James       Hay 

Barrister | Called 2012


James is ranked as a Leading Junior in Chambers & Partners UK Bar.

James’ practice encompasses all areas of Chambers’ criminal and quasi-criminal defence work in both the civilian courts and the Courts Martial, including allegations involving homicide, serious violence, firearms, drugs, sex, public order, dangerous dogs, dishonesty and Animal Welfare.

James has a particular interest in defending allegations of careless or dangerous driving, involving death, serious injury, or otherwise.

James is currently instructed to act for two of the Core Participants in the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry.

James prides himself on the service he provides to his professional and lay clients alike.

 James completed pupillage at Lamb Building supervised by Andrew Selby QC, Jennifer Gray and Daniel Darnbrough.

Prior to joining Lamb Building, James worked for an in-house firm of solicitors at a multi-national financial services corporation.


  • Bar Professional Training Course, Nottingham Law School (“Best Advocate” in year)
  • LLB (Hons), University of Exeter
  • Warwick School


  • Middle Temple
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • South Eastern Circuit Executive Committee
  • Sussex Bar Mess Junior
  • Health & Safety Lawyers Association
  • Association of Military Court Advocates

Further Professional Information


  • “Best Advocate” Prize – Highest Advocacy marks in year (Nottingham Law School)
  • B Montagu Award Major Scholarship (The Hon. Soc. of the Middle Temple)
  • OUP & BPP Law School National Universities Mooting Finalist (Oxford University Press)
  • Law School Prize for Contributions to Mooting and Advocacy (University of Exeter)
  • Lyonesse Law Society Moot Prize (University of Exeter)
  • Ede & Ravenscroft Moot Prize (University of Exeter)


Away from the law, James has played hockey at county and regional level, and is an avid real tennis player. He represents both the Bar Law Tennis Society and the Bar of England & Wales Cricket Club in international fixtures.


James’ expertise


Recent cases include:


R v NA – Youth acquitted after trial of Possession of Firearm (sawn-off shotgun) with Intent (St. Albans Crown Court)

R v LRW – Possession of Firearm with Intent & Assault charges – Defendant acquitted of shooting her ex-partner (Lewes Crown Court)

R v AH – Possession of Firearm with Intent to Endanger Life – avoided mandatory life-sentence (Lewes Crown Court)

R v LN – Possession of Firearm and Ammunition & Possession with Intent to Supply Class-A Drugs (Maidstone Crown Court)

R v MR – Possession of Firearm with Intent & Assault charges involving disposal under the Mental Health Act (Lewes Crown Court)

R v TL – Senior Aircraftman retained following early guilty pleas to Conduct Prejudicial charges following a negligent discharge of his sidearm causing serious risk to life whilst on active duty in Iraq (Catterick Military Court)



 R v BD & Ors – Youth acquitted of multiple Conspiracies to Supply Class A drugs following a trial running a defence under s.45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Inner London Crown Court)

 R v AO & Ors – Junior-alone in the Westcountry’s first “County Lines” & Modern Slavery trial, where the defendant was acquitted of Arranging or Facilitating Travel with a view to Exploitation under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Truro Crown Court)

 R v BB & Anr – Junior-alone in an allegation of Arson Reckless as to whether Life was Endangered where the allegation was that the production of Butane Hash Oil recklessly caused an explosion resulting in millions of pounds of damage to a residential block of flats, also appearing on ITV’s Inside London Fire Brigade (Snaresbrook Crown Court)

R v ST & Ors – Led junior on an 8-week Conspiracy to Convey Listed Items into HMP Lewes (Lewes Crown Court)

R v TB & Ors – Led junior on 4-week Conspiracy to Produce Cannabis (Lewes Crown Court)

R v ZH – Supply Class A & B – 12 months’ custody for 26kg skunk cannabis on ‘courier’ basis (Kingston-Upon-Thames Crown Court)

R v LF – National Crime Agency case involving the Supply of 98% pure Class-A Drugs (Maidstone Crown Court)

R v KD & Ors – Representing Youth in multiple counts of Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs (“County Lines” case involving human trafficking issues under the Modern Slavery Act 2015) (Exeter Crown Court)

R v TD – Court Martial representing aircraftman accused of Being Concerned in the Supply of Class A drugs and breaching standing orders (Catterick Military Court)


Sexual Offences

R v JN – Youth accused of Raping of a 7-year-old boy (HCYC)

R v SA – Defendant acquitted of multiple counts of Assault by Penetration, in what was described as a “possibly unique case” by the trial judge (Lewes Crown Court)

R v SK – Multiple counts of stranger-Rape (Isleworth Crown Court)

R v AM – Multiple counts of Assault by Penetration and attempted-Rape on 13-year-old complainant by a stranger (Winchester Crown Court)

R v AK – Taxi driver acquitted of Sexually Assaulting a passenger (Lewes Crown Court)

R v PM – Court Martial representing ex-serviceman acquitted of multiple historic sex offences said to have occurred over 30 years ago when posted in Germany (Bulford Military Court)



R v HI & Ors – Junior-alone representing Defendant in a 5-handed Conspiracy to commit Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent who was acquitted, having been initially investigated for Conspiracy to Murder (Wood Green Crown Court)

R v CAH & Ors – Junior-alone representing the only Defendant acquitted in a 4-week six-handed Conspiracy to commit Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent on an indictment containing Attempted Murder and Blackmail allegations (Lewes Crown Court)

R v JW & Ors – Multiple allegations of Grievous Bodily Harm & Throwing Corrosive Fluid with Intent to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm contrary to ss. 18 & 29 of the Offences Against the Person Act – led junior on 4-week multi-handed trial (Bournemouth Crown Court)

R v GV & Ors – Conspiracy to Rob (Kingston-Upon-Thames Crown Court)

R v DD – Armed Robbery (Woolwich Crown Court)

R v JN & Ors – Multi-handed trial involving multiple counts of Robbery, Assault and False Imprisonment (Snaresbrook Crown Court)

R v WS – Representing a Chinese Masters Student in s.18 Wounding with Intent & Controlling and Coercive Behaviour allegations (Snaresbrook Crown Court)

R v SV – Paratrooper accused of causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent and multiple assaults on superior officers (Bulford Military Court)



R v LW – Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving (Lewes Crown Court)

R v JD – Dangerous Driving involving a lengthy police chase – Guilty Plea – 9 months’ detention suspended (Luton Crown Court)

R v SW – Dangerous Driving & Witness Intimidation (Lewes Crown Court)

R v SO – Represented a professional footballer in a successful Appeal against a driving conviction (Harrow Crown Court)


Public Order

R v MK & Ors – Represented a professional footballer acquitted of Affray after an incident on a night out in London (Inner London Crown Court)

R v SA – Affray, Assault & Possession of Bladed Articles (Salisbury Crown Court)

R v CD & Ors – Violent Disorder and Assaults at the Epsom Derby (Guildford Crown Court)



R v CT & Ors – 4-week four-handed money laundering, representing the first Defendant (Lewes Crown Court)

R v RD & Ors – Multi-million-pound allegation of handling and laundering the proceeds of stolen plant machinery (Blackfriars Crown Court)

R v YA & Ors – Joint Enterprise high value Dwelling Robbery involving allegations of False Imprisonment and Blackmail (Kingston-Upon-Thames Crown Court)

R v KI – Conspiracy to Defraud (Aylesbury Crown Court)

R v TL – Dwelling Burglary –Acquittal after trial when Co-Defendants had pleaded Guilty on the same evidence (Snaresbrook Crown Court)

R v RJ – Court Martial of current UKSF soldier accused of multiple counts of Fraud by False Representation (Bulford Military Court)


Dangerous Dogs & Animal Welfare

R v JW – Dog Dangerously out of Control when a person is injured (Guildford Crown Court)

R v AR – Defending Trading Standards prosecutions in front of Mr. Justice Fraser alleging Failure to Comply with Animal By-Product Requirements (Winchester Crown Court)

R v EC – Conditional Discharge for wife of serviceman accused of having a Dog Dangerously out of Control when a person is injured whilst posted at BATUK (Bulford Military Court)

Military Law

R v KC – Court Martial representing Irish Guardsman accused of Desertion. Ultimately sentenced to suspended imprisonment (Bulford Military Court)