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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1

Baker McKenzie regularly acts in significant international trust disputes. Such disputes are frequently high-value and involve multiple-parties. Recently the team has been working with key lawyers, private banks and trust companies that operate in the major offshore jurisdictions. Head of the department Anthony Poulton¬† is described by clients as an 'exceptional strategist, motivator and lawyer, whose ability to connect with the client and instil confidence is unrivalled'. Poulton¬†has extensive experience of advising clients on managing the risks associated with wealth-related controversy as well as dealing with corporate governance, family governance and at resolving ‚Äėprivate‚Äô family disputes.¬† The 'hardworking and bright' Gemma Willingham¬†and associate Yindi Gesinde¬†are ones to watch.

Practice head(s):Anthony Poulton

Other key lawyers:Charles Thomson; Luke Richardson; Yindi Gesinde; Gemma Willingham

Testimonials

'What makes this practice unique is that the Baker's team has the skill and expertise of the very best trust litigators in the world but bring to the very largest cases a truly global practice. There is virtually no area of law and no jurisdiction in which the team lacks expertise'.

'The lawyers are true specialists with a justifiably excellent reputation. There is real quality throughout the team - from partner through associates. They have experience of handling the very largest contentious trust disputes, yet you always feel that you receive the team's full attention'.

'From the head of the team and throughout, it has real quality. Combined with its vast experience acquired in dealing with some of the most significant contentious trust cases throughout the world, this makes it a formidable outfit'.

'First-class reputation for its involvement in some of the largest and highest profile contentious trusts matters globally'.

'Anthony Poulton - reputedly one of the best, if not the best, trust litigator in London. An exceptional strategist, motivator and lawyer, whose ability to connect with the client and instil confidence in him or her is unrivalled'.

'Anthony Poulton - clever, charming and extremely likeable, but appropriately robust when that is the approach that is called for'.

'Anthony Poulton - very experienced, calm, authoritative and knowledgeable'.

'Charles Thomson and Anthony Poulton are great to deal with'.

'Luke Richardson - highly capable and great to deal with'.

'Gemma Willingham - hardworking, bright, good to deal with'.

Boodle Hatfield LLP fields a highly-regarded trust and estates team that continues to act in many of the leading matters both onshore and offshore. The team that is led by Andrea Zavos acts for various individuals and families in the resolution of disputes and the management of complex litigation. The team is well-known for its expertise in advising on multi-jurisdictional tax, asset protection, trusts, family businesses and governance issues as well as on succession matters. Simon Rylatt is highly recommended for his work on both domestic and international trust and estates disputes. Mark Lindley also garners considerable praise for his work on disputes involving large estates and trust funds for high-net-worth beneficiaries, trustees and trust companies. James Woods-Davison is noted for his work on complex domestic and international matters.

Practice head(s):Andrea Zavos

Other key lawyers:Simon Rylatt; Mark Lindley; James Woods-Davison

Testimonials

'It provides highly tailored advice to private clients which respects the familial and relationship issues as well as the commercial ones. Real commitment to delivering imaginative solutions for the client'.

'It has real depth of expertise and experience in dealing with high profile and high value disputes. The team is involved in many of the biggest trust and estates cases'.

'Andrea Zavos has real litigation experience and a good tactical nose'.

'Andrea Zavos is highly experienced and a real expert in her area. She gives clients extremely sensible advice and never takes something to court when she can settle it. Clients love her easy manner and she is excellent at dealing with difficult clients'.

'They manage clients calmly without fuss. Andrea Zavos is unflappable, never daunted by a problem and forms good working relationships with solicitors for other parties'.

'Simon Rylatt is an outstanding lawyer: intelligent, considered, commercial'.

'User-friendly and approachable but highly focused team with the technically unmatched Simon Rylatt . He's as close to '"perfect" as anyone I've worked with'.

'Mark Lindley is extremely clever and passionate about the law. He is measured and calm and takes a sensible approach to settling cases. He is very client friendly'.

'Mark Lindley is a great lawyer – extremely hardworking, conscientious and very impressive'.

'James Woods-Davison is very personable, manages clients’ expectations well and is organised'.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has been involved in some of the largest and most high-profile cases domestically and offshore including a heavily contested hearing overseas and a privately heard matter for a very well-known person in the English Court of Protection. It has also been involved in the recently published decision of Cowan v Foreman. There is a particular focus on attracting complex high-value cross-border disputes work often involving multiple jurisdictions. Graeme Kleiner heads the team and advises trustees, executors and beneficiaries on a broad range of disputes. In addition Kleiner has a growing practice in IFA disputes and also handles fraud and professional negligence cases relating to trust, tax and succession matters. Other key team members include Duncan Elson, Tamasin Perkins, Aimee West, Oliver Auld and Jessica Stafford.

Practice head(s):Graeme Kleiner

Other key lawyers:Duncan Elson; Tamasin Perkins; Oliver Auld; Jessica Stafford

Testimonials

'The team at CRS has all the skills and experience you could ask for but combines this with a no-nonsense approach that makes it a pleasure to work with and explains why it gets so much referral work from its peers'.

'The team has an impressive head in Graeme Kleiner. He is a great tactician and whilst always being ready to fight when required he always keeps his eye on the best commercial outcome for the client'.

'The team has a creative attitude to solving litigation problems, and a good grasp of the different requirements of offshore legal regimes'.

'Graeme Kleiner has an excellent knack of pouring oil on troubled waters. He fights hard when he needs to but is always out to get the best for his client. His judgment is excellent'.

'The team is known for the quality of partners and associates and is always a pleasure to work with. Graeme Kleiner has a huge and well deserved reputation'.

'Graeme Kleiner has great technical knowledge'.

'Tamasin Perkins does not raise the temperature during discussions, she remains calm'.

'Oliver Auld is clever and calm in a crisis. Duncan Elson has years of experience and fights his clients' corner hard'.

'Oliver Auld is a stand out associate and a rising star'.

'Jessica Stafford -  a clever and assertive rising star, who is certainly going places'.

Key Clients

Cancer Research UK

Alan Shearer CBE

Trustees of the Bathurst Estate: the Earl’s Fund

Work highlights

  • Acting for Alan Shearer CBE in relation to claims against his former financial adviser, Kevin Neal, and former pension provider, Suffolk Life, arising from  lage investment losses.
  • Acting for the Trustees of an Earl’s Fund, established by a statutory codicil to the will of the late 8th Earl Bathurst.
  • Acting for the trustees of the Michael Cowan Foundation, a registered charity which is the ultimate beneficiary of the late Michael Cowan’s estate and principal beneficiary, after Michael’s wife, Mary.

The 'absolutely top-notch' Clifford Chance LLP handles claims relating to private banking and trusts whether acting for high-net-worth individuals or institutional clients. It is skilled at acting in heavyweight claims relating to family trusts, inheritance and divorce claims as well as shareholders disputes in family companies. The 'phenomenally hardworking' and 'outstanding strategist' Jeremy Kosky is a key member the team, which also includes Maxine Mossman, who is a 'star' with a 'fierce intellect', and 'very hardworking and responsive' senior associate Nicole Buncher.

Other key lawyers:Jeremy Kosky; Maxine Mossman; Nicole Buncher; Robet Stewart

Testimonials

'A really fantastic, well motivated user friendly team that is also highly skilled and responsive'.

'It shows meticulous attention to detail, an exceptional ability to grasp the bigger picture (so important where disputes between members of a family are concerned) and remains easy to work with, approachable and charming'.

'The Clifford Chance contentious trusts and probate team is absolutely top-notch.  It does high value complicated cases for the leading clients in the private client world'.

'Jeremy Kosky is an outstanding strategist with a route map for the case from day one. He is also phenomenally hardworking, approachable to lawyers and clients and great to deal with. The upbeat enthusiastic approach of the team is due to his leadership skills'.

'Jeremy Kosky is a delight. A stellar individual, very calm, assured and experienced, yet also extremely easy to work with, and doesn't take himself too seriously'.

'When I have worked with and against Clifford Chance I have been impressed by its intellectual rigour and strategic thinking. The team is also very practical focusing on the outcome'.

'Maxine Mossman is a star. She has a fierce intellect and is a really strong litigator but also understands the family dynamics in this litigation'.

'Maxine Mossman  is a delight to work with and makes the clients feel that they have someone standing right by their shoulders, protecting their position, at the most difficult times'.

'Nicole Buncher, very hardworking and responsive and great fun'.

'Robert Stewart is also a rising star. He is increasingly well known in the sector and there is no doubt he will develop into one of the great and the good of the private client world'.

Farrer & Co is regularly involved in many of the largest trust and estates disputes often involving one or more offshore jurisdictions. Recently it has been involved in proceedings taking place in The Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The team benefits from the firm’s stable of high-net-worth clients, trust companies and fiduciaries from England and Wales and overseas, which provides a steady flow of high-value and complex instructions in this area. It is also increasingly advising on legacy disputes. Toby Graham and Jeremy Gordon are highly recommended. Gordon also has extensive experience of resolving claims at mediation as well as in court. The team also includes Charlotte Fraser, Joanna Poole and Adam Carvalho.

Practice head(s):Toby Graham; Jeremy Gordon

Other key lawyers:Joanna Poole; Charlotte Fraser; Adam Carvalho

Testimonials

'The whole team is excellent'.

'Top of the tree - the team has immense experience and offers a very dedicated service to clients'.

'Farrer & Co is perhaps the most prestigious firm of solicitors in the private client and trust world. The partners and associates have lengthy and extensive experience in all such matters'.

'Toby Graham is a tenacious fighter with an encyclopaedic knowledge of trust law in various jurisdictions'.

'Toby Graham is knowledgeable, hardworking, practical, and completely focused on delivering for his clients'.

'Joanna Poole always tries to resolve matters, is forward thinking, very commercial and very analytical'.

'Joanna Poole - wonderful to work with and very good with even the most difficult client. Jeremy Gordon - very capable, always with an eye to the bigger picture'.

'It is very well known in the market, with some very high quality work'.

'Adam Carvalho is very, very hardworking, very diligent, very committed and very good with stressed clients'.

Key Clients

Sir Owen Glenn KNZM ONZM

Summit Trust Company

Hon. Simon Jacobs

The trustees of the AM Sheffield settlement 1968

The Executors of Mrs Staveley

RBC (CI)

Coutts & Co

The Trustees of the Hampden Settlement

Age UK

Edward Magan

Kea Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sir Owen and Kea in a hard-fought and successful £200m claim against Eric Watson, Novatrust Limited and others relating to agreements entered into and transactions pursued in connection with a joint venture known as Project Spartan.
  • Acting for Hon. Simon Jacobs, son of Lord and Lady Jacobs, the first defendant in an inheritance case.
  • Acting for Julian Sheffield and the Sheffield family defendants, as executors of the estate of the late John Vincent Sheffield and the trustees of the family estate.
  • Acting for Edward Magan, son of Lord Magan, who, together, are in a dispute with the trustees of the Magan family trusts, which collectively hold assets worth in the region of  £100m.
  • Advising the executors of Mrs Staveley in a complex tax related Supreme Court case.

Forsters LLP was pleased to recently add Roberta Harvey to its ranks from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. The team handles complex and sensitive matters for high-net-worth individuals and sometimes high-profile clients. Emily Exton heads the team and focuses on handling disputes in the private wealth sector where she regularly acts for trustees and wealthy individuals and families. Catharine Bell frequently advises on complex, high-end international trust and estate disputes, with multiple cross-border and conflict of law issues. Bell advises high-net-worth individuals and their trustees on the creation and fortification of trust vehicles and other succession planning structures for asset protection and wealth preservation.

Practice head(s):Emily Exton

Other key lawyers:Catharine Bell; Roberta Harvey; Hannah Mantle; Charlotte Evans-Tipping; Ashleigh Carr;Soraya Kimber

Testimonials

'Offers a first-class service to clients and is, in my experience, consistently excellent. The team is uniquely sensitive to each individual client's needs and is able to take on any challenge'.

'Emily Exton, who is an A-list litigator. I have never known her put a foot wrong. She always sees all sides of a problem, and is fantastic at handling tricky issues'.

'Emily Exton is extremely personable and straight forward. She was able to negotiate with the most difficult people and sort out the messiest of issues. She was always available and understood what we needed'.

'Roberta Harvey fights hard for her clients and works hard to get a result for them'.

'Emily Exton and Roberta Harvey are seasoned litigators'.

' Catharine Bell- 'hands-on' advice'.

'Catharine Bell - very knowledgeable and is able to provide very rounded and commercially aware advice. Extremely responsive and able to distil complex matters in an informed and straightforward manner'.

'Ashleigh Carr and Soraya Kimber  are impressively thorough and completely on top of the details of their cases'.

'Charlotte Evans-Tipping - eye for detail whilst maintaining a commercial approach to the work at hand. Demonstrates an ability to think quickly and approach issues from different angles'.

'Hannah Mantle is very organised and has a great eye for detail'.

A considerable amount of work at Macfarlanes LLP runs into monetary values of hundreds of millions or billions. The firm works closely with its private client offering to provide contentious and non-contentious advice. It regularly deals with the largest trusts and estates that hold prominent businesses, other substantial property holdings and large cash and investment portfolios both nationally and internationally. The disputes it acts in not only affect adult individuals but also whole conglomerates and their employees and multiple generations of the same family. Charles Lloyd heads the team that acts for beneficiaries, spouses, trustees, financial institutions as well as entrepreneurs and those with hereditary wealth and their protectors. Jonathan Arr 'goes the extra mile' for clients, while Elizabeth Doherty was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):Charles Lloyd

Other key lawyers:Elizabeth Doherty; Charles Gothard; Jonathan Arr

Testimonials

'Gold standard private client litigation team emanating a global reputation from London. Routinely in the biggest cases and sought after by the most discerning client'.

'The team has great strength, depth, deep knowledge and experience. There are very few such teams with the capability to deal with the size and complexity of the often very international, trust structures and disputes the team handles'.

'The team has highly experienced heavyweight litigators and strength in depth throughout the team. The lawyers are highly responsive, they work hard, think hard and deliver results'.

'Charles Lloyd -charming and urbane but with all the steely skills and intellect necessary for a top litigator in this sphere'.

'Charles Lloyd is a particularly sensible and pragmatic problem solver and an excellent litigator'.

'A great pool of talented individuals. Charles Lloyd is a star. He is unflappable and also makes the right call'.

'Jonathan Arr- dynamic young partner who has the confidence and ability to run major cases and get results'.

'Jonathan Arr is very clever and goes the extra mile for his clients'.

'Charles Gothard and Elizabeth Doherty have, on the one hand, the ability to understand the technical but, on the other hand, the ability to see the big picture'.

'Elizabeth Doherty is incredibly intelligent and intuitive to clients' needs and expectations. She is fantastic to work with and no doubt a real star of the future'.

Key Clients

Investec Trust (Guernsey) Limited (ITGL)

Marko Lehtimäki (founding member of CIFF – Children’s Investment Fund Foundation)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Investec Trust (Guernsey) in relation to a number of pieces of litigation arising out of the Tchenguiz family trusts.

Mishcon de Reya LLP has a wealth of experience in acting for private individuals, family businesses and trust companies, and predominantly acts in cases where there is a complex international/cross-border dimension. In recognition of the differing needs of its high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients, the team advises on both personal and business disputes. Head of team Mark Keenan is known for his work on domestic and international trust and succession disputes, and frequently acts for wealthy clients in cases involving freezing injunctions and asset recovery in offshore jurisdictions. Peter Steen is also well-regarded for his work on offshore contentious trusts. Jessica Medus is a 'stand-out associate'.

Practice head(s):Mark Keenan

Other key lawyers:Peter Steen; Jessica Medus;Emilia Piskorz

Testimonials

'Mishcon's contentious trusts and probate team is hugely experienced and fearless. This team is always looking for a reasonable, commercial deal and in general Mishcon is able to use its reputation as fearsome litigators to their clients' advantage'.

'Mark Keenan is a fearsome opponent with fantastic tactical acumen and total dedication to the client's interests'.

'There is real expertise in the team, Mark Keenan is almost legendary in this area and runs a hardworking dedicated team. He fights tooth and nail for his clients and gets superb results for them'.

'The team brings a can-do attitude to an area of law that can be overly traditional. The team's litigation instincts are excellent and this is backed up by in-depth knowledge and exceptionally hard work'.

'It is simply one of the most experienced, and well-respected teams in the contentious trusts and probate. Its defining characteristic, however, is probably its tenacity and desire to ensure that it gets the absolute best result that it can for a client'.

'Peter Steen is extremely astute, excellent with clients and colleagues, deep knowledge, great intellect'.

'Jessica Medus is clever and very client friendly. Peter Steen is clever and measured in his approach'.

'Jessica Medus is a stand-out associate'.

'Emilia Piskorz is a really brilliant associate. It is always a comfort to know that she is in charge of the details of a case'.

'Suzi Sendama -  a real class act, enormously hardworking, very bright, excellent litigation instincts, a delight to work with'.

Key Clients

Beneficiary of a settlement holding substantial assets largely comprising an extensive property portfolio in London

7 of the 15 parties in a Bermudian case

The Right Honourable Gloria Wesley, Dowager Countess Bathurst (DCB)

Signia Wealth Limited Grecco Limited and Mr John Caudwell

CRS Challenge

Viscount Weymouth

Work highlights

  • Advising the beneficiary of a settlement holding substantial assets largely comprising an extensive property portfolio in London.
  • Represented 7 of the 15 parties in the Bermudian case, In the matter of the X Trusts [2018] SC (Bda) 56 Civ (12 July 2018)
  • The team has brought the first European challenge based on data protection against the new rules on automatic exchange of information.

Taylor Wessing LLP advises trustees, executors and beneficiaries on resolving trust and estate disputes with a focus on multi-jurisdictional matters, particularly in an offshore context. Emma Jordan is an English barrister and Jersey advocate and also has extensive experience in other offshore locations including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands. Jordan has been appointed to a legislative working committee in Jersey to consider the first ever statute for insolvent trusts. Kirstie McGuigan specialises in the resolution of disputes relating to the formation and administration of trusts and estates. Andrew Hine is another key figure. Hine is hugely experienced in probate, succession and wills and has advised on many substantial multi-jurisdictional matters involving complex conflict of law issues.

Practice head(s):Emma Jordan

Other key lawyers:Andrew Hine; Kirstie McGuigan; Caroline Tayler

Testimonials

'The team is highly organised, conscientious, thorough and professional. It is brilliant at project-managing difficult multi-jurisdictional litigation and at keeping the pressure on its opponents'.

'In my experience TW's contentious trust department is characterised by good teamwork. My impression is that this comes from the top. There is a strong collegiate atmosphere. The lawyers are friendly, approachable and good to work with'.

'Emma Jordan is one of the superstars of contentious trusts litigation. She is helped by a team of extremely able associates in particular Rob Gibson'.

'Andrew Hine knows just how far he should go in advancing the interests of the individual without wrecking a trust arrangement in the interests of the wider family. He is someone who will approach any difficult situation creatively and in the spirit of reasonableness seek a solution'.

'Kirstie McGuigan  combines "soft" and "hard" skills in a way which, I think, sets her apart from her competition. She is sympathetic and reassuring with clients but a firm negotiator and fierce litigator on their behalf'.

'Caroline Tayler is an exemplary senior associate who is often entrusted with difficult data analysis tasks which she executes brilliantly and flawlessly. She has natural good judgement, is incredibly diligent and never misses anything'.

Key Clients

Equity Trusts (Jersey) Limited

The Trustees of the Jacobs Charitable Trust

The heirs of Sheikh Abdullah Ali Alhamrani

The Trustees of two Jersey Trusts and Dataquill Limited

Robert Campbell

Biema Holdings Limited, Evolution Partners Limited , Pearl Investments Limited and First Trust Management AG

Work highlights

  • Representing the former trustee in Jersey litigation involving two insolvent trust structures. The former trustees are enforcing claims in respect of extremely substantial sums in English litigation (over £45m) in their capacity as former trustees.
  • In Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing  the team acted for the Bahamian trustee of a trust of which Mrs Dawson-Damer is a beneficiary.
  • Acting for the widow of a late Italian entrepreneur and businessman who together with the firm's client built up a hugely successful family company in Italy now worth in the region of E600m.
  • Advising the independent professional trustees of The Trustees of the Jacobs Charitable Trust in relation to the charity's status as the residuary beneficiary of Lord Jacobs' estate where Lord Jacobs made three separate Wills during the last six months of his life and his estate is involved in multiple sets of proceedings and disputes.
  • Instructed by the heirs of Sheikh Abdullah Ali Alhamrani (who passed away in June 2018) in relation to the enforcement of a number of BVI court judgments made in favour of Sheikh Abdullah Ali Alhamrani in relation to BVI litigation between the Sheikh and members of his family.

Withers LLP has lawyers in London, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore to assist clients on high-value and multi-jurisdictional trust and succession planning disputes. The large team acts for individuals, families, fiduciaries and charities on every aspect of contentious trusts and succession work as well as Court of Protection matters. Other clients include blue-chip financial institutions. Under the leadership of Stephen Richards the excellent group works closely with its private wealth colleagues and its family and reputation management teams to assist its clients. Key team members include Dawn Goodman, Steven Kempster and Paul Hewitt.

Practice head(s):Stephen Richards

Other key lawyers:Dawn Goodman; Paul Hewitt; Steven Kempster

Testimonials

'Paul Hewitt is a peerless litigator with a remarkable capacity for tactical invention'.

'Stephen Richards is great with clients and really knows his stuff'.

'Stephen Richards is incredibly well liked, genuinely wants to resolve disputes to move matters forward, forward thinking, very commercial and very analytical'.

Key Clients

His Exalted Highness the VIII Nizam of Hyderabad

Mary Cowan

Helena Gorbunova

Constantine Folkes

Beneficiaries of the Marlborough Family Trusts

RSPB & Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

Deborah Barker

Mrs Kashinath Bhusate

Barnardo's

A beneficiary of an Isle of Man law trust

Work highlights

  • Advising His Exalted Highness the VIII Nizam of Hyderabad in a dispute over the beneficial ownership of funds deposited in 1948 involving the governments of Pakistan and India.
  • Advising Mary Cowan in a high value 1975 Act claim which has drawn significant comment in the legal press after the court controversially refused permission to pursue the claim out of time.
  • Acting for Helen Gorbunova the former partner of Boris Bereszovsky in litigation (worth in excess of £30m) against his estate.
  • Acting for the principal beneficiary of an estate to defeat challenges to the will and to lifetime gifts made by his mother worth approximately £25m.
  • Acting for the beneficiaries of the Marlborough Family Trusts in a court application to amend trust powers to help facilitate a transaction, and large payment to charity.

The vast majority of work undertaken by BDB Pitmans is settled before formal court proceedings, however in 2018 it was involved in two reported cases. Dual-qualified Geoffrey Kertesz heads the department and is regularly instructed in high-value matters that involve an interplay between trusts, probate and divorce, and is adept at handling matters that span the Chancery and family divisions. The team handles all types of private onshore and offshore wealth disputes advising on contested wills and trusts, charity legacies and inheritance tax claims. Key clients include individuals, families, trustees, beneficiaries and charities. Senior associate Lorraine Jeffery is one to watch.

Practice head(s):Geoffrey Kertesz

Other key lawyers:Lorraine Jeffery; Lavinia Randall; Helen Fry

Testimonials

'Geoffrey Kertesz is charming and very bright. He is very articulate, knowledgeable and experienced and has just the right amount of aggression and forcefulness with the other side'.

'Geoffrey Kertesz often comes up with new ways to approach apparently intractable problems and treats both clients and opponents with respect and candour'.

'Geoffrey Kertesz has built a good group of likeable and bright associates and senior associates who are cohesive and work well together. They are at home in big ticket cases as well as dealing with smaller matters'.

'Geoffrey Kertesz is a very clever lawyer, good on tactics and eminently sensible. He gives the client excellent balanced advice. Clients love him for his humour and kindness. His background as a Californian attorney makes him incredibly useful in cases with a US aspect'.

'The team is first class: it combines real technical expertise with outstanding client management. Geoff Kertesz is wonderful to work with. He is a quite brilliant lawyer, with great commercial instincts. Clients love him'.

'Lorraine Jeffery is very good and works hard'.

'Lorraine Jeffery is diligent and charming'.

'Lorraine Jeffery has a great deal of experience and takes a calm, constructive approach.

'Lavinia Randall is a very able solicitor. Her judgment is spot on and her grasp of the detail of her clients' cases is impressive. She is someone you want on your team'.

'Helen Fry is supremely knowledgeable'.

Key Clients

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

Barts Health NHS Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for Jane Griffin, one of three children, in her successful application for the removal of the executors of her late mother’s estate, two of whom were solicitors, and one an accountant, whereby the removal was fiercely opposed by its client’s elder brother and his children.
  • Acting for Barts Health National Health Service Trust, one of the residuary beneficiaries of the estates of Charles and Violet Hamblen-Thomas, to save a legacy gift to the hospital.

Damian Bloom and Jessica Henson are now the key contacts at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. Henson specialises in disputes and court applications in relation to trusts, wills, tax planning and the administration of estates. In addition she has notable experience in asset preservation in the context of cross-jurisdictional divorce proceedings acting variously for spouses and trustees. Former head of practice Rupert Ticehurst has now moved to Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP along with Simon Goldring.

Practice head(s):Damian Bloom; Jessica Henson

Testimonials

'Jessica Henson is very impressive'.

'Jessica Henson handles tricky family situations well'.

'Jessica Henson is very knowledgeable and is able to command a room impressively'.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a strong international reach and regularly advises institutional clients, trustees, their insurers, beneficiaries, family offices and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a broad range of issues. Work spans from pure advisory work through to complex actions pursuing or defending trustees in relation to claims for breach of trust, through to third party claims by or against trustees. The team has also acted in the arbitration of trust disputes. It is particularly well-regarded for its work in advising trust companies on complex cross-border issues relating to succession and tax planning. Richard Norridge heads the team and Gareth Keillor has recently been promoted to 'Of Counsel'.

Practice head(s):Richard Norridge

Other key lawyers:Gary Horlock; Gareth Keillor

Testimonials

'My experience is one of solid reliability, with a particular flair for the Asian market. I was really impressed with Richard Norridge's sensitivity in engaging with an elderly and fairly frail client in terms of client care'.

'The team is approachable and friendly, very down to earth notwithstanding its size and high standing in the market'.

'Richard Norridge is a stand-out performer. He is unfailingly pleasant and has a first class mind'.

'Richard Norridge has a wealth of experience and has handled many substantial disputes often with an international element. Richard is very straightforward and personable to deal with'.

'Richard Norridge is a tremendously able lawyer -  he combines multi-jurisdictional experience and acumen with a relaxed and good humoured manner. He is a calming and wise influence even when matters get fraught'.

'Richard Norridge is very down to earth, very knowledgeable, an effective client handler. He is sensible and takes a collaborative approach to his work'.

'Gary Horlock is very bright and able to spot key issues'.

'Top team, efficient, very knowledgeable Richard Norridge, Gareth Keillor'.

'Gareth Keillor is an outstanding counsel and understands the need for prompt and practical legal solutions'.

'Gareth Keillor works the issues and drives matters towards a well considered conclusion'.

Work highlights

  • Representing Bernie Ecclestone in relation to ongoing proceedings in the Administrative and Commercial Courts, challenging the legality of an HMRC decision to rescind a settlement agreement.

Kingsley Napley LLP combines an expertise in private client litigation with considerable experience in other areas such as criminal, fraud and media-related disputes. It also has a well-regarded Court of Protection practice and often acts in cases on behalf of a deputy where there is serious wrongdoing or fraud is alleged. In addition the team regularly works alongside its family law team to advise on a number of high-value trusts and divorce matters. The group has an established name in the market for its work on contentious probate disputes with particular skill in complex 1975 Inheritance Act claims and validity claims. Ryan Mowat heads the contentious trusts and probate team. Kate Salter and Katherine Pymont are well regarded.

Practice head(s):Ryan Mowat

Other key lawyers:Kate Salter; Katherine Pymont

Key Clients

Naresh Gupta

Paul Allen of FRP Advisory LLP in his capacity as Trustee in Bankruptcy of Jason Cheung

Stephen Doran as voluntary liquidator of Trafalgar Multi Asset Trading Company Ltd

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Naresh Gupta in defending a will challenge on the grounds of want of knowledge and approval, where it was alleged that the testatrix could not speak or understand English.
  • Acting for Paul Allen of FRP Advisory LLP in his capacity as Trustee in Bankruptcy of Jason Cheung.
  • Acting for Stephen Doran as voluntary liquidator of Trafalgar Multi Asset Trading Company Ltd in a complex fraud related dispute to recover funds invested by trustees of three pension funds

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP was pleased to add Rupert Ticehurst and Simon Goldring to its ranks from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. The firm has a highly regarded private wealth offering with an international ultra-high-net-worth client base. These clients routinely generate high-value trust and probate litigation matters. In addition the group is skilled at handling tax disputes with the HMRC. Arabella Murphy also has a wealth of experience in this area. Richard Turnor is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Rupert Ticehurst

Other key lawyers:Arabella Murphy; Richard Turnor; Simon Goldring; Rosalind Hetherington

Testimonials

'Rupert Ticehurst is undoubtedly a very big feather in the cap of MTG. Rupert is simply fantastic at advising in a commercial, practical manner. He never loses sight of the fact that someone has to actually be able to implement his advice'.

'Rupert Ticehurst is an established contentious trusts practitioner with a good reputation; his practice should fit MTG well'.

'Rupert Ticehurst's and Simon Goldring's arrival shores up what was already one of the top private client teams in London'.

Key Clients

Mireille Salem and Moussy Salem

Royal Bank of Canada

Summit Trust International

Wadood Gharbawi

Work highlights

  • Advising Mireille Salem and Moussy Salem (the second and third claimants in Isaac Moussa Salem & Ors v Faraj Moussa Salem & Ors (2014)) -this is a partnership dispute relating to a multi-billion dollar African trading business.
  • In Gharbawi v Gharbawi & Gharbawi the team is advising the trustee of a will trust that is holding a property in Eaton Square.
  • Acting for three of the four adult beneficiaries in relation to an unusually hostile Public Trustee v Cooper directions application in the Royal Court in Guernsey.
  • Acting for a beneficiary of the estate of a member of a Middle-Eastern Royal Family.
  • Acting for the first defendant in a claim against him and his sister for breach of fiduciary duty in respect of the sale of a large pharmaceutical company to the claimants.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP advises on multiple aspects of private wealth disputes and dispute avoidance in the UK and offshore. It has a dedicated private client team that covers the full range of contentious issues from trusts and estates through to wills and probate. The team is a cohesive structure that comprises three units dealing with contentious trusts and estates; wealth planning and international tax. Its client base is primarily very wealthy individuals and families as well as trustees and trust companies situated around the world. The group has significant expertise in offshore trusts in particular the Cayman and British Virgin Islands through Ziva Robertson and Nicholas Holland. Lynsey McIntyre is regularly instructed in complex cross-border matters frequently advising on matters involving the Channel Islands.

Practice head(s):Ziva Robertson

Other key lawyers:Lynsey McIntyre

Testimonials

'It's a big international firm with the resources to deal with big litigation particularly where there is a US angle. Nicholas Holland is very hands on, highly responsive and good on strategy'.

'Nicholas Holland is a well-known leader in contentious trusts disputes. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the topic both in the UK and in the main offshore jurisdictions. He is also well organised and a pleasure to work with'.

'Nicholas Holland is an excellent and pragmatic litigator'.

'The team has an excellent knowledge of the offshore jurisdictions in which such work concentrates and are sharp litigators. Nicholas Holland has an encyclopaedic knowledge of private client issues and is both client focused and technically excellent'.

' Ziva Robertson and Nicholas Holland are outstanding practitioners in contentious trust situations'.

'Ziva Robertson is very bright and works very hard for her clients'.

Key Clients

Royal Bank of Canada

Hill Street TrusteesTruchot Trustees

Pavilion Trustees

Dawson-Damer family

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for the Dawson-Damer Family in a case that is continuing to make new law.
  • Continuing to act for Truchot Trustees Ltd - in 2017 the team successfully brought an application to set aside a disastrous series of court orders made against these trustees on the grounds that all of the trustees’ prior solicitors acted in of “breach of warranty of authority”, a rare application
  • The team is acting for Hill Street Trustees Ltd, Pavilion Trustees Ltd, and various individual trustees (most of whom are in Jersey) in a series of English proceedings arising from an invalid deed of retirement and appointment of trustees.
  • Acting for the beneficiaries of a series of Bahamian trusts, in connection with allegations that a number of high-profile professionals distributed approximately $400m in breach of trust.
  • Advising a very wealthy sibling in connection with a breach of trust claim brought against the trustees of a trust of which the client and the client's sister (and issue) are the beneficiaries and in connection with related Public Trustee v Cooper proceedings in Cayman.

Payne Hicks Beach advises some of the UK’s oldest and largest estates and also has a particular focus on advising wealthy clients from Russia, Africa and the Middle East. The team’s reputation is growing in the international sphere and it has recently acted in substantial trust disputes in places as diverse as Jersey, the Bahamas, BVI, Liechtenstein and Gibraltar. Richard Manyon heads the team that is also skilled at representing wealthy beneficiaries in major litigation such as challenging the validity of wills and mental capacity issues. The 'incredibly capable' Ane Vernon is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Richard Manyon

Other key lawyers:Stephen King; Dominic Crossley; Charlotte Henshall; Ane Vernon; Emily Stoneham

Testimonials

'Where other solicitors might find themselves overcome by the tidal wave of correspondence from a litigious opponent, Richard Manyon manages the storm with aplomb and increases the pressure on the other side. A class act'.

'Richard Manyon has done an outstanding job in building up the practice and has an excellent list of clients. He has a strong tactical mind which enables him to recognise where the weaknesses and strengths in the case lie and how to proceed'.

'Richard Manyon analyses problems carefully and provides an all round service for a client'.

'Richard Manyon is very energetic, fights his clients' corner well, is extremely bright and is very well liked in the community'.

'Richard Manyon really fights his client's corner. He is excellent at helping a client to identify what they really want or need, and working out how best to go about getting it for them'.

'Stephen King is exceptional in being able to give clients an expert commercial angle in contentious trusts and probate practice. As a litigator he is extremely shrewd and never misses a point'.

'Dominic Crossley is experienced. He is an unflappable litigator with great commercial sense'.

'Ane Vernon is incredibly capable. She thinks through all aspects of any matter and is able to quickly establish a rapport with her clients'.

'Emily Stoneham is a strong associate who provides the partners with excellent support'.

'Charlotte Henshall provides great support'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Swiss trustee on a substantial breach of trust claim in respect of alleged excessive distributions by the former trustees.
  • Acting for the trustees in high value dual claims under the 1975 Act
  • Advising the trustees of eleven Jersey settlements in a substantial £90m trusts and divorce case.

Sinclair Gibson LLP, a new firm formed as a result of the split of Harcus Sinclair, advises on a wide array of matters from trust and probate disputes for private clients and onshore and offshore professional trustees to disputes over closely held family/private companies. The team is also skilled at handling professional negligence claims for private clients wishing to sue their advisors as well as acting in court of protection proceedings on behalf of minors and other people lacking capacity. In addition the group receives a steady flow of instructions acting for offshore law firms and onshore clients in appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Alison Meek and Henry Hickman now head the team.

Practice head(s):Alison Meek; Henry Hickman

Other key lawyers:Lucy Gibson

Testimonials

'Lucy Gibson has a good practice with good clients'.

'Henry Hickman is very sensible and very level headed'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a beneficiary in the partition of a $400m Guernsey trust.
  • Acting for an old English family in defending contentious 1975 Act proceedings.
  • Acting as personal representatives of the estates of a well-known and very wealthy married couple.
  • Acting for one of the beneficiaries in the partition of a substantial Bermuda trust.
  • Acting for the executors in seeking to have declared void lifetime gifts made by the deceased totalling over $16m on the grounds of undue influence.

Stephenson Harwood advises on some of the most high-value and sensitive national and multi-jurisdictional disputes. The excellent team is able to draw on the wider department’s expertise in diverse areas such as insolvency, regulatory and taxation, and a significant proportion of its work relates to fraud and asset tracing. It also has considerable experience of complex onshore trust disputes and at advising trustees when involved in matrimonial disputes where large sums of money are at stake. Jenny McKeown and Helena Berman are highly recommended.

Practice head(s):Jenny McKeown

Other key lawyers:Helena Berman

Key Clients

Zorin Sachak Khan, Afaque Ahmed Khan and Sasheen Anwar (clients since 2011)

Michael and Alison Garlick

The Ong family

Cypcoserve Limited (client since 2015)

Government of Pakistan (client since 2013)

Sachin Dev Duggal

Work highlights

  • Advised Zorin Sachak Khan, Afaque Ahmed Khan and Sasheen Anwar on successfully defending an appeal to the Privy Council seeking an account of trust assets and the removal of the trustee.
  • Acting for Michael and Alison Garlick seeking to recover funds that have been misappropriated by highly sophisticated fraudsters as part of an extremely complex scheme to move funds offshore to facilitate the misuse of the assets.
  • Representing the Ong family in The Ong Family - Ong & Ors v Ping [2017] EWCA Civ 2069 - the team and has succeeded in having a number of judgments of the High Court dating back to 1995 set aside on the grounds that they were obtained by fraud.
  • Acting for the trustee of discretionary trusts that were established by the Kazakh businessman Mr Zhunus and his wife.
  • Advising The Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the Chancery Division of the English High Court on a matter relating to monies that were transferred to London in 1948 .

The head of team at Anthony Gold is David Wedgwood who has experience in all aspects of contentious trusts and probate matters. Wedgwood has a particular focus on two distinct areas namely working for vulnerable clients, as well as working on cases involving fraud and breach of trust. He has particular expertise in working with beneficiaries without capacity for both the Official Solicitor and Court of Protection and his work spans the full range of contentious probate and court of protection litigation. Clare Kelly and Beth Holden are the other names to note.

Practice head(s):David Wedgwood

Other key lawyers:Clare Kelly; Beth Holden

Testimonials

'Anthony Gold is a firm that really punches above its weight in this area. What is notable is the number of non-contentious probate firms that refer anything contentious their way'.

'It is equally at ease with everything from straightforward Inheritance Act claims to complex will challenges and trusts disputes'.

'Clare Kelly has a wonderful way with clients. Her empathetic style is combined with robust advancement of her clients' cases whilst never losing sight of the pragmatic bottom line'.

'Beth Holden blends sound legal judgment with great tenacity and an ability to effectively deal with both demanding clients and opponents'.

'The work it does is of a high standard. Beth Holden is highly knowledgeable and an excellent communicator'.

Key Clients

Bird

Haynes v Andre and Haynes (unreported)

The estate of K P (Deceased)

The estate of R H (Deceased)

Audra Wamsteker

Estate of C G (Deceased)

The estate of S S (Deceased)

In the matter of Mrs M

The estate of W H (Deceased)

Estate of M S (Deceased)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Rupert Bird who was the beneficiary of a discretionary trust of his mother’s estate.
  • Acted in a claim concerning the estate of Yvonne Haynes deceased.
  • Acing in a recently reported case - Mrs Shantabai Bhusate v Dr Mangala Patel and others [2019] EWHC 470 (Ch) which related to a s4 1975 Act application for permission to proceed 25 years out of time.
  • Acted for an adult child of the deceased in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Acting for Audra Wamsteker who owns several properties and had a portfolio of properties in America. She was sued by her father who alleged that he owned the beneficial interest in the properties.

Burges Salmon LLP has one of the largest private wealth teams in the South West region and provides a high level of support to its very wealthy clients. It has a strong client base of British landed estates, many of whom have been with the firm for generations. It is increasingly acting for the international super-rich and for clients who have made their fortunes in the City and have invested in landed estates. It has also witnessed increased instructions from Asia, the Middle East, Australia and a number of European countries. Kevin Kennedy and Justin Briggs head the team.

Practice head(s):Kevin Kennedy; Justin Briggs

Testimonials

'This is a medium sized provincial firm providing an excellent value for money litigation service, the best I know of in the South-West. Very hardworking, with good attention to detail, and excellent support staff'.

'Kevin Kennedy cuts through the minutia and gets to the important matters. Understands the sensitivities of the case'.

'Kevin Kennedy is an excellent lawyer and also very effective in perceiving and managing the practical implications of any case'.

Work highlights

  • In Gary McDonald v Michelle Rose (10 Mary McRorie & Others – [2018] EWHC 445 (Ch) the team represented five adult siblings of the deceased parents in the successful defence of their brother’s proprietary estoppel claim for ownership of the “lion’s share” of their parents’ estates.
  • The team is advising Mr. H in Wall v Munday [2018] EWHC 879 (Ch) in this claim to realise the UK assets owned by the deceased (a USA-resident UK citizen), in the face of a claim for beneficial entitlement from the deceased's former wife.
  • Instructed to advise the Australian beneficiary of a trust established by a wealthy Australian national and administered by a Swiss trustee in a claim against the trustee which relates to a large amount of money the client alleges was paid away from the trust improperly.
  • Advising Burges Salmon Trustees Limited as the administrator of a high value estate on multiple claims by and against the estate.
  • Advising the defendant to an inheritance claim and linked professional negligence claim worth £5m.

The private wealth disputes practice at Howard Kennedy LLP focuses primarily on trust and estate disputes such as breach of trust claims and trustee/beneficiary disputes. The team works extensively with high-net-worth, entrepreneurial and creative sector clients. A growing proportion of the team’s work relates to cross-border disputes. Head of team Emily Mailer regularly handles claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, Public Trustee v Cooper applications as well as bringing and defending will validity actions and claims by or against beneficiaries, executors and trustees. Naomi O’Higgins  also has significant experience of acting in disputes relating to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and high value Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):Emily Mailer

Other key lawyers:Naomi O'Higgins

Testimonials

'Emily Mailer is excellent'.

'Naomi O’Higgins is a very safe pair of hands'.

Work highlights

  • Acting as independent trustees solving complex issues of corporate and trust governance and directorial responsibility to implement a court approved sanction for a longstanding contentious trust dispute.
  • Acting for the trustee of a significant family trust.
  • Advising on a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Advised UHNW clients on a claim brought against them for the recovery of a significant debt allegedly owed by them as the defendants.
  • Providing strategic advice to the joint administrators of the estate of a deceased  following what appeared to have been the creation of complex sham trust arrangements.

Hunters Law LLP specialises in complex, high-value and multi-party litigation often involving offshore assets. Head of team Richard Kershaw is skilled at advising on family law matters and the interplay with various contentious matters that arise from relationship-generated trusts in addition to Inheritance Act disputes. David Draisey is another key member of the team that advises trustees, beneficiaries, landed estate clients as well as City professionals on trust and probate disputes in the Court of Protection and the Chancery Division.

Practice head(s):Richard Kershaw

Other key lawyers:David Draisey

Testimonials

'It has the ability and expertise to carry the heaviest cases, while unusually retaining the flexibility and light-footedness to react swiftly and adeptly to the idiosyncratic demands of each client'.

'Richard Kershaw is the contentious private client partner you really want to find: sympathetic, devoted to the cause, but with an unerring ability to weigh up the weaknesses and strengths of the case, both the opponent's and the client's'.

'David Draisey is a one-man powerhouse, who is swiftly developing into one of the most assured CT&E solicitors in the capital'.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong team with Michael Cash at the helm. Cash specialises in domestic and international trust and estate litigation as well as breach of trust claims, administration of estate claims and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependant) Act 1975. Henrietta Mason is well-regarded for her work for UK and overseas private individuals and charity clients. Newly-promoted partner Sarah Lee advises on a broad range of trust and estate litigation including breach of trust claims and administration disputes. The agile team routinely handles complex cross-border claims. It is one to watch.

Practice head(s):Michael Cash

Other key lawyers:Henrietta Mason; Sarah Lee; Jack Bailey; Jessica Davies

Testimonials

'Penningtons is a force to be reckoned with'.

'A firm that has a wide geographical spread but which is increasingly doing large London-based cases'.

'Michael Cash is a very well-known figure in the area, a strong negotiator and tactician'.

'This is, in my view, the leading practice outside London. The team has extraordinary depth of knowledge, unrivalled client care skills and is a joy to work with'.

'Michael Cash - probably the best private client partner outside London. Brilliant with clients, especially difficult ones. Never afraid to offer advice and to put robust plans into action. Deeply knowledgeable and a strategic genius'.

'Michael Cash and Henrietta Mason give concise unambiguous advice that can be relied upon. It is so refreshing to meet a legal team that can dissect the issue and advise without prevarication. Together they are a formidable team'.

'Sarah Lee - her litigation tactics and attention to detail are impressive'.

'Jack Bailey is responsive, creative and robust. He displays maturity beyond his years and is very good with clients'.

'Jessica Davies, is adept at juggling a heavy work load without stress and gives reassurance to clients when they most need it'.

'Sian Hodgson is also very good'.

 

Key Clients

Administrator for the estate of Nizam of Hyderabad

Morigi

Nora Greenslade

Work highlights

  • Acting for the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad in a long running dispute over £35m held by National Westminster Bank that was deposited in 1948.
  • Acting on behalf of five US family members in an international trust and estate dispute worth over £5million.
  • Acting for the defendant on an appeal of a High Court decision and in ongoing proceedings.

Alison Regan is a highly recommended head of department at Russell-Cooke LLP. The department deals with a broad range of succession disputes across borders and is particularly adept at advising on conflict of law issues and on the interplay between common law and civil law jurisdictions. In addition it is skilled at advising on will challenges on the basis of testamentary capacity and on applications for rectification of wills. Gareth Ledsham has developed a niche practice in applications to the court to deal with property that is owned by minors in civil law jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):Alison Regan

Other key lawyers:Gareth Ledsham; Tom Deely

Testimonials

'The fact that it has an inhouse French team and partners who are fluent in French means that they are perfectly placed to deal with clients who have properties in European jurisdictions - they are used to dealing with continental systems'.

'The team handles many large and complex matters, usually against the other leading firms in this area. The team is first-rate'.

'As well as having a detailed knowledge of the law, the members of the team inevitably have a good grasp of the commercial realities of a case and are able to give their clients sound practical advice'.

'Alison Regan is always one step ahead, and while always taking a pragmatic, commercial approach to cases, will robustly pursue the clients' interests'.

'Alison Regan - very pragmatic, commercial and intellectually astute which makes her a great fighter and team player'.

'Gareth Ledsham is very experienced in this field and takes a pragmatic approach to cases'.

'Gareth Ledsham - a brilliant calm lateral thinker. He uses his broad life skills to be pragmatic and commercial. A real breath of fresh air in times of grief'.

'Gareth Ledsham - combines excellent in-depth knowledge with a deep understanding of the client's perspective. Alison Regan is a tough litigator'.

'Gareth Ledsham was at all times efficient, knowledgeable and empathetic'.

'Tom Deely is very thorough indeed, and has an easy, engaging manner with clients which is more characteristic of a partner than an associate. He knows his stuff'.

 

Key Clients

Two of the claimants in Olga Scherbakova et al v. Brigita Morinaet al BVIHC (COM) 134 OF 2018; defendant in Ubbi & Anori (Minors) v Ubbi [2018] EWHC 1396 (Ch)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Olga and Alexander Scherbakov in relation to an international succession dispute.
  • Acting for Tana Knyvett, Alwyn Turner and Richard Wells as executors and representative beneficiaries in defending the estate from a 1975 Act claim brought by a claimant purporting to have been maintained or to have cohabited with the deceased.
  • Acting for Susan Ubbi in the defence of a 1975 Act claim brought by the minor children of the deceased.
  • Acting for one of four executors of an estate with assets in England, Spain, Jersey, Ontario and British Colombia.
  • Advising a widow on a potential 1975 Act claim in England, coupled with equivalent claim now issued in Alberta Canada, in circumstances where the estate contains assets in England, Alberta and Georgia, USA.

Stewarts Law LLP advises on various complex disputes both in England and overseas, and acts for high-net-worth individuals, families, family offices, trustees and trust companies. It also acts for charities. A substantial part of its work involves an international dimension and the team has recently co-ordinated trusts and probate cases in countries as diverse as Bermuda, Ireland and Singapore. James Price leads the team that also boasts significant experience in assisting in the affairs of those who lack mental capacity.

Practice head(s):James Price

Other key lawyers:Emma Holland

Testimonials

'James Price is at the top of his game. He is very experienced and manages to be both robust and charming - a winning combination'.

'His colleague Emma Holland is very on-the-ball, technically accomplished and hardworking'.

Key Clients

Lands Company

Work highlights

  • Advising Lands Company of the Cayman Islands on a claim against it by the Libyan Investment Authority for funds received by it pursuant to a transaction allegedly procured by fraud.
  • Advising the settlor’s widow and her son who are beneficiaries of an offshore trust which owns a large construction business in relation to restructuring proposals.
  • Advising a Liechtenstein trustee in relation to the occupation of a trust property and about the exercise of trustee discretion regarding financing arrangements.
  • Advising the only family (and non-professional) member of the board of a trustee to various offshore family trusts about restructuring proposals.
  • Advising the minor principal beneficiary of two family Jersey law settlements in relation to three applications to be brought before the Guernsey court, with issues arising in the UK, the USA and France.

Michelle Rose heads the team at VWV. Rose is appointed on a regular basis as an independent administrator and court-appointed deputy. She is currently dealing with ten substantial and complex estates as an independent administrator, and has been appointed by the court as a deputy in a multimillion-pound estate. Other clients include individuals, charities, high-net-worth business clients as well as film producers, journalists, private banks, celebrities and politicians.

Practice head(s):Michelle Rose

Other key lawyers:Sally Rushton; Julia Hardy

Testimonials

'It has exceptional experience in the administration of estates which have become acrimonious'.

'Michelle Rose is a well-established leader, respected throughout the contentious estates sphere'.

'Sally Rushton and Julia Hardy have excellent judgement, knowledge and communication skills'.

Key Clients

Michelle Rose as court-appointed litigation friend for Flora Keays

Work highlights

  • Acting as court-appointed litigation friend for Flora Keays in an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim against the estate of her father, the late Right Hon. Cecil Baron Parkinson.
  • Acting as court-appointed independent administrators in two high-value complex estates.
  • Representing the claimant in a high-value and complex Inheritance Act claim against her late partner's estate.
  • Representing the claimant in a will challenge on the basis of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity.
  • Represented the successful court-appointed deputy in High Court proceedings involving a £12m unlawful share transfer.

Wedlake Bell LLP handles the full range of contentious matters for UK and international clients. It has particular expertise in variation of trust applications and Court of Protection matters. Ann Stanyer focuses on elder law and elder financial abuse matters. Head of team Andrew O’Keeffe is highly recommended and specialises in contentious probate matters. O’Keeffe has extensive experience in disputes involving breach of trust, the administration of estates and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The group acts for both lower-level high-net-worth individuals to ultra-high-net-worth billionaires. The team has been expanding at a more junior level too. It is one to watch.

Practice head(s):Andrew O'Keeffe

Other key lawyers:Ann Stanyer; Caroline Miller; Oliver Embley; Jemma Goddard

Testimonials

'The team has grown and developed its reputation under the leadership of Andrew O'Keeffe. He has a great ability to spot the right strategy for the right type of dispute'.

'The team is going from strength to strength.  It is establishing itself as a growing force in this area. Andrew O'Keeffe brings a huge amount of experience to the team and Caroline Miller is steadily building a reputation as a significant player in this field'.

'The team clearly works closely with its non-contentious colleagues to combine the high level of technical expertise and litigation nous to deliver the best type of advice'.

'Provides a slightly more personal service than many of its competitors - the lawyers are proper players in this area, but somehow manage to keep very high levels of client support alongside their undoubted legal expertise'.

'Andrew O'Keeffe is a very experienced practitioner who will fight his client's corner but not unreasonably so'.

'Caroline Miller is a great all round lawyer and very good to work with'.

'Caroline Miller and Oliver Embley are diligent, intelligent and careful lawyers'.

'Caroline Miller has carved out a real niche for herself - she is a joy to work with because she has made sure the case is in excellent shape before it even gets to counsel'.

'There are some very able associates, such as Oliver Embley who offers terrific support'.

'Jemma Goddard is a very safe pair of hands and straightforward to deal with'.

Work highlights

  • Acting in a 'Public Trustee v Cooper' application whereby the team is asking the court to authorise the trustees' power to add a beneficiary to the class of an £80m trust fund.
  • Acting in a £14m claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Acting in a potential claim against HMRC on behalf of a family trust in respect of the availability of capital gains tax entrepreneur's relief on the disposal of shares in the family business.

Helen Freely leads the team at Druces LLP  that advises entrepreneurs, City individuals, fund managers and other finance high-net-worth individuals. The team is skilled at advising on a broad range of matters involving wills, trusts and estates, and acts for individuals, beneficiaries, executors and trustees as well as charities in resolving, defending or bringing actions. One of the particular recent highlights for the contentious probate team was advising on an application to the court for a judicial trustee to be appointed in a particularly complex estate.

Practice head(s):Helen Freely

Henry Frydenson at Frydenson & Co is a well-regarded sole practitioner who is particularly respected for his work in mediation and is a CEDR-accredited mediator. Frydenson is adept at handling all aspects of contentious trusts and probate litigation.

Practice head(s):Henry Frydenson

Gowling WLG’s team is based primarily in London but also draws on the expertise of the firm’s private wealth practitioners in Singapore and Dubai. It focuses on all aspects of trusts litigation as well as on cross-border asset tracing and high-value contentious insolvency matters. Catherine Naylor heads the trusts litigation team and has a particular focus on complex multi-jurisdictional cases with an offshore or trusts litigation aspect.

Practice head(s):Catherine Naylor

Key Clients

First Peninsula Trustees

Port of Hercules Trustees

Abdul Rahman Alokozay

TMF Group (Equity Trust (Jersey))

Alliance Trust plc

New World Trust

Equiom

Dover Street (a subsidiary of Stanley Gibbons plc)

The Fine Art Auction Group (a subsidiary of Stanley Gibbons plc)

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise First Peninsula Trustees and Port of Hercules Trustees (administrated by Moore Stephens Monaco), who are trustees of two discretionary BVI-law family trusts, in high-value, multi-jurisdictional litigation arising out of the Madoff Ponzi scheme fraud.
  • Acting for the claimants in a breach of trust and account for profits claim brought in respect of a cross-border family dispute against a former employee of Alokozay International.
  • Acting for the trustees in the bankruptcy of Christos Lemos, who previously operated a global shipping and property holding empire, spanning several jurisdictions, and involving various companies and trust structures, which it is believed were set up with the intention to defraud his creditors.
  • Defeated a £132m claim that was brought against its clients the Candy Brothers and others.
  • Advising an offshore trust company, Equity Trust (Jersey), in relation to potential breach of trust proceedings.

Irwin Mitchell has a strong national offering through its offices in six locations nationwide. The team in London under the direction of Claire-Marie Cornford advises on a broad range of trust disputes for trustees and beneficiaries. It regularly advises on cross-border matters and acts for a wide range of clients, such as individuals, entrepreneurs, banks, executors, trustees, charities and beneficiaries.

Practice head(s):Claire-Marie Cornford

Testimonials

'Claire-Marie Cornford is clever, experienced and runs the team with enormous energy'.

'Claire-Marie Cornford is exceptionally talented and experienced. Fantastic and personal service. An extremely safe pair of hands'.

Through its offices in London and the South West head office Michelmores LLP advises clients based in England and Wales and internationally. It is regularly instructed by both national and regional charities including local hospices, educational and church charities. Recent work highlights have included advising on a variety of will validity claims, administration disputes as well as other proprietary estoppel claims. It has also advised on various trust disputes which were complicated by an offshore or an international component. Tony Cockayne heads the department.

Practice head(s):Tony Cockayne

Other key lawyers:Jennifer Ridgway; Jasmine Davis

Testimonials

'The profile of this team is on the rise: it is involved in some of the largest, most complex proceedings. Its USP is that it combines the experience of the big London firms but with the fresh perspective of a firm outside London.'

'It is a team with greater visibility and presence than its South West location would suggest. Tony Cockayne has a good balance between hard nosed litigation and a collaborative approach.'

'Tony Cockayne works incredibly hard to secure the best possible result for his clients - be that through litigation or negotiation - he is diligent, thorough in his legal analysis, as well as practical and commercial in his thinking.'

'Highly regarded firm that competes with the big names in the capital for this work. Able to offer experienced partner involvement at competitive rates.'

'Jennifer Ridgway is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, highly able and great to work with.'

'Tony Cockayne is a real star- he works really hard to get the best for his client and is tough behind his cheerful demeanour. He has fantastic support from his team including Jasmine Davies, who is intelligent and calm under pressure.'

'Tony Cockayne and Jasmine Davis are approachable, very competent, and a pleasure to work with.'

'Tony Cockayne is outstanding, a pleasure to deal with and very good with clients. Jasmine Davis is also very able and has a bright future ahead of her.'

'Jasmine Davis and Tony Cockayne are able distil complicated legal issues easily and provide practical and sensible advice. They are extremely responsive.'

Work highlights

  • Representing the daughter of the deceased, who died leaving a 25-page home-made Will. The estate itself is complex with a number of trust funds.
  • Instructed in a dispute involving a complex family business with international assets worth over £10m and which is the subject of two historic will trusts and an estate.
  • Defending a claim brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 worth in excess of £1.3m involving three generations and a portfolio of investment properties.
  • Advising two national charities on the disposal of a high-profile gift of land with development potential and national interest and significance.
  • Acting for one of two siblings in relation to a dispute regarding the validity of the late father's will and conduct of one of the siblings as an executor.

Through its national offering Mills & Reeve LLP  deals with disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors as well as claims under the Inheritance ( Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 in addition to related claims concerning lifetime transactions. It also advises a number of charities on contested legacy matters. Simon Pedley and David Catchpole are the names to note.

Practice head(s):Simon Pedley; David Catchpole

Other key lawyers:Lucy Mitchell; Lucy Howard

Testimonials

'With its more regional spread, Mills & Reeve offers a genuine alternative to both the big London-centric firms and the huge national firms that do everything. The team provides top-class advice and representation'.

'Lucy Howard is doing a phenomenal job at the Birmingham office - she is so on top of this area and just seems to never stop working'.

'David Catchpole is very well-known in this area - he is often found on one side or another of many of the major (especially multi-party) ongoing disputes'.

'Lucy Mitchell is very good'.

'Its most notable feature as a firm is its outstanding client care. Clients universally praise the clarity and honesty of advice that they have received.  Lucy Howard is a real star'.

Key Clients

Zedra Trust Company (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for an executor and residuary beneficiary of a £3m estate in bitterly contested proceedings to remove and replace his co-executor
  • Acting for the grandson of one of the UK’s foremost businessmen of the twentieth century who is the beneficiary of significant discretionary trust.
  • Acting for the recently appointed professional independent administrator of the estate of the late Mrs Cadogan, appointed by court order during bitter litigation between the two former executors.
  • Acted for a university client in defending a potential claim by relatives of the deceased, who are alleging that the university is under a moral obligation to pass some of its legacy to them.

Osbornes represents high-net-worth individuals, families, trustees and executors in complex estate disputes. The team is frequently appointed by the court to act as an independent administrator and litigation friend to resolve long-running disputes. The team has also been busy advising clients on various issues under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and on the variation of trusts. Jan Atkinson heads the team and Elspeth Neilson is another key contact.

Practice head(s):Jan Atkinson

Other key lawyers:Elspeth Neilson

Testimonials

'The team is very caring, experienced and detailed and was clear about the  next steps and offered very helpful advice and suggestions'.

'Jan Atkinson is a stand out partner who combines a non-contentious and contentious practice. She is calm, persuasive and persistent. Clients would undoubtedly trust her and she is able to call on a super nice rock solid team around her'.

'Jan Atkinson has extensive experience in private client matters, which underpins her excellent skills in the contentious probate area. Plus she is strong on international matters'.

'A small but formidable team, punching above its weight. Jan Atkinson is a seasoned pro. Approachable but no push-over'.

Pinsent Masons LLP fields a well-resourced team that handles the full range of private client disputes for ultra-wealthy families and individuals as well as their corporate entities and family offices. Other significant clients include leading trust companies and corporate service providers. Its client base is strongly international. It has worked with clients from the Middle East, the US, Russia and for aristocratic families and individuals from the crown dependencies and from overseas territories. Head of team Michael Pulford’s main area of expertise is in trust litigation as well as high-value international family disputes.

Practice head(s):Michael Pulford

Testimonials

'Michael Pulford is extremely knowledgeable and personable with a wealth of experience in large and smaller trust matters.'

'The team has vast experience of dealing with complicated matters and can assist whatever the type of contentious issues.'

'They are practical and very user friendly.'

'Michael Pulford is a masterful litigator who combines expertise in commercial and private client litigation as well as matrimonial disputes, allowing him to offer a full service. Very good client management skills and real dedication - a very easy guy to get along with.'

'The London firm to turn to for offshore structures and how to defend them.'

'Michael Pulford always makes himself available, even though he clearly has a challenging workload.'

Key Clients

Kendris

Harbour International

Harbour Guernsey

Capco

Deutsche Bank Private Wealth

Equiom Group

Standard Bank (Jersey)

RadcliffesLeBrasseur routinely acts for executors, administrators, beneficiaries and dependants on various high-value and complex trusts and estates in the UK and overseas. Key areas of expertise include advising on applications to remove or substitute personal representatives as well as claims relating to breach of trustees powers and duties or claims relating to negligent trustees. Jonathan Shankland and Dominic Green are the names to note. Nigel West is another known name for his advice to various ultra-high-net-worth clients on their personal and corporate litigation matters.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Shankland l Dominic Green

Other key lawyers:Nigel West; Cheryl Gayer

Testimonials

'Nigel West is a highly experienced senior lawyer who brings a wealth of experience, common sense and commercial judgment to litigation and works hard to find a satisfactory solution to the client’s case.'

'Nigel West is a very experienced litigation lawyer and you can see this with his confidence and style - he is never outwitted.'

'Nigel West is a very experienced litigation lawyer; Jonathan Shankland has a very calming and settled manner and is very approachable; Cheryl Gayer is very organised.'

'Jonathan Shankland: for his ingenuity, ability to find solutions for his clients – his resilience and the all-round service he provides to his clients. He is extremely technically able across a vast number of different areas.'

'Cheryl Gayer  is great, very organised and also knowledgeable but she really makes matters tick along, she is very proactive.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 on behalf of a disinherited child in a £50m complex estate.
  • Advising on an Inheritance (Provision for family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim  - there is a related application to remove and replace the executors.
  • Advising on a contested declaration of trust and loan agreement between former spouses involving offshore trust loans.
  • Defending a claim against the estate of the deceased as executors of the estate.
  • Advising in relation to an estate with extensive liabilities to unsecured creditors at the date of death.

Newly-promoted partner James Lister heads the team at Stevens & Bolton LLP that advises wealthy individuals, private banks, trust companies and landed estates. Lister focuses on high-value domestic and international trust and probate claims as well as court of protection work. He is experienced at advising on estate administration in addition to other issues such as claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. The team has also recently been acting in various substantial disputes in different locations such as Singapore, France and Guernsey.

Practice head(s):James Lister

Testimonials

'Stevens & Bolton are making great strides towards building their presence in this area by constructing a team around new partner James Lister. He is a name to watch having been a stand out junior at Charles Russell Speechlys. He has worked hard to grow the team and is ably supported by Andrew Reid but it is James that is the standout presence. Stevens & Bolton have a kudos that makes them stand out in the market place. It is filled with top quality lawyers with standout clients. James is fantastic at what he does and is trusted by his peers, counsel and clients alike.'

'Offers a regional service with the same quality as its London competitors. James Lister is my "go to" lawyer outside of London and is a future superstar.'

'"City" levels of experience and ability combined with the personal touches and communication of a regional firm. Stevens & Bolton brings excellent depth of experience and pragmatic solutions to every case.'

'James Lister is very experienced, tactically astute and has an extremely detailed knowledge of the law in this area.'

'James Lister is simply a force of nature. He is a fearsome opponent. He is an "iron fist in a velvet glove" and his clients love him for it. He is always highly personable.'

'James Lister has developed a knowledge and tactical acumen well beyond that which might be expected of someone of his seniority. His recent promotion to partner is testimony to his outstanding ability.'

'James Lister - sensible, pragmatic, personable.'

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP acts for individuals, trustees and corporate trustees both in the UK and offshore as well as insurance companies in resolving a wide range of trust and estate disputes. Head of team Neil Long is also experienced in bringing and defending claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 in addition to other issues such as validity/capacity disputes. The team also regularly advises on Court of Protection applications.

Practice head(s):Neil Long

Other key lawyers:Richard Pike

Testimonials

'It is an agile and flexible team that tailors its service to its clients' needs and resources, a far cry from the relentless juggernaut of some of the bigger-hitting firms.'

'It is unique in that the service is a very personal one yet it is provided globally.'

'Neil Long is an exceptional partner. He is an all-rounder but also brings a level of charm and ease to the cases.'

'Neil Long has an extremely deft touch, and an instinctive ability to focus on the critical issues, whether legal, factual or human. Your prospects rapidly improve when he is on your side.'

'Neil Long is articulate, quick on the uptake and speaks my language.'

'Neil Long is hardworking, thorough, highly intelligent, empathetic and prepared to work at any time of the day or night. He has a real understanding of how to ensure the case is presented in the way most likely to influence the judge in favour of his client.'

'Richard Pike is also well-regarded.'

'Neil Long - a really nice guy. Richard Pike - very clever, very experienced and good at dealing with clients and opponents.'

Key Clients

Zedra (UK) Trusts Limited

Doreen Thompson

Work highlights

  • Regularly instructed to advise Zedra's in-house trust company on a range of contentious trust and probate issues.
  • Representing Doreen Thompson the defendant in a deeply contentious proprietary estoppel claim brought by the defendant's son.

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