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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 > Personal tax, trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s β€˜technically excellent’ team advises on high-value cross-border wealth, governance and tax structuring matters. It is also experienced in shari’ah wealth and succession planning issues, and is recommended for its work with institutional clients and on complex trust restructurings. Murray North is β€˜knowledgeable and professional’, and the β€˜excellent’ Martin Paisner acts for many very wealthy international families originating from the US and across Europe, as well as advising numerous high-net-worth individuals and families with connections to Israel. Simon Phelps heads the Asia private client group, with a significant number of individual and family office clients based in the Middle East and the Far East, and specialises in estate planning, capital and income taxation as well as offshore and onshore trusts. Damian Bloom advises high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, with a particular focus on entrepreneurial clients. Associate director Reshmi Manekporia is also recommended for her experience in complex cross-border structures, particularly those with a shari’ah component, and works with shari’ah scholars to provide shari’ah-compliant wealth structuring solutions.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has β€˜strong market coverage from old money to entrepreneurs’, and is β€˜a highly respected outfit with a number of outstanding individuals’. Bart Peerless and the β€˜very able’ Piers Master are both β€˜superb and at the top of their game’. William Begley is β€˜measured, confident and pragmatic’, and Andrew Cameron is β€˜excellent at finding practical solutions’. Robert Blower shows β€˜great attention to detail’. Suzanne Marriott is β€˜well known for the big-ticket deputyship work. As well as being technically competent, she is also kind and compassionate, which is a huge advantage when dealing with very vulnerable clients who are under the protection of court’. Nicola Thorpe is β€˜fast becoming another top private client lawyer in the UK’. The β€˜very technical and thorough’ Alice Wilne β€˜is able to articulate issues and potential solutions very clearly so that non-tax colleagues can understand. She has a very good grasp of the key issues and the commercial aspects of each matter. Additionally she is highly responsive and provides an excellent client service’. The large team routinely handles complex cross-disciplinary and cross-border matters, and is adept at handling the full range of matters from tax and trust work for major landed estates and owners of heritage property to advising trustees and other institutions in the UK and offshore. The department β€˜works well across private and corporate clients to provide a holistic service. It combines technical excellence with a very commercial approach, and is a pleasure to work with’. Alison Broadberry is now at Edwin Coe LLP.

Farrer & Co fields β€˜a knowledgeable, commercial, practical and thorough team’ praised for its β€˜strong teamwork and its strength in cross-border work including Europe and the United States’, and has β€˜broad capabilities and many academically brilliant lawyers’. The β€˜tactically sound and commercial’ Jeremy Gordon is strong in contentious matters, and recently promoted partner Oliver Piper is β€˜clever, commercial and able to mediate well between difficult stakeholders’. The β€˜extremely calm’ Robert Field and Marianne Kafena (who has β€˜an exceptional client manner’) are both recommended along with the β€˜practical and thorough’ Bryony Cove and senior associate Richard McDermott. Other standout members of the team are Mark Bridges, who acts for a broad range of English private clients such as philanthropists, trustees and landed families and has a particular focus on succession planning, tax and trusts. Rhoddy Voremberg has a well-established reputation for advising high-net-worth families and individuals, in particular those who own heritage property. Russell Cohen chairs the firm’s international private wealth group, and consultant Mike Chantler specialises in heritage tax. The β€˜very responsive’ Nick Dunnell has been leading the advice to an international ultra-high-net-worth individual on an overhaul of the terms of an extremely complex Liechtenstein trust and foundation holding assets worth over $1bn. It is β€˜a top private client firm with a friendly team that consistently provides thorough and well-thought-through advice’.

The team at Forsters LLP β€˜from partners to associates is always diligent and courteous, and has superb industry knowledge’. The β€˜well-organised’ Patrick Harney β€˜leads an excellent team and manages client relationships very well’. The β€˜pragmatic’ Xavier Nicholas β€˜works very well under pressure while still continuing to pay close attention to detail’. Kelly Noel-Smith is β€˜an exceptional lawyer who provides a top-notch service and gets to the heart of issues very quickly notwithstanding her obviously large workload. She is always available to discuss any difficult issues’. Andrew Lane β€˜stands out from the crowd for his ability to understand his clients’ needs and provide intelligent and very useful advice’. The practice has been significantly strengthened by the move to the firm of Gowling WLG’s 19-strong private wealth team, who joined in May 2017. Notable names include Anthony Thompson, who is β€˜very experienced at the highest levels but carries it all lightly’. He advises high-net-worth private clients on estate planning, the creation and structuring of trusts, and family governance and general tax planning matters.

Macfarlanes LLP has β€˜an exceedingly strong group of hardworking and professional partners – not just one or two stars. They have a "can-do" and commercial approach and can really advise on the full range of issues’. β€˜The partners are incredibly responsive and leaders in their field who provide sophisticated and nuanced advice’. Jonathan Conder has β€˜outstanding knowledge that is blended with the ability to communicate well the most complex matters in a way that is easily understood by all’. Piers Barclay’s strengths include β€˜the extreme care that is given to the advice he proffers, his acumen and his experience’. Charles Lloyd is β€˜unflappable’ on complex contentious matters, and Edward Reed is β€˜excellent’ for UK and international wills, trusts and personal tax planning. Nicholas Harries is β€˜very knowledgeable’ and provides β€˜very well-rounded advice’ on the full range of tax, estate and succession planning matters. Sebastian Prichard Jones is β€˜superb’ at advising wealthy families on tax and succession issues. Charles Gothard and Robin Vos are β€˜very able practitioners’. Matthew Pintus is β€˜a very shrewd operator’, and Michael Parkinson is β€˜very commercially aware’. The associates in the team are β€˜consistently impressive also’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP provides β€˜an exceptional service with an excellent team that is pragmatic and helpful. What sets it apart is that its lawyers "get" the City and how deals work. They are "go-to" advisers for sophisticated private client advice for private equity executives and other senior City people’. The β€˜first-class and highly professional’ Arabella Murphy heads the team. Other key members of the β€˜outstanding’ team are the β€˜responsive, approachable and immensely experienced’ Ceris Gardner; Ed Powles, who is β€˜technically excellent while also being practical and sensitive to the commercial needs of his clients’; Richard Turnor, who has β€˜a brain the size of a planet that he brings to bear on complex partnership law questions in particular’; Clare Maurice, who is β€˜a star’; and Jennifer Chambers, who is β€˜empathetic while also remaining commercial’. Newly promoted partner Fiona Poole is also β€˜excellent’. Work highlights included advising on the establishment of a Jersey trust and an innovative Dubai International Financial Centre succession trust to hold assets worth several billion dollars; and advising on conflicts between family members in relation to a trust with billions of pounds of assets. The β€˜very experienced’ team is β€˜strong and impressive across the board, and its fees are proportionate with the quality of the advice it gives’.

Andrew Hine heads the team at Taylor Wessing LLP, which provides β€˜an excellent service to its clients. It is able to offer a full service to its wealthy clients who have complex and large financial issues that need to be resolved’. Other members of the β€˜outstanding’ team include Mark Buzzoni, who has β€˜superb cross-border capabilities’; the β€˜well-connected’ Nick Warr; Sanjvee Shah, who is β€˜very responsive and shows great attention to detail’; and senior associate Kyra Motley, who is β€˜one to watch’. The group provides a full service to high-net-worth families and family offices who require multi-jurisdictional advice on their personal wealth structures, international tax planning, and commercial and real estate investments, and also handles reputation management and immigration matters. The London team works closely with counterparts in continental Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In a significant multi-jurisdictional matter, it is advising the trustees of a historic large landed estate with a number of diversified businesses.

Withers LLP’s β€˜hugely experienced team delivers an excellent service. It has extensive knowledge of international tax and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals’. Jeremy Arnold is β€˜a visionary who is one step ahead. He is very good at predicting how things will go. His commerciality and understanding of difficult UK tax issues is immense, and his experience shines through’. Penelope Williams is β€˜very good on UK/US issues. She is professional and reliable, and has the ability to translate complex documents and legalese into digestible concepts and understandable English’. Patricia Milner is β€˜very good at dealing with very large families with international issues’, and Judith Ingham is β€˜superb for the very technical issues’. Christopher Groves is β€˜tough when needed’ and β€˜very good with entrepreneurs’, and Sarah Cormack is β€˜extremely professional with a first-class ability to communicate complex issues in a clear and concise way’. Ceri Vokes has β€˜a robust understanding of international and UK tax issues relating to HNWI and their families. She is very responsive, technically brilliant and gets straight to the point. She is very reliable and clearly satisfies the needs of the most demanding of clients’. Richard Cassell specialises in tax and estate planning for UK-resident US citizens and advice to US charities operating in the UK. Special counsel Claire Harris is β€˜up and coming’. Filippo Noseda is now at Mishcon de Reya LLP.

Baker McKenzie’s team stands out for its β€˜compatibility, and the dynamics within it. This is coupled with the depth of its experience and knowledge. Of particular note is the team’s awareness of the key issues (changes in legislation or developments in tax law) and how these can affect trustees and offshore structures’. The β€˜truly excellent’ Ashley Crossley is β€˜a delight to work with’ and heads the wealth management department. Senior associate Phyllis Townsend advises international banks and trust companies, and high-net-worth individuals both in the UK and overseas. The team has seen a significant uptick in work from the Middle East, and has attracted a number of important engagements for leading banks. Highlights included advising the offshore trustees of a leading family in relation to UK-resident beneficiaries’ tax and trust reporting to the HMRC.

Bircham Dyson Bell β€˜really knows its stuff’, and has β€˜some very capable lawyers’. Head of wealth Simon Weil is β€˜very knowledgeable and practical – a gem of a guy’. Judith Millar gives β€˜very good, practical advice, and is good at communicating and explaining the process and working with other advisers’. Helen Ratcliffe has considerable experience in advising ultra-high-net-worth families in the Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). The team is best known for its advice on complex estate planning and succession, often involving assets in a wide range of international and offshore jurisdictions, and is recommended for its work on trusts and other wealth-holding vehicles for multi-jurisdictional families. It also advises owners of agricultural land and landed estates, and philanthropists.

The β€˜excellent, thorough and professional team’ at Boodle Hatfield LLP is β€˜good to work with and good at working with others’. The β€˜bright’ Simon Rylatt heads the team and provides β€˜clear and concise advice’; he is β€˜hugely experienced in the large matters and is an all-round great and efficient private client lawyer’. The β€˜dynamic’ Sue Laing advises wealthy UK and international clients on the long-term protection and devolution of their assets. Hayden Bailey is β€˜great at building relationships with clients. He can think ahead and explains complex issues to clients in a straightforward way’. Salpy Kouyoumjian, who provides β€˜excellent advice and offers solutions that work’, runs the firm’s Middle East private office and advises very wealthy people on issues ranging from property investments in the UK to establishing family offices. The team is renowned for working with some of the largest family-owned businesses and family offices both in the UK and internationally, and is experienced in enterprise initiatives, corporate governance and asset protection. The group also advises many of its clients on setting up charitable ventures.

Harcus Sinclair LLP has β€˜an absolutely first-rate private client practice with deep experience and expertise in complex, multi-jurisdictional planning and litigation. All of the partners are impressive, as are the associates’. The β€˜excellent’ Keith Bruce-Smith β€˜commands the respect of clients and is really friendly to work with’. Lucy Gibson is β€˜impressive when leading a team of lawyers from various jurisdictions and coordinating the advice. As an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner she can juggle the complexities of various legal systems masterfully’. Jonathan Burt’s work is β€˜consistently superb’, and solicitor Siena Gold β€˜stands out as an incredibly talented young lawyer who is already a star’. The team has secured some notable client gains recently, including an ultra-high-net-worth UK-resident non-domiciled Saudi Arabian family, an ultra-high-net-worth Russian client, and several wealthy landed estate owners, in addition to UK and international entrepreneurs. It is β€˜a highly effective practice’.

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans is β€˜a genuine centre of excellence in non-contentious private client work. The firm has an outstanding record of forming and preserving long-term relationships with clients, and it has first-class technical expertise’. Alexandra Sarkis is β€˜a meticulous and highly skilled private client practitioner who can handle the most complicated matters with confidence. Her technical expertise is tremendous. She has a portfolio of first-class clients and dedicates herself to looking after them’. Jonathan Godwin-Austen is β€˜an experienced professional who has built up a good relationship with clients and other professionals. He is highly regarded and has a good grasp of US/UK tax issues’. Julia Richards is β€˜a thoughtful, conscientious and expert practitioner who exemplifies the firm’s valuable combination of a client-focused approach and professional competence’. Louise Walker is β€˜technically excellent and also has a very good understanding of the complex tax needs of families’. The β€˜highly knowledgeable’ Lucinda Tite β€˜balances the compassion and emotional intelligence needed for private client work with the necessary technical expertise’. The β€˜vastly experienced’ Mary Elliott advises a wide range of individuals, families, trustees and executors on all aspects of wills, estates, trusts and tax planning. Matthew Yates is β€˜very discreet and patient’, and with him β€˜you always know what is happening and why’.

Irwin Mitchell has β€˜a significant offering’, and β€˜is becoming an agile competitor’ under the leadership of Nick Rucker; β€˜its lawyers have an excellent combination of talent, experience and client know how’. Richard Jordan has β€˜detailed knowledge of international client issues combined with commercial nous and a pragmatic approach to meeting client needs’. Colin Dunston has β€˜excellent knowledge and is very approachable and friendly. He is able to give clear and helpful explanations to people who have no legal background – it is always possible to speak with him when required’. Mark Pearce β€˜has the ability to quickly focus on the area that the client is most concerned about’. Overall, it is β€˜a very impressive firm with a good amount of unusual and interesting cases. It has a very responsive team that provides client-friendly advice in a language that the client understands’.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP has a β€˜very talented’ group of β€˜excellent team players who provide a prompt and efficient service with a good international network to call upon’. Astrid Owen is β€˜very strong with European/US clients’, and the β€˜very experienced’ Charles Lubar β€˜is able to advise on a wide range of complex tax matters’. Andrew Vergunst is highly rated as a trusted adviser on tax structuring matters; Dhana Sabanathan is β€˜extremely responsive’; and Simon Goldring, who joined the team from Trowers & Hamlins LLP, is β€˜on the ball’ and very knowledgeable’. Jean-Marc Tirard has considerable expertise in French law and French trusts. Clients include ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, including five of the Top 20 individuals on the Sunday Times Rich List.

Mishcon de Reya LLP is β€˜one of the best in the business. The highly professional team provides pragmatic, clear and concise advice’. Andrew Goldstone heads up the tax group and is β€˜an excellent communicator who seeks to find a pragmatic solution wherever possible’; he β€˜goes deep into the detail but is also able to see the entire picture to create unique solutions for his clients’. Kassim Meghjee is β€˜quality in terms of his experience and business acumen, and is uncommonly in tune with UHNW family issues and solutions. He gives clear guidance and support, and is hugely helpful’. Managing associate Charlie Sosna is β€˜extremely helpful and proactive. He is empathetic and takes a practical approach to complex matters’. The practice offers tax advice spanning both personal and corporate tax, and also offers a wide range of private client litigation services. It advises on matters ranging from high-value estate administration to the preparation of tax-efficient wills with international components; clients are a mix of ultra-high- and high-net-worth individuals, institutions, investors, property developers, entrepreneurs, trustees and charities.

Payne Hicks Beach is β€˜a real quality firm. It does not offer unnecessary frills for show. It provides a client-focused, discreet and hugely effective service to national and international clients. It is fully capable of handling billion-pound matters with the confidence and accuracy that clients demand’. Robert Brodrick β€˜offers a high level of technical expertise and is able to explain the details in simple and plain English. He makes the entire process as simple as possible, thus avoiding unnecessary stress and cost’. Frederick BjΓΈrn is β€˜responsive and helpful, and has an extremely impressive grasp of the law’. Rosamond McDowell’s β€˜strengths are that she has great empathy yet at the same time is scarily efficient. She masters the detail but still sees the bigger picture’. Basil Dixon β€˜constantly proves his worth. He handles the most complex and weighty affairs of global families with huge assurance’. Consultant Christopher Sly β€˜has a nice manner and is excellent technically’. The firm’s clients feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List, and the team also acts for some of the UK’s oldest and largest estates. The practice includes advising on the tax aspects of pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and structuring divorce settlements involving trusts and international assets.

A β€˜focused, modern, fast and commercial’ firm, RadcliffesLeBrasseur β€˜provides a very personable and superb service; its extremely efficient and commercial team comes across as down-to-earth and approachable, and "goes that extra mile" to provide reassurance’. Team head Tim Newsome is β€˜first class, and can be very tough when negotiating as needed’. Jonathan Shankland has β€˜a high standard of technical knowledge and is very proactive. He is able to explain complex situations simply to clients and is very kind and thoughtful. He is a thorough young lawyer with a terrific grasp of estate planning and international taxation’. Newly promoted partner Hetty Maher has β€˜a great manner with clients, putting them at ease straight away, and provides a faultless service’. Another key member of the team is Victoria Fairley, who manages matters with β€˜great skill, discretion and good sense based on her longstanding and thorough knowledge of the law as well as a good understanding of her clients’ needs’. Cardiff-based associate Paul Lindsey is recommended for his work on complex multi-jurisdictional matters in particular; he is β€˜flexible and adaptable, and works hard to find a solution that is practical’. Tulin Hamit is β€˜very quick and responsive, and has an excellent understanding of how the English and Turkish tax systems work as a whole’; she is a dual-qualified UK/Turkish tax and private client solicitor.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s team is β€˜extremely responsive and knowledgeable, and provides clear and unambiguous advice’. The head of the team is the β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ Richard Frimston, who is β€˜clearly one of the most knowledgeable practitioners on the EU Regulation on succession, and is a true leader on this subject. He is beyond excellent on complex cross-border issues’. Dawn Alderson provides β€˜concise and helpful advice on the French aspects of private client law in a way that really assists a client’. Rebecca Fisher is β€˜a first-class communicator with an intelligent and pragmatic approach to problem solving’. Andrew Godfrey is β€˜excellent’ for international trust, tax and succession advice, with a focus on US and Italian matters. Senior associate Arshoo Singh β€˜pays great attention to detail. She explains things in layman’s terms about what course of action clients should take and how to approach each problem. Importantly she follows through until the end’. Andrew Robinson is the team’s in-house accountant, and is β€˜very empathetic. He has good experience of trust accounting and tax matters, and is always very reliable’.

James Badcock heads the private services team at Collyer Bristow LLP, where other names to note are the β€˜very competent’ Daniel Simon and William Hancock. Hancock advises on domicile and residence, succession and inheritance, and the formulation of efficient strategies for the preservation, maintenance and ultimate distribution of property through wills, trusts and charitable foundations. Much of the team’s work is cross-border, and it has particular expertise in trust structures and specific jurisdictions such as Switzerland, the US, Russia and Egypt. The group is currently advising on a structure involving three separate trusts (both onshore and offshore) and more than ten underlying companies in various jurisdictions. It also remains the long-term adviser to an ultra-high-net-worth family with six offshore trusts and numerous underlying companies involving very valuable assets in multiple jurisdictions.

Edwin Coe LLP has β€˜an excellent, highly skilled and experienced team that manages numerous cases. Over time it has developed a failsafe system for managing and progressing sometimes complex cases involving numerous beneficiaries’. Nick Giles has β€˜knowledge and experience gained from many years in this specialist area, allowing him to advise and guide clients through many complex issues’. The β€˜very experienced, thorough and technically adept’ David Goepel is β€˜excellent at handling family disputes. The man is a machine. He is able to handle the most complex and difficult probate, tax and trusts matters with complete assurance and accuracy, while still retaining an unaffected charm’. β€˜Very experienced international lawyer’ John Shelford β€˜has seen it all. He is particularly skilful at handling family disputes and is very sensitive to family situations. He is a very good man to have on your side’. Also recommended is Alison Broadberry, who joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. The team overall β€˜gives very clear advice in respect of complex and high-value matters, and is very user-friendly’.

Howard Kennedy LLP is β€˜technically and practically excellent on the complex offshore issues that affect non-UK domiciles and the relevant property regime for inheritance tax purposes. However, above all, it is a client-centric firm’. Liz Palmer is β€˜incisive, thorough and unrelentingly logical in her application of complex legal provisions. Combined with this she genuinely cares about her clients and works hard to ensure that there are practical solutions’. John Annetts is β€˜an excellent lawyer, meaning he is more than technically good. He is also pragmatic and easy to get along with in dealing with technical legal points/difficulties for the most complex clients with large assets’. The β€˜very sound’ Simon Malkiel is β€˜thorough and always ensures that every point that may help or hinder his client has been fully examined. He thinks logically but creatively about problem solving’. Michael Lewis is β€˜approachable, knowledgeable and focused on achieving the client’s objectives’.

Penningtons Manches LLP is β€˜a top tax firm with excellent and very helpful staff who are exceptionally well organised and have a wide range of experience’. Clare Archer is β€˜exceptionally personable and technically proficient. She has the right combination of experience, technical experience and diplomacy that ensures that sensitive matters are handled with great care’. James d’Aquino is β€˜certainly a rising star with superb client handling skills and a degree of sensitivity that is uncommon in a partner of his age. He is able to get to the key issues very rapidly, and is a problem solver. He has excellent multi-jurisdictional skills’. Senior associate Lucy Edwards is β€˜experienced on complex issues of UK res non-dom clients and ultra-high-net-worth clients’.

With a number of excellent practitioners, Wedlake Bell LLP delivers β€˜a reliable and professional service. It excels at trying to understand the needs of clients and has a diverse range of talent within the firm which can be called upon’. The β€˜very responsive and reliable’ Camilla Wallace provides a service that is β€˜second to none, and she is better than most at communicating complex tax issues to clients’. The β€˜experienced’ Ann Stanyer β€˜always looks for a practical solution rather than a convoluted way of dealing with the problem’, and the β€˜approachable’ Jenny Cutts is β€˜very good with clients. She has a modern approach to old family problems. She is very aware of the costs of the service and what is considered good value’. Emma Loveday is β€˜helpful and pragmatic’, and Eleanor Metcalf is β€˜a good communicator, and provides good support and technical advice’.

Burges Salmon LLP β€˜offers "City"-quality advice at provincial rates. The team is particularly strong in relation to UK RND issues. It can be relied upon to give clear and coherent advice to clients and to act as a sounding board on complex technical issues when required’. Team head John Barnett is β€˜superb technically and excellent at explaining complex matters to clients’. Beatrice Puoti has β€˜strong interpersonal skills coupled with very good technical skills. Her solid civil law knowledge complements her core excellent common law skills’. Suzanna Harvey has β€˜very good technical abilities, is commercially minded and is good at navigating the client’s commercial considerations with their tax issues – thereby providing practical advice’. The team has extensive experience in cross-border estate and succession planning as well as international tax and property structuring and the resolution of family disputes. It advises global financial institutions on the provision of trust and tax planning services, and acts as a trusted adviser on major succession planning matters. It is also currently advising in relation to numerous HMRC enquiries concerning substantial assets.

Druces LLP’s β€˜extremely competent’ team β€˜combines excellent legal knowledge with a keen sense of the commercial and practical realities of each case’. Helen Freely β€˜is able to come up with commercial solutions which go a long way towards achieving her clients’ aims’; she regularly acts for individuals in relation to complex and contested estates of well-known people who have died, with recent examples including a well-known author, a composer and an art collector. Richard Monkcom and associate Matthew McCormick are both β€˜very thorough and focused on practical solutions’. Robert Marco specialises in complex tax planning for international and domestic clients. Neil Morris advises trust companies and high-net-worth clients (such as entrepreneurs and media clients) on international tax planning, and is particularly adept at advising on complex cross-border estates and tax planning across multiple jurisdictions. Clients of the practice include trustees, private banks, funds, companies and individuals, and it has a particular specialism in the niche area of advising estates owning high-value artwork.

Fieldfisher has β€˜an excellent private client group that is very knowledgeable and friendly. It can take on matters and deal with them with superb expertise, and responds in a timely manner’. Head of private client Penny Wotton is β€˜hugely helpful and knowledgeable, and shows great attention to detail. She consistently provides clients with a first-class service. Her responses tend to have the right amount of detail for what the client requires’. Graeme Nuttall is another key member of the team and is recommended for his work on establishing and maintaining private wealth structures through private and commercially run trust companies and family offices in particular. The practice covers domestic and international estate planning and structuring as well as UK and offshore trust formation and administration, and other areas of expertise include charitable giving, probate and Court of Protection work. The team has recently seen a very significant number of new instructions from high-net-worth individuals from the Gulf region.

At Harbottle & Lewis LLP, Glen Atchison’s principal focus is advising UK-resident and non-resident high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on diverse issues, ranging from tax-efficient international succession planning and structuring to the use of trusts or other bespoke arrangements to trace and protect assets. A significant proportion of the team’s work has an international dimension, and it acts for many very significant clients and family offices, including numerous billionaires, on a wide range of private client issues.

Kingsley Napley LLP has β€˜a long-established reputation in this area. Its service is of the highest calibre and the team provides a very personal service. It does not rush clients, which means that clients feel relaxed and can take their time to make decisions’. Jim Sawer is β€˜practical, creative and no-waffle’. Matthew Duncan is β€˜very engaging with clients and his customer service and follow-up with clients is very good’; he deals with high-level estate and succession planning with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurial clients, high-profile clients and complex family businesses. For family matters, Jane Keir is β€˜renowned for her fantastic clients skills; she is vastly knowledgeable and this she combines with superb client-handling skills’. The group has strong Middle Eastern connections and has seen an increase in referrals from private banks and accountants. It is β€˜a very impressive team’.

Cambridge-based Chris Belcher is a key member of the β€˜excellent’ team at Mills & Reeve LLP. β€˜His major attributes are his pragmatic approach to problem solving, client rapport, and knowledge of tax and the law. He has good empathy with his clients and provides clear advice that it is easy to follow, even though it may be complicated in practice’. Clients include owners of substantial businesses, internationally renowned sportspeople, landowners, trusts and charities. Principal associate Gillian Kennedy-Smith is another name to note. Among its recent highlights, the firm was appointed following a competitive tender to project manage the personal tax advice of a major international family with assets in multiple jurisdictions including the UK, the US, Jersey, Cyprus, Mauritius and India; a Cyprus holding company owned a UK family business and the advice covered complex tax and domicile issues for various family members following a death in the family.

Osborne Clarke LLP’s team is β€˜always responsive and knowledgeable, and provides a high-quality and excellent service, with particular strength in helping entrepreneurs’. Stuart Janaway has β€˜a flexible style that appeals to a variety of clients, and also has a strong knowledge of US tax issues. He provides practical advice’. Andrew Goodman is β€˜superb with clients, and very knowledgeable’. The team is best known for acting for entrepreneurs, business owners and international families, often acting on cross-border matters, and has strong US connections. On the investment side, the team works with the firm’s financial services and funds team in advising on the UK tax treatment of a variety of investment structures, assisting banks and investment managers looking to develop new funds and investment offerings in the UK.

Stephenson Harwood’s clients β€˜can be assured that all angles are covered. The team’s strength lies in its ability to assimilate information quickly and accurately and then to provide solutions in a very measured and precise way that makes clients feel that they are in very safe hands’. It is β€˜particularly helpful that the firm has offices globally, as this gives the added benefit of local expertise in different jurisdictions’. Head of department James Quarmby provides β€˜very detailed advice, and is broad thinking. He finds the optimal solution while keeping costs for the client in mind. He will always recommend the best solution for the client even if it is the most simple and cost-effective. He has the knowledge to be able to help the client and has his clients’ best interests at heart’. Senior associate Emily Osborne is β€˜technically brilliant and incredibly professional’, and both she and Quarmby are β€˜very approachable, innovative, proactive and efficient’. Areas of expertise include domicile and residency, succession planning for UK and non-UK domiciled individuals, offshore structures, and international succession law.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) fields β€˜a very efficient and competent team’. Judith Cuxson is β€˜very professional’, and the β€˜knowledgeable’ Michael Knowles has β€˜a lot of common sense. He is an excellent communicator and an exceptionally gifted lawyer’. Christine Green advises on estate planning, trusts and wills, and has a particular focus on cross-border matters, and the team also includes Rachael Armstrong in Birmingham, who joined from Flint Bishop LLP in Derby. Clients of the practice include entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals and families, landed estates, charities, museums and educational establishments. It undertakes complex tax work for cross-border and high-value estates, and acts on a number of matters involving national heritage assets.

At Blake Morgan LLP, team head Mark Spash and Helen Bunker are both β€˜proactive’. The β€˜first-class’ group is experienced in advising high-net-worth individuals in the event of a change in their personal, family or financial circumstances. It also has expertise in all aspects of domicile and its impact on areas such as inheritance tax, and in the interaction between UK and overseas estate duty and succession rules. Senior associate Laura Harper joined from Morrisons Solicitors LLP.

Neil Long and Alexander Dickinson are key figures at Bond Dickinson LLP. Long advises high-net-worth clients, including entrepreneurs, and trustees on estate planning and capital tax issues, and Dickinson specialises in succession, asset protection and estate planning matters for landowners, entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals. Recent highlights include advising on the reorganisation of a number of substantial trusts and the restructuring of their investment and trading structures, and providing ongoing tax and strategic advice to landed estates. The firm continues to act for high-value family investment companies, and is active in the administration of high-value trust assets.

Brecher LLP in September 2016 launched a new private wealth practice with the hire of Amanda Chapman and director Roger Holman from Cripps LLP, who both β€˜get straight to the point and give easily understandable advice’. Chapman specialises in tax planning for UK and non-UK domiciled individuals, with a focus on inheritance, capital gains and remittance planning, and also handles a broad range of trust matters. The β€˜quick and effective’ team acts for a wide range of clients including UK and international individuals, families, owner-managed businesses, family offices, trustees and charities.

DMH Stallard LLP is a firm with β€˜delightful people to deal with. Everything is fully explained in simple-to-understand language. All questions are answered promptly and fully. You always feel that the team is proactive and ahead of the game and that it can keep up with the "big boys"’. Practice head Lorna Fairbairn is β€˜very straightforward in her dealings and tries at all times to explain matters in such a way that her clients will understand. She is hugely experienced and very approachable with excellent instincts, and is a pleasure to work with, but cedes no quarter to the other side’. She and β€˜excellent and thorough’ associate solicitor Charmaine Wilson are both β€˜personable, and have a knack of imparting knowledge without making the client feel naΓ―ve’. Consultant Olivia Cooper advises on cross-border estates and estate planning. Recent work includes advising on the creation of a will for a client with assets in Scotland as well as England who was also in receipt of royalties from academic publications; the team advised on the appointment of literary executors and other issues such as domicile in relation to the Scottish assets, as well as how to mitigate the inheritance tax by way of charitable gifts. The firm β€˜offers very clear guidance to clients, and is excellent value for money’.

Matthew Bennett heads the department at Fladgate LLP, and advises UK and foreign nationals and their families on the management of their wealth and personal affairs with an emphasis on tax efficiency. Helena Luckhurst advises British and overseas families and entrepreneurs who want to protect their wealth and successfully pass it down to the next generation. The firm provides the full range of personal tax services to its clients, from completing personal tax returns to negotiating with HMRC, and regularly advises internationally mobile individuals (especially sportspeople and entertainers). Highlights included advising a Middle Eastern family on the restructuring of its London property portfolio (worth approximately Β£150m) in light of the anticipated changes to the taxation of non-domiciled residents, and the team continues to advise a non-domiciled Irish entrepreneur on restructuring UK and onshore trusts; other advice for the client has covered setting up a Jersey foundation and advice on the statutory residency test.

Saleem Sheikh heads the department at GSC Solicitors LLP, where β€˜the lawyers – from partners to associates – are always courteous and diligent, and have good industry knowledge’. David Nathan is β€˜excellent, steadfast and always available’, and Clive Halperin and James Cohen are β€˜superb’. The group acts for international ultra-high-net-worth clients on work spanning a range of jurisdictions, and has developed particular expertise in working with individuals from a diverse range of cultures.

John Burrell heads the department at Gordon Dadds LLP and is β€˜exceptionally calm. He can make the most excitable client calm and upbeat and is hugely, hugely experienced’. Anna Coakes is β€˜sensible and straightforward’, and specialises in estate and inheritance planning, wills, trusts and the administration of complex estates, acting for both UK and non-UK domiciled individuals. The team advises on a broad range of matters and has a particular focus on domicile matters and the administration of estates where domicile is at issue. It also regularly acts in the resolution of family inheritance disputes.

The head of the team at Hill Dickinson LLP is the β€˜excellent’ Iain Donaldson, who is β€˜great with clients’. He has β€˜an inventive mind, and is the classic busy person who gets things done’. Donaldson has significant experience in advising businesses and high-net-worth individuals on tax, wealth protection and financial risk management issues. The team is experienced in trusts, wills, capital tax planning and contentious and non-contentious trust and estate administration. Active clients include a significant number of non-UK domiciled clients, and the Church of the Agapemone - the Ark of the Covenant.

Ian Lane and Nicola Waldman are the names to note at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP. The team represents a wide range of clients from celebrities and notable families to non-domiciles and families in dispute. The group has recently handled the administration of multimillion-pound estates, family trusts, and UK inheritance tax matters in addition to advising on disputed estates and the drafting of wills of varying complexity.

Kerman & Co LLP has β€˜a knowledgeable team that takes the time to understand its clients’ needs and objectives to ensure that the advice it provides is tailored to suit the clients’ circumstances’. The β€˜hugely experienced but commercial’ Jane Molyneaux, who is β€˜a safe and reliable pair of hands’, heads the practice and specialises in complex wills and trusts and the administration of estates, often with an international element. Solicitor Laura Wynn provides β€˜a great and efficient service. She is sensitive and stays on top of the issues. She thinks outside the box to come up with innovative solutions, and explains things in a way that a lay person can understand’. The team advises on cross-border estate and succession planning, trusts, wills, powers of attorney and probate, for a national and international client base including high-net-worth individuals, wealthy families, trustees, charities and family offices. Senior partner Andy Kerman specialises in international estate planning.

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams is β€˜a firm that gives significant reassurance that the client’s legal position is well managed and protected’. Head of private client Michael Fletcher is β€˜reliable and well informed. He is calm and reflective when considering the client’s options but also very pragmatic in avoiding complex legal tangles when straightforward solutions are the best’. The team is experienced in onshore and offshore tax-planning structures and succession planning, and also in lifetime estate planning utilising gifts and the creation of trusts. Many of its clients have assets in a number of jurisdictions.

Head of department Hed Amitai at McGuireWoods London LLP is well regarded. The team attracts a steady flow of high-level work from US clients with interests in the UK as well as individuals relocating to the UK or investing money in the UK. It also counts a significant number of high-net-worth individuals from the Nordic region among its clients, and has strong links with other regions such as Israel, the Middle East, the CIS and Southeast Asia as well as Latin America and Africa. The team regularly advises private banks and family offices on UK and international tax and structuring issues, and has increasingly been reviewing the structures of high-net-worth individuals and their businesses not only from a tax and estate planning perspective but also to assist clients in maintaining their positive reputations in the market. Clients include Arlington Investors Limited, Capital Trust Limited, and Soderberg & Partners. Associate Oliver Sharp is another key contact.

Jonathan Riley heads the trusts, tax and succession team at Michelmores LLP, and provides tax advice to both UK and non-UK domiciled clients, with a large proportion of his work having an international element. Bristol-based Sandra Brown is another name to note. She acts for a wide range of high-net-worth individuals (many of them non-UK domiciled) and specialises in the preservation of personal wealth; she has a particular interest in the use of trusts and regularly advises trustees of valuable onshore and offshore trusts. The team focuses on wealthy individuals, families and wealth-holding structures requiring complex tax planning and wealth governance, and is experienced in cross-border US/UK tax issues in particular. It is also recommended for its specialist tax and succession planning for individuals with farming and agricultural business interests, and its experience in acting for vulnerable individuals and dealing with complex capacity issues. The team has notable expertise in advising on the protection of significant clinical negligence and personal injury awards.

The β€˜impressive and competent’ Paul Davidoff heads the private client department at Moon Beever; β€˜he really knows his stuff and he cares about his clients’. He specialises in complex tax, trust and estate planning matters for both UK and non-UK domiciled wealthy individuals and for onshore and offshore trustees. Alexandra Bartrope advises on wills, inheritance tax planning, estates administration and long-term care needs, in addition to powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications and trusts. The team acts for a broad range of UK and non-UK clients, spanning young professionals, high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, local families and nobility.

PWT Advice LLP is noted for its β€˜efficient and well-delivered service. The team provides prompt responses and there is a ready availability of able and experienced staff who provide reliably correct advice in a clear way’. Jo Summers is β€˜completely well informed and on top of what she is doing. She deals with things thoroughly and within agreed timescales’. Nicola Dudley is another key contact in the team, and is experienced in complex tax planning and offshore structuring in particular. The firm has also set up a French desk headed by the dual-qualified Claire Adenis-Lamarre, assisting French clients who live in England and English clients with interests in France. The team continues to represent the trustees of the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust with respect to their interest under his estate (now finalised) and to assist in the winding-up of the charity. It has also recently completed the administration of the estate of the late Michael Winner.

Seddons’ team is praised as providing the β€˜right advice each time, tailored to each individual client. It has a strong private client offering with international expertise, and is well matched by a robust contentious team’. Practice head James Ward is noted for his β€˜professionalism, knowledge and friendly manner’; he advises trustees, executors and high-net-worth individuals on tax affairs and estates, the administration of property trusts, and the drafting and variation of wills, and has extensive experience in both offshore and onshore domicile complications. Associate John Melville-Smith is a key contact for contentious estate administration matters.

Stuart Skeffington heads β€˜a top-flight team’ at Stevens & Bolton LLP. It is β€˜a strong firm with a good breadth of knowledge and experience. It is keenly priced relative to its peers in London but is in no way lacking in expertise. It offers a more pragmatic service and a collaborative approach’. Nick Acomb is β€˜outstanding’, and the β€˜excellent’ Daryl Fox is β€˜very knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with’. Matthew Carman has β€˜a good manner with clients and a broad range of private client knowledge’. Rosie Todd is active for entrepreneurs, advising on succession planning matters and other tax issues. The team covers the full range of advice from complex international tax planning for ultra-high-net-worth non-domiciles to work for landed estates, and estate administration.

Stone King LLP provides β€˜a good-all round value-for-money package in a more collaborative, client-centric way than some other firms in this area’. The team is headed by Alison Allen, who is based in Bath, and Rod Smith is another key figure. The five-partner team handles the full array of private client matters from international succession and probate to estate administration for large and complex estates. It also offers a wide range of services to older clients, from specialist services such as powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications to wills and estate planning, as well as providing a full β€˜concierge service’ such as managing their financial affairs, arranging and sourcing care and organising house moves.

The international practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is led from the firm’s London and New York offices. Basil Zirinis represents individuals, fiduciaries and family-controlled businesses globally in matters of estate and trust planning, family business governance and transition, estate and trust administration, and litigation; he has extensive experience in US and offshore trust disputes. For many years the firm has advised the majority of the Pritzker family beneficiaries on the restructuring of their $25bn worldwide business empire. Other active clients include The National College of Art (Washington, D.C.) and the Heyman family.

Hugh MacDougald heads the practice at Winckworth Sherwood LLP, and is recommended along with Tim Snaith, who is β€˜charming and discreet with clients and also knowledgeable, thorough and experienced. He is the ideal private client lawyer’. The firm acts for a variety of wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs, family businesses, and UK and foreign-domiciled trusts and individuals, in addition to landed estates, charities, executorships and agents. The team’s β€˜communication, knowledge and attention to detail are very reassuring’.

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Legal Developments in London for Personal tax, trusts and probate

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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