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Sir James Eadie QC was appointed First Treasury Counsel in January 2009, breaking the tradition of appointing Junior Counsel to this role. In the profession, he is called the ‘Treasury Devil’. As such, he is the QC to whom the Government turn first for their major pieces of advice and litigation.
In the last two years he has advised the Government across the range of Government activity from terrorism, to the legal fall out of military operations, to the environment, to the financial crisis. He has acted in much of the major litigation brought against the Government (frequently in the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights), including for example:
Wearing of crosses and other religious symbols at work:
Prior to his appointment as First Treasury Counsel, he acted for private clients and on numerous occasions for the range of Government departments and a variety of financial and other regulatory authorities. He also advises and acts in public inquiries.
James is recommended as a leading silk in the independent legal directories
James was included in the Chambers and Partners 2019 list of "Stars at the Bar":
"James Eadie QC has a comprehensive public law practice encompassing a broad range of areas including civil liberties and human rights, immigration, data protection and indirect tax disputes. He recently intervened on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health in the Supreme Court case involving Charlie Gard, a boy born with an inherited disease that significantly reduced his quality of life. He also advised the Government in Big Brother Watch v UK, a case regarding the mass surveillance of communications. Market observers heap praise on his courtroom abilities, describing his as an 'amazing litigator' and 'an absolute consummate advocate with a natural feel for the court.' 'He's an incredibly authoritative speaker,' comments one peer from another set, who adds: 'He manages to make any point sound perfectly reasonable. He's extremely smooth.' Sources also underscore the quality of Eadie's written work. One comments that he is 'impressive in terms of his drafting as well as his oral advocacy.'"
In December 2013, James was ranked as one of Chambers UK’s Top Silk Bar 100, in their inaugural listing of the top barristers practising at the Bar of England & Wales. “A frighteningly superb opponent,” and as an advocate whose “strongest quality is that he persuades the court that he is being reasonable."
James was named in The Times Law 100 2012 listing the most influential lawyers in Britain. He has appeared in the list in previous years.
He was named Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017.
James has appeared regularly in major judicial review actions many with ECHR issues at their heart. He has acted both for private clients and for the range of Government departments. As 'Treasury Devil' he now leads of the Government in many of the most important judicial reviews.
James practises extensively in public and regulatory law and examples of his recent work can be found below.
“His wide range of experience and the quality of his judgement make him unique.”Chambers and Partners, 2020
“The star of his generation - he has such a volume of work to do, but I've never caught him missing a detail.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“He obviously has a level of innate confidence which is born of the most superb ability.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“An absolutely consummate advocate with a natural feel for the court.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“The UK government's top choice.”Chambers and Partners, 2018
“He is a stand-out performer, especially on national security work.”Legal 500, 2018
“Well known as one of the pre-eminent silks at the Bar”Legal 500, 2017
“He is extremely popular as he has all the attributes of a first-class silk, such as intellectual and advocacy skills, and also a charming personality.”Chambers and Partners, 2016
“He has an avuncular air about him and a smile is never too far from his face”Legal 500, 2016
“A tireless advocate.”Legal 500, 2015
A challenge to the legality of the imposition of a residence test in the context of legal aid reform (Judgement handed down on 25 November 2015.
Claimants are challenging provisions of the immigration rules requiring that spouses seeking entry have proficiency in English. (Judgement handed down 18 November 2015.)
Challenges to the existence of the common law principle of foreign active state and the application of state immunity in the context of alleged unlawful rendition and torture. (Supreme Court hearing 9 – 12 November 2015.)
Raising the issue of whether or not it is permissible in principle for a domestic UK court to grant an injunction preventing the transmission of security sensitive material to the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. (Hearing in Supreme Court 2 November 2015).
The legality of fast track immigration detention processes in the Court of Appeal. (Judgment handed down 29 July 2015)
In the human rights/civil liberties arena, and in addition to the domestic cases in the UK courts, he has appeared on over 50 occasions before the European Court and Commission in Strasbourg; and in a series of important domestic ECHR/HRA challenges.
James practises extensively in civil liberties and human rights law and examples of his recent work can be found below.
“James Eadie is a figurehead in the field of human rights.”Chambers and Partners, 2020
“He is as impressive as it gets, you need him on a large case.”Legal 500, 2019
“The way he manages his workload is very impressive; he is the busiest barrister in the country.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“One of the most impressive advocates at the Bar.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“A superstar.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“James Eadie is obviously just the best, what more can one say?”Chambers and Partners, 2018
“James Eadie is a household name in this area, he mixes a big brain with a simplicity of style.”Chambers and Partners, 2018
“Respected throughout the courts.”Legal 500, 2018
“The star individual for government work, a fantastic barrister. He's absolutely worthy of his reputation.”Chambers and Partners, 2017
Allegations of killing in 1948 by British soldiers in Malaya.
Issue 1 – should an article 2 ECHR compliant investigation be ordered in 2015
Issue 2 – should proportionality be a free standard ground of domestic judicial review so as to supplant the concept of rationality. (Judgment handed down on 25 November).
Challenge to the compatibility with Article 3 ECHR of the UK system for imposing whole life sentences (hearing in ECHR on 21 October 2015).
A series of challenges in relation to the legality of detention and in relation to whether or not further investigation/enquiry was required under the ECHR. (Judgement from Court of Appeal on 30 July 2015).
Challenge to Schedule 7 - powers to stop, question and search people at UK ports. (Judgment handed down on 22 July 2015).
Challenge to retention of DNA and other personal data re convicted persons. (Judgment handed down 13 May 2015).
Whether international humanitarian law can provide a basis for detention in a non-international armed conflict situation. (Hearing in Supreme Court 1 February 2015).
James has advised the Government on a variety of different aspects of the financial and banking crisis including in relation to powers under the Banking Act 2009, the change from RPI to CPI as the inflation/uprating yardstick.
He has frequently acted for and advised both the FSA in relation to disciplinary proceedings and other aspects of its regulation. For example:
He has also frequently acted for and advised private clients subject to investigation and/or such FSA proceedings. For example, he acted for Shell in the FSA proceedings brought against it in relation to its oil reserves.
He acted for HM Treasury in relation to claims in the Administrative Court (both dismissed after permission hearings) that
“An excellent advocate and a very clear thinker.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“Extraordinarily well prepared. He has a very nice manner in court.”Chambers and Partners, 2019
“The most impressive barrister practising at the Bar.”Chambers and Partners, 2018
“Phenomenal.”Chambers and Partners, 2018
“A powerhouse.”Chambers and Partners, 2018
“He is quite simply stunning in his ability to know exactly what the good point is in a mass of detail”Chambers and Partners, 2017
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