James was called to the Bar in 2022 and is a criminal law specialist. He regularly prosecutes and defends matters in the Crown Court and has developed a practice which focusses on the “human” element in more sensitive cases. James is instructed frequently in matters concerning domestic violence, offences of violence, drug trafficking, sexual offences, fraud, and dangerous driving. James welcomes instructions in Oxford and the Thames Valley, the West and East Midlands, and London.

James is instructed currently as trial counsel for the Crown in cases of affray, burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and sexual assault. James’ current defence instructions include being trial counsel for domestic violence matters (strangulation, controlling or coercive behaviour, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm), and is led-junior in an ongoing trial concerning a multi-handed drugs conspiracy.

James has written for The Journal of Criminal Law, co-authored textbooks for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and has lectured in Law at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

CPS Panel appointments

General Crime Level 2

Key cases & testimonials

R v F – Northampton Crown Court – Defence
James represented a defendant who was accused of theft. The Prosecution relied on a wealth of circumstantial evidence and cell-site data, including the fact that the Defendant was arrested with the stolen item. The jury acquitted the defendant after trial.

Operation Virtuality – Led Junior – Prosecution
James was instructed mid-trial to cover as led junior in a multi-handed prosecution of defendants accused of Class A drug trafficking and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life.

R v T – Leicester Crown Court – Defence
James represented a defendant who was charged with domestic-related offences and escaping lawful custody. The Judge was persuaded to impose a sentence which amounted to time served, and James’ lay client was released from custody.

R v G and B – Oxford Crown Court – Defence
James represented a defendant who was charged with acquiring criminal property through drug trafficking. Following representations, the Crown offered no evidence in respect of James’ lay client.

The client asked that I convey his thanks to James for his assistance in this case. I will have no hesitation in instructing James in the future.Instructing Solicitor – 2024
“…from the first conference to the trial, Mr. Ball showed unwavering patience, empathetic advocacy, and genuine kindness which made a significant impact during a challenging criminal case. His dedication to the defendant's wellbeing and legal rights truly sets him apart. He communicated with the defendant in a way that enabled hm to fully understand and navigate the complexities of criminal court case going on to give evidence in the best way that he could. Mr. Ball went above and beyond to ensure that his client's needs were met, making the legal process accessible and empowering and it was an honour to work alongside him as he made a challenging case feel a lot more manageable.”Registered Intermediary - 2024
I was the expert witness for the defence in this matter. I am a busy expert and ex detective constable and as such have a great deal of court experience. I found James to be incredibly professional and thorough. He dealt with the client in an empathetic and efficient way and the outcome of the case was the best the client could have wished for. James negotiated with the prosecution professionally and this provided the excellent result for the client. He also had prepared his case very well.Expert Witness – 2023
Thank you for recommending James, as he has been fantastic throughout this matter. The client was extremely happy with James overall, and she explained that he was very nice / supportive, and [the lay client] could not recommend him more highly.Instructing Solicitor – 2023

Further information

LLB (Hons) Law – First Class Honours

LLM Barristers Training Course – Distinction

The Alastair Munt Memorial Advocacy Prize 2020 – 2021

Appointments & Memberships

CPS Level 2 Panel Advocate

Member of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

Member of the Criminal Bar Association

Committee member of the Midland Circuit Social Mobility Committee

Case Note author for The Journal of Criminal Law

Hourly Paid Lecturer – Nottingham Trent University


Peer-reviewed Case Notes

  • James J Ball, Time Running Out? Extending Custody Time Limits for Periods of Indeterminate Action: R (On the Application of the Director of Public Prosecutions) v Crown Court at Bristol & Anor [2022] EWHC 2415 (Admin); [2023] 1 Cr App R 3.’ (2023) 87(2) J Crim L 145.
  • Mark Thomas and James J Ball, ‘Intentional Strangulation: The Proper Approach to Sentencing in the Absence of a Sentencing Guideline: R v Cook [2023] EWCA Crim 452’ (2023) 87(4) J Crim L 281.
  • Mark Thomas and James J Ball, ‘Either-way until proven otherwise: Determining when shoplifting is “low value”: Candlish v Director of Public Prosecutions [2022] EWHC 842 (Admin); [2022] 2 Cr App R 21’ (2023) 87(1) J Crim L 65.
  • James J Ball and Mark Thomas, ‘Opening the Door to Vindication: Reviewing the Evidential Bases for the “Householder Defence”: R v Magson [2022] EWCA Crim 1064’ (2022) 86(5) J Crim L 372.
  • Mark Thomas and James J Ball, ‘Morality and Command Delusions: Reviewing the Requirement of Wrongdoing in the M’Naghten Rules: R v Keal [2022] EWCA Crim 341, [2022] 4 WLR 41’ (2022) 86(2) J Crim L 130.
  • Mark Thomas and James J Ball, ‘Snatch, Grab and Jury Speculation’: Reviewing the Use of Force in Robbery: R v Martins [2021] EWCA Crim 223’ (2021) 85(4) J Crim L 320.