Matthew Evans > Hugh James > Cardiff, United Kingdom > Lawyer Profile

Hugh James
Two Central Square
CF10 1FS
United Kingdom

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 > Agriculture and estates

(Leading individuals)

Matthew EvansHugh James

Drawing upon ‘genuine expertise and strength-in-depth’, Hugh James‘ multi-disciplinary practice advises landowners, farmers, public sector clients and developers across a range of private client and property work, in particular. Private wealth head Matthew Evans has considerable experience in the sector, including in the context of contentious probate and proprietary estoppel. Combining ‘charming charisma with a first-rate intellect’, Roman Kubiak is also a key team member, regularly handling private wealth disputes work for farming clients.

Wales > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate

(Leading individuals)

Matthew EvansHugh James

Recognised as ‘the pre-eminent estates and trusts dispute firm in the country’, Hugh James attracts work across England and Wales, from ordinary families to large institutions, charities and high-net-worth-individuals. Key to the firm’s success in the area is the expertise of ‘dynamic and effective litigator’ Roman Kubiak, who ‘combines a charming charisma with a first rate intellect’. Kubiak’s skill in the area is underscored by his involvement in numerous reported cases during 2022, including his involvement for the respondents in a Court of Appeal case dealing with testamentary capacity and proprietary estoppel. As part of his role as overarching head of the firm’s private wealth group, Matthew Evans also regularly handles matters with a contentious angle and has gained particular strength in relation to farming-related proprietary estoppel cases. The team was also bolstered by the arrival in October 2022 of senior associate Sarah O’Grady  from Clarke Willmott LLP, who ‘is very experienced in contentious probate and 1975 Act cases’.

Wales > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate

At Hugh James, the ‘empathetic and professional’ Matthew Evans spearheads the firm’s overarching private wealth group which has the strength-in-depth to advise individuals, financial institutions, charities and trust corporations across tremendous range and volume of contentious and non-contentious work. The ‘very accomplished’ Eleanor Evans heads up the firm’s trusts and estates administration offering, providing a ‘cost-effective and professional’ service to the firm’s impressive roster of financial institution and trust corporation clients. Senior associate Austin Gill  is also engaged in administration work, although his workflow is more aligned to individual clients (as opposed to fiduciary ones); he is particularly adept at ensuring IHT exemptions are properly applied and that death duty taxes are structured in an efficient manner. Led by the ‘incredibly commercial’ Gareth Wisdom, the firm has a traditionally strong reputation handling volume will writing for financial institution clients, while the arrival in September 2022 of Catrin Griffiths  from Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice strengthens its capacity to provide a bespoke service to high-net-worth-individuals. For litigation, Roman Kubiak is a market-leading contentious probate practitioner, whose ‘charming charisma combined with a first rate intellect, and tough negotiation skills’ ensure that he is a formidable opponent both locally and nationally.