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Michael Ashdown

Call: 2013   

+44 (0)20 7306

Practice Overview

Michael has a busy and diverse practice, encompassing all of Chambers’ areas of traditional and commercial chancery work. He appears regularly in the High Court and County Court, both as sole counsel and as a junior in a larger team. Michael’s particular interests are in all aspects of litigation and advice relating to trusts law. This encompasses both traditional private client work and pension schemes, together with professional negligence in those fields.

Recent notable instructions include:

  • British Airways v Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Ltd. Acting for British Airways in a long-running claim against the trustees of the Airways Pension Scheme for alleged breaches of trust in the exercise of discretionary powers, culminating in a 7-week trial before Morgan J, reported at [2017] EWHC 1191 (Ch) (with Michael Tennet QC and Sebastian Allen)
  • Acting (as sole counsel) for a minor beneficiary in two sets of contested High Court proceedings, first pursuant to Schmidt v Rosewood Trust Ltd to obtain trust accounts and other information to explain the diminution of the trust fund, and secondly to remove and replace the existing trustees.
    Acting (as sole counsel) in High Court proceedings for a beneficiary seeking to establish his entitlement to a half share in a substantial trust fund, and to value and realise that share.
  • Acting (as sole counsel) for the claimant firm of solicitors in the County Court trial of their claim to recover unpaid fees from a client for whom they had acted in Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings.
  • Advising the defendant administrator on claims under the under the Inheritance (Provision for Family of Dependants) Act 1975 concerning overseas property, the validity of UK and foreign marriages and divorces by both claimant and deceased, and the recognition in England of foreign polygamous marriage.
  • Advising trustees on the CGT treatment of a chose in action when the trust is exported from England to Australia.
  • Michael is also Lecturer in Law at Somerville College, Oxford, where he teaches property law to undergraduate students. Before coming to the Bar, he spent six years as Fellow and Tutor in law at Somerville College. His research concerned trustees’ powers and duties and the remedial consequences of breaches of trust, with a particular focus on the so-called “rule in Re Hastings-Bass”, and was cited in the Court of Appeal in Pitt v Holt [2011] EWCA Civ 197. He lectured, examined and gave tutorials on the law of trusts, land law and Roman law.