‘Judicial-ENE and the New Normal’, published by Trusts & Trustees (Oxford University Press), 14 December 2020:

‘Contentious Trusts Handbook – Practice and Precedents’, 1st Edition, 400 pages including a CD-ROM, priced £100.00, published by the Law Society in July 2020 (ISBN-13:978-1-78446-12446-124-9).

Ordering Links:

Law Society Bookshop:

Wildy & Sons Ltd:


Sir John Baker explains that the publication in 1837 of “A Practical Treatise on the Law of Trusts” authored by Thomas Lewin signified a shift away from perceiving trusts as principally an adjunct of conveyancing of land towards an institution in their own right. Trusteeship shifted from being a relatively passive office ancillary to landed settlements towards a more general and demanding role. Trusts ceased to be the exclusive preserve of the aristocracy also becoming a vehicle for the wealth of Victorian England’s middle classes. The book is now known as Lewin on Trusts. It continues to dominate the English texts.

Similar observations might be made of the Contentious Trusts Handbook commissioned by the Law Society and written by Carl Islam (who like Thomas Lewin is a leading barrister practicing in the field). This is because its publication reflects the unfortunate fact that the risk of trustees becoming involved in court proceedings appears to be on the increase. Such proceedings are increasingly hostile and hard fought. This handbook provides the busy practitioner with a practical overview of themes that are commonly encountered.  It will guide them through every stage of proceedings, from pre-action protocols through discovery to settlement and trial. It contains a detailed discussion of mediation and arbitration and it is accompanied by a set of useful precedents and contributions from an art expert (Pandora Mather-Lees), an expert in trust litigation in the Cayman Islands (Hector Robinson QC) and a mediator (Anthony Trace QC).

The handbook will enable practitioners to anticipate and head off problems, thus hopefully reducing the risk of litigation, as well as providing guidance if and when proceedings are necessary. As with its non contentious cousin, authored by Gill Steel, Mr Islam’s handbook will become a well established staple on our bookshelves. The author and the publishers are to be congratulated.

Toby Graham, Partner and Head of the Contentious Trusts and Estates Group at Farrer & Co LLP, Co-editor of Trust & Trustees (Oxford University Press).

‘Contentious Probate Handbook – Practice and Precedents’, 1st Edition, 424 pages including a CD-ROM, priced £79.95, published by the Law Society 1 October 2016 (ISBN: 9781784460600). The photograph shows the book on display in the window of Wildy & Sons, on Fleet Street, in London.

Book Review by Richard Dew, published in the June 2017 edition of the STEP Journal circulated worldwide (average monthly global net circulation July 2015 to June 2016: 19,757).

Richard Dew TEP is a Barrister at Ten Old Square, which won Chambers of the Year at the STEP Private Client Awards 2015/16.

‘Some years ago, I spoke at a local STEP branch regarding practice and procedure in contentious probate, and subsequently published the notes of the talk online. As is the way with the internet, I found, even recently, that I was occasionally contacted by solicitors who – or whose clients – had read the notes and found them helpful, despite their obvious antiquity. The reason was simple: there are very few publications that address squarely (and solely) the topic of contentious probate.

Carl Islam has now filled that gap with a handbook aimed at practitioners that sets out the law and practice of contentious probate, with a number of useful precedents.

The author covers all the major topic areas, not only regarding the validity of wills, but also the removal of executors and trustees, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and the principles of interpreting and rectifying wills. The requirements of civil procedure are set out in a comprehensive chapter, and there is a further chapter on the principles of costs, including the costs-budgeting regime.

The reader who wishes to quickly research a principle or check on a procedural rule will be swiftly satisfied with the logical and clear presentation. A more avid reader will also not be disappointed: the author sets out his considered views on the tactics of litigation in a chapter that will cause even a seasoned litigator to reconsider. He also clearly has considerable experience in alternative dispute resolution, and provides guidance on both the well-known process of assisted mediation and other less well-known techniques, such as barrister-assisted mediation and the system of guided settlement, something the author himself has pioneered.

Where outside expertise was needed on certain procedures, the author has obtained it: there are contributions from experts on mental disorders, forensic document examination and the preparation of costs budgets.

There are also 23 precedents ranging from, for example, Beddoe orders to a sample Precedent H (a costs budget). It is inevitable that even a book devoted to precedents will not provide all those that might be needed, but this volume contains many examples that will prove useful to its readers.

I can also recommend the notes set out in the appendices, which include a note on preparing court bundles (if only this were better known!) and a very useful digest on mediation cases.

I do not have criticisms of the book so much as suggestions for the next edition. The chapter on Inheritance Act claims is short and would be improved by further discussion of the principles applicable to such claims. In addition, while the tax effect (and advantages) of settling and concluding probate claims is discussed, the book would benefit from outlining some of the more common techniques that are used.

I had thought that I should update and expand the notes that I had written and make them into a book. This is now not only unnecessary but pointless, as I would be unable to improve on this publication.’

Ordering Links:

Wildy & Sons Ltd (who deliver worldwide):


  • “The Advocate and the Expert in the Court of Protection”, published in the Expert Witness Journal (Autumn 2018). Co-authored with Dr Hugh Series of Oxford University.

  • “Equitable compensation arising out of sale of a property ordered under section 14 TLATA” published in Trusts & Trustees by Oxford University Press, Trusts & Trustees, Volume 23, Issue 10, 1 December 2017, Pages 990–995,

Link to Abstract and Article

  • “Bricks and mortar – the practical application of the residence nil rate band, including drafting issues and claiming the relief’, co-authored with Stephanie Churchill CTA and published in Taxation (12 October 2017) LINK.
  • “The Advocate and the Expert in a Testamentary Capacity Claim”, the paper serialised in the monthly Newsletter of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), of the talk I presented at their Annual Spring Seminar on 7 April 2016, at Charles Russell Speechlys in the City of London. HANDOUT. *
  • “The Advocate and the Expert in a Testamentary Capacity Claim”, published in the Expert Witness Journal (Autumn 2015) LINK* (for the on-line version click this link).
  • “Tax-Efficient Wills Simplified 2014/2015”, (360 pages priced £14.99), is available to purchase in the UK from Waterstones and Amazon. Previous editions have sold in Australia (where the book is in the National Library of Australia –, Brazil, China, Europe, South Africa, the Russian Federation, and the USA, and for posting outside the UK a copy can be purchased from Wildy’s – the world’s legal bookshop [], in Lincoln’s Inn and on Fleet Street in London. The book is also available on Kindle for immediate download – click HERE.  To view the UK Number 1 bestseller ranking for the Kindle edition of the book (23.12.2014) please click HERE*.
    The paperback edition was ranked by Amazon as a UK bestseller at Number 5 in its genre (23.12.2014), and please click HERE* to view the ranking, and at Number 2 (22.12.2014), for most popular products ordered as gifts in the category of personal taxation, and to view the ranking please click HERE*.

Book Review published in the Winter 2013 edition of ‘Light Blue Law’, the Cambridge and District Law Society Newsletter. LINK.

The foreword has been written by Nigel Eastaway OBE, Tax Partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, in the City of London who concludes,

‘I think anyone contemplating making a will, or advising their clients about testamentary planning, will find this book accurate, useful, and comprehensive, as a practical guide to inheritance tax planning involving the drafting of tax-efficient wills.’

The book has been fully updated to take account of the tax changes introduced by the bumper Finance Act 2013, and recent cases discussed include:


Chandler v Chandler (2011).

Execution of a Will (Formalities).

Singh & ors v Ahluwalia (2012).

Hastings-Bass Principle.

Futter and another v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and Pitt and another v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (2013) (Supreme Court).


HMRC v Pawson (2012).


Matthews v HMRC (2012).

Mental Capacity.

ABC v XZ (2012).

Hawes v Burgess (2013).

Schrader v Schrader (2013).

Professional Negligence.

Gabriel v Little & ors (2012).

Mehjoo v Harben Barker (A Firm) & anr (2013).


Day & anr v Day (2013).

Joshi & ors v Mahida (2013).

Undue influence.

Schrader v Schrader (2013).

Validity of a Will.

Paynter & anr v Hinch (2013).

  • “Tax-Efficient Wills Simplified 2012/2013” was launched at Waterstones on Friday 7th December 2012. On Christmas Eve Amazon (based on its own internet sales) ranked the book 8 in the top 100 of bestselling books in the category of money and finance guides. [LINK].

‘Primarily written for practitioners, this book will also help to demystify the [inheritance tax planning and will writing] process for lay readers. Packed with information and fully referenced to relevant current legislation and case history, the book will provide an invaluable reference for non-specialist financial advisors, lawyers, accountants, tax advisors, will-writers, private banks, trust companies, and family offices worldwide.’ (Publisher’s description).

To read the Foreword to this edition of the book written by Nigel Eastaway OBE, please click on this link*.

For photos, Amazon book ranking and live video from the Book Launch click HERE.

Buying links:     Waterstones        Amazon        Wildy’s

  • Tax-Efficient Wills Simplified 2011/2012”, published by Management Books 2000 Ltd (November 2011) (ISBN: 9781852526887), which is being sold by Amazon, Waterstones, and Wildy’s ( Also published as an e-book available from the e-portal at

Buying links:     Waterstones        Amazon        Barnes & Noble (USA)

Photos from November’s book launch – click the images to enlarge

          booklaunch1_small   booklaunch2_small  booklaunch3_small

  • Tax-Efficient Wills Simplified 2010/2011published by Management Books 2000 Ltd (November 2010) (ISBN: 9781852526382), which is being sold by Amazon, Waterstones, and Wildy’s (

“Priced at just £14.99 the book is something of a bargain.  It is not a particularly heavy or bulky book and yet it manages to include within its pages all of the essential information about will drafting techniques and inheritance tax (save so far as non-UK domiciliaries are concerned) that the average practitioner in this field is likely to need.  If it were possible to distil the most essential elements of Williams on Wills and Tolley’s Inheritance Tax into a single 250 page volume for will draftsmen, Carl Islam’s “Tax-Efficient Wills Simplified” might well be the result.”

(Extract from the first review of the book written by Paul Davies of Lane-Smith & Shindler LLP for Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal).

Book Review and Ordering Links:    Leicestershire Law Society    Waterstones

  • Ranked as a bestseller by Amazon in the top 100 of personal finance books (16.04.2011).

Amazon0001a_small<  click the image to see full size

  • The concept of sham in relation to offshore trusts, how such a situation can arise and how best it can be avoided” published in the Journal of International Trust and Corporate Planning, Volume 14, Issue 3, 2007, by Jordans.  LINK
  • The legal and commercial consequences of performing unspecified design work in ship-conversion projects (April 1999). International Conference Paper published by the Royal Institute of Naval Architects in London. LINK*
  • Les effets de la directive communautaire sur la responsabilite du fait des produits sur l’introduction d’une instance au Royaume-Uni” (how to bring a product liability claim in England).Revue du Marche Commun. No325 mars 1989: 176-179, cited on the United Nations Biographic Information System.

“The article was very helpful for getting our heads round a law we didn’t know existed until last night, so your work was put to good use.” Dave McMullan, Senior Broadcast Journalist, The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4 (15 August 2012).

‘Assange in limbo’ published by Eurasia Review News and Analysis 17 August 2012 (

‘Inviolability, Ecuador and the Julian Assange case’ published by World News Australia 17 August 2012 (

‘Inviolability, Ecuador and the Julian Assange case’ published by CNET Australia 17 August 2012 (

For further reading, please visit the Diplomatic Law Guide.

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