James Whitaker is a partner in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice of the London office, focusing in particular on commercial disputes, disputes relating to directors’ and officers’ liability, banking and financial institutions, professional liability, political risk/trade disruption/contract frustration, and on insurance-related litigation, as well as advising extensively on policy coverage issues.

James joined Mayer Brown as a trainee in 2007 and, since qualifying in 2009, has handled a wide range of matters across a broad range of industries, often with a large international, multi-jurisdictional, element, in the context both of traditional High Court litigation, and of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, particularly arbitrations (under LCIA and ICC rules in particular) and mediations. As part of his training, James completed an in-house secondment with a major music label and, in 2011-2012, James completed a further secondment with a major London market underwriter.

James focuses his practice, in particular, on commercial and contractual disputes; on disputes involving senior management liability (often relating to leading multinational and FTSE 100 and 250 companies), in a range of different jurisdictions in addition to the United Kingdom (notably the US), including in relation to derivative actions, securities claims, as well as regulatory investigations; on unfair prejudice petitions and other shareholder disputes; on banking and financial institutions litigation, often in international jurisdictions, including Italy, Switzerland, Iceland and Sweden; and on professional liability, defending and prosecuting claims against a range of professionals, including solicitors, accountants, quantity surveyors and valuers, as well as financial institutions, both in the United Kingdom and in other jurisdictions, notably the US, the Netherlands, Italy, Cyprus and the Bahamas. James also has experience of political risk, expropriation, trade disruption and contract frustration disputes involving issues in a range of states, including Ukraine, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, and Kenya.

Spoken Languages

  • English


  • Acting for UK hedge fund in relation to fee dispute following aborted financing transaction.
  • Acting for mass media and information firm in relation to licensing dispute in the context of an acquisition by US private equity house.
  • Acting for large investment fund pursuing various consultants in multi-million pound claim in respect of major retail development scheme.
  • Advising in relation to claim brought against directors of major film and television production company arising out of alleged breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Acting for high net worth individual in relation to threatened breach of confidence action arising out of prior litigation.
  • Advising in relation to potential investor proceedings against asset management company arising out of its management of an investment vehicle in the renewable energy sector.
  • Advising on enforcement of US civil judgments in the UK in the context of a bond issuer’s offering memorandum.
  • Defending multi-million pound unfair prejudice petition against four directors of high profile hotel management company.
  • Advising in relation to Deepwater Horizon-related class action litigation in the US, including shareholder derivative claims, securities class actions, ERISA and RICO claims.
  • Advising in relation to high value securities class action in US federal court regarding alleged fraudulent misrepresentations in the pharmaceuticals industry.
  • Defending £3 million claim against two directors of insolvent subsidiary of FTSE 250 company regarding allegedly unlawful dividend.
  • Advising in relation to putative £170 million plus shareholder derivative claim against current and former directors of major FTSE 250 iron-ore producer arising from collapse of Ukrainian private bank.
  • Pursuing US$40 million plus claim against Kenyan parastatal organisation through to Supreme Court of Kenya.
  • Defending firm of solicitors against negligence action arising from advice to major airline pilots' union.
  • Advising in relation to CHF 150 million plus Madoff-related claims against private Swiss bank.
  • Advising insurers of director of large mutual in relation to FCA Decision Notice and subsequent appeal.
  • Advising in relation to US$100 million plus breach of confidence claim against directors of major US chemical company.
  • Defending Lloyd’s of London insurers against US$25 million arbitration claim in respect of alleged trade disruption loss in Mexican waste disposal sector under ICC Rules.
  • Advising insurers of major investment advisor in relation to US$160 million plus arbitration claim under LCIA Rules and coterminous US class action arising from allegedly negligent valuation services and alleged fraudulent misstatements.
  • Advising in relation to €600 million plus claims against major Dutch financial institution arising from alleged mis-selling of financial products.
  • Representing Lloyd’s of London insurers in respect of multi-million Euro claims arising from collapse of Icelandic banks.
  • Defending quantity surveyor against £3 million negligence claim arising from work on major holiday lettings development in Cornwall.
  • Defending firm of chartered accountants against negligence claim arising from administration of trust and alleged liabilities to HMRC.
  • Defending major real estate advisory company against £2.5 million negligence claim arising from work on residential development project on south coast.
  • Defending major real estate firm against £5 million negligence claim arising from valuation of business park and constituent units in the north east.


Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, LPC

Oxford Brookes University, Graduate Diploma in Law

Durham University, BA (Hons) History


  • England and Wales
  • Solicitor Advocate with Higher Rights of Audience (Civil)


  • London Solicitors Litigation Association
  • Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates