James Rowley QC

Barrister, Byrom Street Chambers

Educated at Stonyhurst and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (MA in Classics), James was called to the Bar in 1987 and practised at 28 St John Street, Manchester until joining Byrom Street Chambers in January 2004. He was a Recorder of the Crown and County Courts (2003-2016) and Chairman of the Personal Injuries Bar Association (2010-2012). He is a PIcARBS qualified arbitrator.

Specialising early on in his career, he developed an extensive personal injury and clinical negligence practice as a junior. He was appointed in 2000, at the age of 35, as main Counsel to the Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry into organ retention at Alder Hey Hospital, following which he was recruited as senior junior, with a speaking role, into the PTSD Group Actions against the MoD. Shortly after returning to more routine practice, he moved to Byrom Street Chambers while the appointment of new Queen’s Counsel had been suspended; he was successful in 2006 when the competition was first renewed.

He has a mixed claimant and defendant clinical negligence and PI practice in Silk. On the losing side in Dunhill v Burgin, Baroness Hale said this of his performance (in the Peter Taylor Memorial Lecture 2014 to the PNBA): “There was much more to the defendant’s arguments than this, and they were made with conspicuous learning and skill. It was certainly not counsel’s fault that we rejected them.”

He has a special interest in CTG interpretation and birth injury claims, as well as neo-natal and infant meningitis cases. He has long espoused a careful and rigorous approach to the assessment of damages, publishing the definitive guide to pension loss calculation as a young barrister and, more recently in Silk, advice on the use of PPOs 5 and his regularly updated review of quantum in serious cases.

He is ranked as a Band 1 Silk under both the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Sections of Chambers and Partners 2016. “He maintains a wide-ranging clinical negligence practice and is routinely instructed on matters relating to obstetrics, neonatal management and delay in diagnosis. Strengths: “Very intelligent. He’s able to look at a case with a balanced view and can always swoop into the detail and straight to the issues.” “He is excellent. A clever barrister with excellent knowledge and an excellent rapport with experts.”

Married with 3 sons, enjoying gardening and cooking, he still opens the batting at High Legh C.C. and keeps a small wine cellar.

Further information can be found on the Byrom Street Chambers website.

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