Private client disputes

Our private client disputes group combines our pre-eminent private client and litigation practices.

We have particular expertise in high value, complex multi-jurisdictional trust disputes and have recently co-ordinated trust-related litigation in a number of different jurisdictions including Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Bermuda, BVI, Jersey and Guernsey.

We maintain long-standing, trusted relationships with our clients, as much to avoid litigation as to help guide them through it. Our lawyers are more than litigators: they are trusted advisers. They work closely with our market-leading private client team to provide a seamless service and to ensure that tax issues are fully integrated into the strategy for resolving a dispute.

Given the breadth of our litigation practice, we act for a wide range of clients, national and international, including trust companies; banks and financial institutions; investors and high-net-worth individuals from many different backgrounds. This gives us insight into a broad spectrum of businesses and individuals - which is of significant value when dealing with the diverse range of assets and family situations encountered in trust, probate and family disputes.

The range of services which the practice provides includes:


Trust litigation

  • breach of trust claims;
  • variation of trust applications;
  • directions for the administration of trusts;
  • blessing applications;
  • removal of trustees;
  • international commercial disputes involving trustees;
  • fraud and asset tracing;
  • trust disputes in the context of English matrimonial proceedings;
  • pre-emptive cost orders;
  • litigating rights of beneficiaries/creditors;
  • rectification, mistake and Hastings-Bass applications;
  • constructive trust claims;
  • knowing receipt and accessory liability; and
  • construction applications.

Probate litigation

  • challenges to the validity of wills;
  • claims against professional advisors;
  • undue influence/recovery of property;
  • removal/replacement of executors;
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claims;
  • paternity disputes;
  • breach of duty allegations; and
  • applications to the court (including the Coroner) for directions.

What people are saying

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"Macfarlanes is blessed with a team of specialists for this work, from associate level through to partner level. Charles Lloyd is one of the best lawyers in the country. He is incredibly user-friendly with clients while being firm with opponents."

The UK Legal 500 2023

"This is a very, very rich field in terms of talent, especially in London. Macfarlanes are simply blue chip through and through. They are top-drawer people."

Chambers HNW 2023

"Macfarlanes was able to take over a substantial international trust dispute half way through heavy litigation with great ease and professionalism. They were extremely quick to engage and get to the pertinent issues."

The UK Legal 500 2023

"The partners are incredible – so experienced and knowledgeable with excellent client-handling and instincts. They do a superb job bringing through their associates, so whoever in the team you speak to you feel in good hands, regardless of seniority."

The UK Legal 500 2023

"Great team. Real strength and depth. Continue to dominate the market. "

The Legal 500 2023

"Macfarlanes is blessed with a team of specialists for this work, from associate level through to partner level. "

The Legal 500 2023