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Joseph is a litigator who specialises in complex trusts, estates, Court of Protection, and charity disputes.

He has particular expertise in claims for breach of trust, applications for removal of trustees and protectors, Public Trustee v Cooper applications, inter-family disputes in relation to the ownership of valuable antiques and artworks and claims in relation to the administration of estates, including constructive trust and proprietary estoppel claims.

Joseph has acted in a number of highly contentious family trust disputes and is therefore familiar with the delicate balance that is required between protecting the client’s position and minimising damage to family harmony.

Joseph acted on one of the leading cases in relation to the role of protectors of trusts (Davidson & Anor v Seelig & Ors, [2016] EWHC 549 (Ch)).

Joseph was named as one of the Top 35 Private Client Lawyers Under 35 by eprivateclient in 2018.

Work Highlights

Joseph has been involved in the following cases (most cases settle and therefore do not reach the courts):

Richard Clive Desmond & Ors v. Credit Suisse International & Anr, case no. 13-842

Global Energy Horizons Corporation v Gray [2015] EWHC 2232 (Ch)

Davidson & Anor v Seelig & [2016] EWHC 549 (Ch)

Rothschild Switzerland (CI) Trustees Ltd v W [2017]

R (on the application of Z and another) v Hackney London Borough Council and another, UKSC 2019/0162, being a UK Supreme Court decision on the interpretation of the Equality Act 2010.  Joseph acted for the successful Respondent.


Text books

Joseph co-wrote, with Joanna Poole, the chapter on costs in International Trust Disputes (Kempster, McMillan, Meek) 2nd Edition

Private Client Business

January 2022, “Proprietary Estoppel: hopes by themselves are not enough”, being a detailed review of the doctrine of proprietary estoppel.

May 2021, “A single minded loyalty”, being an in depth analysis of Lehtimaki and others (Respondents) v Cooper (Appellant) [2020] UKSC 33

Trusts and Trustees:

March 2023, “Guardian Trust Revisited”, being an analysis of (i) a trustee’s liability under the Guardian Trust principle, (ii) the court’s jurisdiction to make ‘Put up or shut up’ orders, and (iii) the use of such orders to assist in the removal of caveats. 

January 2020, "A singular analysis - attribution of illegality following Singularis v Daiwa".

Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal
March 2022, “Fiduciary obligations and constructive trusts: Attribution of illegality”, Crown Prosecution Service v Aquila Advisory Ltd [2021] UKSC 49

October 2021, “Testamentary capacity: When capacity fluctuates”, Hughes v Pritchard & ors [2021] EWHC 1580 (Ch).

December 2020, “ The mysterious case of the long lost will”, Wrangle v Brunt & anor [2020] EWHC 1784 (Ch)

October 2020, “Estate Administration: more than remote”, Re Studdert [2020] EWHC 1869 (Ch)

November 2019, “First in time, first in line?”, Representation of Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees SA re Z Trusts [2019]

October 2018, "Judicial Blessings", South Downs Trustees Ltd v GH [2018]

April 2018, "The Without Prejudice Rule - a sacred right?", Rothschild Switzerland (CI) Trustees Ltd v W [2017]

December 2017, "Staying Virtuous", Akita Holdings Ltd v The Honourable Attorney General of The Turks and Caicos Islands [2017]


Memberships & Accolades

Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists, ConTrA

Joseph was named as one of the Top 35 Private Client Lawyers Under 35 by eprivateclient in 2018.


"I think that Joseph is very strong. He is a senior associate and he is on his way up. He is very good." (Chambers HNW 2023)

"He is all over the documents and makes very thoughtful comments." (Chambers HNW 2023)

"Joseph de Lacey – a terrific associate" (Legal 500 2023)

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