James Morgan QC
Call: 1996 Silk: 2017
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Insolvency & Restructuring Profile

James has extensive insolvency experience including all aspects of corporate insolvency, misfeasance proceedings and personal insolvency. He is an acknowledged leading practitioner in this field and is regularly instructed by the insolvency departments of major local and regional firms. James has been involved in a significant number of insolvency cases of note (including several in the Court of Appeal) as referred to below. As a junior, James undertook directors' disqualification work for the SSBIS and now acts on behalf of individual directors. James has recently been working on high value misfeasance cases and cases with interesting cross-border issues.

James is ranked in the 2018 Chambers UK Bar directory for his expertise in restructuring/insolvency law; the guide notes that, "he thinks quickly on his feet and responds calmly and intelligently to any issues which arise."

James is a regular speaker at conferences and frequently gives in-house seminars to solicitors and IP's. He is a contributing author to Lexis Nexis PSL for Restructuring and Insolvency.

He has contributed a number of articles to journals including: 4Eng v Harper – an unjustified change? (Corporate Rescue & Insolvency 2010, 3(1), 5-8); Preference – when is the decision made? (Corporate Rescue & Insolvency 2011, 4(3), 75-76); The relevance of loss in preference type misfeasance claims (Corporate Rescue & Insolvency 2014, 7(3), 123-124); and Directors' duties in the insolvency context (Insolvency Intelligence 2015 28(1), 1-5).


  • What-the-Directories-Say

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      • "He has a great intellect and never loses sight of the client's commercial objectives.", "Very approachable and good with clients.", "An excellent operator who instils confidence with his technical knowledge and user-friendly manner.", "Very good at insolvency - he's one of the go-tos. He's extremely intelligent and his knowledge of the law in that area is second to none. He is good with clients and highly approachable. He's happy to speak to the clients and find a commercial solution.", "He is very, very good; just very tidy and highly efficient." and"He's well organised, reassuring, knowledgeable and always brilliantly well prepared." - Chambers UK 2019
      • "He's extremely professional in the way he goes about his work. He's got a very appropriate and measured manner in court. Judges like his style, which isn't overly combative or bombastic. He's particularly strong in the company area." "Very good on the law, and clever." - Chambers UK 2018
      • "He's an extremely assured courtroom performer who readily gains complete client confidence." "James is superb - he is who you want in your corner in a dispute. He is meticulous in his preparation, well organised and always available." "He is very easy to work with, approachable and very thorough. He's technically very, very good and is able to look at and assimilate information quickly. He's able to think about the case from both a legal and commercial angle as well." - Chambers UK 2018
      • "He's good on his feet and a pleasure to work with. He has a vast knowledge of the area of law we engage him in." "Very approachable and always contactable." - Chambers UK 2018
      • "He thinks quickly on his feet and responds calmly and intelligently to any issues which arise." "He is technically the best barrister I have ever dealt with." "He is forceful and capable without being overdramatic." Chambers & Partners (2018)
      • “His legal advice is first-rate.” - Legal 500 2017
      • "His advice is always spot-on, he's always across the brief. He's very good with clients, dispensing the right advice in the right way." - Chambers UK 2017
      • "A very user-friendly barrister who is good at dealing with clients, meticulous in his preparation, and quick at responding. He is also a very good advocate who has given one of the best performances I've ever seen in court." "He is calm, bright and always on top of the detail." - Chambers UK 2017
      • "Comfortably the leading junior counsel in the region, James is intelligent, pragmatic and commercial. He also has a terrific bedside manner with both clients and judges." - Chambers UK 2017
      • "He is very clever and applies himself well to disputes." - Chambers UK 2017
      • “He demonstrates a very impressive intellect and thorough preparation; up there with the brightest counsel.” - Legal 500 2016
      • "He is tenacious, but understated - a quietly efficient and highly effective counsel." - Chambers UK 2016
      • "You could put any work with him and it would be safe. He provides everything you need for really big litigation." "He has great paperwork and drafting skills and is very calm with a good bedside manner." - Chambers UK 2016
      • “Fantastic attention to detail and agile on his feet.” - Legal 500 2014
      • "A silk in the making - he has the attributes to be a team leader and his depth of knowledge certainly matches any QC that I have dealt with." - Chambers UK 2014
      • “Garnered acclaim from all sides.” "A star with a fantastic career ahead of him". - Chambers UK 2013
      • "Highly intelligent, pragmatic and commercial”. "accessible, polished and meticulous" Chambers UK 2013

  • Recent-Experience

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      • Acting for directors in a High Court claim for breach of duty, s.423 and under the Companies Act 2006, which is an important authority on the applicability of the duty to creditors when the company is facing a contingent claim
      • Advising as to the interaction of insolvency and shipping law in the context of  the administration of travel companies with various cross-border issues
      • Successfully acting for an Irish liquidator in bringing proceedings in the High Court in England in reliance on the provisions in the EC Insolvency Regulation 
      • Successfully acting for liquidators in obtaining summary judgment in very substantial misfeasance proceedings, as well as orders on a committal application, against multiple respondents arising out of the collapse of a large retail company
      • Successfully acting for applicants in a substantial High Court misfeasance claim against an insolvency practitioner, which included victories in the Court of Appeal on an expedited appeal and later on the thorny issue of the defence of illegality
      • Being led on a second appeal in the Court of Appeal, which is now the leading case concerning the meaning of "insolvency" in the context of avoidance claims
      • A high-value and complicated IVA (raising issues as to capacity) followed by an ongoing bankruptcy

  • Reported-Cases

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      • Dickinson v NAL Realisations (Staffordshire) Ltd (in liquidation) [2017] EWHC 28 (Ch). Acting for defendants facing claims for breach of duty, under s.423 and under the Companies Act 2006.
      • Ready Rentals Ltd (in liquidation) v Ahmed [2016] EWHC 1996 (Ch). Decision of Newey J as to the interaction of POCA 2002 and insolvency law in the context of a payment into court. www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2016/1996.html
      • Re Cosy Seal Insulation Ltd (in administration) [2016] EWHC 1225 (Ch). Succesfully acting for an administrator in obtaining a judgment from HHJ Behrens for over £1m against a director and connected party for breach of duty and a transaction at an undervalue. www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2016/1255.html
      • Sharma v Top Brands [2015] EWCA Civ 1140. Decision of the CA upholding the trial’s judges finding that the breach of duty claim against a former liquidator was not barred by reason of illegality. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2015/1140.html
      • Power v Hodges [2015] EWHC 2931 (Ch), [2015] EWHC 2983 (Ch). Decisions of HHJ Barker QC granting liquidators summary judgment and making suspended orders for committal in substantial misfeasance proceedings. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2015/2983.html
      • Top Brands v Sharma [2014] EWCA Civ 761. Decision of the Court of Appeal on an expedited appeal upholding the first instance judge that a former liquidator had no standing to challenge the status of the applicants as creditors, thereby meaning that their misfeasance claim against the former liquidator should proceed. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2014/761.html
      • Re Casa Estates Ltd [2014] BCC 269. Decision of the Court of Appeal (on a second appeal) as to the meaning and effect of the "cash flow" and "balance sheet" insolvency tests in s.123 of the Insolvency Act 1986 following the decision of the Supreme Court in Eurosail. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2014/383.html
      • Masters v Furber [2014] BPIR 263. Decision of HHJ Purle QC that a supervisor of an IVA could, relying in part on a Power of Attorney in his favour, obtain a mandatory injunction requiring the debtor to comply with the terms of the arrangement in relation to the realisation of certain motor vehicles for the benefit of creditors as a whole. Reported at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2013/3023.html
      • Re GP Aviation Ltd [2014] 1 WLR 166. Decision of HHJ Pelling QC as to whether a bare right to appeal was "property" within the meaning of the Insolvency Act 1986 in the context of an application by liquidator for directions as to whether he should assign the right to conduct a tax appeal to the directors of the company. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2013/1447.html
      • Harris v SSBIS [2014] 1 BCLC 447. Decision of HHJ Barker QC as to the principles to be applied on an application for permission to act under sections 1A and 17 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2013/2514.html
      • Nautch v Mortgage Express [2012] EWHC 4136 (Ch). Decision of HHJ Purle QC as to construction of mortgagee's terms and conditions and professional liability of appointed receivers. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2012/4136.html
      • Re BXL Services [2012] BCC 657 (appointment of administrators)
      • Re Assured & Taurus [2012] BCC 541 (appointment of administrators)
      • Cathie v SSBIS [2012] EWCA Civ 739 (CDDA, second appeal)
      • Re Stealth Construction [2012] BCLC 297 (preferences)Mundy v Brown [2011] BPIR 1056 (misfeasance and Quistclose trusts)
      • Hill v Stokes plc [2011] BCC 473 (appointment of administrators)
      • Green v Bramston [2011] BPIR 44 (Re Berkeley Applegate application)
      • Irwin v Lynch [2011] 1 WLR 1364 (CA) (amendments, limitation and misfeasance)Bolsover DC v Ashfield Nominees [2011] BPIR 7 (CA)
      • (council tax, winding up, limitation)Dennis Rye Ltd v Bolsover DC [2010] 4 All ER 1140 (CA) (cross-claims and winding up petitions)
      • Crooks v Newdigate [2009] EWCA Civ 283 (construction of assignment)
      • Gardiner v SSBERR [2009] BCC 742 (CDDA 1986, s.8A)
      • Re Kayley Vending Ltd [2009] BCC 578 (SIP 16 and pre-appointment costs)
      • Re International Sections Ltd [2009] BCC 574 (prescribed part)
      • Arnold v Williams [2008] BPIR 247 (bankruptcy and appeals against tax assessments)
      • Re Britannia Heat (in admin) [2007] BCC 470 (CVA's and employment law)
      • Re TM Kingdom (in admin) [2007] BCC 480 (exit route from administration)
      • Re Beauvale (in admin) [2006] BCC 912 (exit route from administration)
      • OR v Dhaliwall [2006] 1 BCLC 285 (directors’ disqualification)
      • De Crittenden v Bayliss [2005] EWCA Civ 1424 (abuse of process, fiduciary duty)
      • HL Estates v Parker-Lake [2003] All ER (D) 245 (LPA (MP) Act 1989)

  • Specialist-Areas

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  • Qualifications-and-Appointments

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      • MA Law (Cantab), Jesus College, Cambridge
      • Jesus College Foundation Scholar (1994)
      • Inner Temple Major Scholar (1996)
      • Bar Vocational Course – Outstanding (1996)
      • Attorney-General’s Regional Panel of Advocates (appointed 2002; reappointed 2007 and 2012)
      • Recorder of the County Court (2010)

  • Professional-Associations

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      • Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association

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