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Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Work 01483 252525
Fax 01483 252550
Cheltenham, Doha, Dubai, Geneva, Guildford, Hong Kong and 5 more

Duncan Elson

Work 01483 252579
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Work Department

Charities and not-for-profit, business disputes, family; commercial dispute resolution, contentious trusts and estates, litigation and dispute resolution, private client.


Duncan is the head of the litigation and dispute resolution group and the specialist contentious trusts and estates group. He is also head of the Guildford office. He has over 30 years of practice covering a wide range of High Court litigation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution. His client base ranges from private individuals to charitable and corporate entities. These days the bulk of his work is involved in trust and estates (both contentious and as a professional trustee/executor and also as a court-appointed administrator and deputy) and family business restructuring and related shareholder issues. He also deals with contentious pension matters and professional negligence.

London: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate

Within: Leading individuals

Duncan Elson - Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Within: Contentious trusts and probate

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP¬†¬†fields a ‚Äėlarge team of extremely capable and able lawyers which has an extremely high standing in the market‚Äô. Key figures include¬†Graeme Kleiner¬†(‚Äėa¬†master strategist and established figure in the world of international trust litigation');¬†the ‚Äėcalm, collected and clear-thinking‚Äô¬†Duncan Elson¬†‚Äėmasters the detail and cuts through the complexities of the case‚Äô¬†and the ‚Äėvery bright‚Äô Tamasin Perkins, who is ‚Äėalways on top of the detail of each case‚Äô. At senior associate level¬†Jessica Stafford¬† is 'strong on domestic and international work with a wealth of offshore experience‚Äô, and Oliver Auld¬† is a ‚Äėfuture high-flier; calm and unflappable, with an excellent manner with clients‚Äô. Highlights included acting for Alan Shearer CBE in relation to claims against his former financial adviser and former pension provider arising from investment losses valued at ¬£9m. The executors of the estate of the late Christine Collins are other major clients. The department also acts on a large number of contentious probate disputes for Cancer Research UK and for a number of other nationally renowned charities. Roberta Harvey¬†left in January 2019 to join Forsters LLP.

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South East: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Within: Leading individuals

Duncan Elson - Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Within: Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's team is considered 'strong at partner, senior associate and associate level'. It handles a broad range of corporate and commercial litigation including product, supply, trusts and IP disputes and serves an impressive client base including Fiat Chrysler, ITV, and  Wagamama. It is handling a range of disputes for Swiss Post and for long-standing client Walkers Chocolates. Duncan Elson, who heads the team, 'is frighteningly on top of the law and his analysis of the weak points of ADR awards is fearsome'.  Jamie Cartwright 'is very clear and precise and quickly identifies the key points and addresses them' and Stephen Burns 'provides practical, commercial advice and is very effective in mediation'.

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South East: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit

Within: Charities and not-for-profit

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is rated for its 'excellent all-round expertise in charities work'. The practice covers the full range of charities law advice, from property, employment and commercial work to dispute management, for a variety of global and national charities and not-for-profits, including household names such as Barnardo's and Cancer Research UK. Recent work includes assisting the former client with the management of its property portfolio, which involved advising on acquisitions, disposals and licences for alterations. The practice also acts for the Save The Children Fund on property issues. Duncan Elson, who is noted for his track record acting for a schools and religious charities, and Ben Smith, who regularly acts for charities and not-for-profit organisations, head the practice, which includes non-contentious charities expert Sally Ashford and tax specialist George Duncan. Kate Parkinson joined VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards).

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Contentious trusts and probate

Within: Leading individuals

Duncan Elson - Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Within: Contentious trusts and probate

A 'market leader' for contentious trusts and probate work, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP fields a practice that is 'very approachable, understanding and sensitive to their client’s needs;  legal knowledge and expertise is first class'. Duncan Elson heads the department and is noted for his 'huge wealth of experience and ability to achieve extraordinarily good results for his clients, both in court and in ADR'. Also recommended are Edward Birrell, who joined in February 2017 from Mourant Ozannes and is 'wise beyond his years'; Court of Protection expert Samantha Ewing, who joined in May 2017 from Irwin Mitchell and whose 'in-depth knowledge and strong negotiating skills inspires confidence'; and Rebecca Piper, who is noted for her track record acting for charities in contentious legacy work. The practice handles the full range of contentious work, with notable expertise in family business disputes and cross-border matters involving multiple foreign jurisdictions. Other key figures include Katelyn Silver, who is noted for her ability to 'explain complex legal issues clearly'.

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Within: Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's team, which is 'approachable and highly skilled', provides a full service private client offering. In addition to its expertise in contentious and non-contentious trusts, estates, tax planning and wealth preservation, it can also draw on the firm's real estate, family and corporate experts as needed. Practice head Sally Ashford is noted for her  'excellent client skills' and 'for working extremely hard to get the right results for her clients and for being a pleasure to work with'. Duncan Elson, who heads the litigation and dispute resolution team, handles a range of complex trusts and estates disputes. Richard Honey, who is noted for handling highly complex estate matters in an 'extremely effective and timely' manner, and Gareth Wallissare other key team members.

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Legal Developments by:
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

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