James is a leisure and hospitality sector expert with over 15 years’ experience advising businesses within the sector on how to grow or consolidate their operations, with a particular specialism on real estate portfolio management including the acquisition and financing of sites. He also works with clients to ensure that their venues have all the relevant entertainment and alcohol licences in place, and that those licences are maintained and retained.
His clients include an extensive and wide range of restaurants, pubs, café chains, nightclubs, and investors who have faced complex licensing issues and who regularly require transactions completed in a very short time frame.
James has proven invaluable to us, with his knowledge of the nuances of the licensing regime, through to his extended contacts in and around the sector.
Owner of The London Shuffle Club
It is no exaggeration to say that Simmons wouldn’t be where it is now without James.
CEO and founder of Simmons Bars
James has been a tower of strength for the Night Time Industries Association and its members, many would not have survived without his excellent guidance and advice.
… hardworking, fiercely intelligent and always creative in all that he does. An astounding knowledge of the law tempered by a personal ability to know when to push, and when to give ground.
CEO and owner of Proud Cabaret
Committed friend of the hospitality sector, knows his way across the dancefloor and into the DJ booth, and also happens to be rather good at property and licensing law!
CEO and founder of Electric Star Pubs and Eastern Electrics Festival
James’ support and guidance through a challenging time for our nightclub was invaluable. His depth of knowledge, and connections, in all things licensing really helped us get to a positive outcome. I cannot recommend James and his team highly enough!
Owner of The Steel Yard – London
- Site disposals and acquisitions
- Real estate financing
- Lease grants, assignments, and surrenders
- Property aspects of company acquisitions and disposals
- Property portfolio management advice
- Complex licence applications
- Licence reviews
- Licence due diligence
- Advising on multiple Covid-related restructurings and reorganisations.
- Advised on the roll-out of the Simmons Bars venues, and the subsequent sale to private equity for £10 million.
- Advised on the property aspects of a £232 million facility for a prime retail estate in Knightsbridge.
- Advised on the roll-out of high-end retail units in one of London’s leading retail parades.
- Advised on the acquisition of a prime mixed-use development site in Marylebone for £75 million, and the property aspects of the subsequent financing for over £100 million.
- Ongoing advice to a private executive pension fund on its portfolio of real estate assets.
- Over 15 years advising a family trust fund on its real estate investments.
- Advised on the successful expedited licence review for Ballie Ballerson.
- Advised on the successful expedited licence review for Proud Cabaret Group.
- Advised on two successful licence reviews for Simmons Bars Group.
- Advised on licensing matters for Simmons Bars Group, The Steelyard, Nice Bars Group, The Natural Kitchen, Proud Cabaret Group, and the London Shuffleboard Club.
- Advised on serial successful licence applications in key London Cumulative Impact zones, including Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and Greenwich.
- Advised venue owners and investors on the use of CBD products in the UK.
- Acted in 2020 for Club Aquarium on the expedited review of its premises licence (one of the few remaining 24-hour nightclub licences).
- Acting on all licensing matters for a chain of luxury country house hotels.
- Led the team on a £34 million acquisition of one of the show townhouses at Chelsea Barracks.
- Advised on the sale of all the plots at a high-value development in Marylebone.
- Advised on the residential sale of a property in Fulham.
- Advised on the purchase of a residential property in West Chiltington.
- Advised on the purchase of a residential property in the Isle of Wight.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Recognised by The Legal 500 in Commercial Property: Corporate Occupiers (2022-2024)
Recognised by The Legal 500 2023 for Licensing
“James Daglish has proved to be very knowledgeable and has helped me a great deal with licensing on new sites and indeed was instrumental in the recent renegotiations with landlords due to Covid-19. He understands you are as a client are not a lawyer and so summarises the negotiations and what it means in a way that is easily understood. James has always been available when required even if it is just for clarity on a legal point or other matter. I have found him to be good value for the work done and have never felt overcharged.” The Legal 500 2023
“Their knowledge, contacts and 360 perspectives of our industry is excellent. James Daglish has the right tone with the council and me and gets the job done.” The Legal 500 2022
Recognised by The Legal 500 2021 for Licensing
Recognised by The Legal 500 2020 for Licensing:
“James Daglish is very acute and has wide industry knowledge and networks. Matches commercial awareness with legal acumen.”
The Legal 500 2020
Chambers & Partners note that James is “acclaimed not only for his ability to “address the problems you’re considering and give an objective view,” but also for his “diligent, intelligent and strategically superb” performances.”
James qualified as a solicitor in 2004. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2020, he was a Partner in the Real Estate team and Head of Licensing at Goodman Derrick.