LLM(Exon)(International Business Law), Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales (non-practising), of Lincoln’s Inn and the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law (practising), TEP, SCMA accredited mediation advocate (www.mediationadvocates.org.uk). Chambers of Sir Tony Baldry, First Floor, 1 Essex Court, Temple, London (www.1ec.co.uk).
I undertook pupillage in what is now Maitland Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn (where my pupil masters included Lord Justice Davis), am a member of the South Eastern Circuit, which includes London (www.southeastcircuit.org.uk), the Chancery Bar Association (www.chba.org.uk), and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (www.step.org).
Before striking-out of my own, and returning to the Bar, I practiced as a commercial litigation and private client solicitor with Mills & Co in Newcastle, and worked in-house as a legal advisor with Rolls-Royce and Alstom in Paris. I am also a published authority of Diplomatic Law (cited in Wikipedia), and in 2014 founded the Diplomatic Law Guide (www.diplomaticlawguide.com) which is listed on the website of the United States ‘American Foreign Service Association’ (the ‘AFSA’) based in Washington DC, underneath the heading ‘Codes of Conduct from Other Services/Countries’ (www.afsa.org/ethics).
Since 2014 I have specialised exclusively in will and trust disputes, and exercise rights of audience before every court in England and Wales in relation to all proceedings, and as a registered Public Access Barrister, can be instructed directly by members of the public (including executors and trustees) without the involvement of a solicitor.
I am also authorised by the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation.
In an appropriate case, this permits me to carry out day to day case management activities (including the issue of a Claim Form in any court in England and Wales) which are reserved to Solicitors. This enables me to offer a one stop shop litigation and advocacy service to members of the public, from evaluation of the merits, evidence, and remedies, through to trial or settlement of the claim.
Although I regularly appear as an advocate in court, nearly all of my cases settle. When appropriate (i.e. depending upon the remedy sought and issues in dispute), I recommend mediation from the minute that the parties are willing and ready to enter into negotiation. That is usually not until the parties’ respective issues and positions have been clearly defined, analysed, understood, and evaluated in relation to merits on the known facts and evidence. I develop and apply bespoke methodologies based upon the drafting of a legal and commercial risk analysis (instead of a position paper), to map, explore, and measure, the gap between the parties’ respective expectations within the potential zone of settlement. I then narrow it, by injecting realism into the equation (i.e. based upon the burden of proof, evidence, and litigation costs risks). The result, which often comes as a surprise to the parties’ solicitors, is that the gap may be less than 5% of the value of the claim. Provided a settlement figure does not fall below either side’s BATNA, a deal can therefore be done. What solicitors (even well known City firms) often overlook until the day of the mediation itself, is the impact of: (i) the costs already paid by their client; (ii) CGT; and (iii) IHT, e.g. the impact of a failed PET, all of which need to be factored into the structuring of the settlement computations. In these circumstances computation of the impact on the settlement zone requires investigations and adjustments that should have been carried out when preparing for the mediation day. In my experience, mediators who are not contentious probate specialists, suffer from a blind spot in facilitating a practical deal that is doable, precisely because they do not understand the fundamental underlying arithmetic. That is why I prefer mediators who can count, to mediators who brag about having done more than 1000 mediations.
To enquire about instructing me please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact my Clerk at 1 Essex Court:
Tel: 020 7936 3030 or 020 7832 1010.
Tel out of hours: 07721 866 858.
In June 2016 I appeared in the High Court in London as counsel for the claimant in Clark –v- The Trustees of the Victor Hugo Fund (A Trust of Balliol College in the University of Oxford) & ors  (which was a successful claim for rectification of a will that involved multi-jurisdictional issues). I was instructed through my own Chambers, Averose Chancery Chambers, and both appeared as an advocate and conducted the litigation, on a public access basis for a client who resides in another jurisdiction. I am currently undertaking contentious probate litigation and appearing as an advocate at hearings (and as a mediation advocate in ADR), for lay clients throughout the UK, in cases which involve a variety of complex and high value claims, counterclaims, and defences, and the cross-examination of experts.
Whilst I principally appear in the Business and Property Courts and Central London County Court, I have expanded my advocacy practice to include: (i) Court of Protection hearings; and (ii) Judicial Review proceedings in the Administrative Court, and am currently representing a Scottish Council in Court of Protection proceedings.
I am currently involved in three cases involving breach of fiduciary duty, and in 2019 will be developing my practice to include minority shareholder disputes, and civil fraud.
I am also the author of the first edition of the ‘Contentious Probate Handbook’ (published by the Law Society on 1 October 2016), and was a guest speaker at the annual one day seminar of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) in the City of London on 7 April 2016.
To download a copy of my paper (which is being serialised in the ACTAPS monthly Newsletter) please click on this link.*
My article, ‘Equitable compensation arising out of sale of a property ordered under s.14 TLATA’ was published by Oxford University Press, in Trusts & Trustees, Volume 23, Issue 10, 1 December 2017, Pages 990–995: https://academic.oup.com/tandt
‘Trusts & Trustees is the leading international journal on trust law and practice. The most significant source of information in its field, the journal is essential for all trusts practitioners and lawyers … The journal is ideal for international trust lawyers working in both private practice and in-house in trust companies; trusts practitioners; and those working in trust companies. It will also be an essential source of reference for academics specializing in trusts; members of the judiciary; members of regulatory bodies; and institutional libraries.’ Oxford University Press.
I have been commissioned by the Law Society to write a new book for practitioners entitled the ‘Contentious Trusts Handbook – Practice and Precedents’, which is scheduled for publication in October 2019. For more information please visit the ‘Contentious Trusts Handbook’ page of this website.
In October 2018 an article I co-authored with Dr Hugh Series of Oxford University, ‘The Advocate and the Expert in the Court of Protection’ was published in the Expert Witness Journal (ahead of the Bond Solon annual international Expert Witness Conference in London on 9 November 2018). The article includes the outline of a new method of ADR I have developed for trust and estate disputes, and adapted for COP disputes, called ‘BME Mediation’. The article is being serialized in the ACTAPS monthly Newsletter, and has been posted by the Inner Temple Library on their Current Awareness Blog. A copy is also available to view on the ‘Publications’ page of this website.
On Tuesday 13 November 2018 I am giving a talk at the Guildford Country Club about ‘Breach of fiduciary duty’.
I have also been invited to write an article for publication in ‘Trusts & Trustees’ (Oxford University Press) about ‘Breach of Fiduciary Duty’, which I am planning to submit for publication in November 2018. This will include the outline of a novel legal theory I am arguing that I call the ‘Quiet Fiduciary Thesis’. It permits a claim of fraudulent calumny to be brought through the back door of breach of fiduciary duty, where a fiduciary, e.g. the holder of an LPA, has been silent.
In 2019 I am developing ‘Art and Antiquities Disputes’ as a niche practice area to compliment my contentious probate, trust disputes, and mediation legal services. The appendix to my new book the ‘Contentious Trusts Handbook’, will contain a practice note about trust disputes involving art and heritage assets that will be co-written with an eminent art scholar and historian in London. To obtain a solid theoretical grounding in Art Law, in Autumn 2019 I also plan to undertake the diploma course in ‘Art Law’ run by the Institute of Art and Law.
* Please note that you will need a suitable pdf reader to view the document, if you need to download the software please click your choice of link below: