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Trusts, Tax, Probate & Estates
James has a busy practice in traditional and commercial chancery matters. He is ranked in The Legal 500 as a ‘Rising Star’ (Tier 1) in Private Client: Trusts and Probate, and described as follows: “very intelligent, commercial and sensible. He goes the extra mile and is very good with clients. He has a meticulous attention to detail and is very thorough”. He often acts as part of a large team in substantial disputes and has a growing practice as sole counsel. In the early part of 2015, James spent time as an associate in the offices of Carey Olsen, a leading Channel Island firm, and acted in a number of proceedings, primarily concerning high value trust litigation.
Recent instructions include:
- Ad Hoc Arbitration. James acts (led by John Martin QC and Fenner Moeran QC) for the claimant beneficiary in a multi-billion dollar trusts dispute, concerning a contested distribution of the entirety of the trust assets to the settlor-beneficiary. The proceedings raise issues of rectification, mistake, breach of trust, dishonest assistance and unconscionable receipt.”
- Morina and others v Scherbakova and others. James (led by Giles Richardson) acts for the widow of a deceased Russian businessman in high value international probate litigation and related proceedings concerning the ownership of shares in a BVI company.
- Acting as sole counsel for one of the professional trustees in the latest chapter of the Earl of Cardigan litigation.
- Assisting Robert Ham QC in Marley v Rawlings, the Supreme Court case about mirror wills, now the leading case on the validity, interpretation and rectification of wills.
- Patel v Patel (Royal Court, Guernsey): James acted for the defendant trustees in an application for information in the context of a worldwide dispute.
- Advising in the wide-ranging Guernsey proceedings concerning the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust (Investec v Glenalla).
- Advising the trustees of the Church Property Trustees, statutory trustees of Christchurch Cathedral, New Zealand, as to the application of insurance proceeds received in relation to the contents of the Cathedral damaged in the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence of 2010-2011.
- Obtaining (alongside Thomas Seymour) a freezing injunction against personal representatives who had misappropriated assets.
- Assisting Robert Ham QC and Andrew Mold QC in a case concerning the administration of a charitable trust administered in the Isle of Man, resulting in a leading judgment on when trust proceedings will be held in private.
- Advising in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958.