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James Hartley

Partner & National Head of Dispute Resolution | Leeds

“James Hartley and Freeths deserve huge credit for taking on this case. What is now recognised as the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history was, at the beginning, a complex and disparate set of stories from individual subpostmasters, about events spanning decades, and in the face of outright denials from the Post Office. Other firms had tried and failed to do what Freeths ultimately achieved. It could not have been achieved without the unfailing commitment of James Hartley to the cause of the subpostmasters, and his unshakeable confidence in the merits.”
Kathleen Donnelly, Barrister at Henderson Chambers 

Call: 0345 077 9581 Mobile: 0792 070 1822

About James

James Hartley is the Head of our award-winning litigation team of the year. He led on winning Bates v The Post Office – “one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in British legal history.”

James is Head of Dispute Resolution and Risk Mitigation and advises business leaders on strategies to deploy in high-stakes legal risk situations.

James takes a strategic approach to outcome-scenario analysis to enable informed decision-making. His unique risk mitigation process, developed during the Post Office case, allows both himself and his team to ensure a holistic, cost effective and goal-driven approach, utilising AI platforms and resulting in a final future-proof risk assessment.

James not only delivers an outcome best suited to your strategic goals and objectives but mitigate loss of reputation and cost.

His particular areas of focus are:

Defence of class actions, Technology disputes, Investment, asset management, banking and finance disputes, Manufacturing & transport sector disputes, International arbitration, Deal disputes, including warranty and earn-out disputes, Contractual disputes, Competition litigation, shareholder disputes, defamation, trade disputes and international disputes, Commercial fraud and asset recovery and Professional negligence litigation (involving accountants, lawyers, tax advisers, financial advisers, surveyors, valuers, actuaries, trustees).

Litigation funding: James has many years experience of the UK funding market and have unique experience of how class action cases are funded, advising both on the claimant and defendant side.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Expert in many forms of ADR; Accredited and trained mediator.

James is listed as a Recommended Lawyer and is recognised as a Leading Individual in Commercial Litigation by The Legal 500 (2024 edition).


  • CEDR Accredited Mediator

Notable work & expertise


  • "We have always been extremely impressed with the service provided by James."

    Client testimonial

  • "James is someone you want on your side."

    Client testimonial

  • "James and his team did an incredible job resolving our shareholder dispute."

    Client testimonial

  • “Praised for his common-sense approach and ability to ask thought-provoking questions.”

    Client testimonial

  • "He was brilliant and the way he understood the case was fantastic."

    Client testimonial

  • "Very commercially astute. Makes big and important calls under pressure and in a manner that is calming for a client."

    The Legal 500, 2024

  • "James Hartley is incisive and quick to get down to business."

    The Legal 500, 2024

  • "James Hartley is consistently calm when the pressure is on. He is unflappable. Drills down to the relevant issues with ease and has a wonderful ab...

    The Legal 500, 2023

  • "Led by 'very experienced litigator' James Hartley, the team represented over 550 claimants in high-profile litigation brought against the Post Off...

    The Legal 500, 2022

  • "Very experienced litigator who is 'City Quality'."

    The Legal 500, 2022

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