tender processes. The defence case was that the payments were for leads and that such payments are common in the fit-out industry. The Jury returned not guilty verdicts following less than a day of deliberations.


R v AS & Ors (2022)

Nick defended one of only three defendants to be acquitted in this complex 12-handed money laundering operation. It was alleged that millions of pounds in criminal monies was moved through the UK and Vietnam via a labyrinthine system of bank accounts and businesses. The case featured voluminous financial evidence including some concerning Vietnamese banking law, Informal Value Transfer Systems (IVTS) and evidence from Forensic Accountants.


R v AH & Ors (2022)

This was a wine investment fraud boiler room fraud where the majority of the money invested was dissipated. Nick defended the former director of one of the companies involved. Cross-examination of the Financial Investigator and Officer in the case exposed flaws in the prosecution case and led to the Conspiracy to Defraud and POCA charges being abandoned.


R v MJ & Ors (2021)

This was a 20 handed Conspiracy to Defraud the Civil Aviation Authority, whereby claims were made under the ATOL scheme following the liquidation of a fraudulent travel agent. Nick’s client’s previous convictions for dishonesty, including Conspiracy to Defraud, were before the jury and he did not give evidence. However, Nick used emails recovered from a computer to show that his client was aware of an investigation by the CAA and that he had not acted dishonestly. He was unanimously acquitted.


R v LC & Ors (2021)

This was a 13 handed multi-million pound MTIC fraud. Nick’s client provided numerous fraudulent documents in order to establish shell companies which acted as buffers or missing traders. Further complexity arose out of an overlap between this case and a previous fraud he had been convicted of. The same companies and identities were used, giving rise to legal arguments as to whether he can be prosecuted for two offences on substantially the same evidence.


R v MdP & Ors (2021)

This was a private prosecution of Italian nationals brought by the American clothing brand Supreme for trademark infringements in Europe and China. The case took place against a background of extensive civil litigation in other jurisdictions which, it was argued, included the promise not to prosecute. It was an extremely complex and high value case, with the defendants alleged to have turned over in excess of £30m almost entirely through fraud.


R v Bryne & Ors (2021)

Nick represented two former company directors in the joined appeal relating to the discredited carbon credit expert Andrew Ager. Each argued that their conviction was unsafe as it was based on Ager’s evidence. Following on from Pabon, this complex appeal raised further issues relating to how expert witnesses are selected and supervised by prosecuting authorities. In an appeal that lasted 3 days, and involved 5 Silks, Nick submitted that Ager did not just fail to comply with his duties, he was a dishonest and biased witness and it brought the justice system into disrepute for the convictions to stand.


R v AH & Ors (2019)

Nick represented the second defendant, a former company director, in this £3m Carbon Credit and Diamond fraud. The trial collapsed when the expert witness who had been advising the Police even before charges were brought was thoroughly discredited and failures to disclose his lack of expertise uncovered.


R v GS (2019)

Nick defended a man alleged to have laundered £500k from a £3m nationwide banking fraud. Individuals and businesses had their emails and bank accounts hacked and diverted to criminal bank accounts. Nick’s client was in control of more than 20 such accounts.


R v MS & Ors (2018)

This was a 13 handed MTIC fraud alleged to have caused a loss to HMRC in excess of £20m. Nick defended the man operating the freight company responsible for arranging the fraudulent loads of copper and diverting them from destinations in Europe to the UK.


R v EE (2018)

US and UK law enforcement combined to trace the hacking of the Orange County employee’s pension scheme to the defendants home in Reading via IP addresses and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. The trial involved expert cyber security evidence on both sides, as the case turned on the reliability of a copy of log files provided by a VPN service in the US who would later refuse to co-operate with the prosecution.


R v Pabon (2018)

Led by Tom Allen QC, Nick appeared in the Court of Appeal for one of the Barclays traders who had been convicted of Libor rigging. The appeal focused on an expert called by the SFO to explain banking, including Libor and STIR, to the Jury. However, it became apparent during the retrial of a co-defendant that the witness was not in fact an expert in those areas and had not complied with his duties as an expert.


R v SH & Ors (2016-17)

Nick defended a company directors in a series of 3 high value fraud trials involving allegations of investment fraud, fraudulent trading and defrauding Natwest bank.


R v MB & Ors (2017)

This was a private prosecution alleging Fraudulent Trading and Theft of £500k of plastic against the directors of a UK company. This was the subject of High Court proceedings and both the Prosecutor and first defendant had been held liable to the claimant company.


Crime

Nick is a leading criminal defence practitioner with a reputation for excellent advocacy and meticulous preparation.  He has a busy and successful practice robustly defending in long and complex trials. His persuasive advocacy, strategic insight and client care mean Nick is highly sought after for difficult and serious cases.  Nick is particularly adept at dealing with expert evidence, having appeared in both Pabon and Byrne & Ors, the two most recent Court of Appeal authorities concerning expert evidence.

“He has the personality and the wit to deal with any client…….He tailors his approach to specifically meet the individual client’s needs.” Crime, Chambers 2022

“Judges are often persuaded by his no-nonsense approach to legal arguments.” Crime, Chambers 2022

‘In court, Nick never fails to read the situation perfectly, always knowing the best approach to achieve the best outcome.’ Crime, Legal 500 2022

Nick has recently defended in a series of complex drugs cases, including many featuring Encrochat evidence, as well gang related firearms cases and cases involving kidnap and torture.

Notable crime cases


R v KK & Ors (2021)

Nick’s client was involved in two separate substantial multi-handed Class A Drugs Conspiracies each operated using Encrochat devices. In excess of 50kg of Cocaine was imported and supplied.


R v MA & Ors (2021)

In this long and complex firearms trial Nick cross-examined a Police gang ‘expert’ extensively on a voir dire about his expertise and on the use of drill music as ‘bad character’. A recent Justice report suggested that the use of drill music may be discriminatory. As a result, this evidence was not adduced against Nick’s client and the Judge acceded to a submission of no case to answer on the more serious charge of Possession with Intent to Endanger Life.


R v RK & Ors (2021)

Nick represented the lead defendant in a Conspiracy to import a tonne of cannabis to Cornwall from Morocco via Spain by sea. The case was unusual in that the plan was never caried out, but the Crown relied on Encrochat messages to prove the conspiracy.


R v SD & Ors (2019)

Nick was instructed as leading junior for a man playing a leading role in this voluminous 6-week Conspiracy to Supply Heroin. The case involved complex legal arguments about the scope of the conspiracy and whether in fact there was one agreement or a number of separate agreements, as per the cases of Shillam, Mehta and Griffiths.


R v AT & Ors (2019)

This 12-week trial concerned the importation and onward supply of around 400 kilos of Cocaine plus wholesale quantities of ketamine and cannabis. Overall more than twenty people in London and the Midlands were arrested, with Nick’s client alleged to be the head of the entire operation.


R v SM (2019)

Two sub-machine guns and a kilo of cocaine were found at the defendant’s flat. Following negotiation and written and oral submissions, he was sentenced as an unwitting custodian. The Court also acceded to submissions that he was entitled to full credit despite the timing of his plea, due to the exception in the guidelines for cases involving complex legal issues.


R v PF & Ors (2019)

Nick’s client was charged with the large scale importing and exporting of crystal methamphetamine through Turkey and Japan. He became unfit to stand trial, but neither the Crown nor the Judge accepted this was genuine or that it wasn’t related to voluntary drug use. Nick successfully kept hm out of custody throughout prolonged proceedings and ultimately these very serious charges were ordered to lie on file.


R v JN & Ors (2018)

Nick acted as leading junior in Operation Vocare, which featured 13 defendants in a conspiracy to commit aggravated burglaries at mobile phone shops. The gang targeted shops on 17 separate occasions, using mopeds and carrying weapons including knives and handguns.


R v FF & Ors (2018)

Nick defended one of 4 people alleged to be have organised and carried out a shooting in East London. Four people were injured and a combination of cell site and covert recordings led to the arrest of the defendants.


R v JB (2018)

Nick defended an 18-year-old defendant as leading junior in this gang related kidnapping case. The complainant was held for 24 hours and subjected to violence and threats to kill by an armed gang.


Murder & Manslaughter

Nick has defended in more than 20 murder, attempted murder and manslaughter trials. He has experience in a wide range of different types of homicide case including gang murder, honour killing, professional hits and one-punch manslaughters.

Notable murder & manslaughter cases


R v JB & Ors

Nick defended an 18-year-old in this murder trial involving the deliberate targeting of the victim by a gang. The evidence included ‘drill’ videos and other evidence of gang membership.


R v AA

Nick represented a 16-year-old boy with ADHD accused of murdering his friend over an argument on snapchat. The case featured evidence from all forms of social media and anonymous witnesses.


R v EE & Ors

This three-handed murder trial involved a knife fight between four men which was captured on film and witnessed by numerous members of the public. Alleged to have been a deliberate and planned attack on the deceased, the Jury acquitted of murder despite the defendant not giving evidence.


Sports Law

Notable Sports Law Cases

World Athletics v Yuri Moisevich (2023)

Nick represented the head of the Belarus Athletics Team who was charged with violations of the World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct in what World Athletics described as the most serious non-doping case it had ever brought.  The allegations related to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (2021) where a female Belarussian athlete was withdrawn from the games and sent home ostensibly due to her mental health.  However, it was alleged that this was a sham and that she had been sent home as a punishment for criticising the coaching team on social media.   This had come to the attention of the Belarus government and caused the Sports Minister to speak to both the coach and the athlete.  On the way home the athlete sought assistance from the Police at Narita Airport and was taken to Poland where she was granted a humanitarian visa.  The case received significant international media attention at the time and the IOC stripped the head coach and another Belarus coach of their accreditation.   The coach was charged with violations of the requirements to act with honesty, to preserve dignity and to protect the reputation of World Athletics.    World Athletics sought an 8-year ban.  Following a fully contested hearing the first two charges were proved and a ban of 5 years imposed.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/aug/06/ioc-strips-two-belarus-olympics-coaches-of-accreditation-over-krystsina-tsimanouskaya-scandal

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9867119/Two-Belarus-coaches-stripped-accreditation-sent-home-Games.html

Appeals

Nick is regularly instructed to advise on appeals and to appear in the Court of Appeal for the Appellant.

Notable appeals cases


POCA Special Court (Cartwright & Ors) [2024]

The Prosecution appealed the decisions to refuse to extend the period of postponement for confiscation when the application was made after the period had expired in five cases involving 10 defendants. Nick successfully opposed this application in the lower court in respect of one of the defendants. Lord Justice Edis convened a special court and argument was heard over 2 days. Judgment has been reserved.


Byrne & Ors [2021] EWCA Crim 107; [2021] 2 WLUK 21

Nick represented two former company directors in this joined appeal relating to the discredited carbon credit expert Andrew Ager. Each argued that their conviction was unsafe as it was based on Ager’s evidence. Following on from Pabon, this complex appeal raised further issues relating to how expert witnesses are selected and supervised by prosecuting authorities. In an appeal that lasted 3 days, and involved 5 King’s Counsel, Nick submitted that Ager did not just fail to comply with his duties, he was a dishonest and biased witness and it brought the justice system into disrepute for the convictions to stand.


Pabon [2018] EWCA Crim 420; [2018] 3 WLUK 279; [2018] Crim. L.R. 662

Led by Tom Allen KC, Nick appeared in the Court of Appeal for one of the Barclays traders who had been convicted of Libor rigging. The appeal focused on an expert called by the SFO to explain banking, including Libor and STIR, to the Jury. However, it became apparent during the retrial of a co-defendant that the witness was not in fact an expert in those areas and had not complied with his duties as an expert.


Khan & Ors [2013] EWCA Crim 800; [2013] 4 WLUK 654; [2014] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 10; [2013] Crim. L.R. 704

Nick appeared in this appeal against sentence where the Court of Appeal concluded that the Sentencing Guidelines for Drugs offences did apply to charges of Conspiracy to Supply.


Practice Areas

Menu

Portfolio Builder

Select the practice areas that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Portfolio
Title Type CV Email

Remove All

Download


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)