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James Bowen

  • Call: 1979
James Bowen
"He is superb with clients and a terrific communicator."

Chambers UK, 2019

"A very strong housing lawyer."

Chambers UK, 2017

James is ranked for social housing in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2019.

“Great both orally and on paper, he has an effortless charm that puts clients at ease and gets judges on side. This is backed up by a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience.” “He is superb with clients and a terrific communicator.”
Chambers UK 2019

“Personable and very knowledgeable, he’s good with clients and quite a character.” “You can go to him with any housing issue and he will give a full opinion very quickly.”
Chambers UK 2018

Experienced social housing specialist who is praised for his calm and confident manner when dealing with clients. His practice comprises all aspects of antisocial behaviour, possession, unlawful eviction and homelessness.
“Clearly very experienced and puts clients at ease.” “A very strong housing lawyer.”
Chambers UK 2017

“A very attractive advocate. He is hugely experienced and extremely knowledgeable.” “A tenacious fighter, he is approachable, down-to-earth and has a good, healthy attitude.”
Chambers UK 2016

“A highly experienced barrister with an excellent reputation for social housing cases, especially those dealing with possession and homelessness.” “Down-to-earth, very approachable and good on complex legal issues.” “He is excellent on his feet; judges like him and he comes across effectively.”
Chambers UK 2015

“He’s a pleasure to be against, and he always chooses the best arguments for his clients.” “He’s not easily flustered – he’s a safe pair of hands.”
Chambers UK 2014

“Praised for being “willing to fight for the client,” and for his “down-to-earth nature and practical effectiveness” in and out of court.”
Chambers UK 2013


James joined chambers in 2010 having formerly been a tenant at 6 Kings Bench Walk. His main practice area was Criminal Defence until 1987 when he joined the housing team with Andrew Arden and 6 other members and he has practiced in the housing field ever since. His main areas of practice are possession, all aspects of anti social behaviour, disrepair , unlawful eviction and homelessness. He also conducts cases involving TLATA, mobile homes, various benefits, community care, asylum support, and Children Act. He has numerous cases reported in these areas at first instance and on appeal.

James has been an active member of the Housing Law Practitioners Association since 1987 and supports its aims. He was on the executive for many years until 2009 at which time he was secretary and treasurer. He represented HLPA’s interests on the Administrative Court Users Group for many years and was on the committee which organised the HLPA annual conference for 4 years. James is the co-ordinator of the housing team and a member of the Management Committee. In the 2012 Chambers and Partners James was praised as being “willing to fight for the client” and his “down-to earth nature and practical effectiveness” in and out of court.


James has provided training in a number of areas of housing law for HLPA, the Official Solicitor, chambers and other organisations. He provides in house training tailored for solicitors particular needs. Since joining chambers James has jointly presented a chambers seminar on defending anti social behaviour claims and has provided in house training to solicitors on different housing topics.

Recent articles

“A Decent Burial. The End of Tenancy Deposits” L&T Review.

Notable Cases

Tiensia v Universal Estates [2010] Civ 1224 (11 November 2010) Court of Appeal
Second appeal and leading case on the date when the sanctions for non compliance with the requirement to protect tenants’ deposits are triggered.

Redding Limited v Warren and Williams Cardiff County Court 18/19/20 October 2010
Test case involving the interpretation of the Caravan Site and Control of Development Act 1960 and to whether it gave the site owner a free standing right to possession, whether the obligation to keep the mobile home in a sound state of repair includes a requirement to maintain the home in a mobile condition and/or whether there is an implied term to that effect.

R (M) v London Borough of Hackney 2009 EWHC 2255 (Admin)
Whether council could refuse to transfer disabled paedophile pensioner with accepted critical need to be moved to ground floor accommodation on ostensible basis of protection of the public.

Tower Hamlets LBC v Long 32 HLR 219 (Court of Appeal)
Contempt/sentence for breach of injunction

R v London Borough of Islington ex parte HINDS 28 HLR 302
Extent of reasons in homelessness decision

R. v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelseaex parte GRILLO 28 HLR 94 (Court of Appeal)
Suitability of accommodation for homeless person.

R. v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ex parte AMARFIO 27 HLR 543 (Court of Appeal)
Meaning of dependent child in 1985 Housing Act

R. v London Borough of Brent ex parte MACWAN 26 HLR 528 (Court of Appeal)
Discharge of duty to homeless persons. (Joined with AWUA which went to House of Lords)

R v Exeter City Council ex parte TRANKLE 26 HLR 244 (Court of Appeal and permission in House of Lords)
Intentional homelessness/act or omission in good faith.

R. v Barnet LBC ex parte RUGHOOPUTH 25 HLR 607 (Court of Appeal)
Intentional homelessness/ act or omission in good faith