James Gray


James Gray is a dedicated criminal advocate recommended by the Legal 500 directory as a ‘leading junior’ in serious crime. His practice is founded on mainstream serious crime typically involving allegations of violent, sexual or financial offences. He is a trial lawyer of considerable experience, committed to every client’s case and known for his ‘direct approach with an ability to put clients at ease’.

In 2018, he appeared as junior alone in the following cases which are typical of his practice:

R v W – attempted-murder in which the defendant attempted to sever the head of the complainant. W pleaded insanity which necessitated expert evidence from three of the country’s leading forensic psychiatrists. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity after trial.

R v M – a large, long-running, multi-handed modern slavery trial in which the prosecution alleged a single complainant had been held in servitude for several years. Following a successful application, the case against M was stopped at the close of the Crown’s case.

R v F – the defendant was charged with a campaign of rape and sexual offending against his partner over the course of their three-year relationship. He was acquitted of all counts after trial.

R v C – large scale VAT fraud committed by the owner of a large estate agency.

R v T – attempted-murder in which the defendant repeatedly stabbed his wife.

Outside his criminal practice, James maintains an interest in the protection of journalists and the freedom of speech. In pursuit of this interest he has worked with the Media Legal Defence Initiative on applications to the African Commission (criminal defamation in Rwanda); ECOWAS (seditious publication in Gambia); the Singapore Court of Appeal (confidentiality of journalist’s sources) and the ECHR.

He is committed to equal opportunities, access to the profession and education. He provides lectures and advocacy training for various organisations including Lincoln’s Inn. He is the equality and diversity officer to the Pupillage Committee within Chambers and arranges all mini-pupillages.

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Areas of practice

Directory recommendations

In 2019 The Legal 500 states James, as being "Highly experienced in cases involving serious sexual offences".

In previous years, Legal500 has stated: "Leading individual' quoting". "Combines a direct approach with the ability to put clients at ease".

Notable Cases

The following are examples of cases in which James has recently appeared as junior alone:
(names withheld to protect individuals)

Sexual Offences

R v P, Grimsby Crown Court (2019) historic rape and sexual offences against child

R v F, Lincoln Crown Court (2018) - Historic rape

R v L, Sheffield Crown Court (2018) - Attempted rape of minors

R v B, Northampton Crown Court (2018) - Relationship rape

R v P, Hull Crown Court (2018) - Rape and sexual assault of minor

R v E, Lincoln Crown Court (2017) - Abduction and multiple rape

R v C, Guildford Crown Court (2017) - Decade long campaign of rape against minors

R v J, Sheffield Crown Court (2017) - Multiple relationship rape

R v M, Lincoln Crown Court (2016) - Historic grooming and rape of minors

R v H, Lincoln Crown Court (2016) - Relationship rape

R v G, Lincoln Crown Court (2015) - Rape

Violent Offences

R v M, Stafford Crown Court (2018) modern slavery

R v T, The Central Criminal Court (2018) - Attempted murder

R v W, Inner London Crown Court (2018) - Attempted murder

R v K, Luton Crown Court, (2018) - Conspiracy to cause GBH

Qualifications and Scholarships

  • LL.B (Hons) law 2:1
  • BVC (Outstanding)
  • Chancery House Chambers Prize for first place student
  • Lincoln’s Inn Cassel Scholarship
  • Plowden Chambers Advocacy prize
  • Lincoln’s Inn Buchanan Prize


Bad Character and the Bolstering of a Weak Case The Solicitor’s Journal, May 2007;

Lethal injections- will they ever be too barbaric? The Times (London) April 25th 2006;

The EU- US Extradition Agreement: Reciprocity and a Fair Balance The Journal of Human Rights and UK Practice Volume 4 issue 3 2005;

Cruel and Unusual Punishment in the Caribbean Commonwealth Oxford University;

Commonwealth Law Journal August 2004 Human Rights and Constitutional Reform The Journal of Human Rights and UK Practice Volume 4 issue 6 2004;

Exerting Outdated Colonial Power or Keeping Step with the Evolving Standards of Decency? The Journal of Human Rights and UK Practice Volume 5 issue 1 2004

New Zealand Trusts its Own Judgement The Times (London) October 2003

Political Interference- The Home Secretary and Life Sentences The Solicitors Journal, 23 May 2003

Is the Abolition of the Death Penalty on the Legal Horizon? The New Law Journal 25 April 2003

The War on Terror and the US Constitution The Solicitors Journal, 15th August 2003

The Chair, the Needle and the Eighth Amendment, The Journal of Civil Liberties, November 2001

Death Penalty in Japan The Human Rights Defender, Amnesty International, 2001