James Counsell

Call date: 1984
Email: James Counsell Clerk: Graham Woods
Areas of Law: Specialist Crime, Disciplinary & Regulation, Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence
Practice summary

James Counsell is widely recognised as a leading senior junior in the fields of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury, acting both for claimants and for defendants, combining that with a busy medical and financial services regulatory practice where he regularly represents doctors, dentists, solicitors, accountants and clients in financial services tribunals. He represents the Council of Lloyd’s in enforcement proceedings brought against its members by the Society of Lloyd’s and is a member of the BSB Prosecuting Panel.

Clinical Negligence
In the past year or so, James has been involved in cases involving allegations of negligence in the fields of surgery (failure to staple after bowel removal), orthopaedics (foot and back surgery / failure to diagnose and surgical error leading to leg amputation), obstetrics (delivery delay, leading to brain damage / failure to intubate, leading to death), general practice (failure to act on histological report indicating carcinoma / failure to refer to specialist, leading to amputation), paediatrics (failure to detect hip dysplasia shortly after birth). He also regularly represents doctors at inquests and has recently acted for two clinicians in the ongoing Inquiry into Hyponatraemia related deaths (O’Hara J) in Northern Ireland.

Personal Injury
James has an extremely busy personal injury practice, representing mostly, but not exclusively claimants, often funded by CFAs. Much of his work involves claims arising out of injuries in accidents at work and other health and safety cases but he also acts for both parties in RTA claims, particularly in high value claims. He also specialises in acting for claimants in historic and more recent sex abuse claims.

Regulatory work
James’s regulatory practice is chiefly in the medical and dental field and in financial services but he has also acted for solicitors and accountants in the recent past. He is also a member of the BSB Prosecution Panel.

He has represented Lloyd’s of London in over 40 cases and assisted Lloyd’s in the complete redrafting of the misconduct byelaws in 2005. Much of 2012/13 was taken up in conducting an inquiry for Lloyd’s into the affairs of a Lloyd’s Managing Agency and prosecuting the subsequent successful disciplinary proceedings against the Company and its three senior officers.

Financial Services and Commercial work
That work for Lloyd’s has led to his being instructed both by claimants and defendants in financial services litigation. He acts for a series of claimants in financial mis-selling claims against a number of leading financial institutions and he acts for Bank of Scotland/HBOS in claims arising out of its debt collecting methods. He also acts for leading commercial companies, including a number of cases for Wincanton plc.

James specialises in acting for ship owners in criminal proceedings brought against them for maritime accidents.

Counsell, JamesThe Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms


Personal Injury Law Journal (141, December 2015/January 2016)
Is vicarious liability really 'on the move'? James Counsell and Ben Bradley discuss the legal implications of the decision in A v The Trustees of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society [2015] and some practical learning points arising from their involvement in the case.

Butterworths Personal Injury Newsletter: February 2012, Vol 4 Issue 2
Who carries the can?  James Counsell, examines the courts’ approach to additional costs when it comes to late Part 36 acceptance.

A selection of recent cases
  • Council of Lloyd’s v Equity Syndicate Management Limited and others.
  • With Farhaz Khan, James represented the Council of Lloyd's, instructed by Paul Brady of Lloyd's Legal, in disciplinary proceedings against a Lloyd’s Managing Agent, its CEO, FD and Active Underwriter arising out of the circumstances surrounding a very substantial deterioration in ultimate net claims (assessed at £262 million). Led prosecution of subsequent disciplinary proceedings before the Lloyd's Enforcement Tribunal resulting in settlement by all defendants shortly before the hearing was due to commence in March 2013. Link to press http://www.insuranceinsider.com/lloyd-s-bars-and-fines-two-equity-execs  http://www.ft.com/cms


  • Moneim v General Medical Council [2011] EWHC 327 (Admin)
  • Appeal by General Practitioner after five week FTP hearing relating to allegedly dishonest retrospective alterations to computerised medical records. Defendant found to have been dishonest in respect of a small number of alterations but exonerated in respect of the rest.



  • Kenny v Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Angioplasty performed to treat arterial renal fibromuscular dysplasia. Alleged to have been performed negligently by causing excessive pain due to failures of anaesthetic and failure to monitor anaesthetic. Claimant, a nurse in her fifties, left with acute pain caused by chronic chest wall syndrome.


  • General Medical Council v Adenugba
  • Nigerian Doctor facing allegations of dishonest prescribing of drugs on the NHS for the benefit of his mother in Nigeria and a series of allegations relating to his conduct and treatment of patients whilst working as an Out of Hours GP in Worcestershire, complaints which were, in the view of the PCT clinical director, called by the GMC, mostly racially motivated. 5 week FTP hearing.


  • General Medical Council v Ashenford
  • Trainee GP accused of non consensual sexual assaults, including oral rape, of 17 year old female patient with learning difficulties in the surgery on a number of occasions, together with other consensual sexual relationships with older female patients. Also faced other less serious “patient boundaries” allegations and misconduct relating to his prescribing to patients. Doctor suffering from psychiatric illness which, when combined with other personality disorders, was said to contribute to such conduct. 4 week FTP hearing.


  • Council of Lloyd’s of London v M (Names withheld – not in public domain)
  • Three employees of Lloyd’s managing agents leaving one underwriting agency to go to a competitor, taking with them confidential information and seeking to “poach” business and clients for the benefit of their new employer in breach of Lloyd’s and contractual duties.


  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales v Gibson
  • Chartered accountant accused of impropriety whilst acting as Law of Property Act Receiver. Alleged that she should have appreciated that she was invalidly appointed and, as a result, and, in any event, conducted the receivership improperly. One week disciplinary hearing after which adverse findings were made. Three day appeal resulting in all but one of the misconduct findings being quashed.
James Counsell
Select elements

"He's absolutely superb as he's very quick on the uptake of issues and has no mannerisms or posturing." Professional Discipline, Chambers & partners 2016

"He addresses things in exactly the right way for each individual client." Professional Discipline, Chambers & partners 2016

''He is always well prepared.'' Professional discipline and regulatory law, Legal 500, 2015

''A well-regarded specialist in financial regulatory, banking and insurance law.'' Banking and finance, Legal 500, 2015

‘He always does an excellent job, and is capable of dealing with any matter of any size.’ Banking and finance, Legal 500, 2014

"He is excellent in terms of preparation and understanding the sector." Professional discipline, Chambers & Partners 2014

James Counsell is many instructing solicitors' "first port of call" when it comes to professional discipline, due to his "knack for handling problematic clients and spotting the detail in a case." Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners, 2013

James Counsell is sought out because he has "an innate ability to build a very good rapport with clients." He is known for his ability to turn around seemingly hopeless cases for the doctors he defends. Professional Discipline, Chambers and Partners 2012

James Counsell, whose enviable skill of remaining "calm in a crisis" serves him well and proves a great benefit to his clients. Counsell defends professionals in the medical field and also across the financial sector. Demonstrating his versatility, Professional Discipline, Chambers and Partners 2011

Appointments & memberships:

  • APIL
  • ARDL
  • AvMA
  • Bristol Medico-Legal Society
  • FSLA
  • PNBA
  • PIBA
  • European and Western Circuits