The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon


Work 01908 690260
Fax 01908 668535
Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Albany, Almaty, Amman, Amsterdam and 94 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

[back to top]

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.

[back to top]

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.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments by:

  • Legal aspects of documenting shipping finance transactions in the United Arab Emirates

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strategically placed between Europe and the Far East. The UAE has been ranked among the top 15 maritime nations by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the UAE Government is working on plans to transform the shipping industry into one of the country’s major economic sectors.
    - SNR Denton

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • EU and Malta Securitisation Market

    Following the US subprime crisis that began in 2007, the notion of securitisation has suffered from bad press that tainted its reputation. However, securitisation is still considered as an essential component to continued economic recovery and for well-functioning financial markets.

  • DOJ Makes the Pilot Program Permanent and Announces FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy

    The US Department of Justice ("DOJ") had announced a pilot program [1] ("Pilot Program") on April 5, 2016, which created new mitigation opportunities for companies that (i) voluntarily self-disclosed, (ii) cooperated fully, and (iii) took timely and appropriate remedial actions in FCPA matters that fell within the Fraud Section's mandate. The Pilot Program was to remain in effect for 1 year, starting from the day of its announcement. On March 10, 2017, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Kenneth A. Blanco, announced in a speech that the Pilot Program would continue in full force until the DOJ reached a final decision on whether to extend it, and what revisions, if any, should be made to it. [2] The evaluation period of the Pilot Program ended on November 29, 2017, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the new FCPA Enforcement Policy ("Policy"), which effectively makes the Pilot Program permanent with some revisions. According to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, the FCPA Unit received 30 voluntary disclosures during the time period that the Pilot Program was in force, as opposed to 18 voluntary disclosures that were received during the previous 18-month period. The Policy has been incorporated into the United States Attorneys' Manual in order to "be readily understood and easily applied by busy prosecutors" as opposed to being promulgated in memorandum format. [3]
  • Effects of State of Emergency Law in Turkey On Prison Sentences Under Criminal Execution Laws

    With the Statutory Decree No.671 dated August 17, 2016, and the recent changes with Regulations No.29987 and No.29824 on Regulation Regarding an Amendment on Placement to Open Punishment Execution Facilities effecting execution of the Law No.5275 on Punishment Execution Law has introduced significant changes.
  • [SOUTH KOREA] Supreme Court Affirms Lower Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign ...

    Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign Exchange Report on Incorporation of Offshore Subsidiary by an Offshore Company
  • Disputes on Health-Related Commercial Advertisements under Consumer Law

  • [SOUTH KOREA] New Administration’s Key Environmental Policies

    To step forward as an environment-friendly government, the Moon Jae-in Administration has announced its key environmental policies, including improving safety in chemical substances and household chemical products, and reinforcing implementation measures of the Paris Agreement.  Under the “sustainable development” paradigm, the new administration will continually promote new regulations to protect the environment and strengthen its enforcement of environmental regulations.
  • [SOUTH KOREA] Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an ...

    Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an Ordinary Wage Case 
  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: “More Philippine Data Privacy Act: Are you Ready for Phase II?”

    Controllers and processors who have completed Phase I registration with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) will now have to gear up for Phase II. Phase II involves providing the NPC certain information on the organization’s compliance with the Data Privacy Act (DPA).
  • Crowdfunding - The Path towards a regulatory Framework

      The importance and feasibility of crowdfunding platforms is increasing in stature and importance for current and future the entrepreneurs. Malta has recently acceded to the rising trend by creating its first crowdfunding platform, ZAAR, a reward-based crowdfunding platform who has recently been awarded with the first prize in its section at the National Enterprise Support Awards 2016 also as well as being one of the local projects that have represented Malta at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, held in Slovakia. Nonetheless start-ups based in Malta with global aspirations often rely on international platforms. An increase in interest has emerged amongst the art and culture community as well in social entrepreneurship projects. Crowdfunding in Malta is still at the early stages of development. Despite this, there are endless opportunities for local entrepreneurs and the local business community. Research has shown that through international crowdfunding platforms, monies have been raised for projects in the field of gaming consoles, apps and software as well as for artistic projects.  Testimony to this is a new game design studio in Malta, that launched its first game, Politicks, raised financing through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.