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Trusts and Probate Overview

Chambers is leading set for both contentious and non-contentious trusts and probate work.  Within the jurisdiction, the set has a very strong domestic profile, encompassing trusts and probate litigation and advice, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 and charities work.

Chambers also has a pre-eminent reputation for offshore trusts litigation and allied work.  Members of chambers act in significant cases across the Caribbean and in other jurisdictions including Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Lichtenstein, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Our clients include a wide range of City, West End, national and provincial firms of solicitors on-shore and many leading offshore, domestic and foreign law firms in relation to our international work, as well as major institutional trustees.  Members are well used, in consequence, to working within multi-national, multi-jurisdictional and indeed multi-disciplinary teams on large matters.

In 2011 Serle Court was awarded the Chambers of the Year award at the STEP Private Client Awards. The judges said “Serle Court has appeared, with honours, in probably the most significant private client cases not just of the last 12 months but of the last several years”.


Chambers & Partners 2017


Alan Boyle QC                    
Head of chambers and a barrister with long experience of handling trust and probate litigation. He has specific expertise in handling the trusts elements of high-value divorce cases.
Strengths: "Never ceases to impress, and when he gets his teeth into a case he is unstoppable. He really throws his all into his clients' cases and is meticulous in his preparation."

Frank Hinks QC 
Handles contentious and non-contentious matters in a variety of jurisdictions, and has advised several high-profile figures. 
Strengths: "He's learned and highly responsive, with a quick turnaround time when it comes to the papers. The man is utterly reliable and very bright."

Richard Wilson QC
Handles a large trusts practice and is active worldwide. He has appeared in high-level trusts cases in the Channel Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. 
Strengths: "A demolition ball in court. He's one of the true trial barristers, who is always game for the fight."
Recent work: Acted in Fielden v Christie-Miller, appearing for the trustees of the Swyncombe Settlement defending a claim brought against them for proprietary estoppel by a beneficiary. 



Dakis Hagen
Has a truly international practice and handles cases of great value and complexity. He is an expert in both the trusts elements of divorce and in professional negligence matters relating to trust structuring.
Strengths: "Particularly strong on complex, technical points. He has proved himself time and again to be exceptionally hard working and accessible."
Recent work: Advised a trustee in a £100 million claim relating to an alleged major breach of trust. 

William Henderson
Advises a wide range of clients in domestic and international trust disputes, and is experienced in both contentious and non-contentious cases. He is also an expert on trusts-related professional negligence claims.
Strengths: "When he stands up, judges and opponents really listen. His views are held in great esteem."

Giles Richardson
Handles both advisory and litigious trust matters, and is active both in the UK and offshore.
Strengths: "One of the lead experts in Jersey trust matters, and a barrister whose work rate is phenomenal."
Recent work: Acted in Fiduciare v Investec Trustees, appearing for successor trustees in proceedings against former trustees alleging negligent investment in hedge funds. 

Legal 500 2016

At Serle Court, ‘the level of service is very high, and the clerks are always able to provide objective advice about alternative counsel when the first choice is not available’. Members are involved in blockbuster trust disputes in Hong Kong, BVI and the UK. 

David Blayney QC - ‘Brilliant for offshore trusts advice’ 

Dominic Dowley QC - ‘He has the ability to persuade a judge and is very user-friendly.’ 

Elizabeth Jones QC - ‘Very thorough and tough.’

Jonathan Adkin QC - 'Very effective in trusts disputes.'

John Machell QC - ‘Approachable and very sensible.’ 

Alan Boyle QC - ‘Very good for large-scale trust litigation.’ 

Frank Hinks QC - ‘He has a seat at the top table of Chancery silks, and is strong on contentious matters as well as advisory work’ 

Philip Jones QC - ‘Very good’

Prof Jonathan Harris QC - ‘Recommended for cases involving restructuring of offshore trusts.’

Richard Wilson QC - 'At the top of his game.'

Andrew Francis - ‘Recommended for his Inheritance Act knowledge’

Constance McDonnell - 'Recommended for her knowledge of 1975 Act claims'

Giles Richardson - ‘He has it all, handling the fine details as well as being very good at high-level strategy.’ 

Jonathan Fowles - 'Very sound on international trust due diligence matters.'

Dakis Hagen - ‘A first-choice junior with an incredible work ethic.’

William Henderson - ‘He has excellent advocacy skills’



As we announced earlier this year, Serle Court’s International Trusts and... more


The latest edition of Serle Speak is now available to... more


Serle Court hosted a successful Trusts and Commercial Litigation Conference... more


Richard Wilson QC and James Brightwell will be speaking at... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court’s Trusts and... more


Leading Chancery and Commercial set Serle Court is pleased to... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the Transcontinental Trusts: International... more


Leading Commercial and Chancery set Serle Court is pleased to... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the Fraud, Asset Tracing... more


The latest edition of Chambers Global is now available online... more


Judgment was handed down by 7 Justices of the Supreme... more


We are delighted to announce that we will again be... more


The latest edition of Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar was... more


We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the International Trust &... more


Leading Chancery and Commercial set Serle Court announces the return... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trust &... more


Serle Court hosted a very successful International Trusts and Commercial... more


We are delighted to have once again been named “Private... more


The Legal 500 UK Awards shortlist has been announced and... more


The Citywealth Leaders List 2016 has now been published and... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court's Litigation Conference... more


We announced earlier this year that Serle Court’s International Trusts... more


The 3rd supplement to the 15th edition of the leading... more


We announced last month that Serle Court will be hosting... more


The latest edition of Chambers Global is now available online... more


We’re delighted to announce that Emma Hargreaves won the ‘Rising... more


John Machell QC and Richard Wilson QC will be speaking... more


Kathryn Purkis is returning to Serle Court to practise at... more


We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting... more


Leading commercial and chancery set Serle Court today announces the... more


Leading commercial and chancery set Serle Court announces today the... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the International Trusts &... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trust &... more


The Legal 500 UK Awards shortlist for 2015 has been... more


The Citywealth Leaders List 2015 has now been published and... more


The latest edition of Chambers Global is now available online... more


The latest edition of SerleSpeak is now available to download... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the International Trusts &... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trusts &... more


Serle Court hosted a second successful conference in Cayman on... more


The latest Chambers & Partners directory was published on 30... more


The latest edition of SerleSpeak is now available to download... more


We are delighted to have been named as Private client:... more


Prof. Jonathan Harris will be chairing an IBC conference on... more


We're delighted to announce that at last night's Chambers and... more


The Legal 500 UK Awards shortlist for 2014 has been... more


The 2014 Legal 500 directory was published on 1 October... more


Serle Court hosted a very successful litigation conference in London... more


Professor Jonathan Harris is an editor of the leading work... more


The Citywealth Leaders List 2014 has now been published and... more


We are delighted to sponsoring the International Trusts & Private... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trusts &... more


The Citywealth Leaders List 2013 has now been published and... more


We are very pleased to announce that Serle Court is... more


  Serle Court hosted a very successful conference in Cayman... more


We are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Trusts &... more


Professor Jonathan Harris is one of the editors of the... more


The 2013 Chambers & Partners directory was published on 1... more


  We are delighted to be sponsoring this prestigious conference... more


We have had another excellent set of results in the... more


  We are delighted to be sponsoring the Butterworths’ Trust... more


Now in its seventh edition, the Citywealth Leaders List is... more


Serle Court is sponsoring the prestigious Trusts & Estates Litigation... more


The 2012 Chambers & Partners directory was published on 25... more


In the new edition of the Legal 500 directory, Serle... more


We are delighted to announce that Serle Court has been... more


We are delighted that for the fourth year running Serle... more


On Wednesday 28 September 2011 Jonathan Harris will be speaking... more


Jonathan Harris is the editor of the May issue of... more


Now in its sixth edition, the Citywealth Leaders List is... more


Serle Court is proud to be sponsoring the prestigious Trusts... more


In the new edition of the Legal 500 directory, Serle... more


We are delighted that for the third year running Serle... more


We are delighted that the May 2010 edition of the... more


James Corbett QC contributed precedents on Trusts to this volume... more


In December 2009, the third supplement to the 14th edition... more


For the third year running, Serle Court is proud to... more


In the new edition of the Legal 500 directory, Serle... more


Serle Court is delighted to announce that Professor Jonathan Harris,... more


James Corbett QC has been invited to speak at the... more


Citywealth, the guide to the most highly regarded figures in... more


For the second year running, Serle Court is the only... more

Notable Cases

Thursfield v Thursfield [2012] EWHC 3742 (Ch) [2012] EWHC 3621 (Ch) [2011] EWHC 3539 (Ch)

Involves the enforcement of a US$5.7m judgment of the Michigan... more

Grupa Ozarow v Clean Energy Trading CL [2016] EWHC 2322 (Comm)

Acted for the defendant company trading in Carbon Credits in... more

Moreno de la Hilja v Lee [2017] EWHC 634 (Ch)

Acting for widow and estate of Sir Christopher Lee to... more

Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees SA (Trustee of the Tchenguiz Settlement) v ITG Ltd and Bayeux Trustees Ltd (Trustees of the Techenguiz Discretionary Trust) [2015] EWHC 1664 (Ch); [2015] EWHC 1924 (Ch)

Successfully opposing the claimant's application for permission to serve proposed re-amended... more

Pitt v Holt [2013] UKSC 26

Will represented Mrs Pitt in the High Court, Court of... more

Joint Stock Company Aeroflot - Russian Airlines v Berezovsakaya [2014] EWCA Civ 431

Administration of estates; Confidential information; Confidentiality agreements; Court-appointed receivers; Creditors'... more

Attorney General v Charity Commission for England and Wales [2012] WTLR 977

Attorney General’s reference in respect of trusts for relief of... more

Gudavadze v Kay [2012] EWHC 1683 (Ch) (Sales J)

Summary judgment on basis that alleged testamentary documents were forgeries. ... more

Barclays Wealth Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Equity Trust (Jersey) Ltd

Acted for Barclays as as trustee and manager in c.50m Euro proceedings... more

Re Tadros

Acted for and advised the second defendant, a multi-million probate... more

Lemos v CIBC

A claim alleging gross negligence by professional trustees in the... more

Manjeet Rai & ors v Jog Ahir & ors

Powers of trustees of charitable unincorporated assocation; and indemnity costs on... more

Khan v Crossland [2012] WTLR 841

Application for sale under section 14 of the Trust of... more

Trilogy Management v YT

Serle Court members also advised various parties which concerned the... more

CR v MZ [2014] WTLR 233

A sham trust/forgery case relating to the ownership of a... more

Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman [2014] WTLR 145

In an important decision, Moylan J overrode the wishes of the... more

L v K (Freezing Orders: Principles and Safeguards) [2014] 2 WLR 914

Clarified freezing injunction principles in a case involving trusts and... more

Stiftung Salle Modulable v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Limited [2013] SC (Bda) 47 Civ

Instructed on behalf of the Plaintiffs in a high value... more

Earl of Durham v Lady Lucinda Lambton & Ors [2013] EWHC 3566 (Ch)

Instructed by the claimant in a dispute between siblings as... more

Finch v Hall [2013] All ER(D) 92 (Oct)

Proceedings under section 14 of the Trust of Land and... more

Ullah v Ullah [2013] EWHC 296 (Ch)

Andrew Bruce successfully represented the Defendants in a substantial High... more

C v D Supreme Court of Bermuda, 3-4 December 2012

Certain beneficiaries of a civil law Foundation and a Bermuda... more

Re Nina Wang Dec’d [2012]

Acted for a charitable foundation in proceedings brought by the... more

Re The F Trust [2012] JRC 201

The corporate trustee of a Jersey trust decided that the... more

Labrouche v Frey [2011] EWHC 3854 (Ch)

A Claim for an account and for breach of trust... more

Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman [2013] EWHC 3627

Jersey trustees faced with a hostile variation of trust claim... more

AB Jnr v MB

Acted for the Plaintiffs in the Grand Court of the... more

North Shore v Anstead [2012] EWCA Civ 11

Acted for the appellants on two occasions. The first hearing concerned... more

Credit Suisse Trust Ltd v Nemni

Acted for the prinicpal beneficiaires of a substantial Guernsey Trust,... more

Re: Williams Fam D, 9 December 2011

The claimant sought to challenge a will over 10 years... more

Spread Trustee Co Ltd v Hutcheson & Ors [2011] UKPC 13

In a landmark decision, the Privy Council has upheld a... more

BQ v DQ [2011] WTLR 373

Ground CJ accepted that two inter vivos trusts were void... more

Pitt v Holt [2011] EWCA Civ 197

The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by HMRC against... more

Re Q Trusts [2010] Ground CJ

After the death of his first wife a businessman declared... more

Lady Henrietta St George et al v Sir Jack Hayward et al 2006 - 2010

Edward St George and Sir Jack Hayward owned and ran... more

Re: Q Trusts Supreme Court of Bermuda, 2009-2011

The trustees of a Bermuda trust made an application to... more

Cawdron v Merchant Taylors’ School [2009] EWHC 1722 (Ch)

Members of Chambers appeared for all the various parties in... more

Van Dalfsen v Caversham

A seven figure breach of trust claim in relation to... more

Stow v Stow [2008] Ch 461

The trustees brought a claim for declaratory relief to which... more

Organ and another v McKechie and others [2008] All ER (D) 329 (Feb)

The deceased testatrix had three sons and one daughter. The... more

Brown v Executors of HM Queen Mother and HRH Princess Margaret [2008] WTLR 425

A Jersey accountant, Mr Brown, believes that he is the... more

Alhamrani v Alhamrani

The case revolved around a very substantial family trust and... more

Barnes & Ors v Tomlinson & Ors HC (Chancery Division) 15 January 2007, Kitchin J

The claimants claimed against former trustees for breach of trust.... more

Re C Trust [2006] Smellie CJ

Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, the principal beneficiary was excluded... more

Mackinnon v The Regent Trust Company Limited & Ors [2005] W.T.L.R. 1367

A plaintiff beneficiary tried to set aside three family settlements... more

Shuck v Loveridge, Re Lamb (deceased) [2005] EWHC 72 Chancery Division

The claimant executrix (S) sought to prove the 1996 will... more

Cromwell v Copley [2004] All ER (D) 339 (Feb)

The settlor claimed rectification of a declaration of trust made... more

Driver v Yorke and another 7 April 2003, Ch D, HHJ Bowsher QC

This was a claim that the principle asset of the... more

Fazio v Rush [2002] AER (D) 392 (Jul) Sir Andrew Morritt V.C.

Successful defence of an action by a child of Caitlin... more

Re: Carapiet [2002] AER (D) 98 Jul. Jacob J

Successful action to determine that a trust for the establishment... more

Topham v Charles Topham Group Ltd [2003] 1 BCLC 123 Blackburne J

The claim was brought to save a tax freezer scheme... more

Re: Shelton - Agar [2002] AER (D) 16 May Hart J

Highly contentious will construction (part of a long running family... more

Wight v Olswang [1998] TLR 564

Validity and effect of trustee exemption clauses more


The estate's claim that the defendants had dishonestly misappropriated assets... more

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