James Counsell QC
Year of Call:
James Counsell, QC is widely recognised in the fields of Clinical and Professional Negligence and in Personal Injury, acting both for claimants and for defendants. He also specialises in acting for victims of historic sexual abuse, having recently acted as lead counsel in the first successful claim against the Jehovah’s Witness organisation.
James acts for claimants and financial institutions in claims based upon the alleged mis-selling of financial products and breaches of FSMA and at common law.
His claims work is combined with a busy disciplinary and regulatory practice, regularly representing doctors, dentists, solicitors, accountants and those in the financial services sector in their respective disciplinary tribunals.
Besides defence regulatory work, he regularly represents the Council of Lloyd’s in enforcement proceedings brought against its members by the Society of Lloyd’s and recently conducted an extensive and high profile inquiry leading to successful enforcement proceedings against a Lloyd’s managing agency and its senior officers. James is also an active member of the BSB Prosecuting Panel and has represented BSB in a number of high profile cases against well known barristers in the last year or so.
Disciplinary & Regulatory
James’s regulatory practice, on the defence side, is chiefly in the medical and dental field together with acting for solicitors and accountants.
He is frequently instructed (by all the principal defence organisations (MPS, MDU, MDDUS) to represent doctors and dentists at the General Medical Council (the MPTS) and General Dental Council. His work has involved the full range of misconduct and heath cases, including clinical malpractice, dishonesty, sexual misconduct and health/addiction-related cases and he regularly conducts appeals in the Administrative Court.
As an active member of the BSB Prosecution Panel, he has prosecuted two recent misconduct hearings against barristers leading to disbarment for dishonesty and has acted for the BSB in the high profile cases of Constance Briscoe, Shawn Wallace and Damian McCarlby.
James 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 conduct of a Lloyd’s Managing Agency and then prosecuting the subsequent successful disciplinary proceedings against the Company and its three senior officers. He has just completed an enforcement case against a Lloyd’s member, found to have been dishonest in respect of brokerage.
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.lloyds.com/~/media/Files/The%20Market/Communications/Market%20Bulletins/2013/02/Y4675.pdf http://www.insuranceinsider.com/lloyd-s-bars-and-fines-two-equity-execs http://www.ft.com/cms
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.
Council of Lloyd’s of London v Y (Name withheld)
Disciplinary proceedings against underwriting agent for misappropriating client money in Singapore.
Council of Lloyd’s v O’Sullivan
Disciplinary proceedings against Lloyd’s member of an LLP member alleging dishonesty as placing broker by misleading others as to nature of and extent of brokerage to be earned. Discreditable misconduct arising out of dishonestly obtaining more than US$1.7m out of deception found proved and banned from market, censured and ordered to pay costs. Successfully represented Council of Lloyd’s at disciplinary tribunal, appeal tribunal and before the Council in a second appeal by the Defendant.
GMC v Pool
Fitness to practise proceedings brought against expert witness (psychiatrist) for failing to act within limits of expertise. Appeal to Administrative Court partially successful – suspension quashed.
GMC v Walker
General Practitioner, working in botox clinic admitting allegations of sexual impropriety with patient, who, with her husband allegedly sought to blackmail him (husband convicted of blackmail). Complainant a dominatrix. Panel accepted his evidence that patient had a financial interest in continuing relations and played a leading role in what occurred, including filming it covertly. Doctor suspended rather than erased. Judicial review proceedings brought mid hearing to resolve challenge to decision to conduct hearing in public. Four week case.
Bar Standards Board v McCarthy
Prosecuted barrister accused of lying about the sending of client care letters in Direct Access instruction – disbarred.
Bar Standards Board v Wallace
Prosecuted TV quiz barrister accused of misconduct when representing young defendant facing section 18 charge.
Bar Standards Board v Briscoe
Prosecuted barrister and former judge in respect of dishonesty in police investigation into Chris Huhne penalty points prosecution – disbarred.
Appointments & Memberships
- European Circuit
- Western Circuit
Areas of Law
- Clinical Negligence
- Disciplinary & Regulatory
- Financial Services
- Personal Injury
- Child & Adult Abuse
- International Illness, Injury & Travel
- Professional Negligence
“His calm, collected style is particularly effective with difficult clients and complex issues.” Professional Discipline & Regulatory Law, Legal 500 2017
“Calm, robust and steady in difficult circumstances.” Financial Services, Legal 500 2017
“Exactly the sort of person you want to take you through a trial.” Banking & Finance, Legal 500 2017
“He’s very detail-focused, he picks up on absolutely everything and he’s very good at digesting large quantities of information in a very short period of time.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2017
“unflappable exterior makes him a really polished performer before the panels. He is well received whenever he appears.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2017
“Extremely thorough and knowledgeable.” Professional Discipline and Regulatory Law, Legal 500 2016
“Highly experienced in mis-selling and negligence claims.” Banking and Finance, Legal 500 2016
“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
“A well-regarded specialist in financial regulatory, banking and insurance law.” Banking & Finance, Legal 500 2015
“He is always well prepared.” Professional Discipline & Regulatory Law, Legal 500 2015