Shan Warnock-Smith KC > Chambers of Penelope Reed > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Penelope Reed
5 Stone Buildings
Shan Warnock-Smith photo


Barrister who is an adviser and a litigator in the whole range of trust, estates and charity matters and has a particular interest in wealth structuring for international families from both the advisory and the litigation standpoints. In addition to her English practice, she practises extensively in the offshore jurisdictions, particularly in the Caribbean. She established ICT (International Chancery and Trusts Chambers) in Cayman and has been admitted to practice there. In 2008 she was admitted to practice in the Courts of the Dubai International Finance Centre. She is at the forefront of developments in the private client field. She appeared in Re Yorke (deceased) [1997] 4 All ER 907, the test case on estates of Lloyd’s Names, and is the author of the subsequent Practice Direction permitting paper applications to the court in such cases. Among some of her other reported cases are: Midland Bank v Wyatt [1995] 1 FLR 697 (the first English case on sham trusts); A v Rothschild Trust Cayman Ltd [2006] WTLR 1129 (establishing the availability of the Hastings-Bass jurisdiction in Cayman); AN v Barclays [2007] WTLR 565 (validity of no contest clause) and Re Circle Trust [2007] WTLR 631 (nature of power to appoint a protector); MEP v Rothschild and Sutton v England [2010] WTLR 335 [2009] EWHC 3270 (Ch) (use of court’s power to confer administration powers of partition). She has also appeared in numerous important and often highly sensitive unreported cases dealing with variations of trust, construction and rectification proceedings, breach of trust claims and applications for directions by trustees, particularly those concerning the sale or management of family companies. Shân is a mediator of trust and estates disputes.


Called 1971; Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn; QC 2002; accredited mediator; Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn; on Editorial Board of the ‘Wills and Trusts Law Reports’.


Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners; Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists; Chancery Bar Association; International Academy of Estate and Trust Law; chair of the Trusts and Estates Litigation Forum since its inception.


Westlake High School, Auckland, NZ; Portsmouth High School; King’s College, London.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Private client: trusts and probate

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Shân Warnock-Smith KC5 Stone BuildingsShan is at the absolute pinnacle of her profession in the trust world. She is 100% class and provides expertise on the full range of trust matters from advisory work through to highly contentious trust matters.

‘Wonderful set’ 5 Stone Buildings is considered by many a ‘go-to set for probate disputes’. The set offers a unique depth in the areas of contentious trust, contentious probate and family provision. ‘Brilliant tactician’ Henry Legge KC is known for his ‘extensive knowledge and forensic attitude’ and recently handled a case on the application of the Human Rights Act to the composition of the class of beneficiaries of a discretionary trust. Shan Warnock-Smith KC is ‘very approachable and easy to work with who handles the full range of trust matters’ and recently advised on obtaining guardianship and receivership orders in the Cayman Islands for a client who had lost capacity. Rose Fetherstonhaugh is also recommended.