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Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Albany, Almaty, Amman, Amsterdam and 95 more

James Fairbairn

Work 01908 684950

Work Department

Dispute resolution.


James is a partner who represents clients in all forms of commercial dispute resolution with some emphasis on banking, professional negligence and contract disputes. He acts for banks, other financial institutions and many blue chip companies. As well as one-off unique cases James assists clients with portfolios of similar cases and has developed bespoke case management systems and solutions. He has a particular interest in cost issues and is developing cost management systems aimed at keeping costs proportionate to case value – particularly important with lower value claims. James has been lauded for his ability to handle pressurised situations and maintain a strategic approach at all times and that his clients attest to his “experience, honesty and commitment.” He is a Solicitor Advocate with higher rights of audience and often represents his clients in court. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an adjudicator on construction disputes.


Trained Charles Russell, qualified 1984, Charles Russell 1982-90; partner Dentons (formerly SNR Dentons) 2000-present.


Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; Professional Negligence Lawyers Association; Technology and Construction Courts Solicitors’ Association Current directorships: Trustee of three charities.


University of Sussex (BA Hons 1980); The College of Law (1982); Higher Courts (Civil Advocacy) Qualification (2011); Senior Courts of England and Wales (BA (Law) solicitor)1984); Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) (1998).

London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)


Within: Sport

Active across a wide range of sports, Dentons’ practice is noted for its cross-border capabilities and its strength in corporate, commercial and financial work. Managing associate Alex Haffner, who is a competition law expert, advised Bestseller and Kevin Magnussen on a driver and sponsorship agreement with the Renault Formula One team, under which Magnussen became one of Renault’s two main drivers for the 2016 season. Haffner also acted for the ECB on all its domestic and international broadcasting arrangements, including broadcasting agreements with SuperSport for sub-Saharan Africa and Fox Sports for Australia. On the contentious side, the Milton Keynes-based James Fairbairn represented Qingdao Jonoon FC in bringing various employment-related appeals of FIFA decisions before the CAS. beIN Sports is also a client. M&A and finance expert Richard Barham heads the group and commercial consultant Adrian Barr-Smith is noted for his sector expertise

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South East: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Within: Leading individuals

James Fairbairn - Dentons

Within: Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Dentons’ ‘outstanding legal team’ provides ‘sensible and commercial advice’ and ‘truly knows the industries in which its clients operate’. The group’s combined Milton Keynes and Watford team has a strong track record in energy, banking, construction and retail disputes, and is noted for its cross-border capabilities and strong international network. The ‘tremendously experiencedJames Fairbairnis calm under pressure and pursues the client’s needs rigorously’; he is advising Haringey Council in a £7m professional negligence claim against NPS Property Consultants for negligent design in relation to a primary school. In another highlight, Helen Simpson is representing a major Chinese manufacturing company in a significant debt claim, a high-value case involving personal guarantee issues. The firm’s recent combination with Matthew Arnold & Baldwin saw a number of new arrivals to the team, including banking and finance litigators Steven Mills and Clare Stothard; mediation expert Tim Constable; and Roger McCourt, who has extensive experience in the financial services sector.

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South East: Insurance

Professional negligence

Within: Leading individuals

James Fairbairn - Dentons

Within: Professional negligence

Dentons is ‘highly experienced in all aspects of construction and engineering disputes’; the team ‘is able to manage fact-heavy cases with ease, responding quickly to all client queries and dealing efficiently with aggressive tactics from opponents’. Clients include a strong base in the financial services space including Allied Irish Bank, The Co-Operative Bank and Barclays. Tim Constable (a ‘fine litigator’ who is ‘able to cut through complex issues without difficulty’ and ‘understands the value of taking a forensic and reasoned approach to problems’) represented Barclays in a matter concerning a negligent valuation of several commercial properties; he successfully secured a deduction in damages for contributory negligence. In another work highlight, the ‘formidableJames Fairbairn represented Haringey Council in a £7m professional negligence claim against NPS Property Consultants for negligent design and contract administration with regards to the extension of a primary school. Helen Simpson heads the commercial disputes department, and frequently represents individuals, corporates, lenders and insurers in high-value professional negligence claims.

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