James has specialised in housing law and litigation for the last two decades and has brought a number of notable cases in the field of homelessness and allocations.
James also has an established Landlord and Tenant practice, acting for both tenants and landlords.
In the 2020 editions of the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners James is described as “formidable” and a “dedicated practitioner with a lot of experience”.
Between 2010 and 2013 James was the Director of the Community Legal Advice Centre in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. The Centre, operated in partnership with Barking & Dagenham Citizens Bureau, was the first of its kind in London and offered a holistic generalist advice service in social welfare and family law.
James is a member of the Housing Law Practitioners Association and sat on its Executive Committee between 2004 and 2011. James also chaired the Association’s Legal Aid Committee between 2004 and 2009.
James’ notable cases include:
Naser Osmani v LB Camden in the Court of Appeal in 2004 which concerned the vulnerability of a homeless applicant and established the principle that the risk of harm must be considered in the context of the applicant being street homeless.
R(Omar Ahmad) v LB Newham in the House of Lords in 2011 which challenged the legality of the council’s allocations scheme and is now the leading authority in the law of housing allocations.
Aliya Shariff v LB Camden in the Supreme Court in 2013 which concerned the question of whether a family living in two separate units of accommodation could be said to be living “together”.
R(Huda Alansi) v LB Newham in the Administrative Court in 2013 which concerned a challenge to the Council’s allocations scheme on the basis that the Claimant had a legitimate expectation that she would retain her priority status if she moved to private sector accommodation.
R(Sara Hillsden) V Epping Forest DC in the Administrative Court in 2015 which concerned a challenge to a decision by the Council not to consider whether or not the Claimant’s circumstances were exceptional and that she should be treated as eligible for an allocation despite her not fulfilling the Defendant’s residency criteria in its allocations scheme.