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Our advice ranges from "friendly" applications, for example to vary a trust, or seeking court directions or a blessing, through to hostile claims such as breach of trust.

International Trust Disputes

A large number of trust disputes involve international assets, wealth structures and overseas courts.  We have a reputation for international trust disputes and are regularly involved in cases before the courts of offshore jurisdictions. 

We advise on:     

  • variation and directions applications
  • breach of trust and removal applications
  • claims regarding the validity of trusts, for example involving allegations of sham, mistake, lack of capacity or the rectification/construction of trusts
  • disputes about trustee powers and duties
  • disclosure and confidentiality issues
  • creditor claims and enforcement against trust assets – for example attacks on trusts in the context of divorce and insolvency, as well as fraud and asset tracing
  • corporate vehicles within trusts.

The team’s reputation for handling big trust disputes is second to none. The lawyers are involved in all the big cases and provide an excellent service to their clients.

Legal 500

Recent Work Highlights

  • Claim for equitable compensation.  This is a highly complex and multi-faceted piece of litigation that has repeatedly broken new legal ground. Sir Owen Glenn KNZM ONZM & Anor v Watson and Ors [2016] EWHC 3259 (Ch) and Watson v Kea Investments Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 1759 are seminal judgments and two of the seven reported judgments on this matter.
  • Illusory trusts.  Representing the trustees in the Pugachev litigation, one of the most discussed cases in the last decade which explores the issue of sham and illusory trusts among other issues JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev [2015] EWCA Civ 139.
  • Trusts and Divorce. Advising trustees of Cypriot international trusts in relation to proceedings brought by the wife in Switzerland for financial provision from her husband, following divorce, including a proprietary freezing order in relation to trust assets which was the subject of an appeal to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. Rybolovlev v Rybolovleva 15 ITELR 554.
  • Trusts and Divorce. Acting for the successful appellant to overturn a first instance decision that a property was held on a resulting trust for the husband of a divorcing couple Ravendark Holdings Ltd. v Rotenberg [2021] EWCA Civ 1661
  • Trusts and Divorce.  Determination of a wife’s financial remedy application after a final order had been set aside because of non-disclosure of trusts by her husband.  GW v GW [2016] EWHC 3000 (Fam)
  • Trusts and Divorce.  Acting for the former wife in successfully resisting the husband’s appeal against an ancillary relief order which meant that the husband would have to obtain assets from two family trusts to make payment to his former wife.  Whaley v Whaley [2011] EWCA Civ 617
  • Profits received in breach of fiduciary duties.  We acted in the landmark decision of the United Kingdom Supreme Court  FHR European Ventures v Cedar Capital [2014] UKSC 45, which holds that a bribe or secret commission accepted by an agent is held on trust for his principal. 
  • Contractual liability Bermuda.  We acted for the successful claimant in a three month trial in Bermuda over a high value and high profile claim as to the contractual liability of a Bermuda trust to a Swiss charitable foundation to fund the construction of an opera house.  Stiftung Salle Modulable v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd [2014] Bda LR 13
  • Enforcement of Privy Council judgment. Enforcement action in relation to a decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council concerning the misappropriation of assets from a family trust in the BVI.
  • Mistake. Successful application for the set aside of transfers of capital out of a Cayman Trust to employee financed retirement benefit schemes in Jersey which caused severe unintended consequences to the Trust. Representation of Schroder Cayman Bank and Trust Company Limited [2015] JRC 125
  • Equitable compensation and the forfeiture rule in the Cayman court. We acted for the claimant widow in a three month trial seeking equitable compensation from the trustees of a Cayman trust for breach of their fiduciary duties. AB Jnr & Another v MB & Others [2013] (1) CILR 1
  • Negligent tax advice. Acting for the successful appellant in overturning a first instance decision that a solicitor from whom the appellant had obtained specialist tax advice had not been negligent in failing to warn him of risks associated with his advice.  Barker v Baxendale Walker Solicitors (A Firm) [2017] EWCA Civ 2056
  • Order for Sale under Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA).  Kaki v Kaki [201] EWHC 3692 (Ch)
  • Variation of trusts.  Successful application under the Trustee Act 1925 s57 to grant the trustees power to trade so that they could complete transactions for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Re Portman Estate [2015] EWHC 536 (Ch)
  • Breach of trust/fiduciary duty. US$120 million claim for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty in the context of two large Jersey trusts. Settled after 8 months in trial.  Alhamrani v Alhamrani (2007/2009) Jersey

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