James Goudkamp > Chambers of Gavin Kealey QC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Gavin Kealey QC
7 King's Bench Walk

Work Department

Year of call 2014


James practises in all areas of commercial law although he has a particular interest in commercial tort law (professional negligence, property damage and civil fraud), where he is sought after as one of the leading experts in England in that field on account of his extensive publications.

James regularly appears in the Commercial Court in high-value complex cases. Recent matters in which he has been instructed have raised issues concerning freezing and proprietary injunctions, civil contempt and disclosure. James has a growing appellate practice. He has appeared in the Supreme Court (in an appeal regarding the defence of illegality), the Privy Council (in an appeal concerning joint bank accounts) and the Court of Appeal (in an appeal relating to a freezing injunction).

James also has experience in arbitration (Bermuda form and LMAA) having been instructed in several very substantial insurance and shipping disputes.

James recently gave expert evidence as to the English law concerning the duty of care element of the tort of negligence, vicarious liability and fiduciary duties in a CAD$2 billion-dollar dispute in Ontario involving the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh.

James’s practice includes a significant advisory element.


James combines his busy practice at the Bar with work as an academic. He is Professor of the Law of Obligations at the University of Oxford and is the author of over 100 publications. His work is regularly cited by courts in several jurisdictions, and he is widely recognised as one of the leading authorities in England on, in particular, the law of torts.


Brazilian Portuguese (Intermediate).


James is an elected member of the American Law Institute. He is also a member of COMBAR.


James’s qualifications are at the highest level. He was awarded the University Medal for placing first in his cohort in his undergraduate studies in law, which he completed in Australia. James’s postgraduate degrees, for which he read at the University of Oxford (Magdalen College), culminated in a doctorate.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Professional negligence

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 4

James Goudkamp7 King’s Bench WalkJames is incredibly thoughtful, hard-working and dedicated. He has deep understanding of the law. Responsive and practical.

The ‘first-class‘ set 7 King’s Bench Walk has ‘a very solid reputation‘ in the professional negligence field.  Claims against auditors and accountants form the cornerstone of the practice, and in a prominent example of the group’s expertise in this area, Jonathan Gaisman QC, James Brocklebank QC, and Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC are appearing for various parties in Carillion v KPMG, an claim against auditors concerning the early 2018 collapse of the construction contractor and facilities outsourcing firm. In another matter, James Goudkamp (‘a fantastic source of knowledge‘) appeared for the successful respondent in Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, an appeal before the Supreme Court concerning the illegality defence in a clinical negligence context but with broader consequences.