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 particular expertise in professional negligence disputes.  He specialised in professional negligence claims as a solicitor, and has continued to do so as a barrister. He generally acts for claimants, but is also instructed from time to time to advise professionals in claims against them.

Professional Negligence in Banking

James has particular expertise in professional negligence claims brought by lenders against solicitors and surveyors.  As a solicitor he had conduct of two of the claims in Nationwide BS v Balmer Radmore.  As a barrister he has represented Nationwide BS, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Platform Home Loans and other lenders in more than 60 claims, many of them were complex multi-million pound claims relating to commercial or investment properties

Professional Negligence in Company and Commercial

He has considerable experience of acting for parties (usually claimants) in a wide range of professional negligence claims against:

  • solicitors concerning share sale/purchase agreements;
  • solicitors and surveyors in connection with conveyancing transactions;
  • solicitors and barristers about the conduct of litigation;
  • accountants concerning the preparation of accounts and the failure to warn about unlawful dividends.

He also has particular expertise acting for parties (usually claimants) in a wide range of other types of professional negligence claim, including claims against construction professionals.

Professional Negligence in Real Estate

James acts for parties (usually claimants) in a wide range real estate claims. He has advised on claims against:

  • solicitors for negligent conduct of conveyancing transactions;
  • surveyors for negligent surveys (including failure to identify damp, dry rot, and the presence of asbestos);
  • architects planning consultants.

The lenders’ claims invariably relate to real estate as well.

Directory Quotes

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 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

“Very capable and able to dig out of the mire the true issues to address.”

Legal 500 2021, Professional Negligence

A careful and tidy operator, who is a hard fighter.”

Chambers UK 2021, Professional Negligence

“Well known for representing banks in professional negligence lender claims. ‘He is exceptionally good with clients and has a good bedside manner. He can convey complex legal advice in a meaningful way.’ ‘He’s very thorough and his opinions are written in a readily understandable way, so they can be passed on to the client who can then make complete sense of them.’ “

Chambers UK 2019, Professional Negligence

“James maintains an excellent reputation for advising on professional negligence claims in the financial services sector. He is especially active on lender claims and he advises many national banks. He has a good brain and he’s a very good advocate.”

  • 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.