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Trusts/private client in British Virgin Islands


Singled out as ‘a world-class outfit in relation to private client work’, Harneys‘ private client and trusts practice covers all manner of succession planning and structuring and asset protection advice using BVI vehicles. It routinely handles matters relating to the creation, administration and termination of trusts, international wills and estates matters, as well as contentious trust issues. Located in Cayman, global private wealth lead Henry Mander attracts praise as ‘knowledgeable and experienced in BVI and Cayman trust law’, while local private wealth head Ayana Hull also advises on private and commercial property acquisitions and disposals, company structurings and incorporations, trade licences and immigration requirements. The department continues to witness an uptick in complex international trust disputes and succession cases, which are areas of strength for both Claire Goldstein and Jonathan Addo.

Practice head(s):

Henry Mander; Ayana Hull


‘Harneys are a world class outfit in relation to private client work. We have handled some complex matters with them including involving Islamic and African jurisdictions. The advice has always been cutting edge, practical and legally sound.’

‘Henry Mander is capable, experienced and responsive.’

‘Henry Mander is very knowledgeable and experienced in BVI and Cayman trust law. He is responsive and helpful. He is a go-to legal expert on BVI and Cayman trust law.’

‘Many firms describe themselves as full service, but Harney actually delivers on the promise. In addition to their competence, they are consistently extraordinarily responsive. I have worked with many law firms, large and small, and Harney really stands out for their high level of total service delivery.’

‘I would like to commend Ayana Hull and her team. They are not only highly competent and remarkably responsive, but they are also really great people to work with.’

Walkers BVI

Under the leadership of David Pytches, Walkers BVI‘s private capital and trusts practice guides clients through all aspects of BVI trusts and succession law, including the formation, administration and restructuring of trusts, succession planning matters, wealthy family and family office relocations, commercial trust and foundation structures, and charity and philanthropy matters. In addition, the ‘very intelligent, but also intensely practical team’ also exhibits notable contentious trust capabilities, routinely representing ultra-high-net-worth clients from Russia, the CIS and Africa before BVI courts. Elsewhere in the department, Oliver Clifton  and Rosalind Nicholson  (‘a tough and practical litigator who brings her experience at the English bar to bear very effectively’) are prominent names for contentious mandates.

Practice head(s):

David Pytches


‘They have a very intelligent, but also intensely practical team, which is the perfect blend.’

‘Rosalind Nicholson is a tough and practical litigator who brings her experience at the English bar to bear very effectively. I would much rather have her in my corner than against me.’

‘Capable collaborative team.’

Key clients


Rawlinson & Hunter

Trident Trust

Nerine Trust Company (BVI) Limited


Benefitting from an uptick in work from Latin America, Conyers advises high-net-worth individuals and families, trustees and private trust companies on a mixture of non-contentious and contentious work. In the disputes space, Robert Lindley excels in trust restructuring applications, trustee direction and Beddoe applications, breach of trust claims and rectification applications. Additionally, on the non-contentious side, the group is instructed on estate planning and administration of estate issues, pensions work, will drafting for non-domiciliaries, and the establishment of private trust companies and various trust structures. Counsel Matthew Brown  is also rated in this space.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lindley

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Brown 


‘Knowledge of and practice in multiple jurisdictions, rapid and comprehensive responses.’

‘Robert Lindley is extremely knowledgeable, thorough, flexible, and very responsive.’

Conyers is one of the pre-eminent law firms in the offshore sector. It is particularly strong in the contentious field, including trust and private client litigation, with significant cross-border contacts and capabilities.’

The disputes team has extensive trust knowledge and ability, with practitioners based on the island and with familiarity with the local courts and judges. There is a range of experience that works well in resourcing complex matters.’

My experience of Conyers is on the contentious side. Conyers offers real strength and expertise across all levels of seniority. They can field a truly impressive team to deal with the most demanding of (usually international) trust disputes. One of the top players in the BVI market.’

Key clients

R&S Trust

Wilton Fiduciaries IOM Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting for R&S Trust to set aside a trust and other relief in respect of significant corporate affairs structured in Ukraine.
  • Acting for a UHNW family to establish a BVI trust structure to hold a complex underlying corporate structure.
  • Providing ongoing advice to a Bermuda-based insurance company on the establishment of a BVI Master trust to hold employee pension funds.

O'Neal Webster

O’Neal Webster’s BVI trusts and estates team is proficient at advising clients on the creation, administration, restructuring and termination of trusts, in addition to strength in probate planning issues and disputes surrounding succession matters. Located in London, Christopher McKenzie was the founding chair of the BVI branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, which is currently chaired by the firm’s managing partner Vanessa King , who provides crucial leadership and assistance on matters.

Practice head(s):

Christopher McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Vanessa King


‘O’Neal Webster is a great mix of a “boutique” and “family” office as they provide a unique offering as well as the everyday run-of-the-mill services. Whether you are a HNW client or a new entrepreneur seeking assistance for your startup, their offerings cater to both and the service level is the same. Quite a number of the “global” offices in the BVI do not have as wide a catering and their focus is narrower.’

‘Each attorney is quite knowledgeable regarding their area of practice. They have availed themselves to answer any questions and concerns without formal engagement. I have found their experience in matters to be vast despite the fact that they are a small firm. I have yet to encounter an attorney as knowledgeable as Chris McKenzie on trust structures and formations.’

Their trust lawyers have real depth to their trust practice and are amazingly good at matters with international clients. Moreover, they continuously share their knowledge with their clients and peers regarding new legislation and new court precedents which may influence their clients’ trust practice.’

Christopher McKenzie is a leader in trust practice and has been an active member in the drafting of BVI trust legislation since 2003.’