James Peacham

Practice & Background

James Peacham is ranked as a ‘rising star’ in the 2020 edition of the Legal 500 which describes him as as being ‘an excellent performer’; ‘a hands-on practitioner who goes the extra mile for clients’; and ‘a first-rate associate – thorough, bright and empathetic’.

James holds significant experience in complex litigation ranging across the full spectrum of serious and organised crime, corruption, fraud and extradition. He also holds experience of appellate work focusing upon matters of the utmost seriousness including applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (‘CCRC’).

James is regularly instructed to act on behalf of professionals including government officials, teachers, company directors and musicians in cases which often carry significant media attention. He is particularly targeted by a number of individuals for his specialist skillset within the sexual offences arena.

Excelling in communication skills, James is often described as a practical lawyer with a formidable ability in dealing with the challenging needs and expectations of clients from the widest scope of social backgrounds. He holds a keen skill and ability in the handling of the most vulnerable of individuals and is well versed with the necessary practice measures for vulnerable witnesses and Defendants such as intermediaries.

James holds a keen interest in international criminal law having undertaken research considering EU criminal and migration laws post Treaty of Lisbon. His findings on this area were delivered to various academics and students across Europe. James is able to draw upon this particular interest within his extradition practice and criminal cases which hold an international dimension.

James’ attention to detail, high quality standards of case preparation and general client care has over the years seen frequent referrals of complex cases from the leading charity Shelter, various sets of leading barristers’ Chambers and other firms of solicitors with whom he has developed a positive working relationship. He holds a fine track record of results, always striving to go that extra mile for his clients.

Recent & Notable Case Examples

Serious/ General Crime & Fraud

DLC -v- J (2019) – Along with Steven Bird, acting on behalf of a senior tax solicitor facing contempt proceedings before the Chancery Division of the High Court. The contempt related to a breach of undertakings given in respect of the disappearance of $9.3 million of client funds held on account.

R -v- A (2019) – Acting on behalf of an individual convicted of the notorious and high-profile murder of a British Army Solider for inflicting grievous bodily harm upon his consultant psychiatrist at Broadmoor Hospital.

R -v- B & Others (2019) – Assisting Steven Bird in representing a Managing Director of a geological tech company facing allegations of bribery of a public official in the Republic of Korea and conspiring to make corrupt payments in excess of $1 million.

R -v- F (2019) – Acting on behalf of a former theatre director and charity aid worker facing multiple allegations of historical sexual abuse dating back to the 1970’s.

Operation Westview – R –v- D & H (2018- 2019) – Acting on behalf of the former Chaplain of an elite private educational institution facing numerous allegations of historical sexual abuse dating back to the 1980’s. The case followed a large-scale investigation, charges having been authorised by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The matter concerns multiple Complainants and is extremely sensitive/ complex. The case is exceptionally high profile having attracted extensive press attention at both a national and international level.

R -v- O (2018 – 2019) – Acted on behalf of an MP’s aide, local councillor and son of a former Shadow Secretary of State for a series of drug offences committed at a regional music festival. The case was exceptionally high profile. James further advised the former Shadow Secretary in respect of associated applications brought by the media.

R -v- Toner [2019] EWCA Crim 447  – Acted on behalf of a former tutor at an elite preparatory boarding School facing multiple allegations of historical sexual abuse dating back to the 1980’s. Many charges were dropped following half time submissions. Continued to act on appeal which considered technical arguments as to joinder and severance of recent and non-recent allegations of child sexual offences.

Operation Churchill – R -v- G & Others (2019) – Acted on behalf of the alleged criminal mastermind behind a conspiracy to supply contraband items into the prison estate on a national level following an intelligence led investigation. The client was said to have participated in the activities of an organised criminal group and the very sophisticated plan drew upon corrupt prison officials and a wider network of friends and family to facilitate the business. The case raised interesting arguments surrounding double jeopardy.

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust -v- E (2019) – Along with Steven Bird, acted on behalf of a victim of vaginal mesh surgery facing contempt proceedings before the High Court. The contempt followed allegations that E had overexaggerated the extent of her injuries and resulting claim for damages during the substantive civil proceedings. The case attracted significant media attention.

R -v- R (2018) – Acted in an appeal on behalf of a youth who was convicted of the manslaughter of a 4-year-old child who suffered with a rare form of epilepsy. The original matter received substantial media attention.

R –v- M (2018) – Secured the unanimous acquittal of a professional photographer facing charges of historical sexual assault upon four actresses during the course of his business. The case attracted media attention.

R -v- J & Others (2017) – Secured the unanimous acquittal of the lead Defendant, a 17-year old musician, facing charges of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life following a three-month trial. It was said that the firearm was to be used for a revenge gang shooting following the murder of another musician the previous day. The case explored live issues surrounding gangland crime and the general procedural policy employed by agencies in respect of individuals being placed on the gang’s matrix which was not necessarily being followed.

R -v- A (2018) – Acted on behalf of this youth facing historic rape and sexual assault allegations brought by a child held in his grandmother’s care. The client was acquitted of all charges at half time. The presiding Judge in ruling made significant criticism of Essex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service’s handling of the matter.

R -v- MDS & Others (2017) – Acted on behalf of one of the Defendants involved in the hacking of eBay and Amazon trading accounts for the sale of gold bullion. The total amount of the fraudulent activity exceeded £700,000.

R -v- B (2017) – Secured the unanimous acquittal of B facing charges of possession of a bladed article within HMP Pentonville. B claimed that he had been fitted up by prison officials, denying all knowledge of the bladed article. Significant levels of corruption were unearthed following vigorous requests for intelligence disclosure.

R -v- NAA & Others (2017) – Acted on behalf of NAA who faced charges of attempted murder following what was a group stabbing on a petrol forecourt. This was a victimless prosecution. The case had surfaced a significant number of breaches of PACE Code D following vigorous requests for disclosure raised by NAA’s team, enabling the case against a number of Defendants to be dismissed.

Operation Lee – R -v- M (2015) –Acted on behalf of the lead criminal mastermind in this conspiracy to transfer firearms and ammunition from within HMP Rochester to outside gang members. The case received significant media attention.

R -v- T & Others (2015) – Acted on behalf of the alleged lead gang member ‘Mr Muscle’ in an aggravated burglary concerning the Head of Law at SOAS University, London. The case received national and international media attention featuring on the BBC and Sky News. James continues to act in relating extradition proceedings.

Operation Severn – Regina -v- B & Others (2015) – Acted in a 24-handed conspiracy to commit violent disorder originally investigated as an attempted murder concerning youth gang members. James’ client was the only one to require the assistance of an intermediary. The case received significant media attention having featured on the BBC News and the local press.

R -v- M (2015) – Acted on behalf of this client facing charges of sexual assault of two minors who were ABE interviewed aged 3 to be cross examined age 5. Considered to be very rare. Sensitive and pioneering expert evidence obtained and considered. The case features in judicial training on vulnerable witnesses. The client was unanimously acquitted of all counts.

R -v- G (2015) – Acted on behalf of a 12-year-old charged with rape and sexual assault of a class mate. The complainant suffered with significant mental health issues and learning difficulties. This client had a previous caution for rape but was successfully acquitted of all counts in less than 20 minutes.

R -v- MD-B (2014) – Acted on behalf of this client who faced charges of attempted rape and sexual assault. MD-B suffered with sexsomnia claiming no knowledge of the attack brought by him whilst in sleep. Suffered with severe learning difficulties but was interviewed without a solicitor or an appropriate adult. Breach of PACE identified. Vast amounts of third-party material considered. The Complainant had significant mental health conditions and flash backs having suffered recursive historic rape at the hands of her father. The client was unanimously acquitted.

R -v- S (2014) – Acted on behalf of an engineer facing allegations of sexual assault against two separate Complainants following a night out in York town center. The client was unanimously acquitted of both counts.

R -v- BO’S (2013) – Acted in the subsequent and highly complex £4 million confiscation proceedings involving in depth tax investigations following conviction upon a 17-count money laundering indictment. James did not act initially.

R -v- A & Another (2013) – Acted on behalf of the main Defendant alleged to have been involved in a large cannabis cultivation in Essex. James’ client was unanimously acquitted following trial. The Co-Defendant, not represented by James, was convicted.

R -v- H (2013) – Acted on behalf of an animal rights activist who broke in to a university to obtain confidential information in respect of animal testing. Involved complex legal arguments all of which were successful.

Extradition

Appeal Court of Dodecanese, Greece -v- D (2019) – The extradition of a former academic tutor for conducting offences of criminal slander and extortion. The case raised interesting arguments surrounding political motivation and corruption as well as Greek prisons noncompliance with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Arrest Warrant was discharged at first instance.

Imre -v- District Court in Szolnok, Hungary [2018] EWHC 218 (Admin) – Appeal concerning the proper ambit of an accusation European Arrest Warrant when an individual is in fact categorised as a convicted person for the purposes of the Extradition Act 2003.

General Prosecutor’s Office, Republic of Latvia -v- Z (2017) – The extradition of an individual for various thefts from his employer. Complex medical evidence obtained and adduced at the full hearing concerning his autistic child’s needs. The European Arrest Warrant was discharged at first instance on Article 8 grounds.

District Court in Czestochowa, Poland -v- K (2016) – The extradition of a Polish national for conducting a series of horrific and violent armed robberies whilst impersonating a police officer.

District Court of Lomza, Poland -v- D (2016) – The extradition of a company director sought for several sophisticated burglaries committed in 2001. The European Arrest Warrant was discharged at first instance with the presiding District Judge commenting that the delay brought by the National Crime Agency was “excessively dilatory and inconceivable”.

District Court of Siedlce, Poland -v- P (2015) – The extradition of a Polish national who had been classified as a victim of human trafficking three times over. This was a particularly rare and sensitive case expanding upon human trafficking issues internationally. The European Arrest Warrant was discharged at first instance on Article 8 grounds.

Associated Work, Talks & Lectures

James has frequently lectured on advocacy at the London South Bank University and continues to provide students with training and mentor support. He has spent considerable time working with leading practitioners in developing specialist training/ career professional development events for the wider profession on the handling of vulnerable witnesses in criminal proceedings.

James was a former McKenzie friend with the National Centre for Domestic Violence and has provided a series of case commentaries to a variety of legal databases including Justcite and Westlaw.

Professional Memberships

  • London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (‘LCCSA’)
  • Extradition Lawyers’ Association (‘ELA’)
  • Defence Extradition Lawyers’ Association (‘DELF’)
  • Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association (‘YFLA’)
  • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • The Law Society
  • Resolution
  • The UK College of Mediators

Education

James obtained an upper second class LLB (Hons) degree from London South Bank University before undertaking the Bar Professional Training Course at The City Law School, City University London. He went on to study the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School, Holborn in order to cross qualify prior to commencing his period of recognised training with this firm.

Having successfully completed a mediator training course in 2010, James also appears on the UK College of Mediators register of practitioners as a fully trained member.

Full Biography (PDF)