Matthew Evans > Hugh James > Cardiff, Wales > Lawyer Profile

Hugh James
Two Central Square
CF10 1FS

Work Department

Wealth Management


Matthew is a partner and heads up the firm’s private wealth offering. He is responsible for the development, implementation and long-term strategy of the team.

Matthew has a UK-wide reputation in the field of contentious probate, recognised by his clients and peers in the leading legal directories.

Matthew’s expertise lies in all aspects of contentious probate including: contesting a will/defending a will challenge, bringing and defending Inheritance Act claims, estates and trust disputes, Court of Protection disputes and Bringing and defending claims founded in doctrines of equity, such as proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts.

Matthew regularly receives instructions from a wide range of clients including lay beneficiaries, professional trustees and executors, company directors, charities, financial institutions, and trust corporations.

Matthew has acted in several widely publicised cases including reported cases such as Re: Edwards [2007] EWHC 1119 (Ch) which involved a successful challenge to a will on the basis of undue influence, Iqbal v Ahmed [2011] EWCA Civ 900 a successful claim by a disinherited spouse against her husband’s estate by virtue of the Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependants Act) 1975.

Matthew has also been heavily involved in the development of Hugh James’s volume wills, estate administration and trust administration services which are provided to the customers of banks and other financial institutions. He has considerable experience of working with professional partners to develop and implement such propositions and working closely with them to optimise service delivery.

Matthew has developed expertise in tax, trusts and estates disputes arising in the agricultural sector and has acted in many high value and high profile cases, often involving proprietary estoppel. One of his notable cases, Davies v Davies (2016) EWCA Civ 463, a successful proprietary estoppel claim arising in a farming business, has attracted considerable coverage in the national press and within the legal community with his client being termed ‘the Cowshed Cinderella’. The matter was heavily litigated, with two first instance trials, two appeals to the Court of Appeal, to deal with the questions of eligibility and quantum, and numerous interim applications, as well as an appeal to the Supreme Court. Ultimately Matthew’s client was awarded £500,000 with the case reported at each stage of its journey through the courts.


  • Qualified: 2003
  • Joined Hugh James: 2006
  • Associate at Hugh James: 2008
  • Senior Associate at Hugh James: 2010
  • Partner at Hugh James: 2012



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Lawyer Rankings

Wales > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate

At Hugh James, the ‘technically astute and commercially awareMatthew Evans heads up the firm’s overarching private wealth group which has the strength-in-depth to handle a significant range and volume of work in the space and is noted for its ‘professionalism, empathy and fantastic approach to their clients’. Eleanor Evans is ‘approachable and friendly‘ and spearheads the firm’s thriving trusts and estates administration sub group which continues to grow its client base and includes a raft of institutional clients, including high street banks. Gareth Wisdom also handles probate work although he is principally focused on developing the firm’s volume will writing service, and in this regard he has successfully secured some notable mandates for a number of high street and private banks. The ‘knowledgeable, hardworking and tough’ Roman Kubiak provides clients with a market-leading contentious probate offering which transcends geographical borders and includes a considerable flow of work form outside of Wales. Senior associate Austin Gill  is ‘efficient, resourceful and compassionate’ and has a particular focus on helping clients structure lifetime gifts in an IHT efficient manner.

Wales > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate

(Leading individuals)

Matthew EvansHugh James

Technically very able’ and appreciated for its ability to ‘handle difficult and emotional issues with ease’, Hugh James retains its position at the pinacle of the market for contested estates and trusts in Wales. Much of the credit for the success of the firm in the area can be attributed to ‘knowledgeable and hardworking’ team leader Roman Kubiak  who leads by example and has effectively broadened the scope of the practice to include specialisms in offshore disputes, as well as an increasing amount of mandates for celebrities and high-net-worth individuals. As well as handling core contentious probate work, an area that ‘technically astute and commercially-oriented’ private wealth head Matthew Evans  is also noted (including in relation to proprietary estoppel work), the firm also continues to grow its presence in relation to charity-related legacy disputes. At an associate level, although he is still relatively junior, Oliver Black  is already impressing clients ‘with his comprehensive knowledge of the facts’, including on cases relating to a lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence.

Wales > Private client > Agriculture and estates

(Leading individuals)

Matthew EvansHugh James

Appreciated for its ‘depth of knowledge‘ in the sector, Hugh James‘ multi-disciplinary team draws from strong independent private wealth, tax and trusts and commercial property teams, in particular, to deliver ‘great results‘ for clients that include high-net-worth landowners and farmers. The ‘technically astute and commercially-orientedMatthew Evans  is de-facto head of the team and alongside the ‘pragmatic and responsive‘ is noted for his expertise at handling contentious probate and proprietary estoppel cases for farming clients.

Wales > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

A sizeable and increasing amount of Hugh James‘ work in the space, directly flows from the firm’s market-leading private wealth and wills/trusts offering, with both Matthew Evans  and Roman Kubiak  regularly engaged for charities as beneficiaries in legacy administration and disputes. On the non-contentious front, under the guidance of Gareth Wisdom, the firm is one of the partners to Macmillan Cancer Support providing supporters of the cancer charity to  receive a “free” writing service. Leveraging the firm’s vast roster of housing association clients, the team also remains very active in the social housing space, with work touching on pure charity-related guidance, in addition to advice on their development and employment needs.