Rt Hon Lord Justice Sir James lived in Singapore, Plymouth, Sussex, Scotland and Gibraltar as a Naval child. He attended schools around the country. His first school was a state primary school in Plymouth and his last school was Radley College. Following university, he trained as a barrister and is the first in his family to go into the law.
He was called to the Bar in 1987 and made a Queen’s Counsel in 2002. Prominent moments in his legal career included appearing in constitutional cases from around the Commonwealth including acting in pro bono death row cases in the Privy Council for persons appealing against their sentence of death, such as Bernard v The State  UKPC;  2 Cr App R. 22, and against the constitutionality of the mandatory sentence of death, such as Miguel v Trinidad and Tobago  UKPC 14;  1 AC 361. He was leading counsel to the Hutton Inquiry in 2003 and acted for the Express and Star newspapers in the Leveson Inquiry.
He played Rugby Union for a number of years and was selected as a judicial and appeal officer by World Rugby for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.