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James specialises predominantly in Disciplinary & Regulatory and Health, Safety & Environmental Law. He has a considerable background in complex industrial accident cases, fraud and corruption cases, Financial Services, multi-jurisdictional confiscation proceedings and Public Law.
James’ reputation is for prompt assistance to all professional clients in all disciplines; detailed preparation, calm, reasoned and practical advice for all lay clients as well as robust advocacy, fearless cross examination and sound tactical sense in Court.
In 2014, James was the Chambers and Partners Professional Discipline Junior of the Year, and in 2017 he was the Chambers and Partners Health and Safety Junior of the Year.
Disciplinary & Regulatory
His Regulatory experience of representing health care and legal professionals extends to Inquests, the GMC, the GDC, the GPhC, the Tribunal Chamber for Education Health and Social Care and SRA disciplinary tribunals.
He regularly appears in the High Court and Court of Appeal concerning the challenge of regulatory orders. In the medical tribunals, James represents clients up to Consultant level in relation to health and misconduct issues with a particular emphasis on serious clinical incompetence, dishonesty, fraud and suspected sexual impropriety.
He has a background in serious crime (and is a veteran of innumerable murders, manslaughters, sexual offences and investment/ tax frauds). When dealing with conduct allegations against professionals which involves criminal behaviour, James appears in the Crown Court. During the summer of 2010 James was Junior to Adrian Hopkins QC in the GMC, representing Forensic Pathologist Dr Freddie Patel in relation to innumerable allegations relating to Dr Patel’s appearance at Inquests.
In 2011 he went on to represent Dr Patel at the G20 Protest Inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson, one of the most high profile inquests of recent years. As part of his GMC experience, James represented a Shropshire GP charged with deliberately administering a fatal dose of diamorphine to one of his patients in a so called “mercy killing”. The case amounted to an allegation of murder, attracted national publicity but was resolved by the Doctor receiving a formal warning.
In 2014 he conducted FtPP hearings for Consultants and Senior Clinicians in relation to misconduct and performance issues including a consultant Breast Cancer Surgeon in relation to apparent missed cancer diagnoses. He represented a Senior Pathology Consultant at the 2014 Northern Ireland Inquiry into Hyponatraemia Related Deaths. His case load for 2016 is similar and includes allegations of sexual impropriety by a GP with a patient and allegations against a consultant Psychiatrist concerning the discharge of a patient who went on to commit a violent criminal offence on a member of the public.
In recent years, his experience has extended to representing the partner of a firm of solicitors for allegations of wrongdoing relating to client funds, a junior solicitor in a high profile media firm apparently forging the signature of a client on a mortgage deed, a senior Obstetric consultant for fraud in the Crown Court, GMC and in relation to High Court Judicial Review, a consultant anaesthetist for manslaughter in the Crown Court, at Inquest and in GMC proceedings and in 2018/9 a dentist charged with over 2000 offences of misconduct in relation to record keeping and dishonesty.
James manages the Professional Discipline Lawyers Group on LinkedIn.
Appointments & Memberships
- Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
- Criminal Bar Association
- Health & Safety Lawyers Association
James Leonard is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.
Areas of Law
- Business Crime
- Disciplinary & Regulatory
- Financial Services
- Health, Safety & Environment
- Marine & Fisheries
“A go-to barrister with brilliant client care skills and excellent attention to detail. He goes the extra mile.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2021
“An excellent barrister who not only brings a wealth of experience, but also an indispensable commercial awareness which allows him to deal effectively with even the most complex and challenging of circumstances.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2021
“A very pleasing advocate who is very client-friendly.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2021
“He is useful in front of tribunals, always well prepared and thorough, and is well liked by tribunals and juries. He is extremely realistic and good at guiding people to sensible conclusions, and he promotes confidence in his clients.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2021
“James is always very well prepared with an excellent eye for detail, a strong advocate who is also very good at putting clients at ease.” Professional Discipline & Regulatory, Legal 500 2021
“James is a fantastic all-rounder. His advice is practical, analytical and commercial. In court James wins over judges and coroners. He is expert in his application of health and safety law. He is our go-to barrister for health and safety and inquest work.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2021
“A fine strategic thinker who has an air of authority about him.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2020
“He has a brilliant eye for detail and he is very good at putting anxious individuals at ease.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2020
“An outstanding practitioner.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2019
“He has a fantastic way of presenting in court and fights in the most effective way.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2019
“Very focused and strategically minded.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2018
“He has a phenomenal encyclopaedic knowledge.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2018
“One of the best in his field. Strong in giving advice and really empathetic.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2018
“First-class judgement.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2018
“His charming approach is a winner, whether with clients or before the tribunal.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2017
“He delivers impartial and commercial advice, while striking the right chord with judges.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2017
“His easy-going nature puts clients at ease and he has a wonderfully analytical mind. He’s able to get on the right side of tribunals and carry them with him. A wonderfully persuasive advocate.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He is always clear, concise and totally on the ball.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He’s a fantastic tactician and incredibly charming.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He is extremely approachable and a pleasure to work alongside.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2016
“Dynamic and persuasive in court; he wins over judges, magistrates and coroners.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2016
“Clients like him. He is good-humoured, friendly and works very hard for them and their instructing solicitors and advises depending on the merits of each case, adjusting his style as needed.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 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 very good negotiator who is extremely well prepared on the documents front.” “He’s very visible to those that instruct him and shares his knowledge about important cases.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2015
“He has an ability to assimilate vast amounts of information at short notice and distil it in coherent form.” “He is very good at reading the panel when he is doing his advocacy.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 201
“Unafraid of getting his hands dirty, and has a fantastic tone which persuades judges.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2015
“Regularly defends against silks at the General Medical Council.” Professional Discipline & Regulatory Law, Legal 500 2015
“He is very impressive, stays on top of the case, and has a good feel for tactics and strategy. He thinks ahead and is particularly gifted at anticipating problematic issues before they arise.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“He is a fantastic advocate. He is able to negotiate with the prosecutor and his client-handling skills are unrivalled.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“He is able to engage with the prosecution and achieves great results.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2014
“The first choice for a sensitive case.” Legal 500 2014
James Leonard is “exceptionally good” and is noted for his handling of difficult cases involving issues of dishonesty. He is “excellent with clients” and “extremely good in front of regulatory panels.” A former criminal advocate, he is “a fierce cross-examiner.” Chambers & Partners 2013
“He is very methodical, exceptionally quick, and he will diligently do anything you send to him as readily as he possibly can. Clients absolutely love him.” Chambers & Partners 2013
“Goes the extra mile” and “prepares his cases exceptionally well.” Legal 500 2013
“Exceptionally able, very hardworking, and an absolute treat to instruct.” Legal 500 2013
James Leonard, has a background in criminal cases and so “took to professional discipline like a duck to water.” He has a thriving practice which is strong on GMC and inquest work. Chambers & Partners 2012
James Leonard is “thorough”, “enthusiastic”, “good with clients” and “an excellent advocate.” Legal 500 2012