James Turner KC has a wide and varied practice that encompasses all areas of family law, criminal law, medical disciplinary work and administrative law. He has appeared in over 200 reported cases, including a number of cases in each of his major fields of practice in the House of Lords, Supreme Court or Privy Council – click here for a full list.
James is a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple and is recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Directories as a Leading Silk in Family work, having appeared as leading counsel in many of the landmark cases over the last two decades in the fields of both finance and children.
James has particular expertise in high net worth financial ancillary relief work (he appeared as leading counsel in the House of Lords in both White v White and Miller v Miller), with his cases often involving trusts, corporate law, and tax (such as the Imerman/Tzchenguiz matter), and international jurisdictional issues (such as Mittal v. Mittal). James is leading counsel for ‘Resolution’ in the forthcoming Supreme Court case of Owens v Owens.
James has also appeared in financial ancillary relief cases in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and is instructed in such matters from Hong Kong and Jersey.
James has for many years been ranked by all of the legal directories as a leading silk in the field of matrimonial finance.
For a full list of James’ reported cases, click here. His notable finance cases include:
• White v. White  A.C. 596, HL.
• Miller v. Miller; McFarlane v. McFarlane  2 A.C. 618, HL.
• Mittal v. Mittal  2 W.L.R. 1033, CA.
• Harb v. King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz  2 F.L.R. 1109, CA.
• Imerman v. Imerman  EWCA Civ 908, CA.
• Crossley v. Crossley  1 F.L.R. 1467, CA. ·
• Judge v. Judge  1 F.L.R. 1287, CA.
• Miller Smith v. Miller Smith  1 F.L.R, 1402, CA.
• Miller Smith v. Miller Smith (No. 2)  2 F.L.R 351 (Baker J).
James has a pre-eminent reputation as one of the leading silks in the country in complex international child abduction cases. James has made six appearances in this field in the House of Lords/Supreme Court, the most recent of which are A. v. A.  and In Re LC (Children)  [full citations below]. He has appeared as a speaker on family law issues at Conferences in England and Bermuda.
For a full list of James’ reported cases, click here. His notable child abduction cases include:
• In Re LC (Children)  UKSC 1, SC.
• A. v. A. and another (Children: Habitual Residence) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre and others intervening)  A.C. 1, SC.
• In Re E. (Children) (Abduction: Custody Appeals) 1 A.C. 144, SC.
• In Re S. (A Child) 2 W.L.R. 721, SC.
• In re H. (a Minor) (Abduction: Rights of Custody)  2 A.C. 291, HL.
• In re D. (a child) (Abduction: Rights of Custody)  1 A.C. 619, HL.
In Administrative Law, James’ practice has included membership of the Supplementary Panel of Treasury Counsel when he was a junior, and he appeared in that capacity in many high profile cases. His judicial review work after he took silk has included representation of the Home Secretary in the Pinochet case, and appearances in other cases in courts which have included the House of Lords.
For a full list of James’ reported cases, click here. His notable Administrative Law cases include:
• Sheldrake v. DPP; Attorney-General’s Reference (No. 4 of 2002)  1 A.C. 264, HL.
• R. v. Manchester Stipendiary Magistrate and another, ex p. Granada Television Ltd  1 A.C. 300, HL.
• R. (O.) v. Crown Court at Harrow  1 A.C. 249, HL.
• R. v. The Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p. Fininvest and others (Berlusconi)  1 W.L.R. 743, DC.
• R. v. Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, ex p. Shayler  1 Cr.App.R. 355, DC.
• In Re Pinochet Ugarte, International Law Reports (Vol. 119) 27, DC
James has acted in a number of leading criminal cases. For a full list, click here.
In addition, James has for very many years been a contributing editor of “Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice”.
His work in the field of Criminal Law includes both prosecuting and defending, with particular experience of technical, procedural and human rights points. He has been instructed many times on behalf of medical professionals in both criminal and Professional Disciplinary proceedings, including representation of a forensic pathologist in long-running professional disciplinary proceedings arising out of the “Sally Clarke” case.
James is hugely experienced in the field of matrimonial finance and welcomes instructions to sit in a quasi-judicial capacity at a ‘Private FDR’.
Reputation & Awards
One of the real intellectual heavyweights, who's just passionate about what he does. The amount of work that he squeezes into 24 hours is amazing.Chambers UK Bar 2018
“He’s masterful in court and an incredible advocate.”…“An excellent advocate, who’s an extremely dynamic, skilled cross-examiner with a very fine, sharp intellect.” – Chambers & Partners, 2024
“He’s a huge intellect, a force of nature, but is equally very kind and easy to work with.” “His technical knowledge and expertise is superb.” – Chambers & Partners, 2023
‘James is an extraordinary talent. He is one of a rare breed of specialist family law practitioners who is equally adept at matrimonial finance and children’s issues. He is a superb technician with fabulous written skills and the pre-eminent appellate court advocate at the family Bar. He is incredibly hard working, collaborative and approachable.’ – Legal 500, 2023
‘James has skilled and persuasive advocacy and gives a strategic advice.’ – Legal 500, 2023
“His breadth of legal knowledge concerning thorny legal issues is unparalleled.” – Chambers & Partners, 2021
“A class act and a master of family law.” “A fearsome, brilliant advocate.” – Chambers & Partners, 2021
‘He has an easy charm about him and gives his all to clients.’ – Legal 500 2018
‘He has an extraordinary grasp of international children law.’ – Legal 500 2018
Universally acclaimed practitioner recognised for the strength of both his finance and children work. Handling complex matters at the highest level, he undertakes work in multiple jurisdictions, and is noted for his expertise in child abduction. He is at home handling the most complex technical issues including those concerning trusts, tax and corporate law.
Strengths: ‘One of the real intellectual heavyweights, who’s just passionate about what he does. The amount of work that he squeezes into 24 hours is amazing.’ – Chambers UK Bar 2017
… ‘a silk of immense industry who loves to immerse himself in the detail of a case.’ He frequently acts in ultra-high net worth ancillary reliefs and is known for being immensely bright.’ – Chambers and Partners
QC of the Year 2016 – Jordans Family Law awards
• Robertsbridge Secondary Modern School
• Bexhill Grammar School
• University of Hull (1975 LLB Hons)
• 1976 Bar Finals
• Member of the South Eastern Circuit
• Member of the Criminal Bar Association
• Member of the Family Law Bar Association
• Member of the Administrative and Public Law Bar Association
• Sussex Bar Mess
• Kent Bar Mess
For many years James has been a contributing editor of “Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice”.