James Pearce-Smith has a strong commercial practice. ‘He has a very attractive advocacy style and combines excellent legal and factual analysis forcefully.’ James is always good at providing clear, commercial advice and analysis in complex cases.’ ‘He provides excellent service and is very user-friendly.’ “

The Legal 500 2024, Commercial Dispute Resolution

James, a former solicitor, is an experienced litigator specialising in commercial and property disputes. His practice includes company and partnership disputes, construction disputes and insolvency, and he is often instructed in complex disputes which span more than one of these disciplines. He has particular expertise in professional negligence claims. He also deals with traditional chancery work, such as disputes in relation to trusts and wills.

James has strong analytical and mathematical skills, enabling him to get to the heart of disputes quickly and effectively.  His approach is to analyse cases thoroughly at the outset, to give clients a realistic appraisal of their chances of success and to help them adopt the most effective strategy.

James regularly appears in the High Court, in particular the Bristol Commercial Court. He has considerable experience of representing clients at trials in the High Court and the County Court, as well as acting for parties on interim applications, including urgent ex parte injunctions.  He is often instructed in cases where other parties are represented by QCs.

Recently James has acted for Airbus in a major secret commission trial, for Dyson in two confidential information cases involving ex parte injunctions and search orders, for Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Nationwide Building Society in a large number of substantial professional negligence claims, and for a rail freight company in a substantial arbitration claim against Network Rail.  James has also been instructed in many cases by SMEs and by private individuals.

Directory Quotes

James is very user-friendly, knowledgeable, calm, flexible and overall a pleasure to work with.”

The Legal 500 2024, Commercial Litigation

James is well known for representing banks in professional negligence lender claims. He is particularly adept at handling claims against solicitors, valuers, architects and surveyors.”

Chambers UK 2024, Professional Negligence

James gives very clear advice and this is mirrored in his polite but effective advocacy. He always has a strong grasp of the facts and applicable law.”

The Legal 500 2024, Agriculture

James is a fantastic advocate. His approach to cross-examination is particularly impressive in that he comes across at first as extremely polite and courteous, which lulls witnesses into a false sense of security, and he then sets about pulling their testimony methodically apart.”

The Legal 500 2024, Professional Negligence

James has a strong commercial practice, covering contractual disputes and breaches of agreement, as well as specialising in professional negligence and construction-related claims.’ ‘James is incredibly sharp and is great with clients.’ “

Chambers UK 2023, Commercial Litigation

James always considers the wider commercial implications of an action for the client. His advice is always balanced and measured, and he has a keen eye for detail.”

The Legal 500 2023, Chancery, Probate, and Tax

James drills down into the detail and thinks outside the box, is always looking for what is best for his client, and he has an assured presence in court.’ ‘James raises incisive questions for clients and experts so that the claim and strategy can be furthered quickly.’ “

Chambers UK 2023, Construction

James is a very effective advocate. He has a thorough grasp of details and presents the issues in a comprehensive but extremely clear order.”

Legal 500 2023, Commercial Litigation

James is well known for representing banks in professional negligence lender claims.’ ‘James is very communicative and responsive. He quickly gets to grips with complicated subject matter.’ “

Chambers UK 2023, Professional Negligence

James has a broad practice, spanning commercial litigation, company disputes and insolvency cases. He draws on his experience as a commercial litigation solicitor as well as handling traditional chancery work and is noted for his expertise in professional negligence cases.’  ‘James always considers the commercial implications for clients and ensures this is reflected within his advice.’ ‘He is a very thorough advocate.’ “

Chambers UK 2023, Company

James is a strong junior and former solicitor handling partnership dissolutions and disputes, often within the agricultural and healthcare sectors. He also handles cases regarding LLPs.”

Chambers UK 2023, Partnership

James has really strong analytical skills. He provides clear and client-friendly advice.”

Chambers UK 2022, Company

He has an eye for detail and great knowledge of this area of law. Always approachable and willing to go that extra mile.”


The go-to barrister in Bristol for lender claims.”


James exudes an aura of knowledge and confidence. He is capable of providing case-changing analysis.”


James is really succinct and clear. His pleadings are detailed and he has strong analytical skills.”


Someone to turn to as a sensible head; he gives good objective views and knows how to push things forward or take a more defensive position. Clear and client-friendly advice. His pleadings are detailed and he is very approachable.”


He is fantastic and no-nonsense.”

chambers uk 2022, CONSTRUCTION

He explains things in ways that clients can relate to and understand, and he is very responsive. In court, his advocacy is really great – he is tenacious and has a very good command of his brief.”


Cuts to the heart of a case and addresses the true issues, with a level of legal knowledge that instils confidence in his clients.”

Legal 500 2021, Commercial Litigation

Seminars & Events

  • Qualifications & awards:

    • MA (Cantab)
    • Admitted as a Solicitor 1994
  • Professional memberships:

    • Chancery Bar Association
  • James Pearce-Smith is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please read here.