James Goudie QC
James is a very experienced senior silk with a broad practice in and out of Court. He is highly reputed both as an advocate and for his advice. He covers the entire field of 11KBW practice, especially acting for and against clients operating in and with the public sector. James is listed as a Leading Silk in Administrative and Public Law, Education, Employment, Local Government and Public Procurement in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Chambers & Partners Bar Awards.
James Goudie QC has been Head of Chambers since 1997, alongside Daniel Stilitz QC.
Commercial / Arbitration & Mediation
James is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is experienced both as an Arbitrator and appearing as Counsel in arbitrations and mediations. He appears in the Commercial Courts, the Technology and Construction Court, and the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions.
He has been highly experienced over many years in the wide range of employment cases, both in the High Court and above and in appeals from Employment Tribunals, with particular expertise in contract disputes, TUPE, pensions, all aspects of discrimination law, jurisdictional issues, collective disputes, various kinds of injunctions, and EU and ECHR law.
Public, administrative and constitutional law is James’ main area of practice. He is co-editor of a leading textbook on judicial review and has appeared in very many of the major judicial review cases. He is a Past Chair of the Administrative Law Bar Association.
James is an Emeritus Governor of the London School of Economics. He has appeared in many important education cases, including on college transport, nursery education, and admission criteria.
James is a Past Chair of the Bar European Group. He is heavily involved not only with public procurement, competition and State Aid, but also with EU aspects of environmental and employment law.
Health & Community Care
James has appeared in many cases related both to the NHS and to community care, including R (F) v Buckinghamshire County Council (2019) EWHC 1817 (Admin) on closure of children’s centres and consultation.
James’ practice extends to the European Court of Human Rights.
Information, Media & Privacy Law
James is a former President of the National Security Panel of the Data Protection and Information Tribunal. He represented the then Information Commissioner before the Bichard Inquiry on data processing issues arising out of the Soham Murders, and acted for the Commissioner in the High Court in the case over MP’s expenses. He deals not only with data protection but also with environmental and other information requests, freedom of expression, privacy and confidentiality.
Recent cases include Hussain v Sandwell MBC (2017) EWHC 1641 (Admin),  ACD 97 on data protection.
James has been nicknamed “the Godfather of Local Government”. He was the Leader of a London Borough. Recent cases include Williams v Caerphilly Council (2020) EWCA Civ 296 on local authority decision making, R (Peters) v Haringey LBC (2018) EWHC 192 (Admin) on vires, R (Whitstable Society) v Canterbury City Council (2017) EWHC 254 ( Admin ) on land disposal, R ( Hussain) v Sandwell MBC (2017) EWHC 1641 (Admin) on standards, and R (Liverpool City Council) v SoS (2017) EWHC 986 (Admin) on central government funding of new burdens on local authorities.
Procurement & State Aid
James has acted in numerous public procurement cases and is a much sought after source of advice on all public procurement issues. His recent cases include Ocean Outdoor UK Ltd v Hammersmith & Fulham LBC (2019) EWCA Civ 1642,  PTSR 639, the leading case on concession contracts and the land exemption.
James has acted throughout the Ricoh Arena saga, R (Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council, No. 1 on a loan, and No.2, on a lease extension, both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, the leading cases on State Aid and the Market Economy Investor Principle.
Chambers & Partners
“An erudite silk with a broad practice, he handles all manner of administrative and public law cases and is a noted expert in employment law”
“Technically excellent, well respected and someone who makes himself available at short notice.”
“A very knowledgeable and eloquent advocate who is well respected by the judges.”
“He is formidable”, “hugely respected”, and “regularly instructed on complex procurement issues”
“An expert in education and public law.”
“A true expert in his field” who is “capable of giving swift, clear and user-friendly advice.”
“An excellent advocate and a great strategic thinker. He wins the confidence of the most demanding clients.”
“He is a go-to barrister for local government law and gives clear, pragmatic advice on difficult issues.”
“It is an absolute pleasure to watch the quality of his advocacy. He just has such a command of the court, the papers and the whole process.”
“The go-to specialist on local government law”
“Pre-eminent in his field and client-friendly”
“Has a comprehensive understanding of the interface between public and procurement law”
“He is very knowledgeable, approachable and gives clear advice.”
“He is very clever, immensely knowledgeable on judicial reviews and has superb judgement.”
“The font of all local government knowledge”
“His insight into local government regulation is invaluable”
“Extremely knowledgeable and effective in communicating with clients”
“He has a good tactical judgement and knows how to pitch his argument.”
James is a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple and was a Deputy High Court Judge. He is a member of the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in its Antigua and Barbuda and of British Virgin Islands jurisdictions. He has been admitted ad hoc to the Bars of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Malawi, Northern Ireland and Singapore. He is a former Chairman of the Law Reform Committee of the Bar Council.
News, Articles & Publications
In addition to numerous articles, publications include:
- Supperstone, Goudie and Walker on Judicial Review (co-editor and contributor of chapter on Bias) (6th Edition 2017, Supplement 2019)
- Contributes chapters to Tolley’s annual Employment Handbook
Supperstone, Goudie and Walker on Judicial Review was described by Lord Woolf as a “leading textbook” in R v Home Secretary, ex p Jeyeanthan  1 WLR 354 at 360C and has been reviewed as ‘the leading textbook in the field’, ‘wide in scope’, ‘rich in detail and authoritative in expression’, with ‘contributors superbly qualified for the task’, providing a ‘thorough, detailed analysis’ and ‘essential account’ and being an ‘essential’ reference volume.
James is on the Editorial Board of “Judicial Review”. He was Consultant Editor of the Local Government Reports and edited the Audit Commission Act 1998 for Current Law Statutes
LLB (Hons) London University (London School of Economics) 1963.
Solicitors’ Finals (with distinction in Commercial Law) 1966.