Practice overview

Jonathan has a broad trusts and commercial practice. Much of his time is spent on private, pension and other commercial trust disputes and fraud disputes, both on and offshore. His litigation often takes him into other areas of law, and he has significant experience of cases with family, regulatory, insolvency and public law elements. He also has a significant advisory practice across this spectrum of work.

He very much enjoys the challenge of breaking down complex issues into simple, clear points and the advocacy involved in litigation, both oral and written.

Jonathan was shortlisted for ‘Chancery Silk of the Year’ at the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Awards 2021 and at the Legal 500 Awards 2023.

He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2021.

He is consistently ranked in the directories for trusts (private and pension), matrimonial: trusts, offshore, civil fraud, traditional chancery and high-net-worth work (Chambers and Partners) and offshore, pensions and private client (The Legal 500).

Trusts, probate and estates: contentious

Jonathan is consistently ranked in Band 1 in Chambers & Partners for trusts work and separately for trusts and divorce work. Jonathan was shortlisted for ‘Chancery Silk of the Year’ at the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Awards 2021.

A substantial part of Jonathan’s work concerns ultra-high-net-worth private trust litigation and associated advice. This encompasses the spectrum of domestic litigation, offshore work, trusts and divorce disputes and work with a fraud or other asset tracing element. His work involves a wide range of jurisdictions, from Jersey and Guernsey to Bermuda, the BVI, the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. He commonly leads large teams on his trust matters and enjoys working as part of a large group.

The vast majority of his cases are confidential, but for example he has recently been involved in complex litigation in Jersey, Guernsey, Hong Kong, and Bermuda, to name a handful. e.g.

  • He has been involved in a number of multi-$bn / 100m trusts and fraud matters across a range of jurisdictions, including novel sham and similar issues;
  • He is involved in two long running Guernsey disputes, both of which have involved trips to the Guernsey CA;
  • He has been involved in a number of long running multi-$100m trust and divorce cases both in England and abroad;
  • He has been involved in a number of high-profile multi-$bn / 100m Hong Kong disputes.

Over recent years, a significant amount of his trusts work with an international element has concerned attacking and defending complex offshore structures, whether in the divorce context or in offshore proceedings involving fraud and other linked routes of attack. He has significant expertise in the divorce context and is often instructed as part of a family team.

On the domestic side, he acts in rectification, VTA and other similar court cases concerning trusts and estates, and frequently finds himself in the Chancery Division and Family Division on such cases.

He has longstanding experience in the Family Division having for example acted in the Tchenguiz Imerman v Imerman divorce and in cases like TM v AH [2016] EWHC 572 (Fam) about the joinder of offshore trustees.

Download Trusts, probate and estates: contentious CV

  • Quote symbolJonathan is the most capable and thorough advocate I've ever dealt with. His ability to assimilate information is extraordinary.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA truly brilliant and rare KC.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA superbly clever man; he's a go-to for large, complicated matters.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolThere are very few of his generation with his firepower.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolJonathan's mind works at an unbelievable pace and his analytical ability is incredible. He's a pleasure to work with, and an enormous support when he's in court.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

Trusts, probate and estates: contentious insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Fraud, Trusts & Asset Recovery Conference 2024

    Thursday 4th July 2024 | 12.30pm - 5.25pm, followed by drinks and canapés
    The View at The Royal College of Surgeons

    £135 + VAT | 3.5 CPD

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Trusts Litigation Day 2024

    Monday 29th January 2024 | 9am - 5.35pm, followed by drinks and dinner
    InterContinental Park Lane, London

    £299 - £360 + VAT | 5.5 CPD

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    External Conferences

    ThoughtLeaders4 – HNW Divorce Litigation – 3rd Annual Flagship Conference 2023

    Thursday 23rd November 2023
    One Whitehall Place

    Speakers:
    Jonathan Hilliard KC | Andrew Mold KC

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Guernsey Conference 2023

    Thursday 19th October 2023 | 3.30pm- 6.20pm, followed by a drinks reception
    The Old Government House Hotel & Spa, St Peter Port

    Free to attend | 2.0 CPD

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Jonathan's expertise

Download Commercial disputes CV

Commercial disputes

Jonathan is consistently ranked in Chambers Global and Chambers & Partners UK Bar for his civil fraud and offshore work. 

A significant amount of Jonathan’s work concerns business and commercial disputes, particularly those relating to:

  • Civil fraud
  • Asset tracing
  • Financial services
  • Regulatory issues
  • Insolvency
  • Company and partnership issues

Jonathan’s work in these areas frequently overlaps with his offshore and trusts practices, many of these disputes having an international element, involving fraud or heavy factual disputes, and involving fiduciaries acting in a financial services context. He also has significant experience on the domestic side of the Upper Tribunal’s financial services jurisdiction and financial services judicial review.

On the civil fraud side, to take some recent examples:

  • He is involved in a number of large ongoing currently confidential offshore cases across a range of jurisdictions involving allegations of fraud and other linked wrongdoing.
  • He has been involved in obtaining injunctions in offshore asset recovery proceedings.
  • He has been involved in a number of pensions liberations fraud and tracing cases, such as the landmark Pensions Regulator v PAYAE & ors [2018] case.

Previously, by way of examples:

  • He acted successfully as part of the claimants’ team in ITS v GP Noble [2009-2013], which involved fraud proceedings in a number of jurisdictions, a number of significant hearings and parallel criminal proceedings.
  • He acted successfully as part of the claimants’ team in the Court of Appeal in ITS v Susan Morris [2011-2013] in tracing the proceedings of fraud into a divorce settlement.
  • He was involved in litigation concerning the largest alleged fraud in recent Latvian history.

On the regulatory side, for example:

  • He has been involved in the recent leading cases before the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) concerning the limits of the jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal in financial services matters.
  • He often acts in relation to regulatory investigations.
  • He has been involved in a number of pieces of financial services judicial review matters, including in relation to the life insurance industry.

As far as insolvency is concerned, much of his pensions work takes him into the insolvency arena, and he frequently advises alongside or acts together with insolvency counsel. Examples of his reported insolvency cases include:

  • Nortel & Lehman v TPR [2010-2013] (first instance, CA and SC- when a statutory debt ranks as a provable debt or expense).
  • Singer & Friedlander [2013] (calculation of debts in insolvency).
  • Gleave v PPF (proof for s.75 debts in insolvency).

Download Commercial disputes CV

  • Quote symbolJonathan is the most capable and thorough advocate I've ever dealt with. His ability to assimilate information is extraordinary.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA truly brilliant and rare KC.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA superbly clever man; he's a go-to for large, complicated matters.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolThere are very few of his generation with his firepower.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolJonathan's mind works at an unbelievable pace and his analytical ability is incredible. He's a pleasure to work with, and an enormous support when he's in court.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

Commercial disputes insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

  1. Placeholder

    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Fraud, Trusts & Asset Recovery Conference 2024

    Thursday 4th July 2024 | 12.30pm - 5.25pm, followed by drinks and canapés
    The View at The Royal College of Surgeons

    £135 + VAT | 3.5 CPD

    View more
  2. Placeholder

    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Guernsey Conference 2023

    Thursday 19th October 2023 | 3.30pm- 6.20pm, followed by a drinks reception
    The Old Government House Hotel & Spa, St Peter Port

    Free to attend | 2.0 CPD

    View more
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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Jersey Conference 2023

    Wednesday 18th October 2023 | 3.30pm - 6.20pm, followed by a drinks reception
    Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa, St. Helier

    Free to attend | 2.0 CPD

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Fraud, Trusts & Asset Recovery Conference 2022

    Tuesday 8 November 2022 | 1pm - 5pm followed by drinks reception
    The Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9LL

    £120 + VAT | 2.5 CPD

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Jonathan's expertise

Download Pensions CV

Pensions

Jonathan advises regularly on pensions restructuring, other corporate pensions issues, moral hazard concerns, RPI and CPI issues and other similar points. He regularly acts in rectification claims and in the compromises of complex pensions disputes.

Over the last few years, his cases have involved the following:

  • Dealing with the pensions elements arising in a number of significant and high-profile corporate transactions.
  • Dealing with a number of very substantial benefit validity cases.
  • Dealing with the destination of surplus.
  • Dealing with very significant s.75 issues and disputes.
  • Dealing with a number of important regulatory matters.
  • Defending an extremely large professional negligence claim in relation to alleged defects in scheme documentation.
  • British Airways [2018-2020]- acted successfully in Beddoe and compromise hearings, following involvement in the main litigation for many years.
  • BT judicial review litigation [2018-2019]- acted at first instance and in the Court of Appeal for the trustee in relation to the judicial review of HMT’s decision relating to the indexation of GMPs following the change to the new state pension.
  • Box Clever [2011 – 2018] acted for the scheme trustee in this long running litigation.
  • Pensions Regulator v PAYAE & others [2018] – successfully acted for tPR in landmark pensions liberation fraud case.
  • Wedgwood v Salt [2017]- 5-day hearing on whether a rights proviso protects future service rights and consequential issues.
  • IBM [2017]- acted successfully for IBM in its appeal over the validity of closing its pension schemes to future accrual.
  • Silentnight [2016-2021]- acted for the trustee.

Download Pensions CV

  • Quote symbolJonathan is the most capable and thorough advocate I've ever dealt with. His ability to assimilate information is extraordinary.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA truly brilliant and rare KC.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA superbly clever man; he's a go-to for large, complicated matters.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolThere are very few of his generation with his firepower.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolJonathan's mind works at an unbelievable pace and his analytical ability is incredible. He's a pleasure to work with, and an enormous support when he's in court.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

Pensions insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Nugee Memorial Pensions Conference & Dinner 2024

    Wednesday 19th June 2024 | 12.15pm - 5.40pm, followed by drinks and dinner by Nobu
    Nobu Shoreditch, London

    £140 - £190 + VAT | 3.5 CPD

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    News

    Wilberforce shortlisted for The Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce has 11 nominations across 9 different categories at The Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023. Set of the Year Chancery Set of the Year Chancery Junior of the Year: Edward Sawyer, Sebastian Allen Chancery... Read more

    Wednesday 12 July 2023

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    Publications

    The Edward Nugee Memorial Lectures 2022

    Michael Furness KC | Jonathan Hilliard KC | David Pollard | Edward Sawyer | Thomas Robinson | Sebastian Allen | Jennifer Seaman | Michael Ashdown | Joseph Steadman | Caspar Bartscherer
    June 2022

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    Events / Webinars

    Wilberforce Nugee Pensions Lectures: Using old law to solve new problems – Lecture 3

    Monday 20 June 2022 | 6.30pm - 7.30pm, followed by drinks
    Ashworth Centre (and online via Zoom), Lincoln's Inn, London, WC2A 3TL

    £75 + VAT | 1.0 CPD

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Professional liability

Jonathan’s professional liability practice focuses particularly on negligence in the context of:

  • Trusts
  • Pensions (both occupational and personal)
  • Actuaries
  • Financial services & investment products
  • Tax
  • Solicitors.

Ever since his first case as a tenant in Chambers, which concerned a long running accountancy and actuarial negligence dispute over the downfall of Equitable Life, his professional liability work has included a significant financial services element.

He is co-author of the Pension Scheme Actuaries chapter in the Professional Negligence and Liability looseleaf.

Download Professional liability CV

  • Quote symbolJonathan is the most capable and thorough advocate I've ever dealt with. His ability to assimilate information is extraordinary.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA truly brilliant and rare KC.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolA superbly clever man; he's a go-to for large, complicated matters.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolThere are very few of his generation with his firepower.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolJonathan's mind works at an unbelievable pace and his analytical ability is incredible. He's a pleasure to work with, and an enormous support when he's in court.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

Jonathan's Details

BSB/VAT information

Registered name: Mr Jonathan Adam Hilliard
VAT number: 840168833

Privacy Notice pdf

Qualifications and Appointments

  • MA in Law, University of Cambridge (1st in year)
  • LLM in Law, University of Cambridge (1st in year; starred first; first place in tax and restitution)
  • Number of other university and college prizes, including Chancellor’s Medal and Tapp Scholarship
  • Taught contract law at Gonville & Caius and Selwyn Colleges, University of Cambridge
  • Awarded Denning, Hardwicke & Kennedy scholarships by Lincoln’s Inn

Memberships

  • Sits on Trust Law Committee
  • Sits on APL Litigation Subcommittee
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • APL
  • STEP Contentious Trusts and Estates Interest Group
  • Commercial Bar Association

Publications

  • Co-editor of Thomas On Powers (3rd ed, forthcoming).
  • Significant number of trusts and pensions papers.
  • Co-author of Protector’s and Disclosure chapters in The International Trust and International Trust Laws.
  • Co-author (with Dr Janet O’Sullivan, Reader of Law at the University of Cambridge) of The Law of Contract (1st-6th editions) (Oxford University Press).
  • Co-author of the Pension Scheme Actuaries chapter in Professional Negligence and Liability looseleaf.

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