James Coppinger

London, United Kingdom

11 Testimonials
0 Case studies
28 Articles


Practice Areas:

  • Construction Contracts
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Building Work Disputes
  • Commercial Property, Finance and Development
  • Professional Negligence
Buckles LLP

I have been a construction and engineering lawyer since 1999. My skills were honed during a 9 year stint with one of the largest law firms in the world which gave me exposure to an enviable array of clients involved in interesting, complex, high value (and of course sometimes frustrating) projects.

Since joining my current firm, Buckles Solicitors, in 2008 I have enjoyed the autonomy to grow my practice and continue to advise on procurement and dispute resolution to clients both in the private and public sector.

In essence, I provide a solutions based approach to:

  • the procurement of commercial, industrial and housing developments
  • turnkey contracts for the installation of plant and machinery
  • contract implementation during the “construction phase”
  • dispute resolution

On a day to day basis, my “bread and butter” involves:

  • getting the professional team in place to ensure buildability and allocation of design responsibility
  • assisting with early contractor involvement to help value engineer
  • drafting, advising on and negotiating construction and engineering contracts
  • ensuring adequate security is in place
  • providing on-going advice on contract interpretation and application
  • adopting strategies for dispute avoidance (or resolution) whether by formal or informal means

I am fortunate to work with the wider property and development team who can take the strain from project inception to completion whether it be:

  • Acquisition of land or premises (whether freehold or leasehold) and guiding clients through the planning permission process
  • Buildability by getting the professional team on board
  • Construction by getting appropriate construction/engineering contract in place
  • Disposal, whether by selling or leasing the completed development

The key for me to is listen to what the client wants to achieve, provide options, solutions and recommendations, and to remain commercially focussed on the desired outcomes at all times.

In these challenging times, clients want (and need) to be more creative, and as an advisor I have to be alive to that.

Clients say that I am approachable, knowledgable, understand their business needs and – importantly – I use plan language that is easy to understand.

I am also an accredited adjudicator and member of the TeCSA panel, one of UK’s pre-eminent adjudicator nominating bodies which not only gives me the opportunity to dispense justice, but also gives me access to a wide network of like-minded individuals who help shape best practice.

What I do love about construction and engineering is that it is pretty resistant to economic downturns (when disputes tend to arise) and every project throws up its own unique issues.

But it’s not only the intellectual challenge I relish, but also physical ones as well. In July 2015 (to coincide with the Tour de France) I completed the London to Paris cycle ride for charity – an endeavour I would love to do again.

Previous Employment

Eversheds LLP1998 - 2007



I have had the pleasure of working on a wide variety of matters with varying complexity and value and with local and national significance. A few choice examples include:

  • Defending a £52million defects/professional negligence claim in relation to the construction of a government funded manufacturing facility
  • Prepare and negotiating (a) a Pre-Construction Services Agreement (PCSA) (b) a Partnering Contract, (c) Consultant Appointments, and (d) Collateral Warranties for the design and construction of 242 homes with public square and new commercial properties in connection with a London Borough regeneration project
  • Acting on behalf of a consortium of 18 Housing Associations in relation to the OJEU tendering of a contractor framework agreement with an estimated works value of £100m over 4 years
  • Advising a developer in relation to the development of a 7 storey 173 bed student accommodation scheme together with commercial retail units in Southampton with a construction cost of £8.2m
  • Reviewing and negotiating the proposed form of engineering sub-contract in relation to the construction of an 11 storey 216 bedroom hotel in London with a sub-contract price of £6.1m
  • Advising on a contract for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a 4,000 litre boiler capacity 990kWh commercial biomass system for a young plants nursery on a 50 acre site with an agreed Contract Sum of circa £500K
  • Advising on procurement issues in connection with a contract for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a generator testing facility in Romania
  • Advising the UK subsidiary of a German based engineering company in relation to a potential claim for alleged production downtime relating to conveyor systems installed in a car manufacturing plant

Preparing and negotiating a Fabricator Framework Agreement for the repeat appointment of a single supplier (based in Turkey) in connection with the fabrication of foundry machinery and equipment over a 4 year period


Nottingham Trent University


1992 - 1996

LLB (Honours)

Eversheds in conjunction with Nottingham Law School


2002 - 2004

Diploma in Advanced Litigation



2009 - 2010

Level 5 Certificate in Adjudication in the Construction Industry


Nottingham Law School

1996 - 1997

Law Practice Course


Andy Ratcliffe KSB Limited

“James Coppinger is knowledgeable and proactive in providing advice”

Ian Toates, Henry Riley Consulting

"James (Coppinger) was very focused on the output needs and he was very keen to get there in the most economical way”

Chambers & Partners 2013

A powerhouse in the Peterborough market that stands out for its work with social housing, engineering and renewable energy clients. James Coppinger leads the construction team, and is widely praised by clients for his "excellent technical abilities" and "superb knowledge of the law". He leads a number of significant transactional and contentious matters, and is commended by interviewees for his aptitude in "raising the confidence of clients".

Chambers & Partners 2012

James Coppinger of Buckles Solicitors LLP provides support across a broad spectrum of construction mandates. He combines core construction expertise with specialist knowledge in the fields of social housing, engineering and renewable energy.

Legal 500 2014

Buckles Solicitors LLP has 'exceptional business acumen'. James Coppinger, has 'outstanding knowledge and responds quickly'.

Legal 500 2013

Buckles Solicitors LLP is 'very professional with excellent response times and knowledge'. James Coppinger is now appointed to the TeSCA adjudication panel, and is highly recommended for construction disputes. Recent work includes a £2.1m High Court claim.

Legal 500 2012

Buckles Solicitors LLP's Jame Coppinger and James Maxey provide 'excellent service with fast turnarounds'.

Chambers & Partners 2015

James Coppinger acts for a range of clients on disputes, procurement and contractual matters. Clients say: “He has very high technical skills and also a commercial aspect to his work.” Sources regard him as “responsive” and “very eager to assist.”

Chambers & Partners 2016

James Coppinger is head of department at Buckles Solicitors LLP. He acts on matters including student and social housing. One client says he is “quick, efficient, speaks in plain language and understands business needs.”

Chambers & Partners 2017

Market sources describe James Coppinger of Buckles Solicitors LLP as “very client-focused” and able to “offer good and concise advice”. His advice spans front and back-end matters in a range of sectors including student accommodation, social housing and the automotive industry.

Legal 500 2016

Buckles Solicitors LLP features in the table for the first time, following the November 2014 opening of the firm’s office in Nottingham. Mandates include advising on the development of a mixed-use retail and student accommodation scheme. Practice head James Coppinger ‘consistently delivers’.

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Associations & Memberships

Chamber of Commerce Construction Group - since 2008

Business Network

LawNet - since 2008

UK network of Law Firms. I have been Chair of the LawNet Construction Group since 2012

TeCSA - since 2011

Technology & Construction Solicitors Association – the leading organisation for solicitors practicing in construction and IT in England & Wales