I am a Partner in both the Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team and also the Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution team.
In the Will, Trust and Estate arena, I have built up years of experience on cases involving challenges to the validity of wills. These challenges may be based on a range of reasons, including lack of capacity, irregularities, undue influence and fraud, challenges to the conduct of trustees, executors, attorneys and deputies, claims for financial provision from estates by children, widows and widowers, cohabitees and dependents and disputes relating to family farming businesses.
In the commercial litigation arena, I am frequently instructed on disputes concerning business to business contracts, shareholder disputes and claims against directors, professional negligence claims and disputes relating to restrictive covenants. I also have experience in intellectual property claims, property disputes and fraud cases.
I have written in the Step Journal about trustees’ frequent dilemma about whether to disclose a trust related document or to withhold it. I offer a checklist of points for trustees to consider when faced with a beneficiary’s request for disclosure.
Disclose or Withhold: July 2014 edition.
Suggitt v Suggitt & Anor  EWCA Civ 1140
JW Grant and Co v Troy Foods Ltd  EWCA Civ 1702
Glen Dimplex Home Appliances Ltd v Smith and Ors  EWHC 3392 (Comm)
"James Laycock is a truly excellent lawyer with a deep strategic understanding of litigation in this area. He has a real knowledge of the law but also the commercial drivers for clients and opponents alike. He handles dispute resolution excellently both pre-action and post-issue." - Legal 500, 2023
"James is a top private client lawyer with an impressive caseload and the skill set to match" - Chambers & Partners High Net Worth 2022 (Leading Individual - band 2)
"James is a highly skilled and commercial lawyer with a deep knowledge that is brought to the facts." - Chambers & Partners High Net Worth 2022 (Leading Individual - band 2)
"James Laycock is charming and highly skilled. "James Laycock is an outstanding lawyer – his strategic and tactical brain is up there with the best of them." - Legal 500, 2021
"Excellent technical knowledge', has been considered as 'one of the leading people in this area'". - Legal 500, 2018/19
"A very able litigator and incisive tactician” - Legal 500, 2016
"Highly competent, highly ethical. Very good manners. The subject matter has resolved. My sister wants to fly to Leeds and give Mr Laycock a hug. Mum wants to fly to Leeds and give Mr Laycock a bonus. We are conducting matters from Australia, not having met him at all." - 5* Trustpilot review
"James Laycock was a delight to work with. Having taken on somewhat of a messy case, during the Covid-19 lockdown the prospect of getting this matter resolved seemed difficult and someway off. However with only a phone call and email correspondence James and the team proceeded efficiently and supplied updates on a regular basis. James' professionalism and expertise were greatly appreciated to bring this matter to a successful conclusion. I would not hesitate to recommend James and Irwin Mitchell and also use their services again." - 5* Trustpilot review
"James is an outstanding solicitor. He clearly managed my expectations, worked at speed, limited my costs – and crucially, gave me very clear and confident instruction which ultimately proved vital in a time-sensitive case. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending him."- Client
“James’ strong professional response gave us the confidence to carry the case forward when, without his help, we might have given up. We could not have asked for any more.” - Client
“It has been a complicated, and sometimes a distressing case for us all, but James has diligently handled it on our behalf, with what I consider to be utmost skill and understanding.” - Client
“James quickly showed a thorough understanding and mastery of our case, having taken over from a previous lawyer. He has that perfect combination that is so rare today - a committed and dogged determination to fight for his client coupled with a very down to earth and modest personal style. His advice was impeccable and he displayed an unflappable and persistent attitude under considerable pressure to achieve a very positive outcome for us. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough.” - Client
“James’ brain works incredibly fast – he’s so quick to grasp the issues and work through all the angles. He’s a pleasure to work with and very effective” - Barrister, London
“James dots every ‘i’ and crosses every ‘t’. His preparation for even the smallest hearings is meticulous. He is a fighter who also gives sensible and pragmatic advice.” - Barrister, Leeds
“James reads the dynamics of a dispute and delivers a winning strategy.” - Barrister, London
“I have had the privilege of working with and against James a number of times over the last 10 years. Each time I am struck by the excellent quality of his work. The best instructing solicitor is one who has mastered the case and so can play an equal role, with the barrister, in providing an effective solution for the client. On each occasion I have worked with James he has mastered the case before he has even instructed me and I have observed him delivering the best result for his client. On each occasion I have worked against James he has displayed the professionalism and high standards I have come to expect of him.” - High Court Judge
What Inspired You To Get Into Law?
I once witnessed my mother dispensing justice as a magistrate (and then falling down the stairs with all her papers) and have been hooked ever since!
What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?
Disputes of whatever nature are challenging for everyone involved. By far and away the most rewarding aspect of this work is fighting hard to achieve the client’s goals and sorting out the problems on terms with which the client is happy.
What Do You Do Away From The Office?
I coach rugby at my local rugby club, play the piano and spend as much time as I can with my family and friends. I like to get out and about in the countryside as much as possible, even if that means dragging my two slightly reluctant children with me!