James is Head of our Property Litigation Department and has a wealth of experience assisting clients manage and resolve their property related disputes enabling them to focus on their core business.
James acts for a diverse range of clients including large international corporates, well-known national retailers, housebuilders, public and private sector landlords, large educational establishments and developers.
James has experience of all contentious matters involving commercial property including claims under leases for unpaid rent, forfeiture, dilapidations, rent reviews and service charge disputes. He has a particular interest in opposed business lease renewals, trespass claims and break notice disputes.
James also deals with property related professional negligence claims. He recently acted for one of the UK’s largest Building Societies in a portfolio of claims against surveyors for negligently undervaluing commercial properties.
Where appropriate, James advocates the use of alternative methods of dispute resolution (including mediation and expert determination) as a means of minimising the cost and wasted management time that can be involved in taking a property dispute to Court.
"We have worked specifically with James Coles and value immensely his open and frank commercial and strategic advice. He is always available to talk through general issues as well as providing invaluable help and guidance on any specific query."
One source says: "He's very firm, very assertive and takes no prisoners but he is sensitive to the particular demands of litigating." One client recalls that "James was a calming influence when negotiations became tricky, and he was adept at managing not only the legal aspects of the case, but the inter-personal side as well."
On 9 November 2021, the government gave its first reading of the new Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill and updated its Code of Practice introduced to deal with the commercial rent arrears accrued during the pandemic.