Barrister Profile


Year of Call: 2015

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Criminal Law
Public Inquiries


James is an experienced junior counsel with a wide-ranging practice centred on criminal law, appearing in the criminal courts on a daily basis. As a member of the Government Legal Service Civil Counsel Panel, he also has substantial experience of advising public sector bodies and government departments to ministerial level in relation to public law issues.

James is active within the profession having previously served as chair of the Young Bar Association (2018-2020). He was a member of the Bar Council for four years. He is presently Treasurer to the Criminal Bar Association, and serves on a number of Bar Council committees.


2014; LL.B. Law with French (First Class Honours), Queen’s University Belfast (including Erasmus Study Programme 2012-2013, French and European Law, Université de Toulouse 1 Capitole)

2014; Certificate of Distinction in Spoken French, Queen’s University Belfast

2015; Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies (Commendation), Institute of Professional Legal Studies

2015; Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland

2018; Called to the Bar of Ireland

2022; Vulnerable Witness Training, Institute of Professional Legal Studies

Professional Memberships and Awards

Government Legal Service Civil Counsel Panel (B Panel)

Coroners Service Counsel Panel (C Panel)

John P. B. Maxwell Scholarship 2015

Benchers’ Prize for Advocacy 2015


R v Doherty, Declan [2018] NICA 52 – acting for the appellant before the Court of Appeal in an appeal against sentence for dangerous driving causing grievous bodily injury. Original sentence of 3½ years reduced on appeal to 2¼ years. The case concerned: the distinction between English authority in R v Cooksley [2003] EWCA Crim 996 and Northern Ireland authority in AG’s References (Nos 2, 6, 7 and 8 of 2003) [2003] NICA 28; whether the standard of driving can itself be an aggravating factor; the weight to be given to historic driving convictions as a teenager in determining the culpability category into which the appellant should be placed.

OA and SA v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2019) - appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber); decision by Home Office to refuse a residence card to the first appellant (a Nigerian national) as an EEA family member; second appellant was the daughter of the first appellant and had Irish citizenship; successfully argued the refusal was unlawful on Human Rights grounds and in breach of the Immigration Rules.

R v D (2020) - Crown Court; dangerous driving by a taxi driver causing grievous bodily injuries to two vulnerable children who were passengers, immediate custody required in all but the most exceptional circumstances; successfully argued exceptional circumstances existed in this case; suspended sentence imposed.

R v M (2023) – Crown Court; sexual activity involving penetration with a child; successfully argued against custodial sentence and probation order imposed.