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James Kitching

  • Partner | Litigation
Headshot of James Kitching

James Kitching has over 20 years of experience in providing strategic advice and handling our clients’ most significant and complex disputes.

A trusted barrister, James chairs our International Arbitration Practice. His work often involves the coordination of parallel civil, criminal, and regulatory proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. He has acted for governments, central banks, and some of the world’s leading corporations and financial institutions, where the amounts in dispute often exceed US$1 billion.

James is a seasoned advocate, skilled in bringing and defending court actions. Clients regularly engage James to conduct arbitration proceedings under the rules of the leading international arbitration institutions, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and the Swiss Chambers’ Court of Arbitration. He has routinely advised across a variety of sectors including financial services, private equity, pharmaceuticals, oil...

James Kitching has over 20 years of experience in providing strategic advice and handling our clients’ most significant and complex disputes.

A trusted barrister, James chairs our International Arbitration Practice. His work often involves the coordination of parallel civil, criminal, and regulatory proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. He has acted for governments, central banks, and some of the world’s leading corporations and financial institutions, where the amounts in dispute often exceed US$1 billion.

James is a seasoned advocate, skilled in bringing and defending court actions. Clients regularly engage James to conduct arbitration proceedings under the rules of the leading international arbitration institutions, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and the Swiss Chambers’ Court of Arbitration. He has routinely advised across a variety of sectors including financial services, private equity, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, telecoms, and IT.

James undertakes white collar enforcement work and conducts internal investigations in connection with alleged bribery and corruption, money laundering, export control, and sanctions violations. He has particular expertise in advising on cross-border matters and has undertaken World Bank investigations. Our clients benefit from his substantial experience in dealing with data protection issues in the context of international disputes and investigations.

The Legal 500 UK, where James is noted as “a first-rate litigator,” quotes clients who say he “stands out. He is a very experienced and knowledgeable litigator with convincing pleading skills. He is a formidable advocate and excellent strategist” and is “a highly intelligent, skilled manager of complex matters.” The publication further praises James as “fantastic at seeing the big picture and understanding how to present the case in the best possible light,” “responsive and sharp,” “very commercial and very focused on the key issues,” and one who “exudes confidence and reliability.”

This description dovetails with The Legal 500 UK’s estimation of our broader disputes team in London. Consistently recognizing us in commercial litigation and international arbitration, they identify the practice as providing a quality of legal advice that is “second to none.” Clients say that “Fried Frank is genuinely one of the most responsive law firms I have ever worked with. The advice is fast, strategic, and tactical advice but to the point. All members of the team are available and on hand to assist 24/7.” They go on to call the group an “excellent team of highly skilled professionals and has solid expertise in handling commercial litigation. Very pragmatic team with a very hands-on approach. They are a very responsive team, thorough and efficient. Their work is highly solution-oriented and precise. They have the ability to explain complex legal matters in an understandable way.” Additionally, our International Arbitration Practice is consistently included in Global Arbitration Review’s Top 100 International Arbitration law firms globally.

James was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1999 and was awarded the Phillip Teichman Scholarship (Inner Temple). He continues to exercise full rights of audience in the High Court (Commercial Court, Companies Court, Queen’s Bench, and Chancery Divisions), appellate courts, and arbitral tribunals.

Work highlights:

  • Acted for a fund of hedge funds in connection with an internal investigation into the multibillion-dollar losses it sustained through the Madoff fraud and in connection with related civil proceedings. Representation in examinations conducted by the Madoff SIPA Trustee and by the Irish Financial Regulation Authority
  • Representation of a global pharmaceutical company in connection with a €2 billion arbitration claim for fraud and breaches of warranty arising in connection with an M&A transaction, involving allegations of wrong-doing across over 10 European countries and in multiple languages
  • Counsel to the Republic of Iraq and the Central Bank of Iraq in connection with a series of multibillion-dollar Commercial Court debt claims arising from alleged payment defaults under promissory notes and breach of related guarantees
  • Representation of global oil major in ICSID proceedings relating to the alleged breach of an exploration and production agreement in connection with the Netherlands-Uganda bi-lateral investment treaty
  • Counsel to an international construction company in connection with an investigation by the World Bank into alleged market collusion and corrupt practices in Bangladesh

Professional associations

  • Former Co-Chair, Employed Barristers’ Committee, The Bar Council of England and Wales
  • Treasurer, Bar Association of Commerce Finance and Industry (BACFI)
  • Master of the Bench, The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

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