James is an international aviation lawyer, with 30 years’ experience of resolving high-profile aviation disputes and accidents worldwide. He is a triple-qualified lawyer in England & Wales, Ireland and New York, and is a licensed helicopter pilot. James also sits part-time as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on wide-ranging civil and commercial disputes.
James has unrivalled experience and understanding of the aviation insurance and reinsurance markets based on his 15 years of working at its heart in London. He has represented families and pilots/crew, as well as aviation insurers and reinsurers in aviation accidents and disputes on six continents (including even Antarctica and Hawaii). Airline, helicopter and business jet accidents are his particular expertise, as are catastrophic/burns-related and high-net-worth injuries. He has a track record of achieving swift settlements at record levels. James has also acted on financial and insurance matters relating to international sanctions and war and all-risks insurance disputes in many jurisdictions.
James is also an accredited mediator and arbitrator with the Royal Aeronautical Society and JAMS (US Judicial and Arbitration Mediation Services), focussing on international financial and commercial disputes. He also sits part-time as HM Coroner in Sussex, hearing a wide range of Inquests, often of a complex nature and with juries.
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- Aviation disputes
- Aviation accident claims
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Arbitration and mediation
- Coroner Inquests (of all types)
Aviation accident claims
Representing (and resolving claims of) families of Malaysian Airlines Flights 370 and 17 (missing/shot-down)
Advised and resolved claims by families from airline disasters around the world, including international litigation where required, against the following airlines:
- American Airlines
- Continental Airlines
- Kenya Airways
- Air Philippines
- Adam Air
- Lion Air
- Air France
- British Airways
- GOL (Brazil)
- Sibir (Russia)
- Malaysian Airlines
One Two Go Airlines (Thailand): Advised numerous high-net-worth families in helicopter and business jet crashes in the UK, Europe, USA, Africa and Asia (including Lord Ballyedmond and Charles Stisted, the CEO of Guards Polo Club).
- Acted for families and aviation insurers in more than 1,000 mediations (USA/UK/EU/Asia/Australia) since 1992.
- Resolved claims for aviation insurers arising from the 9/11 2001 US Terrorist Attacks in New York and Washington DC.
- Represented All Risks insurers with dispute with War Risk insurers.
- Deputy Chairman, Aviation Insurance Clauses Group, Lloyds of London 2006.
- Contributing Editor to The Law of Aviation Insurance, 3rd edition, Butterworths 2000.
- HM Deputy Coroner for East Sussex and HM Assistant Coroner for West Sussex, since 2016.
- Acted as HM Coroner on over 150 Inquests, including high-profile complex inquests with juries.
- Acted as HM Coroner on complex jury inquests involving clinical and healthcare environments.
- Acted as HM Coroner on complex inquests involving Human Rights Act issues.
- Acted as HM Coroner on multiple inquests involving complex toxicology and pharmacology.
- Acted as Advocate for families of 2015 Shoreham Airshow disaster, and 2018 Papillon Grand Canyon accident at Coroner’s Court, and many other families at Coroners’ Inquests in England & Wales.
- Advised on international acquisition of American Aviation Underwriters by Global Aerospace Underwriting Managers.
- Advised on international establishment of Bermudan insurance company for Amlin plc.
- Advised Lloyd’s of London in relation to EU Commission investigation into competitive practices.
- Advised underwriters on broker remuneration and commission arrangements following US DOJ investigation into competitive practices.
- Frequently appointed as Arbitrator in international financial services disputes.
- Acted as an Arbitrator with the leading US arbitration and mediation firm JAMS, largely made up of former judges.
- Arbitrated for international commercial disputes, including financial services under US and UK law.
- Acted for families and aviation insurers in more than 1,000 mediations in the following jurisdictions (USA/UK/EU/Asia/Australia).
- Represented All Risks insurers with dispute with War Risk insurers.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Recognised in Chambers UK 2023 for Aviation: Claimant
Recognised in The Legal 500 2023 Hall of Fame for Travel
Recognised in The Legal 500 2023 for Aviation
Recognised in The Legal 500 2023 for Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation
Recognised in The Legal 500 2023 for Commercial Litigation: Mid Market
“An up and coming firm for aviation matters with some great personnel including the formidable James Healy-Pratt. One to watch.” The Legal 500 2023
“James Healy-Pratt is massively experienced in this field.” The Legal 500 2023
Recognised in Chambers UK 2022 for Aviation: Claimant
“A well-regarded individual with huge knowledge of the industry.” Chambers UK 2022
Recognised by The Legal 500 2022 for Aviation
Recognised in Who’s Who Legal 2022 for Transport – Aviation Contentious
Frequently appears on BBC, ITV, Sky CNN and in the national and international press as an aviation legal expert
Recognised as a senior statesperson in The Chambers & The Legal 500 directories for Aviation
Offers “an unparalleled depth of knowledge to survivors, families and dependants”. Chambers UK 2019
“Quite simply brilliant; his understanding of multi-jurisdictional law, his ability to deliver challenging issues in a kind and patient manner, his understanding of the coronial system and his brilliant strategic overview give his clients the confidence to know that he really is fighting their corner.” The Legal 500 2018
“I think James is one of the finest lawyers I’ve ever met anywhere.” Chambers UK 2018
Leading Individual in Who’s Who Legal: Aviation 2018
“One of the leading aviation lawyers of his generation; his charisma belies a fantastic tactical brain and a spine made of steel when it comes to negotiation.” The Legal 500 2017
“Aviation expert James Healy-Pratt pursues his claims with grit and realism.” The Legal 500 2016
“James Healy-Pratt is the market leader for claimant work in the aviation field. He is lauded by sources as ‘very smart, an exceptional intellect and very creative’, and is also singled out as ‘being dedicated to his clients – he really goes the extra mile’ and being ‘tactically adept’.” Chambers UK 2015
James qualified as a barrister in 1991, a New York Attorney in 1998 and a solicitor in 2006. He was admitted to the Irish Law Society in 2018.
Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2021, he worked at:
- Stewarts Law
- Amlin plc
- Global Aerospace
He also sits part-time as HM Coroner in Sussex on a wide range of complex jury inquests.