Practice overview

John’s practice covers all aspects of trust and property law advice, drafting and litigation (including charities, wills and probate) and associated revenue and private international law questions. He specialises in advising on trusts (both private client and commercial), on revenue matters and on matters relating to the Society of Lloyd’s.

John acts for several of the leading large family trusts and land estates. He is a specialist in drawing up and advising upon complicated trust documentation and commercial documents and has taken part in many court applications under the Variation of Trusts Act, 1958 (particularly recently for the insertion of new perpetuity and accumulation periods). He has a detailed knowledge of the complex structure of rules and byelaws applicable to the Society of Lloyd’s and of the interlocking trust deeds and agency agreements which members, brokers and agents are required to execute.

Trusts, probate and estates: contentious

John has appeared in several important trust cases including:

  • Re Hay’s Settlement Trusts (dealing with the duties of trustees in exercising powers of appointment, the delegation of trustees’ powers and the tests for uncertainty for both trusts and powers).
  • Re Hampden’s Settlement Trusts (whether a power of advancement could validly be exercised to declare new trusts under which the object of the power does not take any benefit).
  • Re Leigh’s Settlement Trusts (whether a trustees’ power of appropriation can permit appropriations at a percentage rather than at cash value).
  • Johnstone v Rhodes (whether a discretionary settlement expressed to benefit issue of the Settlor born during the trust period, commencing at the date of the settlement, could be given a purposive construction to include as beneficiaries children of the settlor already living at that date).
  • John has also been concerned with court applications relating to the decision in Re Benham’s Will Trusts, and has recently dealt with a major case relating to the effect on existing trusts of the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • In addition John appeared in the major House of Lords litigation concerning Lloyd’s commercial premiums trust deeds, under the names of Napier v Kershaw and Lloyd’s v Robinson (whether Lloyd’s premiums trust deeds capture the litigation recoveries made by Names at Lloyd’s in respect of the negligence of their members and managing agents).
  • He was part of Legal Business magazine’s Litigation Team of the Year for 1996, an award made in respect of this litigation when it was in the Court of Appeal. He also took part in Wilde Sapte & Deeny v Society of Lloyd’s (whether Lloyd’s litigation recoveries in solicitors’ escrow accounts could be validly distributed to the Names concerned).
  • Currently and recently he has undertaken many cases under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 for the insertion into existing settlements of new 125-year perpetuity and accumulation periods.

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John's Details

BSB/VAT information

Registered name: Mr John Frederick Child
VAT number: 232235990

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Qualifications and Appointments

  • First Class Honours degrees in Law both at Southampton University and also at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (where he was a Scholar)
  • Holds a diploma in American Law from the University of Columbia
  • Awarded a Droop Scholarship and a Tancred Common Law Studentship by Lincoln’s Inn, and has been in practice since 1967


  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Revenue Bar Association


  • A main contributor to Vol. 19 (Sale of Land) of Butterworth’s Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (4th ed) and had more recently supplied that encyclopaedia with precedents for accumulation and maintenance settlements.
  • ‘Purposive Construction in the Law of Trusts’ for Private Client Business.

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