James Holland

Call: 2004

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There are an impressive and well respected pool of advocates at this set.

Legal 500, 2022
James Holland

Personal profile

James Holland specialises in defending allegations of White Collar Crime, including all aspects of Business Crime & Fraud.

James has experience in conducting Investigations and Inquests & Inquiry work, having been engaged as counsel to the Dame Linda Dobbs Review in relation to which he sits on the Regulatory Sub-Panel.

James has also defended allegations of Serious & Organised Crime, in particular those cases involving modern slavery, Human Trafficking, Serious Violence offences and Murder & Manslaughter.

James is able to master complex and voluminous materials quickly and efficiently and adopts a client-focused approach to all cases.

He is a tenacious advocate and skilled legal draughtsman, diligent, and approachable but fierce and uncompromising in the defence of his clients’ interests in court.

Business Crime & Fraud

James is experienced, both as sole counsel and led junior, in defending allegations of large-scale Fraud, Money Laundering & Proceeds of Crime and other financial crime. James has a rigorous and intellectual approach to cases and is frequently instructed on behalf of defendants who find themselves first on the indictment in relation to highly complex allegations.

Featured cases

  • R v PS (2022) – Instructed to represent a company director in relation to allegations of large-scale fraud against the Post Office.
  • R v PS (2021) – Instructed to represent a MLRO in relation to allegations of large scale money laundering through a series of companies in the UK and abroad.
  • R v AB (2021) – Instructed to represent a company director in relation to allegations of Corporation Tax and VAT fraud.
  • R v DS (2016) – Instructed as led junior in this £8m money laundering, with attendant regulatory offences, case brought against a barrister working as a compliance officer for a currency wholesale business. They were acquitted of both money laundering counts.
  • R v MP (2016) – Instructed to defend a large-scale money laundering of the proceeds of mandate and other frauds, on behalf of an international organised criminal network.
  • R v KR (2015) – Successfully defended a money laundering case, linked to mandate frauds over £40m, when no evidence was offered following three weeks of legal argument. This was the second in a series of NCA prosecutions. Another defendant represented at an earlier trial was also discharged when the Crown offered no evidence.
  • R v RT (2014) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of €130m money laundering through a bureau de change.
  • R v SK (2014) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of €170m money laundering through a bureau de change.
  • R v KS (2014) – Allegation of £40m money laundering linked to mandate frauds which collapsed mid-trial, due to defence exposure of multiple and systemic failures of the NCA .

See our Business Crime & Fraud team.

Murder & Manslaughter

James acts regularly for clients charged with murder, in particular those whose cases require a significant level of preparation. James is very conscious of the need to marry hard work and tenacity with good client care.

Featured cases

  • R v SG (2022) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of joint enterprise murder for gain.
  • R v AZ (2017) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of joint enterprise murder.
  • R v RM (2017) – Instructed as led junior in a joint enterprise murder and attempted murder where the client was alleged to be a joint-principal. Subsequently before the Court of Appeal as one of the post-Jogee joint enterprise appeals.
  • R v MB (2014) – Instructed as led junior for an alleged principal in a joint enterprise murder by a youth.
  • R v MT (2013) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of murder involving the use of torture said to be inspired by the Saw films.
  • R v KV (2013) – Instructed as led junior in an eight-handed joint enterprise murder. The first trial resulted in a successful submission of no case to answer, a terminatory ruling and successful appeal by the Crown. The client was acquitted at the second trial.
  • R v MG (2012) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of murder by a 14-year-old.
  • R v NH (2009) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of joint enterprise murder by a youth. The conviction was quashed on appeal and a verdict of manslaughter substituted.
  • R v SH (2008) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of the murder of a transgender individual by a youth. The client was acquitted by unanimous verdict.

See our Murder & Manslaughter team.

Serious Violence

James accepts instructions in relation to all offences of violence and frequently deals with serious allegations the defence of which requires the skilful cross-examination of difficult witnesses. James is meticulous in his preparation of arguments to be advanced before judges and assertive in his presentation of those arguments.

Featured cases

  • R v SB (2016) – Successfully defended an attempted murder, conspiracy to rob and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life where the client was alleged to be the principal who fired a sawn-off shotgun into an occupied car in a public place.
  • R v VM (2013) – Allegation of conspiracy to kidnap, blackmail and false imprisonment.
  • R v AM (2012) – Instructed as led junior in an attempted murder (shooting with a sawn-off shotgun) and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
  • R v MS (2009) – Instructed to defend an attempted murder (stab to the throat) and threats to kill.

See our Serious Violence team.

Serious & Organised Crime

James has experience of defending cases where allegations concern serious organised crime, often spanning multiple jurisdictions. He also frequently defends in multi-defendant cases where tactical judgement is of vital importance.

Featured cases

  • R v ZA (ongoing) – Instructed to defend in relation to allegations of large-scale people smuggling, linked to organised crime.
  • R v CM (2019) – Instructed to defend an allegation of modern slavery involving trafficking and prostitution.
  • R v NA (2018) – Instructed to defend an allegation of reverse people smuggling by an organised criminal network, involving an undercover operation by The Sun newspaper.
  • R v HT (2013) – Instructed as led junior in an allegation of being concerned in the production of drugs, by a director of a hydroponics business. The case involved an international crime syndicate producing cannabis on the largest scale ever uncovered in the UK and said to be the largest drugs conspiracy uncovered in Europe. Confiscation proceedings in relation to approximately £150m. This resulted in a confiscation order for the client of approximately £20k.
  • R v MA (2010) – Instructed as led junior to defend a solicitor charged with conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration laws involving organised criminal gangs from Eastern Europe and alleged to have been the largest such conspiracy ever prosecuted in the UK.

See our Serious & Organised Crime team.

Inquests & Inquiries

James is known for his skill in drafting analysis and preparing questions for witnesses. He currently sits on the Regulatory Sub-Panel, set up to advise the Dame Linda Dobbs Review in relation to the approach to be adopted to contentious areas of law and regulation.

Currently engaged as counsel to the Dame Linda Dobbs Review, the scope of which includes whether the issues relating to HBOS Reading were investigated and appropriately reported to authorities at the time by the Lloyds Banking Group, following its acquisition of HBOS.

See our Inquests & Inquiries team.

Education

  • BVC, BPP Law School: Very Competent
  • MA Legal and Political Theory, University College London
  • BA Philosophy, University of Cambridge
  • LLB, Exeter University

Memberships

  • CBA
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Justice
  • Inner Temple

Other experience