Firms To Watch: Contentious trusts and probate

At Edwin Coe LLP, Joanna Osborne spearheads a ‘flexible and focused team which is committed to the client and determined to succeed’. It is an agile group, which frequently handles high-value contentious trusts and probate litigation.
Jo Summers heads the practice at Jurit LLP, which is praised for its ‘excellence in international family and probate issues’.  Alex Peebles is another key member of the practice.

Contentious trusts and probate in London

Baker McKenzie

The ‘excellent’ team at Baker McKenzie is a powerhouse for the most complex, high-value and multi-jurisdictional disputes. This global practice excels in the most major international trust disputes. Practice head, Anthony Poulton, receives many plaudits for his ability to handle substantial cross-border cases.  Poulton is a recognised figure in the offshore world too. The team frequently works with key lawyers, private banks and trust companies, both nationally and internationally. Gemma Willingham also garners considerable praise for her substantial expertise in handling contentious issues relating to private wealth, succession and trusts. Yindi Gesinde plays a pivotal role in the department and is recognised for her specialist expertise in trust disputes. Senior associate Luke Richardson focuses on private-client wealth disputes, and regularly handles a myriad of complicated trusts disputes. He is also adept at handling a variety of cases centring on wealth controversy.

Responsables de la pratique:

Anthony Poulton

Autres avocats clés:

Gemma Willingham; Yindi Gesinde; Luke Richardson

Les références

‘Astonishing insight and response time.’

‘Gemma Willingham is highly impressive and extremely adept at steering trustees through rocky waters in the most complex of cases.  Very bright, charming and -just as importantly – with deep reserves of the emotional intelligence necessary for this work.’

‘Anthony Poulton has a strong claim to be the finest contentious trusts solicitor in London.  He is a fabulous leader, strategist and tactician who enjoys and grasps the legal as well as strategic side of cases.’

Principaux clients

Dr Winston Wong

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Dr Wong, an ultra-HNW client, on global litigation to recover assets worth over $20bn presently held by trustees, individuals and companies in multiple jurisdictions.

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Boodle Hatfield LLP has a ‘very busy’ team, which is doing top-quality work on predominantly high-value, complex and international cases. ‘This truly impressive outfit‘ has niche expertise in disputes concerning the modern family, and is working on an increasing number of major trust ‘partition’ cases. Clients note that this practice ‘should be on the shortlist of any prospective client seeking a top flight London firm’. Head of department, Andrea Zavos. is highly regarded for her work in advising individuals, trustees and trust companies on a variety of complicated and high-value national and international disputes. Simon Rylatt handles a broad spread of contentious trusts and estate disputes for both onshore and offshore clients. Also recommended is Mark Lindley, who is skilled at resolving disputes regarding trusts, estates, tax and gifts, as well as cases relating to mental capacity. Senior associate, James Woods-Davison has a following among the international UHNW community acting for individuals, trusts and corporate structures. It recently added Nicola Bushby to its ranks from Irwin Mitchell.

Responsables de la pratique:

Andrea Zavos

Autres avocats clés:

Simon Rylatt; Mark Lindley; James Woods-Davison; Nicola Bushby

Les références

‘An extremely talented team of very good lawyers who always look for the best solution for their clients, give expert sensible advice and are involved in all the big cases in this area.’

‘Andrea Zavos has enormous experience and expertise in this area. She is sensible and excellent with clients. She had a huge win in a proprietary estoppel case this year. Mark Lindley is passionate about the law and a real expert. He is always calm and unruffled, and clients love him.’

‘Andrea Zavos is an exceptional leader of this team with an open style, and huge experience over an extensive career. She has an inquiring approach and will consider a range of possibilities, not just the obvious ones.’

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is ‘involved in the big cases and is handling these big cases well’, under the able leadership of the ‘exceptionalGraeme Kleiner, who has ‘almost legendary status.' The practice enjoyed a number of recent highlights, including the arrival of the ‘real powerhouseZiva Robertson from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP, and the promotion of Geneva-based Robert Avis to the partnership. The team has a stellar reputation both nationally and internationally. Its work spans the entire private wealth sector – it regularly works with its matrimonial team on some of the largest international divorce cases. Duncan Elson covers the full gamut of contentious trusts and estates work. Tamasin Perkins advises high-net-worth individuals, trustees and fiduciaries on many complex international trust and probate disputes. Areas of expertise include breach of trust claims, and claims involving protectors. Oliver Auld specialises in acting for private clients, and a wide range of people who are acting in a fiduciary capacity.

Responsables de la pratique:

Graeme Kleiner

Autres avocats clés:

Ziva Robertson; Duncan Elson; Oliver Auld; Tamasin Perkins; Robert Avis

Les références

‘Oliver Auld and Graeme Kleiner are both very able litigators. Graeme is highly experienced. Both are very able lawyers and tacticians. Superb client handling always with a view to getting the best outcome for the client. The team is big and strong across the board.’

‘Graeme Kleiner – clients love him and he has very good instincts as to where a case might go. Duncan Elson is equally excellent and really fights his client’s corner while knowing when to make a good deal.’

‘Tamasin Perkins is an excellent lawyer and very good with clients. Robert Avis, a new partner, is a phenomenal lawyer and very calm. There are some excellent associates.’

Principaux clients

Mate v Mate

Dawson Damer v Grampian

Colicci and another v Grinberg and another (It acts for Robert, Rosanna and Josephine Colicci)

Principaux dossiers

  • Successfully bringing a claim for members of a farming family in respect of claims for proprietary estoppel, unjust enrichment and professional negligence in relation to development of farming land and declarations of trust.
  • Acting for the defendant/counterclaimant in High Court proceedings concerning claims relating to a Grade I listed property in Buckinghamshire designed by Sir John Soane with Grade II listed Capability Brown grounds, worth approximately £15m.
  • Acting for the claimants in High Court proceedings relating to a promise to make wills and the subsequent succession of 40% of the shares in a family company, which operates a number of cafes, restaurants and kiosks across various locations in central London.

Clifford Chance LLP

With Jeremy Kosky at the helm, Clifford Chance LLP ‘has an unparalleled level of experience in high value, complex and multi-jurisdictional trust disputes ranging from private client to private equity trust structures. It also has exceptional quality at all levels of seniority’. Kosky is someone who ‘wears his considerable intellect lightly but applies it in great measure to complex matters’. The practice has a vast array of experience in high-value and complex disputes involving multiple jurisdictions both onshore and offshore. In addition, it is skilled at handling many high profile and heavyweight claims relating to family trusts, inheritance battles and shareholders’ disputes involving family-owned companies. Maxine Mossman has extensive trust disputes experience both domestically and offshore. Senior associate, Nicole Buncher is regularly involved in significant disputes with particular expertise in onshore and offshore trust litigation. Laura Hasson, also a senior associate, is lauded for her work with a variety of clients including financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, protectors and beneficiaries.

Responsables de la pratique:

Jeremy Kosky

Autres avocats clés:

Maxine Mossman; Nicole Buncher; Laura Hasson; Emily Elliot; Charles Joseph

Les références

‘Jeremy Kosky is a senior partner at the very top of his game in this field. He heads an exceptional team of highly talented more junior partners and senior associates.’

‘For large and complex matters they are my go-to firm and, having said that, even for smaller matters with significant sensitivities they are also at the top of the list. Having spent significant time working closely on a matter recently, the level of collaboration across a big team led by Jeremy Kosky, was exemplary.’

‘Jeremy Kosky is brilliant to work with, both individually and as an utterly professional leader of small and large teams. Clients feel comfortable in his hands and as a trustee that is of huge importance when making introductions when contentious issues arise. One of the very best.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising a large family of beneficiaries in Jersey court proceedings. There is significant cross border litigation and regulatory action which threatens the Trust.
  • Advising a leading global trustee client in relation to a multi-jurisdictional trust dispute involving a London based family. The assets of the trust are held in a variety of forms (e.g., liquid investments, properties, cars, offshore businesses) and in a variety of jurisdictions. The assets are worth circa $400m.
  • Advising an institutional trustee in respect of a complex structure in which the beneficiaries are in dispute. The family is split into two branches who are in conflict and cannot agree a way forward.

Farrer & Co

The ‘extremely experienced’ and ‘simply outstanding’ team at Farrer & Co is led by Toby Graham, Jeremy Gordon and Charlotte Fraser. It has many other ‘brilliant’ partners among them Joanna PooleElizabeth Sainsbury and Henrietta Mason. This first-class team, which has ‘real strength in depth’, is involved in many of the largest trust/estates disputes each year, often involving assets of several billion pounds. It regularly advises trustees and beneficiaries on the full range of onshore and offshore contentious matters. The practice continues to act in the big-ticket trust litigation, international succession disputes, and the restructuring of high-value trust structures. Increasingly, it is instructed to act as administrator of UHNW estates, which are the subject of litigation. It has also been busy acting in cases involving very high value capacity issues and court of protection work. Another highlight was Jennifer Ridgway joining the team from Michelmores LLP. Clients remark that ‘all of the associates, without exception, are excellent’. Tom McPhail and Joseph de Lacey receive particular praise for their work in this area.

Responsables de la pratique:

Toby Graham; Jeremy Gordon; Charlotte Fraser

Autres avocats clés:

Joanna Poole; Elizabeth Sainsbury; Henrietta Mason; Tom McPhail; Joseph de Lacey; Melody Munro; Isabelle Dean; Rowan Cope; Jennifer Ridgway

Les références

‘Farrers have a longstanding and well-deserved reputation in this field.  They have experienced partners, including Toby Graham and Jo Poole, who are not only great lawyers but great tacticians. Their assistants are very able too.’

‘Toby Graham is a very sound strategist and extremely experienced. Very nice to work with. Melody Munro, who is extremely clever, a very good lawyer, and extremely pleasant to work with. Joseph De Lacey is a very forceful and hardworking litigator.’

‘Toby Graham has a wealth of knowledge and experience and offers a highly effective client-focussed approach. Tom McPhail – simply the best solicitor below partner grade I have ever worked with. He’s an absolute star.’

Principaux clients

Sir Owen Glenn

The Administrators of the Estate of Vladimir Scherbakov

Trustees of family trusts of well-known English family

Executor for the Estate of the Duke of Edinburgh

Guardian of minor beneficiaries of UHNW family trusts

UHNW Middle Eastern individual

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for Sir Owen Glenn and Kea Investments in a highly complex and multi-jurisdictional piece of trust litigation, which has been running for a number of years and has repeatedly broken new legal ground.
  • Acting in the administration of the estate of the late Vladimir Scherbakov in the context of ongoing cross border litigation over the succession to his estate and lifetime disputes.

Forsters LLP

‘The main strength of the practice’ at Forsters LLP ‘is the quality of the individuals who work in it. Those individuals are intelligent and focussed, have good judgment and know how to look after their clients and keep them abreast of developments in their case’. Led by Roberta Harvey, it has a strong track record of acting in the most high-value, complex and multijurisdictional disputes. Harvey has an excellent reputation for her work with high-net-worth individuals, family offices, trustees, protectors, executors and beneficiaries on a wide spectrum of contentious trusts and estate matters. Consultant Alison Meek accepts instructions from professional trustees and trust companies (both onshore and offshore), executors and beneficiaries. The practice garners praise for ‘combining a great partner team with some brilliant associates'. Emily Exton is highly recommended along with senior associate, Maryam Oghanna. Hannah Mantle was also recently promoted to the partnership.

Responsables de la pratique:

Roberta Harvey

Autres avocats clés:

Alison Meek; Emily Exton; Hannah Mantle; Ashleigh Carr; Maryam Oghanna

Les références

‘Maryam Oghanna and Ashleigh Carr are superstars in the making. Forsters allows its juniors a lot of freedom to run cases, which gives them great strength in depth.’

‘Roberta Harvey is a very experienced litigator in this area. Hannah Mantle recently made partner and has excellent litigation management skills.’

‘It is always a pleasure to work with Forsters. They combine a great partner team with some brilliant associates.’

Macfarlanes LLP

Macfarlanes LLP is ‘incredibly strong from top to bottom. They have individuals at every level who are book smart and tactically switched on’. Led by the ‘brilliant and unflappableCharles Lloyd, it is a ‘go-to’ firm for high-value and complex disputes for high-net-worth families and individuals, trustees and family offices on all areas of contentious work. Its expertise covers disputes concerning some of the largest trusts and estates. These trusts and estates often have prominent businesses, other substantial property holdings, as well as large cash and investment portfolios. It also acts for individuals and institutions from around the world, and a number of its cases are resolved through multi-party Public Trustee v Cooper applications. Its ‘bench strength is superb' with 'a great pool of talent’. It has ‘individuals who are at the top of their game’ including the ‘superbJonathan Arr and Elizabeth Doherty. Senior associate Jacob Ward is a ‘star of the future.'

Responsables de la pratique:

Charles Lloyd

Autres avocats clés:

Jonathan Arr; Elizabeth Doherty; Jacob Ward; Emma Cohen; Sarah-Louise Fernandez

Les références

‘Charles Lloyd has been very sharp on picking up on the nuances and has been able to develop alongside Jacob Ward a roadmap for what our strategy should be. Jacob has been very in-tune with the gamesmanship of the other side, and yet while staying professional has made sure we maintain our ground. He has been sharp, and responsive.’

‘Elizabeth Doherty is a standout trust litigator. Charming, brilliant and an asset to any team. Jonathan Arr is a leading light in the international trust litigation world. Goes the extra mile with his clients whilst retaining his passion for any case under the most challenging of circumstances.’

‘Macfarlanes’ private client team is second to none in London in my opinion. Their expertise is deep, and they are consummately skilled at assisting in solving very thorny issues of fiduciary and tax law.’

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

With Rupert Ticehurst at the helm, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP ‘s team has ‘incredibly intelligent strategists who work ferociously to serve their clients’ interests’. It has a global client base of UNHW families. The ‘nimble and commercial’ group of ‘stand-out lawyers who are real thought leaders in this space’, focuses on onshore and offshore trust and estate disputes. Ticehurst is recognised for his expertise across a wide range of cases from advising on freezing orders, to advising on the removal of trustees, protectors and executors.  Another core area of focus is handling claims relating to breaches of fiduciary duties. Simon Goldring is a skilled practitioner who has continued to act in a number of prominent trust cases recently. The practice is also praised for its ability to ‘leave no stone unturned’. Senior associate, Rosalind Hetherington, primarily concentrates on trust litigation.

Responsables de la pratique:

Rupert Ticehurst

Autres avocats clés:

Simon Golding; Rosalind Hetherington; Jerry Jamieson

Les références

‘Rupert Ticehurst who can litigate but is also a topflight private client lawyer who can see the whole picture and can draw on heavyweights in his team. So experienced and so wise.’

‘What is unique about the firm is the integration between their non-contentious private client and contentious private client teams. They have a strong overlap between individuals who are litigators and individuals who understand the tax aspects associated with trusts and estates work.’

‘Simon Goldring is fast becoming the leader of the team. It feels like he has moved effortlessly from being an associate to a partner. He has grown a reputation as someone who deals in high-value trusts matters. He is also very pleasant to deal with – a real team player.’

Principaux clients

Members of the Al Thani Qatari Royal family

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted for individual claimants representing three beneficiaries entitled to 20% of the estate (value ~$1bn comprising real estate in London and significant jewels and antiquities) of a deceased member of a Middle Eastern Royal Family.
  • Acting for three of 25 defendants in a dispute regarding the estate of a wealthy Nigerian businessman who was worth in excess of $1bn.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP has an excellent profile in the market – ‘news that they are on the other side of a case strikes fear. They have real expertise and experience and are very hardworking and capable of handling the biggest cases’. Under the joint leadership of Mark Keenan and Peter Steen, the team is flourishing. It specialises in complex intra-family and high-value domestic and international trust and succession disputes. These cases often involve elements of asset tracing and recovery in offshore jurisdictions. Other areas of expertise include handling breach of trust and proprietary estoppel claims. Jessica Medus is another key member of the department whose work often has an international element. Victoria Sara-Kennedy is now ‘of counsel’- she has a broad range of experience in advising on contentious trusts and estates. Emilia Piskorz has particular expertise in advising corporate and individual trustees, beneficiaries and those with an interest in an estate.

Responsables de la pratique:

Mark Keenan; Peter Steen

Autres avocats clés:

Jessica Medus; Emilia Piskorz; Natasha Holme; James Smith

Les références

‘Mishcon have built up an impressive team in this area. Mark Keenan, Jessica Medus and Peter Steen are all stand out lawyers in this field. They command immense loyalty from their clients because of their commitment to their cause. They have a raft of talented associates and are more than capable of taking on big cases in this area.’

‘Clear brand. Mishcon will fight for their clients. Mark Keenan is clever, dogged, detail oriented and tough. Clients know he has their back. Peter Steen is polished, effective, tough but collaborative when he can be.’

‘A good strong team of experienced trust litigators. Mark Keenan and Emilia Piskorz are aware of where they fit into the litigation but are capable of acting on their own initiative. It’s a well-oiled litigation machine.’

Principaux clients

Executors of the estate of a HNWI

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted for the executors of the estate of a HNWI in a long running dispute (the deceased died in 2017).

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Headed by Richard Manyon, who is described as a ‘doyen of private client litigation’, Payne Hicks Beach LLP has a ‘dynamic and clever team who deals with very high-profile litigation with real experience and expertise in this area.’ Its roots lie in traditional chancery work and advising on disputes affecting some of the oldest and largest landed estates and domestic trusts. It has expanded into the international sphere and is now also a global contentious practice. Another core area of focus is advising on trusts in the context of divorce proceedings. Jessica Henson has a ‘very good reputation in the market’ for her work running the gamut of private wealth disputes. Rosamond McDowell is currently advising on several substantial pieces of trusts and estates litigation. Ane Vernon is an experienced litigator, while Emma Harris is a newly promoted partner. It also boasts an excellent stable of ‘meticulous and hardworking associates.’ Charlotte Henshall is a talented senior associate.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Manyon

Autres avocats clés:

Jessica Henson; Ane Vernon; Emma Harris; Rosamond McDowell; Charlotte Henshall; Sean Knight; Rosie Sells; Emily Stoneham; Clementine Dowley

Les références

‘A dynamic clever team who deal with very high-profile litigation and have real experience and expertise in this area. Richard Manyon is extremely clever and really fights his client’s corner. Jessica Henson is similarly clever, a very good lawyer who is sensible.’

‘For its size, the firm is a powerhouse in contentious trusts and probate and more than holds its own with the other big names in the area. It also has a very strong and well-established expertise in areas such as private client/tax and family, upon which the team can draw where cases involve some element of cross-over in these fields.’

‘Payne Hicks Beach are a firm which punch above their weight in this area. By this I mean they are relatively small but get involved in many of the high profile and high value claims in contentious trust and probate. The team is hard-working and well-organised. Richard Manyon is a skilled litigator in this area.’

Stewarts Law LLP

Spearheaded by James Price, Stewarts Law LLP has ‘a genuine personal touch and really tough fighters’ who are ‘unrelenting in the pursuit of the client’s cause’. It is known, both domestically and internationally, for its expertise in complex, large-scale and often high-profile trust, probate and capacity disputes both in England and other major jurisdictions. Geoff Kertesz is another leading member of the group who is frequently instructed in substantial trust and probate disputes in the UK, and in other countries such as Bermuda, BVI and the Cayman Islands. Emma Holland has a keen focus on probate disputes where there are conflicts of private international law, as well as disputes about capacity. Marcus Parker is another key figure. Senior associate, Jemma Goddard is adept at handling a broad range of trust related actions, as well as assisting in the resolution of estate related disputes. Luca Del Panta is also well-regarded.

Responsables de la pratique:

James Price

Autres avocats clés:

Geoff Kertesz; Emma Holland; Marcus Parker; Jemma Goddard; Luca del Panta; Lavinia Randall; Catriona Abraham; Judith Swinhoe-Standen

Les références

‘Geoff Kertesz and Catriona Abrahams are very good lawyers and very client focussed . This together with a wealth of experience give me great comfort and security.’

‘James Price has built an excellent team from scratch. James Price is a star. That is evident from the team he has built and the work he is attracting. Would not hesitate to send him a client and have done.’

‘James Price is a brilliant leader and has developed a cohesive, tight knit group of top-class lawyers. Geoff Kertesz is universally loved by clients. He combines personal skills with legal/technical acumen unlike anyone else.’

Principaux clients

Ven-Jiao Wang (a.k.a. Tony Wang)

Lands Company Limited

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and other charities

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Tony Wang on the largest trust dispute in history, winning 5-0 in the Privy Council in a decision that has far-reaching consequences for the trust industry.

Taylor Wessing LLP

At Taylor Wessing LLP, head of department, Emma Jordan ‘blends excellent strategic instincts and big-picture thinking with an impressive grasp of forensic detail’.  The practice is ‘one of the giants in this area’ and ‘consists of individuals with market-leading expertise and experience’.  Jordan is both an English barrister and a Jersey Advocate. Kirstie McGuigan is sought after for her work that spans both contentious and advisory matters. Caroline Tayler has a strong reputation in the market for her trusts advice arising from divorce proceedings. The group is also recognised for its civil fraud work, its experience in asset tracing, and for its recovery advice in the context of offshore trusts and structures. In addition,  the team has carved out considerable expertise in advising on insolvent trusts, and has been building its specialism in trusts arbitrations. This team is highly recommended for its work on international private wealth disputes, and frequently deals with high-value issues of capacity.

Responsables de la pratique:

Emma Jordan

Autres avocats clés:

Kirstie McGuigan; Caroline Tayler; George Porter; Kate Silbermann; Rob Gibson

Les références

‘Emma Jordan is a standout partner.  Her skill set leaves her exceptionally well placed to understand both what a client really needs, and how best to get them there. She is top of my list for any contentious trusts disputes.

‘Rob Gibson is an excellent and hard-working lawyer, whose strong forensic skills and legal knowledge are paired with an excellent client manner. George Porter has superb analytical skills and a very good grasp of detail. He is highly effective and a pleasure to work with’.

‘A great team, with a real depth of knowledge and experience when it comes to cross border litigation. Emma Jordan’s Jersey practice is a particular asset to the department.’

Principaux clients

Equity Trusts (Jersey) Limited

Harbour Fund II, LP

Heir to father’s estate under forced heirship rules

The Administrator of the Estate of Lord Jacobs and The Trustees of the Jacobs Charitable Trust



Principaux dossiers

  • Advising on the landmark insolvent trust case of Equity Trust (Jersey) Ltd, which set a precedent in determining the appropriate ranking of trustee’s liens but in clarifying the nature and character of the trustee’s equitable lien.
  • Acting for the daughter of a wealthy deceased in complex multi-jurisdictional litigation over her entitlement to her father’s estate and as beneficiary of a Jersey trust, where the division of assets is being challenged by her half-siblings.
  • Acting for Harbour Fund II, LP, appointed by the English High Court, as trustee of over £600m of newly created Jersey trusts, which are in the wrong hands as a result of a high-profile fraud.

Withers LLP

Withers LLPhas a great team across all levels. The partners that we work with are excellent and the associates/senior associates are top notch.' Led by Suzanne Todd, the ‘knowledgeable and hardworking’ team ‘gets brilliant results for clients’ in the context of international trust disputes, UK and international succession disputes, as well as elder law/court of protection issues. It also garners considerable praise for its expertise in charity legacy disputes, and for its international expertise. Paul Hewitt has an ‘exceptional reputation’ for his particular interest in representing families with connections to the sub-continent. Senior Counsel Dawn Goodman has a wealth of experience in trust and succession disputes. Steven Kempster has a substantial offshore trusts practice, and also handles cases relating to charities. Stephen Richards advises clients both in the UK and internationally on disputes concerning inheritance and trusts, and often directs litigation in multiple jurisdictions. Natasha Stourton, Sarah Aughwane and Alice Tomlin are among the other key names to note.

Responsables de la pratique:

Suzanne Todd

Autres avocats clés:

Dawn Goodman; Paul Hewitt; Steven Kempster; Stephen Richards; Natasha Stourton; Sarah Aughwane; Richard Walker; Alexandra Dix; Alice Tomlin; Rosalind Russell; Olivia Turner

Les références

‘Paul Hewitt is one of the big players in this practice area: he scrutinises a dispute from every angle and manoeuvres expertly to outflank his opponent. Stephen Richards is both thorough and strategic, allowing him to see through a problem early and work towards a practical, attainable solution.’

‘Natasha Stourton is calm, confident, and knowledgeable. She is able to rise above the fray to effectively promote her client’s case. Richard Walker is a deep thinker who has a real feel for the law in this area. He is creative in seeking solutions and is a canny tactician.’

‘When Alice is working on your matter you know it is being well looked after as she is always on top of the detail meaning you are always one step ahead of the opponent. She is super bright and great fun to work with. Surely a partner in the making.’

Principaux clients

Gopichand Parmanand Hinduja

Cooper, Myrna Sandra


Guha, Thomas Laszlo; Guha, Niko

Two BVI Private Trust Companies

Michael and Lindsay Bond

Samuel, Executors of Paul Richard Blelock deceased

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (Sightsavers International)

Leon J Minvielle III and Anne Minvielle

Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised three of the Hinduja brothers, one of Britain’s wealthiest families, on Court of Protection proceedings involving over 20 hearings (at First Instance and the Court of Appeal) arising from the incapacity of the family’s patriarch.
  • Advising two of the children of a multimillionaire tyre magnate and racehorse breeder on the validity of his purported last will.
  • Advised the trustees of two high value BVI trusts holding assets in Hong King, Singapore, Japan and Australia on the successful court blessing of their decision to partition and distribute the trust assets against a highly acrimonious family background which included a dispute over parental rights arising out of international surrogacy arrangements.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Headed by Richard Norridge, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a dedicated private wealth practice that comprises senior disputes, advisory and transactional lawyers. Clients include institutional clients, trustees, their insurers, beneficiaries, family offices and wealthy individuals. Norridge’s practice and client base is international and spans the leading onshore and offshore jurisdictions. Nick Clayton is another name to note from the specialist tax disputes and investigations unit. The group typically advises on complex actions pursuing or defending trustees, and on third-party claims by or against trustees. It has also acted in the arbitration of trust disputes. William Turner was recently promoted to ‘of counsel’ and is a solicitor advocate. He specialises in both contentious and non-contentious private client work.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Norridge

Autres avocats clés:

William Turner; John Mathew; Nick Clayton

Les références

‘Impressed with how collaborative the team was. We were working on an international trust matter. Understood the human emotions behind trust disputes.’

‘Richard Norridge is a standout partner who has a deft touch in difficult cases.  John Mathew is a rising associate’.

‘Partner led team. Excellent associates. Available 24/7.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Represented, and continues to represent, members of one of Asia’s richest families by net worth, in two sets of Hong Kong High Court proceedings and in an ongoing beneficiary dispute relating to a family trust, which holds well over $1bn of assets.

Howard Kennedy LLP

The team at Howard Kennedy LLPis at the very top of its game’. Led by Naomi O’Higgins, it has ‘decisive team players’ who focus exclusively on trusts and estates disputes, and court of protection work. O’Higgins’ ‘commitment to getting the very best for her clients is impressive‘. The group advises clients on numerous complex, high-value and often high-profile wealth disputes. Many of the group’s cases have significant cross-border elements. Monika Byrska is recognised for her considerable experience in international and offshore disputes. The ‘reassuring and calm’ Emily Mailer receives a steady flow of instructions on substantial cases, frequently with an international component. In addition, Mailer regularly acts as an independent administrator and court appointed trustee. Senior associate, Tom Deely, has extensive experience in multi-jurisdictional trusts and estates disputes for high-net-worth clients.

Responsables de la pratique:

Naomi O’Higgins

Autres avocats clés:

Monika Byrska; Emily Mailer; Tom Deely; Brendan Udokoro; Alexandra Giles

Les références

‘Peerless in quality and perfection including excellent judgment as to when to fight and when to negotiate. Naomi O’Higgins is the personification of what I say about the team as above. Aided ably by Brendan Udokuro.’

‘The team is great at all levels and can handle matters of any size. A particular strength with Howard Kennedy is the fact that where the issues in a case cross over into different areas – someone from the relevant Howard Kennedy team can be brought in to assist. The firm is very good at using its full range of expertise.’

‘Naomi O’Higgins is great to work with; she is experienced, brilliant at fighting the client’s corner, is sensitive to their needs, and makes wise decisions. Tom Deely is definitely a rising star; he is bright, engaged, and really gets to grips with the detail.’

Kingsley Napley LLP

The team at Kingsley Napley LLP is extremely strong, full of focus and drive and committed to delivering a first-rate client service. They are led by the absolutely brilliant Ryan Mowat’. The group is recommended for its skill at handling high-net-worth private client litigation matters, combined with the firm’s expertise in fraud and media-related disputes. In addition, it is sought after for its experience in high value ‘trusts and divorce’ cases and works closely with its family team and its court of protection practice. Many of the trust disputes involve multiple jurisdictions, and allegations of breach of trust and fraud; its contentious estate disputes practice is thriving. It is ‘truly exceptional from top to bottom’ with some very able associates, including Katherine Pymont; Kate Salter and Anna Metadjer. Laura Phillips is now a legal director.

Responsables de la pratique:

Ryan Mowat

Autres avocats clés:

Katherine Pymont; Kate Salter; Anna Metadjer; Cally Brosnan; Sophie Mass; Laura Phillips

Les références

‘Ryan Mowat is absolutely brilliant. Such sound judgment. Dedicated, calm and a very shrewd litigator always thinking several steps ahead of where you are. His team are incredibly hard-working and bright. They include Katherine Pymont, who is an extremely able and dependable partner in the making. Anna Metadjer is meticulous, industrious and indefatigable.’

‘A really top-notch team from top-to-bottom who have great experience in acting for clients of all types up to the most HNW individuals and their families. Ryan Mowat is a very hands-on partner, but his associates are all outstanding too.’

‘Ryan Mowat is one of the big names in the practice area who has vast experience and is able to navigate through the most complex problems, offering expert, practical advice but also cutting through the legalities to reach a pragmatic solution’.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has an ‘abundance of wonderful people’, with Michael Cash at the helm. It acts for high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts and estates. Cash specialises in domestic and international trust and estate litigation, and breach of trust actions. Other core areas of expertise include advising on contentious applications to the Court of Protection and claims under the Inheritance Act. Sarah Lee is another known name in the market for her work on a variety of trust and estate claims. Lee also covers other areas such as advising on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the context of trust and estate funds. In addition, the team is skilled at handling financial abuse and TOLATA claims.

Responsables de la pratique:

Michael Cash

Autres avocats clés:

Sarah Lee; Sarah Arnold; Andrew Bird

Les références

‘PMC are long-standing experts in this field and, although they have a London office, offer the option of regional charging rates with their Basingstoke office. Michael Cash is widely regarded as a leader in this field. Michael has an in-depth knowledge of this area of the law and a calm, considered temperament that is reassuring to any client’.

‘The best out of London team bar none. A delight to work with and highly efficient in delivering a product that few if any can match. Michael Cash – remains outstanding. Head and shoulders above most rivals. A keen strategic brain and always available’.

‘Sarah Arnold is the team’s standout performer and key to its future success.’

Principaux clients

Patrik Schumacher

Administrator for the estate of His Exalted Highness the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad

Administrator of Darrel Evans Dec’d

Savernake Estate

Administrator of Prince Abbasi Estate

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for the administrator of the 7th Nizam’s estate in the long running dispute over £35m held by National Westminster Bank that was deposited in 1948. This case is fascinating as it is tied up with the political history of India and Pakistan and issues of sovereign immunity.
  • Acted for Patrik Schumacher on his application to remove his co-executors from acting as executors of the estate of Zaha Hadid (the internationally distinguished architect) and have been advising on the subsequent administration of the estate against this background.
  • Acting as a trustee for the Savernake estate, which is dealing with the well-publicised ongoing issues arising out of the trust.

Russell-Cooke LLP

The  ‘closely-knit team’ at Russell-Cooke LLP  ‘works very hard and draws on a significant wealth of experience to represent their clients in disputes of significant value and complexity’. The ‘very cannyAlison Regan heads the ‘refreshingly modern and diverse firm’, which has ‘exceptional trust and probate practitioners’. It advises in all areas of trust and estate litigation, and is increasingly known for its cross-border and international work involving issues of foreign assets, domicile and residence. Gareth Ledsham has significant experience of dealing with complex and high-value cross-jurisdictional estate disputes. Senior associate, Andrew Morgan is another important member of the practice.

Responsables de la pratique:

Alison Regan

Autres avocats clés:

Gareth Ledsham; Andrew Morgan; Georgia Haughney

Les références

‘Alison Regan is a pleasure to work with. She is very clever, hard-working, a master of client care, a brilliant tactician and so very calm. Gareth Ledsham is clever and a calm, safe pair of hands. Georgia Haughney was so committed to our client.’

‘I worked closely with Andrew Morgan, a senior associate on one matter. I found him to be knowledgeable and with a good eye for detail. He was very on top of the case and worked closely with Counsel to achieve the desired outcome for the client.’

‘Alison Reagan is a delight to work with. She is both incredibly hardworking but also a calming and rational influence in cases. Gareth Ledsham is a very clever practitioner. His strategies are cerebral but practical. He is also very client friendly.’

Stephenson Harwood

This is a supremely impressive team’ at Stephenson Harwood, comments one client. ‘They are led from the top by very strong, hands-on leaders and the strength and depth amongst the juniors is superb’. Jenny McKeownhas become the Grande Dame of the contentious private client world.' It predominantly acts for ultra-high-net-worth entrepreneurs and business owners and their families, as well as trustees from around the globe. Its focus is on the most complex and high-value trust and family disputes, and the team has continued to expand its focus into the Asian market. The group also excels in advising domestic dynastic families. Helena Berman had another strong year advising on various substantial contentious trusts disputes. Peter Gillis is also a key figure.

Responsables de la pratique:

Jenny McKeown

Autres avocats clés:

Helena Berman; Peter Gillis; Maria Chami

Les références

‘Jenny McKeown is an absolute superstar, and a really big name in the industry. She has brilliant instincts and offers a brilliant service to clients. One of those individuals who, despite their formidable reputation, is also genuinely lovely to work with. A fantastic leader.’

‘Jenny McKeown works incredibly hard and evidently inspires great loyalty from her team, who are totally devoted to their clients and live and breathe their work. They are also immense fun to work with. Peter Gillis is a star of the future. Super bright but down to earth. Maria Chami is a notable junior. A team with real flair and total handful for any opposition.’

‘Helena Berman has from the very start demonstrated a sharp mind, a keen focus on strategies, and always remained mindful of costs whilst carefully dissecting information as it was received.’

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP

David Wedgwood heads the ‘extremely collaborative' department at Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP, which has a strong reputation for its work in private wealth disputes. It has been busy advising on an array of matters from property ownership disputes and professional negligence claims, to dealing with numerous cross-jurisdictional and high-value cases. It is consistently instructed by HNW individuals. The team is also skilled at assisting vulnerable clients who may have mental health issues. Wedgewood is respected for his Court of Protection expertise. Beth Holden is another name to note.

Responsables de la pratique:

David Wedgwood

Autres avocats clés:

Beth Holden;Tom Dickinson; Grainne Feeney; Kimberley McGhie

Les références

‘Really strong across the board – there are no weak links, and they work closely with colleagues in other departments to give clients a comprehensive service. They are remarkably good value for money – their costs are regularly much lower than competitors, despite providing an equal or better standard of service.’

‘Tom Dickinson – he is a superb solicitor whose skill and knowledge of the law far exceeds his years of PQE. Clients love his honest and sensitive handling of difficult cases, as well as his ability to cut through the noise and find sensible solutions to tricky problems. He is incredibly thorough.’

‘David Wedgwood – he is one of the godfathers of the contentious trust world. Very well respected by all who work in the field. He is utterly pragmatic and thinks tactically about how to ensure the best possible outcomes for his clients at all stages of cases.’

Principaux clients

In the matter of The G Trusts and estate of Mr MG

In the matter of LC

In the matter of EH

In the matter of KJ

In the matter of CB

In the matter of KM

In the matter of IS

In the matter of KB

In the matter of CM

In the matter of NA

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for the executors in a partial intestacy caused by a negligently drawn up will.
  • Acting as replacement personal representative of a large estate, with many unresolved issues.
  • Acting in relation to recovery of large sums of money against an offshore company through marshalling and an equitable charge.

Burges Salmon LLP

Led by Justin Briggs and Kevin Kennedy, the team at Burges Salmon LLP, 'combines great technical knowledge of the law with commercial insight’. It is ‘able to go toe to toe with the top private client teams and often come out on top’. The group continues to act in some of the largest and most challenging contentious trusts and probate matters in the country. It has an enviable client base of wealthy individuals (including some aristocratic families), landed estates and high-net-worth international figures. Sian Edmunds has left the firm for an inhouse position.

Responsables de la pratique:

Justin Briggs; Kevin Kennedy

Autres avocats clés:

Caroline Emslie

Les références

‘Kevin Kennedy is one of the most outstanding qualities (besides his expertise and professionalism) that Kevin Kennedy brings to the table is his empathy.  We had the same connection when we were first introduced to his associate Caroline Emslie.’

‘Both Kevin and Caroline were engaged and as much as they were empathetic, they were also very transparent. They did a great job managing our expectations on both fronts (case and costs).’

‘Kevin Kennedy is a real expert with years of experience. He has good client handling skills and really fights his client’s corner.’

Principaux clients

Trustees of the St Fagans No 1 and No 2 trusts

Lady Catherine Brudenell-Bruce

Robert Sofer

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted for the trustees of a landed estate (led by the Earl of Plymouth) in their successful defence of a proprietary estoppel claim brought in an attempt to frustrate the trust’s multi-million pound development of a new garden city outside Cardiff.
  • Acted for Lady Catherine Brudenell-Bruce in a highly charged application to replace her brother, Tom, Viscount Savernake, as executor of their late mother’s will.
  • Advised Robert Sofer, an Australian resident, on a significant breach of trust claim made against a Swiss trust company, relating to a trust established by Mr Sofer’s father. A High Court claim was issued, and at an early stage Mr Sofer was successful in the Court of Appeal following an adverse interlocutory decision.

Irwin Mitchell

Claire-Marie Cornford and Paula Myers co-lead the practice at Irwin Mitchell, which advises on a broad range of private wealth disputes for high-net-worth clients. It frequently advises on contentious trust claims, disputed wills and on specialised Court of Protection applications and disputes. Clients include successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople, landed gentry, farmers, charities, trustees and individuals. There have been some recent changes to the team at a senior level. Sangita Manek joined the team from Blaser Mills Law while Nicola Bushby is now at Boodle Hatfield LLP.

Responsables de la pratique:

Claire-Marie Cornford; Paula Myers

Autres avocats clés:

Laura Gabrel; Sangita Manek

Les références

‘Irwin Mitchell are an enormous firm and have huge resources in this area. I know their London team well. They are very good.’

‘The team has strength in depth and a well-deserved reputation for expertise in the field. It is able to draw on cross-over expertise from other departments (such as tax, court of protection, corporate) where required.’

‘Claire-Marie Cornford is a very driven litigator, who is committed to delivering results for her clients. She is focussed, bright and tenacious, whilst all the time sensitive to her client’s needs and priorities.’

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

Nicholas Holland  and Simon Gibb now co-head the practice at McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP, which focuses primarily on clients with estates in excess of £500m as well as ultra-high-net-worth billionaires. Its clientele features some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, families, trustees and privately held businesses. It works on many complex cases across various jurisdictions involving disputes and court proceedings, as well as estate administrations and trust structuring matters. It also boasts significant transatlantic private client capabilities. Ziva Robertson has left the firm and is now at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Andrew Vergunst has also left the firm.

Responsables de la pratique:

Nick Holland; Simon Gibb

Les références

‘Given their enormous presence of the firm in the North American market the London team are brilliantly placed to address some of the most complex issues arising for transatlantic families’.

‘Nick Holland – personable, clever and full of ideas; a pleasure to work with’.


Principaux clients

Hill Street Trustees Ltd, Pavilion Trustees Ltd, and various individual trustee

Royal Bank of Canada

Wealthy French sibling/UHNWI (1 of 3 siblings)

Royal Trust of Canada

Estate of Patrick Kelly

Principaux dossiers

  • Continuing to advise Royal Trust of Canada and negotiate with HMRC and the French tax authorities an agreement as to whether a large number of trusts, related to historic mistreatment of the First Nations peoples and their lands, would need to report under the TRS in either the UK or France.
  • Advised an UHNWI (a very wealthy French sibling of three) in connection with a number of trusts of which its client is a beneficiary and in connection with proposed Public Trustee v Cooper proceedings in Guernsey.
  • Continued to act for three corporate trustees and two individual trustees involved in an invalid deed of retirement and appointment of new trustees.


Osbornes has a ‘strong private client department’ and ‘the firm seems to be going from strength to strength’. Practice head, Jan Atkinson , is best known for her court appointments as the independent administrator of disputed estates. The nimble team acts for a broad range of high-net-worth individuals and families on a variety of complex estate and trust litigation. Other key clients include trustees, personal representatives and charities. Elspeth Neilson is adept at handling complex estate administrations where there are assets in other jurisdictions. Senior associate, Katie De Swarte, also acts in contentious Court of Protection cases.

Responsables de la pratique:

Jan Atkinson

Autres avocats clés:

Katie de Swarte; Elspeth Neilson

Les références

‘The contested estates team is strong with talented young women doing good quality work. Katie de Swarte and Elspeth Neilson are two individuals I work with and both are a pleasure to work with’.

‘Jan Atkinson is calm, sensible and a very talented lawyer. She is honest with clients and gets very good results for them’.

‘The right blend of experience from a leading partner who’s spent a career in this field to enthusiastic specialist nqs. I work most often with Katie de Swarte. Katie develops a good rapport with clients and is a good specialist estates litigator’.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP fields ‘probably the best team outside of London.’ Practice head, James Lister ‘has been effective in growing the team and the reputation.’ The practice is seeing an increasing number of appointments to act as independent trustee, executor and administrator. These appointments are routinely for complex multi-million-pound estates that are facing several disputes and are frequently as a result of an executor removal application. Managing associate Jack Bailey specialises in private wealth disputes across the UK, which often involve international and offshore elements.

Responsables de la pratique:

James Lister

Autres avocats clés:

Jack Bailey

Les références

‘A talented young team with good client care skills. Jack Bailey has been doing partner level work for some time. He has good judgment, technical knowledge and a calm measured approach. James Lister is very well respected in the market.’

‘A strong personable team who are all excellent lawyers and get results for their clients. Jack Bailey is able to empathise but still stand back and provide solid advice to his clients. James Lister likewise is charming but determined to fight his clients’ corner. They are both proactive and a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Excellent team headed up by James Lister, with strength in depth. James Lister is savvy and sharp – the go to out of London solicitor in this area. Jack Bailey is an up-and-coming superstar.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for the Court appointed administrator in the highly publicised Reeves v Drew case, involving a very large estate dispute between multiple parties.
  • Advising several family members on a worldwide freezing injunction over assets in several different jurisdictions.
  • Advising the trustee of a substantial disputed estate containing real property and private company shareholdings.


Led by the ‘extremely experienced' Michelle Rose, the team at VWV is a ‘stable team’, which has ‘been together for a long time.’ It has an established national reputation for its work on various complex trusts and probate disputes, and its specialist legacy protection team continues to flourish along with its court of protection offering. Rose and Fiona Lawrence receive regular referrals to be appointed as independent administrators and trustees in various complex, high-value and deadlocked estates and trusts.

Responsables de la pratique:

Michelle Rose

Autres avocats clés:

Fiona Lawrence; Julia Hardy; Marianne Nankervis

Les références

‘The way they worked as both individuals and as a team. Their communication must be excellent. They are personable and robust, always looking for the best interests and solutions for their clients and usually achieving results through ADR.’

‘Julia Hardy is calm, firm and knowledgeable litigator with excellent judgment. You’d feel reassured if your mum was in litigation and had Julia on her side. Michelle Rose has led the team for many years. She is respected in the market and often invited to act as a litigation friend.’

‘The team has a really well-deserved reputation in the area of contentious trusts and probate. They really know this field inside out and their judgment and advice are incisive and reliable.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Michelle Rose continues to be appointed on complex high value deadlocked estate administration and contested Court of Protection matters.
  • Acted for the son and eldest daughter of Terry Jones of Monty Python fame in a complex challenge to the validity of Terry’s Will and a property transfer.
  • Acting for the Administrators of a £48m landed estate in a High Court blessing application.

Wedlake Bell LLP

The private client disputes team at Wedlake Bell LLP, advises on the full range of contentious issues facing HNW individuals in the UK and abroad. Under the leadership of Caroline Miller (who has a ‘very good reputation in the market’). It has handled matters over the past year with a collective value of over £506.8m. Clients include wealthy individuals, families, executors, trustees and beneficiaries. Andrew O’Keeffe has particular expertise in disputes concerning the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Oliver Embley and Ann Stanyer are both recommended.

Responsables de la pratique:

Caroline Miller

Autres avocats clés:

Andrew O’Keeffe; Oliver Embley; Ann Stanyer; Katie Turney

Les références

‘Wedlake Bell are leaders in their field and provide their client with a personal and empathetic service.’

‘Caroline Miller is excellent and thoroughly knowledgeable. Her client care skills and technical knowledge are stand out.’

‘Caroline Miller has rightfully been promoted to head the contentious team, which has an interesting mix of old-money and new-money matters and good connections with the Channel Islands. Katie Turney is a superstar of the future. A calm and self-assured presence.’

BDB Pitmans

Lucinda Brown heads the practice at BDB Pitmans, which is adept at handling national and international work, and cases with an offshore element. It has considerable strength in the third sector (charities and not-for-profit), as well as owner-managed businesses and the landed estate sector. The group frequently advises on Variation of Trusts Act applications, cross-border contentious court of protection matters, as well as will validity disputes. John Darnton is another name to note.

Responsables de la pratique:

Lucinda Brown

Autres avocats clés:

John Darnton

Les références

‘Lucinda Brown is the solicitor who heads the private client department. She is a gifted succession lawyer combining deep legal knowledge with excellent judgement as to securing the best outcome in difficult circumstances.’

‘BDB Pitmans has an experienced team of practitioners with an in-depth knowledge of contentious trust and probate matters, both from the point of view of understanding the technical aspects of the law on trusts and estates, but also with significant skills in litigating these matters and the court process’.

‘John Darnton gives clear and concise advice. He has a unique understanding of all the angles at play in a litigation and is able to guide clients to an outcome in a calm and considered manner’.

Druces LLP

Paul Levy now heads the department at Druces LLP, which has seen a significant increase in disputes over the mental capacity of testators when making wills or lifetime gifts. Both Helen Freely and Matthew Duncan act as professional deputies. This multi-disciplinary team draws on the strength of its private wealth and dispute resolution colleagues to help clients such as entrepreneurial families/individuals and City professionals. Various team members have also been appointed to act as independent executors/administrators for a number of contested estates.

Responsables de la pratique:

Paul Levy

Autres avocats clés:

Helen Freely; Matthew Duncan

Les références

‘Druces is a long-established firm with real expertise in private client work. It has extremely good client handling skills.’

‘Helen Freely is excellent with clients and a very good lawyer. She dealt with a monstrously difficult case with calm and compassion but also fought hard for her clients.’

‘A small team with a real personal touch but still with the heft to go up against the bigger firms.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted for a widow in a claim for the construction/rectification of her husband’s Will.
  • Appeared in the Court of Protection regarding whether the will of an incapacitated person can be varied to change an outright gift into a gift in trust.

Gowling WLG

Catherine Naylor heads the offering at Gowling WLG in London. The team also draws on the firm’s other private wealth practitioners in Singapore and Canada, primarily. It focuses on all aspects of trust litigation which often necessitates managing and coordinating complex cross-border disputes. The practice remains busy advising on claims by and against professional trustees and fiduciaries. James Sidwell and Jason Freedman are other names to note.

Responsables de la pratique:

Catherine Naylor

Autres avocats clés:

James Sidwell; Jason Freedman; Emily Till

Les références

‘A very tight ship – no weak links. Very capable of dealing with all different sizes and shapes of litigation.’

‘James Sidwell: a great team leader and strategist. Catherine Naylor: Very smart and able to make the big calls clearly and calmly – a real pleasure to work with. Emily Till: a star in the making – very committed and able.’

‘With their superb knowledge of commercial litigation, the overlap into this team is excellent. Very well regarded in the contentious trusts world.’

Principaux clients

TMF Group (Equity Trust (Jersey) Limited)

Joanna Lemos

Dan Finch

Adam Smith

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for Joanna Lemos and the trustees in bankruptcy on a dispute concerning valuable property held on the trusts of a Bermudian trust.
  • Acting for Equity Trust (Jersey) Limited, a subsidiary of TMF Group, and one of its former employees, who was a director of English asset-holding companies that formed part of one of the Z Trusts, in proceedings brought by the asset-holding companies (acting by their liquidators).

Hunters Law LLP

The specialist team at Hunters Law LLP, covers the full range of contentious trusts and probate issues, as well as intra-family and property disputes. It also regularly provides cross-border advice to its wealthy clients on the implications of multijurisdictional disputes. Clients include trustees, beneficiaries, landed estate clients and City professionals. Practice head Richard Kershaw specialises in family law, and the contentious issues that can arise from generational trust and Inheritance Act disputes. David Draisey regularly represents claimants and defendants in high stakes trusts and probate cases.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Kershaw

Autres avocats clés:

David Draisey

Les références

‘Great back-up on the non-contentious side of trusts and probate (e.g. tax) which is essential for contentious trusts work but often overlooked.’

‘Hunters is a solid practice who are easily able to move from safeguarding cases to contentious trusts and probate. The depth of their partners is a real advantage, and their size gives a unique family feel.’

‘David Draisey is excellent in respect of contentious matters for HNW clients.’

Michelmores LLP

Sara Chisholm-Batten leads a busy, cross-departmental team at Michelmores LLP, which is particularly known for its involvement in high-value and complex domestic and international trust estate disputes. Its client base includes professional trustees and high-net-worth individuals. In addition, it is well-regarded for its work on matters involving conflict of laws, and has an interesting caseload of high-value and complex offshore trusts work. Jennifer Ridgway is now at Farrer & Co.

Responsables de la pratique:

Sara Chisholm-Batten

Autres avocats clés:

Alice Daniels

Les références

‘They are a well known firm that punches above its weight.’

‘This is a very good South West based firm with huge knowledge in the area, and which punches well above its weight’.

‘Alice Daniels and Sara Chisholm-Batten are both brilliant young partners’.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has an ‘experienced specialist team that forms part of a high quality full service firm with a national reach’. It is ably led by Norwich-based David Catchpole , Manchester/Leeds-based Simon Pedley, and Lucy Howard who is at the Birmingham office. It is skilled at handling a diverse range of complex and high-value disputes spanning actions involving trustees and executors, and issues over the validity of wills. It also acts for a number of charities in a range of contested legacy disputes.

Responsables de la pratique:

David Catchpole; Simon Pedley; Lucy Howard

Autres avocats clés:

Kieran Leahy

Les références

‘Lucy Howard has a very high level of technical knowledge, combining great strength and depth in core chancery practice areas such as trusts litigation and 1975 Act claims. She is excellent with vulnerable clients and provides a robust approach to litigation’.

‘David Catchpole is widely considered to be at the forefront of the field – he has extensive knowledge of private client areas and can draw upon a wealth of experience in litigating higher profile and more complex private client disputes‘.

‘The team offers a more personal service than many of the bigger firms: being a regional firm they can combine local knowledge and understanding with real expertise in the practice area’.

Principaux clients

Peter Christian Velarde

Administrator of the Estate of Mrs Cadogan

Widow of deceased businessman

Sinclair Gibson LLP

Under the leadership of Henry Hickman, Sinclair Gibson LLP acts for many clients ranging from successful professionals to landed families, entrepreneurs and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. It is recommended for its work on onshore and offshore trust and probate disputes. The group has been busy in other areas such as acting in professional negligence claims for private clients, as well as acting in court of protection proceedings on behalf of the incapacitated. Lucy Gibson is another key member of the department.

Responsables de la pratique:

Henry Hickman

Autres avocats clés:

Lucy Gibson; Hannah Southon; Amy Williams

Les références

‘Hannah Southon was extremely thorough and always ready to respond to my questions succinctly.’

‘They have a real dedication to the client’s requirements and do not miss anything. Very sound and diligent and always ready to go the extra mile. Technically excellent and very thoughtful. I have always found their analysis very penetrating. In short, they provide the service that every client wants.’

‘Lucy Gibson is razor sharp, very knowledgeable and absolutely on it.’

Weightmans LLP

Jonathan Shankland and Nigel West co-lead the department at Weightmans LLP, which acts for executors, administrators, beneficiaries and dependants on various high-value trusts and probate disputes, both in the UK and overseas. Other core areas of expertise include advising on claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Arshoo Singh departed for Warners Solicitors in September 2023.

Responsables de la pratique:

Jonathan Shankland; Nigel West

Autres avocats clés:

Oliver Haddock

Les références

‘The team at Weightmans is very strong and benefits from its strength in related areas of commercial litigation and fraud. Nigel West is an astute tactician and always has an eye on the client’s commercial objective.’

‘The team are my go-to tax and estates team. I send most of my clients their way. They have the size, gravitas and reputation to deal with my broad HNW client base.’

‘The team is very pragmatic, and they have very high level of skills and technical know-how across such a broad range of specialisms.’

Principaux clients

Sofer -v- Swiss Independent Trustees SA


Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Swiss Independent Trustees SA on the successful defence of a £50m breach of trust and fiduciary duties claim in the Court of Appeal.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The ‘client focussed’ team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLPputs client care at the forefront of all that it does.’ Neil Long is a key member of the department. The agile group works across its various offices throughout the country. It advises individuals, charities and trustees, (both individual and corporate trustees in the UK and offshore), as well as insurance companies on the full range of contentious private client matters. Will Ford is another name to note at the London office.

Responsables de la pratique:

Neil Long

Autres avocats clés:

Will Ford; Rosie Taylor

Les références

‘Richard and his team are hugely personable as to make the complex simple. They have a unique ability to cut through the matter at hand providing solutions in quick order.’

‘Richard is a pleasure to work with and leads his team superbly. He is extremely hard working and provides straight understandable advice on the most complex of matters.’

‘Neil Long understands contentious issues from all perspectives and aims to carry everyone along together towards a common goal. Patient but persistent. First class negotiator. Manages his team well.’

Principaux clients

Louise Reeves

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted in one of the most high-profile and complex will disputes of 2022 which was reported to be the highest value contested will case ever heard by the English Courts.