James is a silk who has been ranked for many years in the professional directories as a barrister specialising in heavy and complex financial remedy cases. He is also ranked in relation to children work particularly with an international element. He is extremely numerate and is a formidable advocate. He sits as a part time Judge hearing financial cases in the Complexity Unit of the Central Family Court is Treasurer of the Family Law Bar Association.
James is a silk who specialises in Financial Remedy cases (including all aspects of claims between unmarried partners). He has, prior to taking silk, been cited in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in family work, and also in Chambers & Partners as a leading junior (Band 1) in both financial remedy and children work. He is one of the few members of the bar who are recognised as a leader in both financial and children work and therefore is often instructed in both aspects of family cases.
The majority of James’ Family Law practice consists of Financial Remedy matters of which he has experience at all levels. James practises mainly in the High Court and the Central Family Court dealing with a wide variety of cases but most commonly ‘heavy’ cases involving high net worth clients, trusts, complex company structures and international issues. He has been instructed in a number of cases where the assets exceed £100m. He also deals with all aspects of financial disputes between unmarried couples and has acted for applicants and respondents in a significant number of claims for financial provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 involving high net worth individuals and international issues.
He advises upon and drafts pre–nuptial agreements.
He has developed a particular expertise in the area of enforcement and has been successful in a number of complex enforcement cases. James has represented a number of ‘high profile’ clients.
He sits as a Recorder (part time Judge) and is one of the few Recorders authorised to hear cases in the specialist Complexity Unit of the Central Family Court.
James is a Family Law practitioner who specialises in Financial Remedy cases (including all aspects of claims between unmarried partners).
He also undertakes a significant amount of private law children work particularly international relocation cases and also international child abduction cases.
He has, prior to taking silk, been cited in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in family work, and in Chambers & Partners as a leading junior (Band 1) in both financial remedy and children work. He is one of the few members of the bar who are recognised as a leader in both financial and children work and as such is able to deal with both aspects of a family case.
A proper understanding of the interaction between the financial aspects of the case and the private law children aspects can frequently make a real difference in relation to a positive outcome This is particularly true in relation to private law children applications involving unmarried parents and also in relation to relocation applications.
James has represented a number of ‘high profile’ clients.
He sits as a Recorder (part time Judge) and is authorised to hear children cases (mainly at the Central Family Court).
James is one of the ‘go to’ people in the provision of Private FDRs or ‘early neutral evaluation’.
James has been ranked in the directories for many years as a practitioner who specialises in heavy and complex financial remedy cases. He is extremely numerate and is highly regarded by his peers making him a popular choice for Private FDRs. He has conducted over 30 Private FDRs and has appeared as counsel in an even greater number.
James sits as a Recorder (part time Judge) and is authorised to hear complex financial cases in the specialist Financial Remedy Unit of the Central Family Court.
Parties value greatly the Judicial experience that he brings to cases and his general approachability.
His preparation is always meticulous and parties leave his hearings truly feeling that they have received the best possible indication of likely outcome. He has a plain speaking manner which parties value and, as has been repeatedly recognized by the professional directories, the ability to make the most complex legal issues simple.
He had an astonishing settlement rate (over 90%) and is rightly perceived by his peers as ‘straight down the line’ in terms of his approach and indications.
James sits as a Recorder (part time Judge) and is authorised to hear complex financial cases in the Central Family Court.
He is a founding Board member of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) and he sits on the Advisory Committee to IFLA. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is qualified to conduct arbitrations in family matters under the IFLA scheme.
He has acted as an arbitrator in a significant number of cases in this developing area. His judicial experience and generally approach make him one of the ‘go to’ choices when parties are seeking a swift, confidential, adjudication in cases.
Invariably he provides his award in writing within 48 hours of a hearing. He also has experience of representing parties to arbitrations and in presenting cases under the IFLA scheme.
James has been ranked in the directories for many years as a practitioner who specialises in heavy and complex financial remedy cases. He is extremely numerate and is a formidable advocate.
He appreciates the subtle differences in the arbitral environment (as opposed to the court room) and adjusts his style accordingly with favourable results.
James has, prior to taking silk, been cited in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in family work, and in Chambers & Partners as a leading junior (Band 1) in both financial remedy and children work.
He is one of the few members of the bar who are recognised as a leader in both financial and children work and as such is ideally placed to appreciate all aspects of family law disputes which so often are not confined to solely financial or children matters.
He approaches cases holistically bringing to bear his experience as a part time Judge who is authorized to hear hears both complex financial and children matters at the Central Family Court.
He has been a mediator for over 13 years.
James undertakes a limited number of direct access cases each year.
He is approachable and responsive. He has a plain speaking manner which clients value and, as has been repeatedly recognized by the directories, the ability to make the most complex legal issues simple.
James specialises in Financial Remedy cases. He also undertakes private law children work including relocation and child abduction cases.
He has a particular interest in enforcement of orders in family cases. He is able to recommend solicitors to direct access clients where appropriate.
Although primarily recognised as practicing in Financial Remedy work James has, prior to taking silk, been cited in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in family work, and in Chambers & Partners as a leading junior (Band 1) in both financial remedy and children work. His experience across the board of family law work is often crucial in achieving the best outcome on all aspects of a case.
He is one of the few members of the bar who are recognised as a leader in both financial and children work. Most of the cases James conducts have an international element and he is experienced in representing parties on both sides in fast moving abduction cases.
His abduction work is exclusively in the High Court and above.
James gives regular lectures on current topics in family law and particularly in the field of International Child Abduction.
Reputation & Awards
" He has gravitas, huge intellect and the ear of the judges. A go–to option: he’s robust, very quick at getting to the root of issues and consequently greatly in demand. Clients and solicitors have the utmost respect for him as he's a really robust advocate. He is very good at reading the judges, and knows the points which are going to win them over."CHAMBERS & PARTNERS 2019
Chambers & Partners, 2020
‘Highly regarded family practitioner whose practice is divided between the very largest financial disputes and complex multi–jurisdictional child matters. His financial remedy practice sees him representing extremely high–profile figures in enormous divorce proceedings with labyrinthine assets to navigate. He possesses considerable experience in matters concerning offshore trusts. He earns particular praise for his ability to present complex information in an accessible way’
“A superb advocate, whom judges really respect and listen to. He’s always spot-on with his advice and clients are dazzled by him.” “He’s a details person so you know when you instruct him that he’ll read everything and that you’re in good hands. He sits as a judge as well, which helps his judgement, and he isn’t affected by what’s going on around him or comments that are made. James is very good at separating the wood from the trees.”
Legal 500, 2020
‘ Has the ear of the court and the ability to gauge what point to pursue and when – his advocacy is silky smooth. ’
Chambers & Partners, 2019
“Clients and solicitors have the utmost respect for him as he’s a really robust advocate. He is very good at reading the judges, and knows the points which are going to win them over.”
Legal 500, 2019
‘Stays on top of an extraordinary amount of detail.’
Chambers & Partners, 2018
“He does both children and finances at a high level. He’s meticulous in all his paperwork and not afraid of a fight. He’s a formidable opponent who makes the client feel very supported – he’s both practical and human with them.”
Legal 500, 2018
‘He has gravitas, huge intellect and the ear of the judges.’
Chambers & Partners, 2017
‘A go–to option: he’s robust, very quick at getting to the root of issues and consequently greatly in demand.’
Legal 500, 2017
‘An outstanding advocate, who is able to hold his own against any silk; he works prodigiously hard and gets results.’
Chambers & Partners, 2016
‘A senior junior specialising in finance work who also handles private law children work including leave to remove and abduction cases. He also sits part time as a judge. His peers pick him out for his client manner and sharp legal analysis.’
‘Forensically he is second to none. Give him enough time in a case and he will find the thread that unravels the whole lot. He’s really bright, really sharp, and is a very good advocate, who is expressive and can put things across succinctly.’
Chambers & Partners, 2015
‘Principally undertakes significant matrimonial finance cases, but also handles challenging private law children matters. His cases often contain complex cross–border and trust considerations, and regularly concern very substantial, disputed assets.’
‘He is pragmatic, sensible and a formidable advocate.’ ‘He definitely has a fine brain, is very hard–working and very thorough. He fights hard and serves his clients well.’
Legal 500, 2015
Chambers & Partners, 2014
James Roberts continues to make waves as a leading junior. While predominantly handling high–value matrimonial finance disputes, he also maintains a respected children law practice.
Expertise ‘Exhibits fantastically strong analysis.’ ‘He’s an outstanding advocate who understands both his clients and the realities of life and business’.
Chambers & Partners 2013
‘tipped for silk’ by market observers impressed with his broad family law expertise. The core of his practice is high–value matrimonial finance disputes, while in the private children law sphere he has a noted specialism in international child abduction cases. Sources relate that he is ‘a good, thorough advocate’ who is ‘at the top of his game.
Legal 500, 2013
Chambers & Partners 2012
James Roberts is a popular choice for both children work and matrimonial finance. He is described as ‘thorough, responsive and a hugely accomplished courtroom performer.’
Legal 500, 2012
James Roberts is ‘clever, forthright and incisive’
Chambers & Partners 2011
‘…energetic and always up for the fight…’ James Roberts has excellent
working relationships with some of London’s leading divorce lawyers, ‘a good head for figures and a manner that gives clients confidence.’
Chambers & Partners 2010
‘ . . pragmatic, sensible and good with clients’ and much in demand. . . James Roberts climbs the rankings this year on the strength of hugely positive feedback.
A ‘sonorous advocate of great vitality, he cuts to the core of cases and easily establishes a rapport with clients.’
Legal 500, 2010
‘James Roberts has ‘very good client–handling skills and excellent judgement’.’
Chambers & Partners 2008
‘James Roberts’ ‘cross–examination style is like a razor through soft flesh.’ This charming individual is instructed time and again as he constitutes ‘a great blend of tenacity and approachability.’
Chambers & Partners 2008
‘Bouncy and bright,’ James Roberts impresses as ‘one of the most realistic counsel – he’s very careful about only fighting things that, on a reasonable risk analysis, seem likely to succeed.’ He is most respected for ancillary relief work but also has a significant practice in children’s law, particularly child abduction.’
Chambers & Partners 2007
‘James Roberts specialises in matrimonial finance, but also has a strong name in international children work. He is ‘extremely bright and good with the clients.’’
Chambers & Partners 2006
‘…a very popular figure ‘whose jolliness wins a multitude of fans’. He has ‘a sunniness of disposition which turns to an air of grave purpose once the courtroom battle begins.’’
Chambers & Partners 2005
‘…James Roberts is ‘a flamboyant and aggressive courtroom performer.’’
Awards and Scholarships
- Prince of Wales Scholar (Joint Inns of Court – highest scholarship)
- Holker Scholar (Gray’s Inn – highest scholarship)
- Bluecoat School
- Oriel College, Oxford MA (Jurisprudence)
- Inns of Court School of Law (Bar Vocational Course)
- Recorder (2009)
- Executive Officer (Treasurer) of the Family Law Bar Association (2006 to date)
- Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers
- Member of the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn
- Member of the Honourable Society of The Inner Temple
- Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
- Board member of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators Ltd (“IFLA”)
- Advisory Committee member – IFLA
- Elected Committee Member of the Family Law Bar Association (1999 to date) Past Member of the Remuneration Committee of the Bar Council
- Member of the Bar Council Quality Advisory Panel
- Accredited Pupil Supervisor
- Accredited Advocacy Trainer