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James Abernethy

Year of call 2015  

Areas of Expertise
Business and Property Group, Tax & Duties

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James joined Chambers in September 2016 after successfully completing pupillage under the supervision of Joanna Vicary. He is developing a broad chancery and commercial practice in line with the Business and Property Group's profile.


Including boundary disputes, easements, restrictive covenants, adverse possession, nuisance, co-ownership, proprietary estoppel and mortgages.

Recent experience includes:

  • Securing an order for the sale of a family home subject to an Ijara mortgage (a form of Islamic finance) in ToLATA proceedings.
  • Five-day trial in the Business and Property Court in Manchester concerning the beneficial ownership of a family home which had been placed in a wife’s name in order to protect it from her bankrupt husband’s creditors over 25 years before.

Landlord and Tenant

Including possession claims, disrepair, forfeiture and leasehold enfranchisement.

Recent experience includes:

  • Securing an order under section 27 of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 for leasehold enfranchisement where the identity of the landlord could not be ascertained.
  • A claim for forfeiture arising out of the tenant’s bypassing of the electricity meter servicing the property.

Trusts, Wills, Probate & the Administration of Estates

Including contentious probate, administration actions, construction of wills and trusts, claims for breach of trust & devastavit, and Inheritance Act claims.

Recent experience includes:

  • An application to remove an individual (later sentenced to eight months' imprisonment for contempt of court) as an executor and trustee.
  • A claim to set aside the inter vivos gift of a house on the grounds of mental incapacity and undue influence.


Including sale and supply of goods and services, partnership disputes & consumer credit.

Recent work includes:

  • Advising a firm of solicitors upon the proper interpretation and enforceability of its Damages Based Agreement.
  • Advising upon a dispute arising out of the alleged repudiatory breach of a referral agreement.


Including spoilt holiday claims, claims under the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions and flight delay claims.

Recent work includes:

  • Advising ten holidaymakers upon claims arising out of a curtailed cruise through the Northwest Passage.
  • A claim arising out of a honeymoon abandoned due to the risks posed by the Zika virus.

Professional Negligence

Including claims against surveyors, conveyancers and accountants.

Recent work includes:

  • Securing summary judgment for £400,000 following the unauthorised use of client funds by an accountant.
  • A claim against a surveyor arising out of his failure to observe or report upon damp affecting a residential property.


Indirect taxes and business rates.

Recent work includes:

  • A three-day business rates trial raising issues of res judicata, sham agreements and equitable leases.
  • Working with HMRC as part of the Junior Junior scheme.

Company & Insolvency

Including winding up petitions, bankruptcy petitions, restorations to the register, extensions of the period allowed for delivery of a charge and applications to set aside statutory demands.

Prescribed Information

James is a practising barrister, who is regulated by the Bar Standards Board. Details of information held by the BSB about James can be found here.

James’s clerks will happily provide no obligation quotations for all legal services that he provides. Their contact details can be found here.  James usually undertakes Court work for an fixed fee, agreed in advance. Conferences, advisory and drafting work are most commonly charged at an hourly rate although fixed fees are available. James will typically return paperwork within 14 days, however professional commitments, complexity and volume of documentation can affect these approximate timescales.

Scholarships and Prizes

Inner Temple Major Scholarship (2014)
University of Law Platinum Award (2014)
University of Law Gold Award (2013)


LLB, University of Law (First Class)
BPTC, University of Law (Outstanding)
GDL, University of Law (Distinction)
MA, Continental Philosophy, University of Warwick
BA (Hons), Politics, Philosophy and Economics, University of York (First Class)

Specialist Areas of Practice:

Business and Property Group

Tax & Duties

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