James Bide-Thomas

Called 2005

James was called to the bar in 2005, having been educated at Charterhouse, the University of Leicester, City University and the Inns’ of Court School of Law. He has a predominantly criminal practice, but also maintains expertise in licensing law and inquests.

James is a grade 3 CPS prosecutor and, until its abolition, was a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of prosecuting advocates. As well as extensive experience prosecuting and defending serious cases investigated by the police, he continues to act on behalf of other government departments, including HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, the UK Border Agency and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

James is regarded as an excellent jury advocate and is known for his clarity of thought, patience and willingness to spend as much time as is necessary to ensure that clients understand proceedings and the decisions that they need to make. He understands that appearing in court is often one of the most traumatic experiences a non-lawyer can go through. Where possible, he likes to meet his clients before the day of any court hearing so that decisions can be made in as unhurried an environment as possible.

General Crime
James prosecutes and defends serious and substantial offences in the Crown Court, including arson, grievous bodily harm with intent, armed robbery, unlawful sexual activity with children, making indecent images, firearms offences, drug supply and importation, kidnap, blackmail, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, and death by dangerous driving. His practice is approximately half prosecution and half defence.

Benefit fraud
James prosecutes a significant proportion of the Department for Work and Pensions benefit fraud cases that reach the Crown Court in the East Midlands. He also assists local authorities to investigate and prepare for these types of case and has frequently been consulted pre-charge to advise on evidence and draft charges.

Smoke-Free Premises
James has expertise in smoke free premises legislation and has defended a number of businesses across the Midlands. He has been instructed by businesses in London and across the UK for advice on how to ensure that their premises comply with the legislation. He is happy to conduct site visits and to advise businesses or local authorities on the correct application of the law.

Licensing Law
James has appeared for both local authorities and appellants in appeals against licensing authorities’ decisions to refuse to grant premises licences for alcohol or hot food. He has advised on appeals to the High Court by way of judicial review and case stated. He has appeared for both sides in taxi-licensing appeals in the Crown Court. He has prosecuted and defended cases where licence holders have sold alcohol to minors, counterfeit products and avoided import duties.

Trading Standards
James has both prosecuted on behalf of trading Standards in the Crown Court and acted for claimant local authorities in the County Court using the Enterprise Act 2002 to help local authorities deal with rogue traders where there is not a realistic prospect of conviction. He is experienced in advising trading standards of the best legal solution, whether by way of prosecution or civil action.

Business Law
James prosecutes on behalf of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. These cases involve the various Companies Acts, the Insolvency Acts and a good knowledge of forensic accountancy. Often, the desired outcome is a disqualification for the directors of the companies involved. James also defends in such cases.

Housing Law
James prosecutes and defends in cases involving Housing Act licences, including houses in multiple occupation, fire safety regulations and fly-tipping. He has appeared at inquests involving deaths as a result of a failure to install appropriate fire-safety equipment. He also has experience of housing and anti-social behaviour injunctions in the County Court.

James is the supervising barrister for the University of Leicester branch of the Innocence Project, which campaigns tirelessly to free those wrongly convicted.
He appears regularly in the Court of Appeal and has successfully judicially reviewed Crown Court decisions. James undertakes civil cash forfeiture cases in the Magistrates’ Court, having previously worked in the Cash Forfeiture Litigation Team at HM Revenue and Customs.
James undertakes disclosure and assesses PII of social services files for Leicester City Council.
James is a trained Public Access barrister. He is a member of the CBA. He speaks conversational French and basic Greek.

Recent cases
R v Samuel Wright

Represented a defendant accused of grievous bodily harm with intent after the complainant was run over by a car.

R v Ikram Mohammed

Represented a defendant in confiscation proceedings where the prosecution were seeking £1,000,000 in hidden assets.

R v John Langton

Prosecuted a defendant on trial for grievous bodily harm with intent involving the stabbing of a stranger in the street.

R v DA
Represented a defendant on trial for 9 counts of sexual activity with a child

Print Profile

Back to Barristers