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Trusts, Tax, Probate & Estates

Emer acts in relation to a wide variety of contentious trust matters, involving both domestic and offshore structures.  She has represented professional trustees, beneficiaries and related professionals in a number of complex trust cases, and regularly advises on trust-related issues.

Notable cases include the following:

Twin Benefits Ltd v Barker (2017)

  • This dispute related to a settlement, approved by the High Court in 2014, which involved unwinding a multi-million-pound offshore trust.
  • Emer acted for professional trustee company Confiànce, in defending the claim that it failed to ensure a sufficiently good deal was secured for the potential beneficiaries of the (now unwound) trust.
  • Acting on her own account, Emer represented Confiànce in its successful application for security for costs. The case against Confiànce was struck out following the claimants’ failure to provide the ordered security.

Barker v Confiànce (2018) EWHC 2965 (Ch), [2019] EWHC 1401 (Ch)

  • Following on from the strike out of the Twin Benefits v Barker proceedings (noted above), the potential beneficiaries of the unwound trust then sought to revive the original High Court proceedings and to argue that they should not be bound by the court-approved deal.
  • The case raised issues relating to litigation friends and representative beneficiaries, the test for challenging court-approved settlements, and the proper scope and consequence of an order that a court-approved settlement does not bind a represented party.
  • Led by Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, XXIV Old Buildings, Emer acted for Confiànce in successfully resisting the potential beneficiaries’ application.

Confidential (2017)

  • This action related to a substantial mixed-use property in North London, held by a company which was jointly owned by two wealthy families and later sold.
  • Emer (acting as a junior to James Ayliffe QC) acted for a company associated with one of the families, alleging deceit and breach of fiduciary duty by the other family and its associated companies in relation to the sale of the property for several million pounds.
  • The matter settled in late 2017.

Confidential (2016)

  • This case concerns a massive trust dispute worth billions of pounds in an offshore jurisdiction between members of the same wealthy family.
  • Acting as a junior to Brian Green QC, Emer assisted a client accused of duping her mother out of her intended benefit under a trust.