Practice overview

Joseph is an in-demand and experienced barrister, who is recognised as a Leading Junior by both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. His multi-specialist practice centres around business, trusts and property disputes.

He is “persuasive and engaging at trial” (Chambers and Partners, 2023) and is regularly instructed to appear as sole counsel in High Court, County Court and Tribunal litigation, as well being led as part of a larger counsel team. He has been involved in appeals to the Upper Tribunal and High Court (unled) and to the Court of Appeal. He also has a substantial advisory practice.

Joseph is described in the Legal 500 (2023) as “a fiercely bright and analytical thinker” who “offers sensible, pragmatic and commercial advice” and – just as importantly – is “a dedicated lawyer, who works hard under pressure” and who is “very easy to work with”. He is described in Chambers and Partners (2023) as “an absolute brain on a stick” whose “advocacy is phenomenal” and whose “advice is always spot on” and in Chambers and Partners (2024) as “a good team player” who is “excellent with clients” and “incredibly astute”.

Joseph has experience of working on cases which span a number of jurisdictions and which require him to work closely with overseas lawyers and other professionals. His recent work has involved Hong Kong, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Monaco, Malta, and Switzerland.

Many of Joseph’s cases involve interactions between different areas of the law, reflecting the multi-specialist nature of his practice. He is particularly well-placed to advise in cases which straddle the traditional boundaries between practice areas, and enjoys deploying concepts from across the law in order to achieve the best outcomes for his clients. He is “a go-to for thorny issues” (Chambers and Partners, 2023).

Trusts, probate and estates: contentious

Joseph has a thriving trusts practice spanning a wide variety of contexts, including commercial fraud/asset-tracing, divorce and relationship breakdown, and more “traditional” private client trusts, probate and estates work.

He has been recognised by Chambers and Partners and Chambers Global since 2023 as a Leading Junior (Tier 1) in Trusts and separately as a Leading Junior (Tier 1) in the category of Family/Matrimonial: Trusts/Tax Experts. He has been recognised by the Legal 500 since 2022 as a Rising Star in the area of Private Client: Trusts and Probate.

Joseph’s trusts experience includes acting in relation to both onshore and offshore trusts, often requiring an awareness of the interaction of trusts issues with tax and regulatory concerns. Joseph’s experience includes:

  • advising (with Jonathan Hillard KC) in relation to the potential restructuring and partition of a billion-dollar foreign trust;
  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard KC) in relation to a hotly contested trustee removal application;
  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard KC) in relation to the transfer of a 25% share of a trust fund to another trust following In the matter of the K Trust [2020 GLR 312];
  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard KC) on behalf of a trustee which had allegedly received the proceeds of a multibillion-dollar fraud, and had therefore been made the subject of foreign disclosure and freezing orders;
  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard KC and Graeme Halkerston) for a claimant in successfully obtaining a pre-action freezing injunction in the BVI to restrain assets in Monaco, in support of claims that the defendant – for whom the assets were held as nominee pursuant to written declarations of trust – himself held those assets on oral trusts for the claimant;
  • acting (with Andrew Mold KC) for the trustee in a claim brought by the beneficiary of a multi-million-pound trust fund seeking to impugn the exercise of powers by a protector including the protector’s purported appointment of the trustee;
  • assisting with the preparation of the application and submissions in what is now the leading case on blessing applications under section 61 of the Isle of Man Trustee Act 1961 (Re Zedra Trust Company (Isle of Man) Limited As Trustee of the Eldoriange Trust CHP23/0038);
  • acting (with Michael Furness KC) for the claimants in a multi-million pound professional negligence claim arising out of incorrect tax advice;
  • advising the beneficiary of a trust in relation to professional negligence proceedings against the firm of solicitors which drafted the trust deed;
  • advising the trustee of a will trust in relation to a claim that she had negligently failed to invest the trust fund, including detailed consideration of expert evidence concerning how the fund would have performed had it been properly invested;
  • advising a beneficiary of a Jersey trust in relation to a proposed winding-up and distribution;
  • advising the trustee of an Isle of Man trust concerning loans which the trust’s accounts showed had been made to a beneficiary, but which the beneficiary’s trustee in bankruptcy alleged were not in fact made;
  • advising the programme trustee of several multibillion-pound bond programmes concerning the validity and effect of a series of proposed trustee appointment and removal deeds;
  • advising a golf club in relation to the adoption of an updated trust deed;
  • advising a trustee in relation to the steps to be taken where his co-trustee had started Part 8 proceedings and then died before their conclusion; and
  • acting for a firm of solicitors in a Part 8 claim for directions concerning the destination of proceeds from the sale of a property formerly held within a SIPP.

Joseph is increasingly in demand as a chancery practitioner in relation to matrimonial finance proceedings—whether for a party to the marriage, a member of their family, or a third-party such as a trustee. He enjoys working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and deploying chancery concepts in the context of divorce. Joseph’s experience in disputes of this kind includes:

  • acting (with Jonathan Hillard KC and James Rivett KC) for the husband in a high-value complex matrimonial claim with assets held in dozens of trusts, established over several decades, across numerous jurisdictions;
  • acting (with Richard Harrison KC and Jonathan Hilliard KC) for a business associate of the husband in a high-value cross-jurisdictional matrimonial claim, in which it was alleged that a complex offshore structure had been used to hide the fact that the business associate holds assets as the husband’s nominee;
  • acting (with Nicholas Allen KC and Henry Clayton) for a wife in a high-value matrimonial claim involving a landed estate held through several trust, company and partnership structures;
  • advising (with Richard Harrison KC and George Gordon) a wife concerning the terms applicable to her minority shareholdings in a company which was the husband’s employer;
  • acting (with Christopher Pocock KC, Andrew Mold KC and Thomas Haggie) for a wife in a dispute concerning the validity of a multi-million pound Cyprus trust;
  • acting (with Peter Mitchell KC) for a wife in a dispute with the trustees of a pension scheme concerning the implementation of the Pension Sharing Order made in circumstances where the husband’s creditors had also (in Bacci v Green [2022] EWHC 486 (Ch) and [2022] EWCA Civ 1393) obtained an order against the husband’s pension benefits;
  • appearing (as sole counsel against silks and juniors representing two other parties) for a husband in a five-day preliminary issue hearing concerning the beneficial ownership of properties and businesses worth millions of pounds;
  • appearing for a wife in on an application for an injunction to prevent the sale proceeds of the former matrimonial home from being removed from the jurisdiction (with matrimonial counsel Geoffrey Kingscote KC);
  • advising a wife concerning how a consensual divorce settlement could best be implemented;
  • advising a husband concerning whether he remained liable for a joint mortgage following the conclusion of his divorce proceedings;
  • advising a wife in relation to her husband’s interest in an Isle of Man pension fund, including issues concerning the English court’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and questions of cross-border enforcement including “firewall” legislation and disclosure;
  • advising and acting for a minor whose parents had settled almost all of the family’s assets on trust for him, and sought in their divorce to access those assets—Joseph appeared at the FDR as sole chancery counsel (with matrimonial counsel Deepak Nagpal);
  • advising a husband in relation to agency arguments relied upon by Leading Counsel for the wife (Nigel Dyer KC) in a Thwaite application; and
  • acting (with Richard Todd KC, Nicholas Yates KC and Jonathan Hilliard KC) on behalf of the applicant wife in ancillary relief proceedings, seeking a share of a multibillion-dollar offshore trust and company structure.

Joseph’s probate and estates experience includes:

  • acting for a wife – whose husband died partway through matrimonial finance proceedings – concerning her various potential claims to benefit from the assets held in his name;
  • advising the executor of an estate concerning an allegation that a will had been revoked by destruction;
  • acting for one of the beneficiaries of an estate in a dispute with the executor concerning his claim to hundreds of thousands of pounds in fees;
  • acting for a widower in a long-running dispute with his late wife’s ex-husband concerning the beneficial ownership of the former matrimonial home, including obtaining a without- notice injunction to restrain the ex-husband from harassing the widower;
  • acting for an executor in a successful application to remove the other executor where a stalemate had arisen between the two of them concerning the marketing and sale of properties in Highgate;
  • acting for a professional executor in relation to a removal, successfully resisting allegations of wrongdoing and obtaining an indemnity from the estate in respect of its properly incurred costs;
  • acting on behalf of the beneficiaries of an estate in a professional negligence claim against solicitors whose poor advice and drafting resulted in a deed of variation having to be rectified by the High Court;
  • advising the executor of an estate concerning the steps to be taken where letters of administration had been obtained by a third-party on the incorrect basis that the deceased died intestate, including the steps required to prevent disposal of the property which was the main asset of the estate;
  • advising in relation to the validity and construction of will trusts, and on the exercise of powers by the trustees;
  • advising in relation to the validity and construction of various wills and codicils, including the presumption in section 22 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982, the application of the “rule against double portions”;
  • drafting proceedings concerning the construction of a will and the ownership of joint bank accounts in relation to an estate in Singapore; and
  • advising in relation to unexplained transfers made shortly before a testator’s death to one of the beneficiaries of his will.

In addition, Joseph has extensive experience of deploying his trusts expertise in the context of pension schemes and co-owned properties—please see the “Pensions” and “Property” sections for details.

Download Trusts, probate and estates: contentious CV

  • Quote symbolJoe was excellent - he was on top of the facts, responsive and very collaborative. A great person to have on your team.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolOne of the brightest juniors. Intellectually very capable but wears his learning lightly.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolAn absolute brain on a stick whose advocacy is phenomenal. Responsive, highly effective and supremely efficient, he's a go-to for thorny issues, who can summarise incredibly complex points concisely.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolThe perfect junior, he is completely on top of the detail.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolIncredibly intelligent: he has a brain the size of a planet. He is also very genial and pleasant to deal with.

    The Legal 500 2023

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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    Wilberforce Fraud, Trusts & Asset Recovery Conference 2023

    Wednesday 8th November 2023 | 12.45pm - 5.30pm, followed by drinks
    Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, London

    £120 + VAT | 3.5 CPD

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    External Conferences

    Informa Connect & ConTrA’s Trusts in Litigation Conference 2023

    Friday 24th March 2023
    Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice, Italy

    Speakers:
    Joseph Steadman

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Joseph's expertise

Download Property CV

Property

Joseph has been recognised by The Legal 500 since 2023 as a Leading Junior (Tier 5) in Property Litigation, and by Chambers and Partners since 2023 as an Up-and-coming Junior in Real Estate Litigation.

In his property practice, Joseph is regularly instructed in litigation involving commercial or residential property, as well as providing advice in non-contentious matters. He enjoys working both on his own and as part of a team of counsel.

As part of a counsel team, Joseph’s property experience includes:

  • acting (with Rupert Reed KC and Simon Atkinson) on behalf of the widow of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in a relation to a claim by a Liechtenstein foundation to recover a £28m London property which was allegedly transferred to her without authority (Asturion Fondation v Aljawarah Bint Ibrahim Abdulaziz Alibrahim [2023] EWHC 3305 (Ch), one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases in 2023);
  • acting (with John McGhee KC) on behalf of a landlord in a multimillion-pound dispute concerning whether the tenant is liable to reimburse the landlord for VAT on management fees (University of the Arts London v Legal & General [2023] EWHC 994 (Ch));
  • acting (with Jonathan Seitler KC) on behalf of a property developer in relation to a dispute with one of its leaseholders concerning the impact or otherwise of the proposed development on its rights under the lease;
  • acting (with John Wardell KC) in a claim against a mortgage lender and its LPA receivers for wrongfully repossessing a property in Belgravia and subsequently selling it at an undervalue;
  • preparing (with Jonathan Seitler KC) a successful application for a stay of a claim for rent arrears arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the imminent passage into law of the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill;
  • preparing (with Jonathan Seitler KC) a successful application for permission to appeal and a stay of enforcement in what became London Trocadero (2015) LLP v Picturehouse Cinemas Limited [2022] EWCA Civ 1021;
  • acting (with Jonathan Seitler KC) for a parking company in a dispute with the former and current owners of a shopping centre concerning the defective redevelopment of a multi-storey car park;
  • assisting Jonathan Seitler KC and Emily McKechnie on a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy to deceive arising out of the sale of a holiday park in Cornwall (Francis v Knapper & ors [2016] EWHC 3093 (QB)); and
  • assisting Martin Hutchings KC in resisting an appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in a dispute over land in Nevis.

Joseph’s unled residential landlord and tenant experience includes:

  • acting for the successful appellant in Hook and another v Hawkins [2019] UKUT 147 (LC), an appeal to the Upper Tribunal concerning the status of the spouse of an agricultural worker under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 after the worker leaves the home and the spouses are divorced—the only reported case dealing with the interplay between the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 and the Matrimonial Homes Act 1983;
  • acting for a freeholder in first-tier tribunal proceedings concerning who should bear the cost of repairing a “green” roof which formed part of a residential development;
  • acting for the freeholder in first-tier tribunal proceedings concerning who should bear the cost of repairing a “green” roof which formed part of a residential development;
  • acting for the landlord in first-tier tribunal proceedings concerning the reasonableness of service charges and dispensation from consultation requirements;
  • advising a landlord in relation to a series of leases purportedly executed by an employee with no authority to do so;
  • acting on behalf of a tenant seeking leasehold enfranchisement where the landlord could not be found;
  • acting for the landlord in a dispute concerning the amount of rent due under an assured shorthold tenancy, where the tenant alleged a lower rent was agreed orally than was recorded in the tenancy agreement;
  • acting on behalf of a tenant in a claim for disrepair to his penthouse apartment overlooking Buckingham Palace, which included complex questions of construction concerning the extent of the tenant’s demise;
  • advising a residential tenant in relation to a claim for disrepair, including the effect of historic settlement agreements;
  • advising a trustee-in-bankruptcy concerning the occupation of the bankrupt’s property by a tenant pursuant to a long lease entered into after the bankruptcy order;
  • advising a freeholder in relation to the presence of potentially unsafe cladding in a residential development; and
  • acting on behalf of a residential landlord in a claim against a tenant who vacated early, alleging that the property was unsafe.

Joseph’s unled commercial landlord and tenant experience includes:

  • acting on behalf of a landlord in a claim involving rent arrears which accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the tenant alleged that it was not liable because the landlord had forfeited the lease by changing the locks;
  • advising a sub-tenant in relation to novel questions – not previously considered by the courts – about the interaction of the court’s power to grant relief from forfeiture and the statutory renewal of tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954;
  • advising and acting landlords and tenants in relation to claims in respect of terminal dilapidations;
  • advising a landlord in relation to a request for consent to change of use;
  • acting for a primary care centre in a claim for possession and rent arrears against the operator of a café, which included an allegation that there had been an oral modification to a long lease of the premises;
  • advising the assignee of a commercial lease on its standing to seek a lease renewal where the validity of the assignment was in question;
  • acting for landlords and tenants in relation to contested and uncontested lease renewals under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954;
  • acting for a tenant on a claim for £5 million in capital contributions due under a lease; and
  • acting for the tenant of one of the largest abattoir premises in Europe, seeking relief from forfeiture in order to allow new finance to be raised.

Joseph’s unled real property experience includes:

  • advising in relation to the relocation of a right of way (both at common law and under the terms of a contractual right to do so);
  • advising a company whether an agreement it had entered into was a lease or a licence;
  • acting for both claimants and defendants in various adverse possession claims to land ranging from a converted pub to a church garden;
  • successfully striking out a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 brought by one set of neighbours against another;
  • acting on behalf of a landowner in resisting an application for an injunction to prevent a partridge shoot pending the determination of a claim for adverse possession;
  • acting for the defendants in trespass and private nuisance proceedings, where their defence was that they had the benefit of express and/or prescriptive easements;
  • acting for the executor of an estate in a claim to update or modify a restriction so as to replace the deceased’s name with the executor’s name;
  • acting for a neighbour in relation to a claim for breach of a covenant against building; and
  • acting on behalf of the freeholder of a large residential development in a dispute over rights to parking spaces, said to arise by proprietary estoppel.

Joseph’s unled trusts experience in the property context includes:

  • acting for the claimant in seeking a right to occupy residential and commercial premises under a constructive trust or proprietary estoppel, and alternatively to restitution of the value of improvements undertaken to the property;
  • acting for one sibling against another in a claim under TLATA for the sale of an investment property and declarations as to their respective beneficial interests; and
  • advising and acting for claimants and defendants in various disputes over shared property following relationship breakdown.

Joseph’s unled professional negligence experience in the property context includes:

  • advising about claims for professional negligence against a firm of solicitors in relation to a property purchase;
  • acting for the defendant vendor in a claim for professional negligence and misrepresentation concerning the presence of Japanese knotweed;
  • advising in relation to potential claims for professional negligence against solicitors and surveyors in relation to the compromise of a dispute concerning disrepair; and
  • advising in relation to claims for professional negligence against a building contractor and a building consultant under a JCT contract.

Joseph has also acted in numerous possession claims – including against trespassers, tenants and mortgagors – and in several claims to enforce judgments against property through interim and final charging orders and orders for sale. Joseph’s involvement is particularly sought when the circumstances are complex or involve a cross-over with another area of the law—an illustrative example is a claim for a final charging order where the defendant alleged he had no beneficial interest in the property by virtue of an order in matrimonial proceedings.

Download Property CV

  • Quote symbolJoe was excellent - he was on top of the facts, responsive and very collaborative. A great person to have on your team.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolOne of the brightest juniors. Intellectually very capable but wears his learning lightly.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolAn absolute brain on a stick whose advocacy is phenomenal. Responsive, highly effective and supremely efficient, he's a go-to for thorny issues, who can summarise incredibly complex points concisely.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolThe perfect junior, he is completely on top of the detail.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolIncredibly intelligent: he has a brain the size of a planet. He is also very genial and pleasant to deal with.

    The Legal 500 2023

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    News

    Wilberforce features in four of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2023

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce Chambers appears in four of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2023, identifying this year’s most-talked-about disputes. Four cases is a record achievement for us, meaning that nine of our members are involved... Read more

    Monday 16 January 2023

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    Articles

    Deposits in conveyancing transactions: How does the penalties doctrine apply?

    By Joseph Steadman
    Friday 25 October 2019

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    The status of spouses of agricultural workers (Hook v Hawkins)

    By Joseph Steadman
    Thursday 23 May 2019

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Joseph's expertise

Download Pensions CV

Pensions

Joseph has been recognised by the Legal 500 since 2022 as a Rising Star at the Pensions Bar. He has experience of acting in contentious and non-contentious pensions matters for trustees, employers, members and the Regulator. Joseph has gained a particular understanding of the regimes applicable to public sector and industry-wide schemes, as well as an interest in the cross-overs between pensions and public law.

For five years between 2017 and 2022, Joseph combined his practice in Chambers with a consultancy role in the pensions, incentives and employment team at a Magic Circle law firm. Through that role, he gained extensive expertise and experience across the spectrum of pensions work, which he brings to bear in his own advice and advocacy. Highlights include:

  • involvement (with Brian Green KC) in the Court of Appeal proceedings concerning BT’s ability to change the basis for calculating increases to pensions in payment from RPI to CPI (or another alternative index) [2018] EWCA Civ 2694;
  • involvement in the development of the UK’s first collective defined contribution (defined in legislation as “collective money purchase”) scheme for Royal Mail Group plc;
  • advising trustees in relation to rectification and “corrective construction” where the rules of a scheme provided for a 5% floor on increases to pensions in payment;
  • advising trustees in relation to the validity of an amendment made in the 1990s, in the absence of clear evidence that an actuarial certificate had been obtained, including consideration of the so-called “presumption of regularity”;
  • advising an employer in relation to an error in the calculation of its PPF levy; and
  • advising trustees in relation to the exercise of discretionary powers to pay death benefits.

Joseph’s contentious pensions experience includes:

  • acting (with Brian Green KC) on behalf of the trustee of the BBC Pension Scheme in proceedings brought by the BBC concerning whether the scheme rules permit changes to be made to future service benefits and member contributions for active members (British Broadcasting Corporation v BBC Pension Trust Limited [2023] EWHC 1965 (Ch));
  • appearing on behalf of the trustee of the Barclays Bank UK Retirement Fund at the hearing of Barclay’s application for the sanctioning of a Ring-Fencing Transfer Scheme (the first such application to be heard by the High Court) – Joseph appeared as the only unled junior at the CMC ([2018] EWHC 168), where he successfully obtained the Court’s permission for the trustee to take part, and was led by Michael Tennet KC at the sanction hearing itself ([2018] EWHC 472);
  • advising and acting (with Michael Tennet KC) for a trustee in a dispute with an employer concerning whether the trustee had power under the scheme’s governing documentation to appoint and remunerate an independent chair of its board without the consent of the employer;
  • advising a trustee about the benefits due to a member, and in particular the member’s Guaranteed Minimum Pension and the application of anti-franking legislation;
  • advising and acting for trustees and members in various claims concerning the exercise of discretionary powers to pay lump sum death benefits and the recovery of overpaid death benefits from beneficiaries;
  • acting for a judgment creditor in relation to an application for a Blight v Brewster order permitting enforcement against assets held in the judgment debtor’s SIPP;
  • acting (with Peter Mitchell KC) for a spouse in a dispute with the trustees of a pension scheme concerning the implementation of a Pension Sharing Order;
  • acting for an employer in relation to a claim brought by a former employee who had transferred out his benefits to a scam scheme, and alleged that the employer had breached its duty of care to him by permitting the transfer;
  •  acting for an employer in relation to a claim brought by a former employee in respect of a delay in transferring out his benefits, which allegedly resulted in the employee losing the benefit of a guaranteed annuity rate;
  • successfully defending a claim for underpayment of pension (by reference to the member’s GMP) brought against the trustee of a pension scheme;
  • advising in claims against SIPP providers for breach of fiduciary duty and/or professional negligence, and in particular the effectiveness of wide-ranging exclusions of liability in the governing documents;
  • advising and acting for personal pension scheme providers in relation to allegations of mis-selling and maladministration;
  • advising the trustee of a pension scheme in relation to an application to set aside default judgment obtained by a member;
  • advising a personal pension provider in a dispute concerning a series of policies subscribed for since the 1980s, and in particular whether the claimant had a right to guaranteed annuity rates under the terms of the policies or otherwise;
  • advising one trustee of a SSAS concerning its ability to enforce a loan made to a company of which the other trustee was the sole director; and
  • advising in relation to complaints to the pensions ombudsman.

Joseph also has experience of acting (most recently with Andrew Mold KC) in pensions-related professional negligence disputes.

Joseph’s non-contentious pensions experience includes:

  • advising the trustees of a pension scheme concerning the validity of a proposed amendment;
  • advising a pension scheme employer in relation to a mis-executed pension scheme deed;
  • advising an industry body concerning its members’ cessation of participation in an industry-wide pension scheme, and in particular the application of the consultation regulations;
  • advising an employer in relation to the terms of a flexible apportionment arrangement;
  • advising an employer in relation to a draft Deed of Termination and associated indemnities following the winding up of a defined contribution scheme;
  • advising an employer in relation to the classes of beneficiaries for various categories of benefit under its pension scheme and other policies following the death of an employee;
  • advising an employer concerning its plans to implement new pension arrangements for certain of its employees; and
  • advising an individual pension scheme member as to whether he had lost a protected lifetime allowance by virtue of his membership of a statutory pension scheme.

In regulatory matters, Joseph acts both for the Regulator and for other Directly Affected Parties. His work in this area has included:

In the early part of 2017, Joseph spent several months on secondment with the Pensions Regulator. Some of the highlights of his work there included:

  • assisting with the preparation of pleadings and evidence in a claim concerning a multimillion-pound pensions liberation scam;
  • advising on the regulation of employer-related investments and employer-related loans; and
  • advising and drafting in connection with several cases before the Determinations Panel and the Upper Tribunal.

Joseph has also been instructed to act as legal clerk to the Regulator’s Determinations Panel.

Download Pensions CV

  • Quote symbolJoe was excellent - he was on top of the facts, responsive and very collaborative. A great person to have on your team.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolOne of the brightest juniors. Intellectually very capable but wears his learning lightly.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolAn absolute brain on a stick whose advocacy is phenomenal. Responsive, highly effective and supremely efficient, he's a go-to for thorny issues, who can summarise incredibly complex points concisely.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolThe perfect junior, he is completely on top of the detail.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolIncredibly intelligent: he has a brain the size of a planet. He is also very genial and pleasant to deal with.

    The Legal 500 2023

Pensions insights & events View all thought leadership View all events

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    Articles

    Pensions, personal bankruptcy and creditor recovery: recent developments

    David Pollard and Joseph Steadman’s article, ‘Pensions, personal bankruptcy and creditor recovery: recent developments’, has been published in Issue 37.2 of Trust Law International by Bloomsbury Publishing. Trust Law International is a well established quarterly journal with a mixed readership... Read more

    By David Pollard | Joseph Steadman
    Friday 15 September 2023

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    Recent Cases

    Judgment handed down: British Broadcasting Corporation v BBC Pension Trust Ltd

    Pensions

    Brian Green KC | Michael Tennet KC | Edward Sawyer | Joseph Steadman
    Monday 14 August 2023

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    Articles

    Electronic execution of documents: where have we got to, and where we might be heading?

    As a part of the “Remind me about” series, Joseph Steadman discusses the electronic execution of documents. The article was first posted on Paul Newman KC’s website pensionsbarrister.com. Read the full article

    By Joseph Steadman
    Thursday 6 July 2023

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    Events / Webinars

    Nugee Memorial Pensions Conference & Dinner 2023

    Wednesday 21st June 2023 | 12.30pm - 5.55pm, followed by drinks and dinner by Nobu
    Nobu Shoreditch Hotel & Restaurant

    £175 for conference & dinner / £125 for conference only | 3.5 CPD

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Commercial disputes

Joseph has an established commercial practice. As well as acting in a wide variety of “ordinary” contractual disputes, he is especially sought-after in cases involving fraud or asset-tracing, and has experience of gaining freezing injunctions, proprietary injunctions, and other forms of interim relief. Within the commercial context, Joseph also has substantial partnership, company and insolvency experience.

Joseph’s commercial fraud and asset-tracing experience includes:

  • acting (with Rupert Reed KC and Simon Atkinson) on behalf of the widow of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in a relation to a claim by a Liechtenstein foundation to recover a £28m London property which was allegedly transferred to her without authority (Asturion Fondation v Aljawarah Bint Ibrahim Abdulaziz Alibrahim [2023] EWHC 3305 (Ch), one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases in 2023);
  • acting (with Andrew Mold KC) on behalf of an investor in a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy by a group of his fellow investors;
  • acting (with James Bailey KC) in a series of claims arising out of an alleged multimillion-pound fraud involving amongst other things a purported investment in Bitcoin, including in relation to a jurisdiction challenge brought by one of the defendants;
  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard KC and Graeme Halkerston) for a claimant in successfully obtaining a pre-action freezing injunction in the BVI to restrain assets in Monaco, in support of claims that the defendant – for whom the assets were held as nominee pursuant to written declarations of trust – himself held those assets on oral trusts for the claimant;
  • acting (with Rupert Reed KC and Jonathan Chew) for the claimants in a multimillion pound fraud in relation to a property development in London, which included an analysis of steps taken in Guernsey to take control of the relevant companies (a subsequent hearing was reported as Aurora Developments Ltd v Delta Holdings Ltd [2018] EWHC 1047 (Ch));
  • acting for the successful defendant in an application to set aside a multi-million-pound default judgment in a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation arising out of a share sale (Galliani v Sartori [2023] EWHC 3306 (Comm));
  • acting (unled, against a silk and senior junior) for the sixth defendant in an application for the claimant’s claim against the sixth defendant – a multimillion-pound fraud claim in relation to the purchase of two helicopters – to be struck out;
  • acting on behalf of a defendant in a claim concerning alleged secret commissions paid to introducers in the energy sector;
  • acting for a judgment creditor in relation to an application for a Blight v Brewster order permitting enforcement against assets held in the judgment debtor’s SIPP;
  • advising in relation to stolen confidential documents, the potential deployment of those documents in court, and the availability of injunctions requiring delivery up; and
  • successfully resisting (unled against a specialist commercial silk) an application for permission to appeal against a refusal to grant summary judgment in a multimillion-pound civil fraud case.

Joseph’s partnership, company and insolvency experience (often also with a fraud angle) includes:

  • acting (with Marcia Shekerdemian KC) for the claimant company in relation to a multimillion-pound claim for breach of fiduciary duty against one of its directors, along with two unfair prejudice petitions and a derivative claim;
  • acting (with James Bailey KC) for the wife of an alleged fraudster in a tracing claim by the liquidator of the husband’s companies;
  • acting (with Graeme Halkerston KC) in relation to efforts made by the majority shareholders of a company to expropriate the minority shareholder by way of a purported dilution of his shareholding and a proposed forfeiture of those shares;
  • acting (with James Bailey KC) on behalf of the purchaser of shares in a mining company in a claim for breach of warranty;
  • acting on behalf of a minority shareholder and its directors in a claim that they had maliciously presented a winding-up petition against a company in the Bahamas;
  • acting in relation to a dispute between the members of a farming partnership concerning amongst other things the terms of the partnership;
  • acting for the liquidators of a company on an application for them to be replaced with fraud and investigation specialists;
  • acting in relation to a dispute between the members of a property development partnership in which allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty have been made by one partner against the other;
  • acting for the petitioner in an unfair prejudice petition in respect of a company in Guernsey (with subsidiaries in Brazil and England) following manoeuvres by the majority shareholders to reduce the value of a minority shareholder’s shares;
  • acting for the petitioner in an unfair prejudice petition and an application for urgent interim relief removing a director from office;
  • acting for a partner in a firm of solicitors in an unfair prejudice petition following steps taken by the majority which drastically reduced the value of his capital account;
  • making and resisting applications to set aside statutory demands (including in one case a statutory demand for £63 billion against a FTSE100 company), applications for injunctions to restrain presentation of winding-up petitions, and applications for validation orders; and
  • advising and acting in relation to applications to restore companies to the register, extend the time for registering charges, or to rectify the register.

Joseph’s experience of contractual disputes includes:

  • advising (with Rupert Reed KC) a reinsurer based in the UAE concerning the application of waiver and estoppel as a bar to rescission for material non-disclosure;
  • acting (with Jonathan Seitler KC) for the claimant in a claim for millions of pounds in damages following the summary termination of his membership of an online short lettings platform;
  • acting in several claims seeking commission on behalf of agents and introducers;
  • acting for the claimant in a dispute concerning whether the defendant is liable to pay for services provided before the signature of a formal contract;
  • acting for the claimant in a dispute concerning whether an estate agent’s fees had been earned in circumstances where the purchaser had been found by the vendor;
  • acting for an introducer in a dispute concerning its entitlement to a profit share;
  • acting for the claimants in a complex contractual dispute involving 436 separate contracts, each stipulating a different rate of interest for late payment, and advising on the prospects of arguing that the stipulated rates were overridden by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998;
  • advising and acting for the claimants in their claim to recover a deposit which had allegedly been wrongly paid out by the defendant stakeholder;
  • acting in an application to re-open an appeal against summary judgment where the appellant’s case was that a loan had been orally written off and replaced by an oral profit- sharing agreement;
  • advising and acting for a contractor in relation to a claim for sub-standard welding works carried out to a restaurant at Centre Point;
  • acting in a claim for breach of contract against a high-street retailer, in relation to its failure to pay subscription fees for a business intelligence software package;
  • acting for the operator of an online spread-betting platform in relation to alleged abusive trading strategies employed by one of its clients;
  • advising and acting for a member of a golf club whose life membership was summarily terminated;
  • acting for the claimant, a Punjabi singer, in a claim against a music video producer for breach of contract;
  • acting for a firm of matrimonial solicitors in seeking to recover fees from a former client, whose defence was that the solicitors were estopped from recovering them to the extent that they were not paid by the client’s husband;
  • advising in relation to the competing jurisdiction of the Bangladeshi, English and Swiss courts concerning disputes over a series of agreements, and the availability of striking-out, anti-suit injunctions and other relief; and
  • acting for a mortgage lender in defending a claim for damages resulting from its delay in making available the mortgage advance.

Joseph’s advisory experience includes:

  • advising the lead claimant in a large financial services class action on the terms of a power of attorney;
  • advising an isotonic sports drink manufacturer on the terms of international distribution agreements;
  • advising a leading provider of marine products as to whether its ordering processes successfully incorporated its standard terms; and
  • advising the former shareholders of a dissolved company concerning the beneficial ownership of an offshore investment bond which was intended to fund pension contributions but had been overlooked in the administration.

Joseph also has experience of advising and acting for commercial clients at mediation and in relation to other forms of ADR. He has also acted on the decision-making side, assisting Sir William Blackburne in relation to the independent redress scheme for clients of RBS’s global restructuring group.

Download Commercial disputes CV

  • Quote symbolJoe was excellent - he was on top of the facts, responsive and very collaborative. A great person to have on your team.

    Chambers & Partners 2024

  • Quote symbolOne of the brightest juniors. Intellectually very capable but wears his learning lightly.

    The Legal 500 2024

  • Quote symbolAn absolute brain on a stick whose advocacy is phenomenal. Responsive, highly effective and supremely efficient, he's a go-to for thorny issues, who can summarise incredibly complex points concisely.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolThe perfect junior, he is completely on top of the detail.

    The Legal 500 2023

  • Quote symbolIncredibly intelligent: he has a brain the size of a planet. He is also very genial and pleasant to deal with.

    The Legal 500 2023

Commercial disputes 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 Fraud, Trusts & Asset Recovery Conference 2023

    Wednesday 8th November 2023 | 12.45pm - 5.30pm, followed by drinks
    Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, London

    £120 + VAT | 3.5 CPD

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    News

    Wilberforce features in four of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2023

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce Chambers appears in four of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2023, identifying this year’s most-talked-about disputes. Four cases is a record achievement for us, meaning that nine of our members are involved... Read more

    Monday 16 January 2023

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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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View all thought leadership View all events

Joseph's Details

BSB/VAT information

Registered name: Mr Joseph Michael Steadman
VAT number: 249329872

Privacy Notice pdf

Memberships

  • Association of Pension Lawyers (Associate Member)
  • CFLA
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • COMBAR
  • ConTrA
  • Property Bar Association
  • Thought Leaders 4 HNW Divorce
  • Thought Leaders 4 Private Client

Publications

Qualifications and Appointments

  • MA: Selwyn College, Cambridge (First Class, with university prize for the best Equity and Trusts paper and numerous college scholarships and prizes)
  • BCL: The Queen’s College, Oxford (Distinction, with First Class dissertation entitled “Remedies against Recipients from Defaulting Trustees”)
  • BPTC: City University, London (Outstanding, with William Rose Memorial Prize for Excellence in Drafting)
  • Lord Denning, Hardwicke and Sunley Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Former Supervisor in Law, Selwyn College, Cambridge (Equity and Trusts)
  • Former Teaching Fellow in Law, University College London (Property and Trusts)

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