James Bruce

Call: 2010


James is an advocate who regularly impresses at court. He is particularly able at building rapport with lay clients and witnesses alike, who respond well to his no-nonsense approach.

During his degree, James studied abroad at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. As well as studying at Law School, he interned on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and trained with the US Army. His time with the US forces was a continuation of the two years spent with Sheffield University Officer Training Corps.

Since completing pupillage with St Philips under the supervision of John Edwards, James has specialised in Crime and Regulatory Law. He appears regularly in the Crown Courts across the country where he represents the CPS and local authorities in the full spectrum of cases as well as before Coroners and Magistrates.

Clients often find James’ perspective useful to anticipate the consequences of a ruling in one court as to how it applies in another. He is also increasingly responsible for advising on all aspects of criminal litigation. This is particularly helpful in cases where lay and professional clients may be familiar with one type of court but find themselves in slightly unusual cases in another.

Having been a Disclosure Junior on two large and complicated cases for the CPS, his grasp of this difficult area remains current and first rate. The risk of injustice from failures in disclosure means that in all his cases – prosecuting and defending – James approaches this tricky area with rigour and the determination to make sure only those cases proceed which are prosecuted in compliance with these important rules.

Having grown up in Lancashire and spent his university years in Sheffield, James is always happy to go back to his roots with work in the North of England.

Qualifications and Appointments:

  • LLB (Hons) 1st Class, University of Sheffield – Oxford University Press Prize for excellent examination results.
  • BVC, Outstanding, University of the West of England – Finished in the top three students of the course.

Recent Cases:

James continued to develop his football related criminal practice with a three week trial in Wolverhampton Crown Court. He represented one of six Wolverhampton Wanderers fans charged with Affray against visiting Leeds fans in a brawl where one person sustained a serious head injury. The case involved careful analysis and use of CCTV evidence, and James’ client was acquitted along with some of the co-defendants.

Accepting instructions to prosecute for the CPS has led to a busy Crown Court practice for James. His experience before Circuit Judges and Juries means clients can be assured their case will be presented in the best possible way to achieve success. This includes cases involving young or vulnerable witnesses, an area which James helped train those who will be training on the mandatory course for criminal advocates on that topic.

James regularly enjoys success in driving matters from speeding prosecutions to VOSA matters. His recent experience includes securing an acquittal in a case of failing to provide, where the defendant himself did not know he has a medical reason for not doing so. He is often instructed by insurer-backed clients and will also accept instructions on a direct access basis.

In the Coroners Court, James represented the Queen Elizabeth Hospital during the inquest into the death of Kingsley Burrel. The inquest lasted several weeks, with James present to protect the interests of the hospital and care for their witnesses throughout the process. He has also acted for local authorities in inquests relating to the death of those in the care of the council.

James has built on his university experience of the military by accepting instructions to defend cases before the Court Martial. Amongst other cases, he represented the ring leader of a group of Marines who organised an initiation ceremony for new joiners to their unit. This case made the national news at the time. James puts his background to good use by being able to understand military cases in their specific context that purely civilian representatives would struggle to comprehend.


  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • Midland Circuit
  • South Eastern Circuit

My Expertise