We specialise in high value, complex work assisting UK and international clients.

Every dispute is different and needs to be handled as such. Disputes can also be emotive, sometimes highly so. We work closely with our clients as trusted advisors to help them find practical, robust solutions which achieve their aims.

Our approach is to make every effort to resolve issues without the expense and publicity of going to court. We are expert negotiators experienced in mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. 

When going to court is unavoidable we identify and apply the strategies that see claims resolved as swiftly as possible. We work collaboratively as a team with the very best barristers and litigation support professionals, including litigation funders.

As one of the largest private wealth teams in the UK we are able to deliver a seamless dispute management service across all key private wealth advisory areas. Whether your dispute is about trusts or tax, real estate or immigration, our contentious teams work together with our advisory teams to provide the perfect blend of subject matter and disputes expertise.

Areas of focus

Our private wealth disputes expertise covers:

  • Asset tracing, recovery, injunctions and freezing orders
  • Court of Protection
  • Cryptoassets
  • Defamation and reputation management
  • Family businesses
  • Family law, divorce and related trusts advice
  • Fraud
  • Intellectual property
  • Landed estates
  • Partnerships
  • Professional negligence across all private wealth advisory specialisms
  • UK commercial and residential real estate
  • Tax
  • Trusts, estates and probate
  • Unfair prejudice petitions, company shareholder and director actions.

Acting for a court appointed administrator of the estate of a deceased UHNW individual involving multiple claims brought by and against the estate. With the solvency of the estate dependent on the outcome of so many moving parts, we worked closely alongside our tax and probate teams to resolve the claims and progress administration of the estate. We successfully secured costs protection for the administrator for all claims before assisting the administrator in negotiating a settlement of the highest value claim and a related claim by mediation. We then represented the administrator in an opposed application to obtain the court’s blessing of the settlement and successfully negotiated settlement of that application.

Representing the offshore trustee in a highly contentious blessing application in relation to the restructuring of multiple offshore trusts involving the proposed distribution of the entire corpus of the trusts. Our work, which spanned multiple jurisdictions, involved bringing injunctive proceedings, addressing multiple disclosure applications, and an interim hearing on the validity of the appointment of a Protector.

A cross jurisdictional breach of trust claim in relation to the mismanagement of trust assets, including tracing and seeking recovery of assets allegedly distributed by trustees in breach of trust (including cryptocurrency).

Advising the family office of an UHNWI in a contested rent review of an investment property in Central London with a value of circa £100m. As well as concluding the rent review in the client’s favour, we also helped them to re-gear the lease and resolve a number of outstanding breaches of the tenant’s covenants.

Advising trustees in divorce proceedings brought by the wife of a HNW beneficiary to a trust. The wife sought to join the trustees to proceedings and made claims against trust assets which the trustees robustly defended.

Acting for a HNW client based overseas in respect of divorce and financial proceedings in England. This complex case involved assets in multiple jurisdictions and held via company structures. The case required expert evidence in respect of valuing assets and businesses and tax advice for restructuring.

Resolving long-running HMRC dispute regarding an individual’s acquisition of a domicile of choice in the UK. As well as resolving the dispute, this also resulted in HMRC repaying a six-figure sum in previously overpaid tax.

Advising Jersey trustees on the UK tax consequences of a possible Hastings Bass application, itself resulting from a potential failure to recognise the matching of relevant income against past distributions to beneficiaries, and protecting a related professional negligence claim.

Successfully defeating an HMRC argument that our client was a quasi-transferor of an offshore pension for transfer-of-assets-abroad purposes.

A highly contested dissolution of a farming partnership, involving valuable assets (over 1,000 acres of land and buildings, Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, and strategic development land) with multi-party interests, complex ownership and tax issues.

Successfully obtaining rectification of a deed of appointment in relation to one of south Oxfordshire’s most valuable landed estates, in a bitterly opposed application. The deed inadvertently appointed the estate to a distant relative of the settlor rather than the settlor’s grandson as had been intended. The recipient of the unintended appointment denied an error had been made and further defended the application on the grounds of proprietary estoppel (Fielden v Christie-Miller [2015] EWHC 87 (Ch)).

Acting for siblings (partners and will trustees) in negotiating arrangements for buyout of their shares of a family business and winding up of the original partnership. This highly contentious and hard fought matter was resolved through negotiation with the agreed terms including multiple transfers, forward looking arrangements and overage to preserve the interest of the bought out siblings in future development arrangements.

Advising a well-known politician on a potential defamation claim against a national newspaper.

Acting for an individual activist investment professional on a complex dispute concerning the ownership of an investment fund in the activist shareholder space.

Advising a number of siblings in multi-jurisdictional proceedings against another sibling for breaches of fiduciary duty arising out of his dealings with partnership and trust assets.

Meet the team
Justin Briggs

Justin Briggs Partner

  • Trust Disputes
  • Tax Negligence
  • Pension Disputes
Kevin Kennedy

Kevin Kennedy Partner

  • Estates and Land
  • Private Wealth
  • Agricultural Disputes
Michael Ward

Michael Ward Partner

  • Shareholder disputes, partner disputes and LLP disputes
  • Director duty disputes
  • Material contract disputes
Emily Roberts

Emily Roberts Partner

  • Intellectual Property and Media
  • Intellectual Property Disputes
  • Intellectual Property Portfolio Protection
Headshot John Barnett

John Barnett Partner

  • Head of Partnerships
  • Private Client Services
  • Tax
Sarah Hoskinson 1

Sarah Hoskinson Partner

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services
  • Private Wealth

Suzanne Padmore Partner

  • Pensions Disputes
  • Professional Negligence
  • Financial services Disputes and Enforcement 
Richard Handel website

Richard Handel Partner

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services 
  • Private Wealth
James Sutherland

James Sutherland Partner

  • Head of Real Estate Disputes
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Professional Negligence
Guy Bastable Corporate Image

Guy Bastable Partner

  • Corporate Crime & Regulatory Investigations
  • Dispute Resolution & Crisis Management
  • Internal Investigations & Corporate/Director Liability

What others say...

Burges Salmon LLP has a strong reputation for private wealth law matters, especially contentious trusts and estates. A client says they ‘are internationally minded, fully informed on a constant basis and always looking to provide answers and not string things out.'

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2022

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