James Gray


James Gray is a criminal defence specialist recommended by The Legal 500 directory as a ‘leading junior’. He is a specialist in sexual offences but frequently appears to represent those accused of the most serious offences including murder, attempted murder, large-scale drug trafficking and modern slavery.

He provides lectures and advocacy training to various organisations and specialist training on the law relating to sexual offences. He writes for both the popular and academic press.

James also accepts pro bono instructions in cases involving issues of free speech. In pursuit of this interest he has worked with the Media Legal Defence Initiative on applications to international courts including the European Court of Human Rights and the African Commission and provided litigation support for their syndicated lawyers around the world. 

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Directory recommendations

In 2019 The Legal 500 states James, as being "Highly experienced in cases involving serious sexual offences".

In previous years, Legal500 has stated: "Leading individual' quoting". "Combines a direct approach with the ability to put clients at ease".

Notable Cases

The following are examples of cases in which James has recently appeared as junior alone:
(names withheld to protect individuals)

Sexual Offences

R v F, Lincoln Crown Court (2018) - Historic rape

R v L, Sheffield Crown Court (2018) - Attempted rape of minors

R v B, Northampton Crown Court (2018) - Relationship rape

R v P, Hull Crown Court (2018) - Rape and sexual assault of minor

R v E, Lincoln Crown Court (2017) - Abduction and multiple rape

R v C, Guildford Crown Court (2017) - Decade long campaign of rape against minors

R v J, Sheffield Crown Court (2017) - Multiple relationship rape

R v M, Lincoln Crown Court (2016) - Historic grooming and rape of minors

R v H, Lincoln Crown Court (2016) - Relationship rape

R v G, Lincoln Crown Court (2015) - Rape

Violent Offences

R v T, The Central Criminal Court (2018) - Attempted murder

R v W, Inner London Crown Court (2018) - Attempted murder

R v K, Luton Crown Court, (2018) - Conspiracy to cause GBH

Qualifications and Scholarships

  • LL.B (Hons) law 2:1
  • BVC (Outstanding)
  • Chancery House Chambers Prize for first place student
  • Lincoln’s Inn Cassel Scholarship
  • Plowden Chambers Advocacy prize
  • Lincoln’s Inn Buchanan Prize


Bad Character and the Bolstering of a Weak Case The Solicitor’s Journal, May 2007;

Lethal injections- will they ever be too barbaric? The Times (London) April 25th 2006;

The EU- US Extradition Agreement: Reciprocity and a Fair Balance The Journal of Human Rights and UK Practice Volume 4 issue 3 2005;

Cruel and Unusual Punishment in the Caribbean Commonwealth Oxford University;

Commonwealth Law Journal August 2004 Human Rights and Constitutional Reform The Journal of Human Rights and UK Practice Volume 4 issue 6 2004;

Exerting Outdated Colonial Power or Keeping Step with the Evolving Standards of Decency? The Journal of Human Rights and UK Practice Volume 5 issue 1 2004

New Zealand Trusts its Own Judgement The Times (London) October 2003

Political Interference- The Home Secretary and Life Sentences The Solicitors Journal, 23 May 2003

Is the Abolition of the Death Penalty on the Legal Horizon? The New Law Journal 25 April 2003

The War on Terror and the US Constitution The Solicitors Journal, 15th August 2003

The Chair, the Needle and the Eighth Amendment, The Journal of Civil Liberties, November 2001

Death Penalty in Japan The Human Rights Defender, Amnesty International, 2001