Overview of Practice
James Keeley was called to the Bar in October 1993. He was born and brought up in inner city Birmingham. Ever tenacious James Keeley will always go the extra mile and fight for anybody he represents. He is especially understanding of the weak and vulnerable and has been involved in some of the most significant cases in legal history.
He began his career in London as a judicial assistant on two of the biggest fraud trials in history. The first case was Brent Walker with HHJ Geoffrey Rivlin KC This involved allegations of dishonesty against the former boxer and one time owner of William Hill bookmakers, George Walker. The second case was Maxwell with Lord Phillips this case has set the standard for fraud trials with its use of technology and the so-called Maxwell hours. From early on he learnt of the hard work, discipline and incisiveness that any serious fraud demands.
Also whilst in London Mr. Keeley was involved in two more high profile cases: Serafinowicz, the first ever War Crimes Trial and the appeal of the Bridgwater Four. In Serafinowicz, Mr. Keeley was asked to stand in at short notice for John Kelsey-Fry KC and was junior during the trial to both Sir John Nutting KC and the then Solicitor General, Sir Derek Spencer KC. In Bridgwater, Mr. Keeley assisted Alun Jones KC in going through Vincent Hickey’s interviews in order to assess whether or not there had been any irregularities.
After a few years he decided to move to Leeds where he has developed a practice both prosecuting and defending the most serious of criminal matters, including murder, large fraud and rape. He has led junior counsel in significant cases, for example a multi-million pound fraud that was featured on a “Rogue Traders” special.
He has appeared on numerous occasions in the Court of Appeal on appeals against sentence and conviction, Attorney General References and in the High Court on a Case Stated from the Magistrates Court.
James Keeley always ensures that he both inspects and advises upon unused material when both prosecuting and defending. In terms of expert evidence He has many years of experience of the following people and areas: cell site analysis, accountants, psychiatrists, psychologists, surgeons and paediatricians.
Whilst practising at the Bar he undertook and successfully completed a Masters Degree in Employment Law and has subsequently acquired a speciality in Whisltleblowers.
After helping the late Sir Stephen Tumim inspect prisons James Keeley takes a real interest in prisoner’s rights and other aspects of Human Rights and Judicial Review.
He has a great deal of experience of representing and advising police officers in Criminal and Disciplinary Hearings, employment disputes (including whistleblowing) and in Inquests (Deaths in Custody)
James sits as an Legally Qualified Chair in a number of different areas including for the Metropolitan Police.
James is a legal advisor to ACCA.
Mr. Keeley is an expert in the most serious sexual and sensitive offences. He has appeared on Radio 4, Women’s Hour, where he discussed anonymity in Rape Cases. He is on the specialist panel of Rape Prosecutors.
His passion is Boxing and is very proud to be a member of the British Boxing Board of Control (Southern Area).
Mr Keeley represented one of the women being prosecuted under section 128 of the Serious and Organised Crime Act 2005 for allegedly trespassing at Menwith Hill. This was the first case of its kind.
James Keeley regularly gives lectures and has done so on Human Rights, the Death Penalty, Adverse Inferences from Silence, Applications to Dismiss, Whistleblowing, Closing Speeches, Apportionment in Proceeds of Crime Cases, Violent Offender Orders, Sex Abuse cases (How to cross examine vulnerable witnesses and pre-recorded cross examination and Slavery and People Trafficking which he has called “Breaking the Chains”
James is passionate about bringing on the next generation of advocates, is a trainer of Advocacy at Middle Temple, is a specialist trainer in respect of the cross examination of vulnerable witnesses, has done a lot of work with the citizenship foundation and has judged moots at Bar School. James is an elected member of both the Bar Council and the Criminal Bar Association Executive Committee.