James Watson, Associate, Dispute Resolution

James Watson


Personal Profile

James is an Associate in the White Collar Crime and Investigations Group, part of Mishcon de Reya's Fraud & Dispute Resolution team. He specialises in criminal defence in both white collar and corporate crime cases.

James has acted in proceedings brought by the Serious Fraud Office, Office of Fair Trading (now the CMA), Financial Conduct Authority, Trading Standards and BIS. His experience covers a variety of regulatory and criminal matters including fraud, cartel activity and insider dealing. He has been involved in a number of highly complex cases often involving an international dimension, for example where parallel proceedings are brought by foreign enforcement agencies such as the Department of Justice. James is able to advise on the range of issues involved in white collar criminal defence.

He is a member of the Young Fraud Lawyers Association and Defence Extradition Lawyers Forum.

Key Experience

White Collar Crime / Criminal Defence

  • Acted for an individual prosecuted for money laundering as part of Operation Steamroller, at the time the largest boiler-room fraud prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Acted for a number of individuals in compelled to attend interviews with the SFO under section 2 notices.
  • Acted in the defence of an individual in a bribery investigation connected to personal injury claims.
  • Acted for two individuals in connection with what was, at the time, the largest insider dealing prosecution brought by the Financial Services Authority, and valued at £1.5 million.
  • Provided advice to an individual in connection with Gibraltar POCA proceedings involving funds in excess of £800,000. These funds were ultimately released to the client by the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit (GFIU).
  • Acted in multi-jurisdictional confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for an individual convicted of insider dealing.
  • Advised an individual in criminal proceedings in Gibraltar involving allegations of a substantial fraud.
  • Acted for an individual in Operation Inertia, a criminal prosecution for a contra-trade VAT fraud in the mobile phone industry where the value alleged to be defrauded was in excess of £160 million.
  • Acted for an individual in Operation Vex, a criminal prosecution alleging a VAT fraud valued at £90 million involving multiple jurisdictions and substantial amounts of evidence seized from various international banks.
  • Acted for an individual in first criminal prosecution under the Enterprise Act 2002 for cartel activity and price fixing.
  • Acted for a number of individuals subject to Interpol Red Notices.

Corporate Crime / Investigations

  • Advised an international corporate client on its Bribery Act policy.
  • Advised a corporate client in relation to multiple information requests under the Companies Act 1985 and the Insolvency Act 1986 which were made by various agencies.
  • Advised a number of company directors and corporates on Companies House prosecutions for offences under the Companies Act 2006 including failure to file company accounts.
  • Advised an international corporate entity in relation to UN and EU economic sanctions.
  • Advised a national advertising agency in relation to restrictions under the London Olympic Games Act 2006 in the context of a proposed national television campaign.
  • Advised a corporate entity during an investigation by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (now BEIS) into land banking. This advice including BIS's use of statutory compulsory information requests.
  • Acted for an international corporate entity in relation to Trading Standards investigation for breaches of Safety Regulations.


James has advised individuals in connection with extradition requests to various jurisdictions.

Career History

Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Solicitor, Irwin Mitchell
College of Law, Bar Vocational Course
BPP Law School, Graduate Diploma in Law
Birkbeck College, University of London, MA Philosophy
Kings College, University of London, BA Philosophy


How can we help you?

How can we help you?

Subscribe: I'd like to keep in touch

If your enquiry is urgent please call +44 20 3321 7000

Crisis Hotline

Emergency number:

I'm a client

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter your enquiry
Please enter a value

I'm looking for advice

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter your enquiry
Please select a department
Please select a contact method

Something else

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter your enquiry
Please select your contact method of choice