James Culverwell

James is an experienced advocate specialising in commercial litigation and property law with particular expertise in construction disputes as well as insolvency and companies work.  James appears in the High Court and County Court at first instance and on appeal. James normally appears as sole counsel but has also been led in a number of matters.

James has comprehensive oral advocacy skills having started his career with a common law practice covering Civil, Crime and Family. He is also accomplished at drafting concise and thorough pleadings and has been praised for his advisory work. Commended for his personable style putting clients at ease and engaging tribunals, James brings a practical and common-sense approach to his work.

“All of your work has been extremely impressive; your advice has been just what we’ve been looking for on each occasion and the [documents] you have produced have been bang on our own style. It’s a pleasure working with you.” – Solicitor, E Ltd v T Ltd (2023)

“I’ve been very impressed with all of your advice, as have a number of Partners and Solicitors within our Dept. I am an advocate of giving praise when it’s due and my experiences with you have certainly led me to the conclusion it’s due.”-  Solicitor, CE Ltd v MED Ltd & Q Ltd v H Ltd.

“I am delighted with the services provided by chambers and particularly that of James; there is no question that he went above and beyond. His diligence, efficiency and clear ability to sort wheat from chaff was invaluable and to top it all a thoroughly nice chap.” – H Ltd v TBDS, lay client

“Another very thorough and well-thought out advice. Thank you.” – Solicitor, F v E Council


  • Bar Professional Training Course – Very Competent
  • LLB (Hons) – First Class


  • Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • Society of Construction Law
  • Technology & Construction Bar Association (TECBAR)
  • Property Bar Association
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • R3


James is a keen skier and a follower of the Hampshire and England cricket teams, as well as Harlequins and England rugby teams. He is also an enthusiastic cook and enjoys good food and drink.


James regularly advises on significant commercial construction disputes and residential renovation cases involving breach of contract (including NEC and JCT standard contracts) and negligence. James has particular expertise with cases involving limitation defences as well as the application of the implied terms under the Scheme for Construction Contracts.  James is experienced in drafting pleadings, advising and providing representation in the Technology and Construction Court and County Court at all stages of litigation and adjudication including enforcement.

Notable Cases

  • B Ltd v L Ltd (2022) – James was led by Graeme Sampson in this complex and high-value adjudication in which the parties were disputing over £10m in the final account on a major central London construction project. Graeme and James acted for the sub-contractor and their submissions on an interesting point of estoppel were important in securing an award for their client.
  • Hirst & Anor v Dunbar & Ors [2022] EWHC 41 (TCC) – acting as sole counsel pre-trial and then led junior from trial preparation for a building company on a long-running claim for unpaid fees in a dispute involving limitation, disputed ownership of land, existence of a contract and value of works. The case involved amongst other things, the application of implied payment terms and a review of the authorities in the area. The case is cited in Chapter 32 of Chitty on Contracts (35th edn) in relation to the accrual of the cause of action under a contract for work and services.

Recent Cases

  • C v N Ltd (2024) – Advising and representing the employer in relation to a claim against the main contractor arising from defective flooring, screed and underfloor-heating which hinged on conflicting expert evidence.  James acted from CCMC, including defeating an application for specific disclosure and attending a mediation at which a favourable settlement was achieved.
  • P v X Ltd (2024) – advising a high net-worth individual in respect of their multi-million pound residential construction project, in particular centring on defective and incomplete works to the pool and spa complex.
  • H Ltd v D Ltd (2023) – advising on the terms and effect of a release clause in a settlement agreement following attempts to recover further damages amounting to six times the original settlement.
  • P Ltd v A Ltd (2023) – responding to an adjudication alleging defective works by a flooring contractor on a major development and successfully limiting the award to less than 25% of the claim.
  • AG ltd v CG Ltd (2023) – advising a sub-contractor and representing them in a negotiation achieving a favourable settlement in a dispute over defective works during a high-value residential renovation.
  • DH v GF (2023) – advising an employer on an unusual situation relating to the appointment of a contract administrator under a JCT contract and a final account claim.
  • C v SGP Ltd (2023) – drafting a claim for breach of statutory duty under the Defective Premises Act 1972 for failing to adequately waterproof a converted factory.  Amongst other matters, the claim relies on the extended limitation period under the Building Safety Act 2022.
  • P v SG Ltd (2023) – representing homeowners in a long-running dispute arising from defective foundations which finally reached a favourable settlement through mediation.
  • AD Ltd v CP Council (2022) – advising in a prospective dispute arising from conditional planning agreement and a section 106 agreement in circumstances whereby the Local Authority was frustrating the planning decision by refusing to execute the section 106 agreement.
  • H v B (2022) – drafting the claim and obtaining judgment in a residential renovation case in which the contractor, a limited company, was wound up but the Claimant successfully pursued the director as joint tortfeasor on the grounds of deceit and fraudulent misrepresentation.
  • M v SH Ltd (2022) – acting for a developer in a breach of contract claim by a purchaser involving multiple experts and issues of interpretation and liability as well as quantum.
  • E v M Ltd (2022) – acting for the consumer on a contract and negligence dispute arising from a residential renovation including drafting pleadings, successfully striking out a defective defence, and ultimately securing a favourable award following a disposal hearing.
  • O Ltd (2022) – advised a management company on complex issues of liability in relation to defective cladding on prospective claims against the developer, original freeholder, current freeholder, structural engineers and architects.
  • A Ltd v C Ltd (2021) – Advising on limitation arising from a contract implied by the scheme for construction contracts and drafting pleadings in defence of a claim for breach of contract and negligence arising from a central London development.
  • C v U Ltd (2021) – advising and drafting pleadings in a claim for breach of contract and negligence arising from construction of a dwelling. The claim involved multiple limitation periods and amendments after expiry leading to an increase in value of approximately £100,000.
  • H Ltd v D Ltd (2021) – acting for a contractor and responding to an adjudication seeking a repayment against value of work, and pleading set-off for non-payment arising from a breach of contract for work on a large development.
  • A Ltd v D Ltd (2021) – successfully responding to an adjudication for non-payment for the same contractor on the above development.
  • F Ltd v L Ltd (2021) – advising on a complex dispute relating to cladding arising from a purchase agreement, building contract and a remediation agreement between a building owner, building contractors and a contract administrator.

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*This barrister is authorised to practice in England & Wales. Click here to search on the Bar Standards Board Barristers’ Register.

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