James Guthrie QC


James Guthrie QC specialises in a broad range of appellate work in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This includes constitutional, commercial, common law and criminal cases. He has considerable experience of litigation in Commonwealth jurisdictions, both in an advisory capacity and as an advocate, and has been called to the Bars of the Turks and Caicos Islands, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, St Christopher & Nevis, Grenada, Bermuda, Belize and Antigua. He has also recently appeared by special permission in the Court of Appeal of Mauritius. He appeared before the Privy Council at its first sittings in the Bahamas, and when it sat for the first time in Mauritius.

Described in the directories as a 'first-class advocate', his practice comprises a broad range of general commercial and common law work, including arbitrations. He has great experience of judicial review and group litigation, and the law relating to elections, particularly in the Caribbean context (including a number of judicial review applications and constitutional motions before the local courts).

Consistently recommended in the main law directories as a Leading Silk in Civil Liberties and Human Rights work, he frequently undertakes Privy Council appeals in such cases, including ‘death row’ cases. His human rights work includes references to the various international bodies, including the United Nations and Inter- American Commissions.

James Guthrie was Head of Chambers from 2002 until October 2010. He continues to practise from Chambers. He was a Recorder trying criminal and civil cases. He is a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple and has been a Trustee of the Death Penalty Project since its inception in 2005.

Legal Directories

The Legal 500 2018

  • ‘Charming with a razor sharp intellect and particularly good on matters from the Caribbean.’
  • Administrative and Public Law: Leading Silks
  • ‘Takes an incisive, analytical approach to complex matters.’
  • Leading Silks Civil Liberties and Human Rights: Leading Silks 

The Legal 500 2017

  • 'Adept at swiftly grasping complicated factual and legal matters.’
  • Administrative and Public Law: Leading Silks
  • 'His ability to get to the point quickly is invaluable'
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights: Leading Silks 

The Legal 500 2016

  • 'Top drawer and an utter gentleman.'
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights : Leading Silk
  • 'His knowledge is encyclopaedic and he turns work round incredibly quickly.'
  • Administrative and public law : Leading Silk

The Legal 500 2015

  • 'Held in the highest regard by the judiciary.'
  • Administrative and Public Law: Leading Silk
  • 'Produces very well-researched and well-written opinions.'
  • Civil liberties and human rights: Leading Silk

Chambers & Partners 2017 

  • 'He has a huge background in this area and great confidence. A brave counsel. He is not afraid of making difficult arguments. Someone with steel.'
  • Administrative & Public Law
  • 'Amazingly prompt, responsive and timely. Fantastic attentiveness.'

Chambers & Partners 2016

  • 'He is totally capable. He knows how other jurisdictions work and he has significant experience in dealing with appeal courts'.
  • Administrative & Public Law




BA (Modern History) Worcester College,Oxford