James Malam

Call 2002


"Technically sound, accessible, thorough, reliable and commercial."

The Legal 500 2020
Photo of James Malam


James advises and represents professionals and clients in a range of matters within the technology and construction fields. His practice encompasses construction disputes under the main forms of contract (including JCT, NEC, FIDIC and the RIBA standard terms) and technology disputes dealing with matters ranging diversely from diving bells and underperforming wind turbines, to website design and search engine optimisation.

His significant experience encompasses frequent appearances in the Technology and Construction Courts, and acting in arbitrations (including internationally) and in adjudications and enforcement of adjudication awards.

Prior to joining chambers James worked at Fishburns Solicitors. Having experience of life as an advocate and working for a firm of solicitors, James has a thorough grasp of the commercial realities of any case. This enables him to give considered, calm counsel. He is also able to get to the very essence of the matter rapidly and plot an intelligent, cost effective course of action for his clients.

James is also available to provide in-housing training on a range of construction matters including LADs, payment notices, adjudication and professional negligence in the construction sphere.

Construction Cases

Example cases of note include:

Advising contractor engaged in construction of a power station on the alleged repudiation of a number of sub-contracts and as to the appropriate remedies. Raised the question of what restrictions on a sub-contractor’s access to site amount to a repudiation of the contract.

Claim for £340,000 due under a contract for the manufacture of diving bell for the Spanish coastguard. Raised issues of incorporation of standard form contract terms and the extent to which it was acceptable to rectify defects during commissioning.

Representing a large regional house builder in a six party claim under a design and build contract resulting from the twisting of the green oak frame to a multi-million pound house.

Claim against a contract administrator arising from the restoration of a Grade II listed building following a substantial fire. Whether and when the contract administrator was obliged to review a scaffolding contract and consider whether it remained appropriate value for money.

Advising on a purchaser’s right of action against an architect who gave a certificate of satisfactory construction in relation to a substantial (£1m) house and outbuidlings where the certificate was not addressed to the purchasers but was allegedly given in the knowledge that they would rely upon it in the purchase.

Claim for £250,000 arising from the constructive total loss of a tractor following a fire. Represented the dealership which sold the tractor and whose mechanic repaired it hours before the fire. The case raised technical issues as to the cause of the fire, but also legal issues as to duty of care and whether the loss was pure economic loss.

Claim arising out of the failure of a log drying kiln, heated by a biomass boiler and therefore eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive payments, to dry logs as allegedly agreed. Raised questions of whether the specification as to drying time was agreed and could have been so given the number of variables; also as to the proper measure of the claimant’s loss if the boiler had to be replaced and therefore a lower RHI payment rate attached to the new boiler.

While at Fishburns:

Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd v. Mott MacDonald Ltd [2009] PNLR 9: assisted in the defence of a £13m claim for negligent misstatement allegedly made to a design and build contractor by the structural engineer employed by the developer of a large entertainment/shopping development.

Day to day conduct on behalf of insurers of Danish arbitration regarding the negligent rehabilitation of a Nicaraguan road, including detailed examination of complex engineering issues, extensive interviews with/examination of engineering witnesses on various technical aspects. Claim for circa £10 million.