James works with a wide variety of charities, not for profits, local authorities and government departments. He tends to focus on governance and structure issues including reviews of governance, company group and collaborative structures, Royal Charters, International Federations and other bodies. He has done substantial amounts of work for membership organisations which represent a particular challenge.
Much of his work is involved with mergers including assisting clients find appropriate merger partners and negotiating the early stages of mergers and collaborative working.
Increasingly he has had to support clients facing issues with regulators and in particular the Charity Commission and finding strategies to manage a range of risk, solvency and growth issues.
Recent work has included assisting Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust with its governance and relationship with the local authority; advising the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy on complexities arising from their membership structure; advising Clinks, the Association of Charities working with offenders on a re-structuring of probation and similar arrangements and assisting a new charity take on the ownership and management of a large stately home and estate in Wales.
James was appointed the Protector of NESTA by the Secretary of State and is the Chair of ShelterBox an international aid charity and a housing association and Vice Chair of a number of other charities.
- Merging United Response and Robert Owen Communities
- Advising UNICEF on governance and an international collaboration agreement
- Restructuring the governance of the International Youth Hostel Federation (Hostelling International) and of Consumer International
- Advice on charitable status to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
- Helping Tudor Trust on a major social enterprise investment
- Complete revision of the royal charter of the Landscape Institute
- Advising an NHS mutual on a major collaboration with GPs
- Advising a local authority on the transfer of an historic community asset to a new charitable body
- Assisted the Cyclists Touring Club to achieve charitable registration
- Restructured the Ironmonger's Charitable Trust
- Advised the Medical Research Council Technology on its separation from the MRC
- Negotiated a £7 million funding agreement for the Postal Heritage Trust
- "James is a well-regarded figure with a solid track record in the charities industry. He lends his considerable expertise and market insight to high-profile clients involved in complex governance and structuring projects." Chambers UK (2019)
- James is noted as having "a great oversight and is able to draw on his experience to produce workable solutions to individual issues", Chambers UK (2018)
- He is further identified by Chambers UK (2017) as a 'leading individual' where he is described as "a guru on charity law"
- Association of Chairs
- Charity Law Association
- Housing Association Chairs Group
- Author of the Russell-Cooke Legal Handbook 2010, the Directory of Social Change
- Author of he Company Handbook and Registers for Voluntary Organizations
James has a particular interest in social change charities and a keen interest in providing training for charities as demonstrated by his involvement with NCVO, The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the Directory of Social Change and Charity Finance Directors' Group. He was a Visiting Fellow at London Southbank University.
His garden and racing his sailing dinghy