Private client: trusts and probate in London Bar

5 Stone Buildings

5 Stone Buildings is ‘excellent and one of the leading Chancery sets,’ according to clients. It is a ‘fantastic set that offers an excellent range of counsel with a broad range of experience. It possesses great strength in depth and has a really strong set of juniors, in particular. It is ever-present at events in the trusts and estate disputes world.’ In one major and complex case of note, Tracey Angus QC and Penelope Reed QC were both instructed in Cowan v Foreman, which related to a claim brought by Mary Cowan against the £29m estate of her late husband,  well-known businessman Michael Cowan. The 'very thorough and empathetic' mediator Miranda Allardice, 'star of the futureToby Bishop, 'technically strongRuth Hughes, 'thoughtful and passionateEdward Hewitt, and 'really expert' Jordan Holland all join this year's junior rankings.

Serle Court

The barristers at Serle Court are ‘universally high quality from bottom to top. It is striking how well they work together as a cohesive team and they really care about their clients. They fight cases with real tenacity but without taking bad points.’ All the barristers are ‘incredibly capable in this area – you really can’t go wrong using this set. One of the very best Chancery sets out there with terrific strength in depth.' Members act in the most complex and high-value cases in this area both onshore and offshore. A recent case of note is Alan Boyle QC acting in Gany Holdings v Zorin Khan which centred on issues regarding a discretionary trust in the BVI. Also of note among the highly accomplished juniors are Emma Hargreaves, Adil Mohamedbhai, and James Weale, all of whom are new additions to this year's junior rankings.

Wilberforce Chambers

Wilberforce Chambers is ‘one of the standout top sets in the field of trust and estates disputes. It has a depth of exceptionally skilled junior barristers and exceptional talent at the senior end which means that it always has the right counsel available at the right level to meet each client’s needs.’ It is regularly instructed by many of the leading private wealth firms. It is a 'remarkable set' with 'top drawer Chancery silks' including  Brian Green QC who is leading senior Hong Kong counsel in the defence of a major bank in £450m Court of Appeal proceedings over an alleged breach of trust. Fenner Moeran QC and Tiffany Scott QC enter this year's leading silk rankings, while Zoë Barton QC and Andrew Mold QC further strengthen the set at the senior end after taking silk. At the junior end has rising stars Michael Ashdown and James Goodwin.

XXIV Old Buildings

XXIV Old Buildings is an ‘excellent set for traditional Chancery work and one of the 'go-to' sets for trust and probate litigation matters. It has  a real depth of experience in this area, with specialists of differing years call.’ The set has been described as  ‘one of the premier contentious trusts sets, offering a host of high-quality QCs and junior counsel.’ Its established reputation in this area is exemplified by Alan Steinfeld QC who, in Gerald Metals v (1) Safeguard Management Corp (2) The Trustees of the Timis Trust, advised the trustees of a Cayman trust in a major case about potential claims against a third-party and the obtainment of Beddoe relief. This year sees Edward Cumming QC enter the silks rankings, Daniel Warents join the junior list, and Timothy Sherwin recognised as a rising star of the Bar.

New Square Chambers

New Square Chambers is a ‘well-known and highly regarded set’ with a ‘small but impressive cadre of specialist traditional Chancery barristers who are among the leading practitioners in this area.’ In Lutfi Talib in British and Malayan Trustees Ltd v Talib Nicholas Le Poidevin QC advised on the terms of an old settlement in Singapore that had made complicated provision for the settlor’s family to share in its income. The Singapore court ruled in favour of the brothers following the terms of Le Poidevin’s advice. Also of note, Mark Hubbard's practice goes from strength to strength as he ascends the junior rankings.

Radcliffe Chambers

Radcliffe Chambers has a ‘long-standing reputation for outstanding private client service.’ ‘With a broad range of barristers who can deal with this work type, we are sure to find counsel appropriate for any case. The set provides excellent value for money and turnaround times are generally very good.’ As part of a large team of lawyers from several jurisdictions, Robert Pearce QC is currently acting in Re Wang for the trustees of several major trusts established in Bermuda and subject to complex litigation. The case is believed to be the largest piece of trust litigation in the common law world and raises important questions over the scope of trustees’ powers and the validity of non-charitable purpose trusts. Kate Selway QC has strengthened the set after taking silk, while William Moffett and Daniel Burton climb this year's junior rankings.

Ten Old Square

Ten Old Square is a ‘smaller excellent set’ that is often described as a ‘go-to chambers for trust and general private client work. The barristers give rounded and practical advice and are very user friendly’ and are 'extremely responsive.' Simon Taube QC acted for the estate in a claim by an equitable tenant in common for the partition of approximately 250 acres of trust land on Teeside. The case is particularly complex as it raises interesting issues about the valuation of land with hope value, residential values, and on Red Book definitions of market value. The 'reliable and perceptiveJames MacDougald climbs this year's junior rankings, while the 'pragmaticJames Poole is recognised as a rising star of the Bar.

Maitland Chambers

Members of Maitland Chambers are frequently involved in leading trust and estate cases particularly those with tax, company and civil fraud elements. Various members of the set are also qualified and regularly appear in the courts of a number of offshore jurisdictions. Christopher H McCall QC has been busy advising on numerous cases involving the reorganisation of substantial family trusts and on trust disputes. A 'highly effective advocate', Oliver Phillips climbs this year's rankings.