Kerry Bornman

Kerry’s practice covers the full range of litigation and drafting/advisory work in the private client field and related professional negligence claims. She is a full member of STEP and specialises in trusts, Wills and probate disputes, administration of estates, Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims, Court of Protection and elderly client, and co-ownership disputes.

After taking time off to raise her young children, Kerry is delighted to be back, advising and appearing for personal representatives, trustees and beneficiaries in relation to disputed estates, trusts and breach of trust matters, and the construction of Wills and other trust instruments. Most of her cases settle at mediation and are confidential owing to the high net worth client identities.  Kerry is an accredited mediator (trained through ADR Chambers (UK) Ltd) and is on the panel for the Bar Pro Bono Unit.



Notable recent cases


Kerry’s recent cases include:

  • Singh v Singh [2015] 1 P & CR. DG4, [2014] EWHC 2762 (Ch): successfully obtained a declaration for a protected party without a trial where the claim was seriously arguable, the declarations sought were necessary to afford her justice, and granting the declarations would not cause repercussions for any third parties.

  • G v F [2015]: disputing Bill of Costs, detailed assessment under recent costs management rules and effect of costs budgets (Bar Pro Bono Unit)

  • Estate of P [2015]: advising executor and successfully settling challenge to later Will invalid for lack of capacity alternatively undue influence

  • Re. K [2013-2015] Court of Protection and Ch D: acting for a deputy to recover patient’s inheritance; property allegedly given as a deathbed gift to patient’s brother

  • Re. L [2012-present]: initially advising and drafting application for appointment of deputy for 100-year old patient with a £12 million estate. Subsequently, advising the executor on the administration of the estate, including: construction of the Will, inheritance tax liability on lifetime gifts, gifts to foreign charitable bodies, assets in Delaware USA, conditional lifetime gifts/purpose trusts to UK university, hotchpot, and foreign bank accounts.

  • Estate of JS [2014] Ch D: advising executors on construction of a Will and transferable nil-rate band, drafting and settling claim

  • D Will-Trust [2013-2014] Ch D: advising beneficiaries on removal of trustee and claim for breach of trust causing loss to trust fund of at least £2.7 million

  • Re. Lady A [2013] Court of Protection: acted for successful objector in compromise of the application to remove a deputy on the grounds of excessive fees and successfully recovered the objector’s costs

  • Est of SC [2013] Ch D: advising, drafting and settling at mediation a claim by a cohabitee under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

  • Re. AS [2012] Court of Protection: advising trustees of a discretionary settlement whether attorney could give necessary written consent on behalf of incapacitated settlor to £1 million appointment out of the trust and drafting application to CoP

  • X v Y [2012] Ch D: giving second opinion on a UK high net worth estate with foreign assets and interplay of UK Will with forced heirship provisions

  • Re. x Harley Street [2011] Ch D: construction of a trust deed and deeds of variation of a head lease

  • Green v Gaul [2007] 1 WLR 591; [2006] EWCA Civ 1124; [2005] EWHC 406 (Ch) (led by Sarah Asplin QC): at first instance, successfully represented beneficiaries to remove the personal representative and recover assets that she had wrongly transferred to her son; in the Court of Appeal, successfully challenged appeal on limitation under ss.21 and 22 LA 1980 and laches.

  • D v R, Estate of R [2007] Ch D: construction of a homemade Will, resulting/constructive trusts, proprietary estoppel

  • Hansen v Barker-Benfield [2006] WTLR 1141 (Ch), [2006] EWHC 1119: successfully represented the widow-defendant to set aside Will obtained by stepdaughter for lack of testamentary capacity, for declarations that lifetime gifts to the widow were not invalid for undue influence and that an earlier homemade Will in favour of the widow had been duly executed.

  • Cadlock v Aboagye [2006] All ER D (170): personal insolvency, appeal from finding of fact, rehearing (Bar Pro Bono Unit)

  • Stanley v Phillips [2004] BPIR 532, [2003] EWHC 720 (Ch): insolvency, compliance, disclosure, IVAs, mortgages, real property.

  • Marshall v Hill [2003] All ER D 304 (Mar): construction of a deed of variation to include all grandchildren

  • Dorricott v Carter [2003] All ER (D) 283 (Jan): determination of boundary dispute by surveyor was valid and binding on the parties


Kerry has published articles in Private Client Business and the 3 Stone Buildings Newsletter. Her article “Limitation Issues for Personal Representatives and Trustees” (PCB 2007, Issue Number 3) is cited in Pettit, Equity and the Law of Trusts, 12th ed. (2012) OUP.


Topics she has covered in publications include:

  • Cautionary Tales for Trustees: Jones v Firkin-Flood

  • Fielden v Cunliffe [2005] – surviving spouses and the 1975 Act

  • Limitation Issues for Personal Representatives: Green v Gaul


Professional membership


Chancery Bar Association







Kerry Bornman read Law and French Law and lived abroad in Paris and Madrid before coming to the Bar.
She was awarded the Middle Temple Queen Mother Scholarship and Blackstone’s Entrance Exhibition (1998)


Seminars and lectures

Kerry lectures on all aspects of her practice both in seminars hosted by 3SB in London and at venues around England and Wales (including her solicitors’ offices). 

Kerry’s current roadshow covers digital assets: “Cell Phones Don’t Work in Heaven: Dealing with Digital Assets on Incapacity and Death”.  If you would like her to deliver this talk for your firm, please contact her clerk to make arrangements. 

If there are any other topics you would like Kerry to present to your firm, please do not hesitate to contact her clerk. 

Kerry’s other seminar topics have covered:

  • Limitation issues for personal representatives

  • Mental capacity

  • Undue influence

  • Pre-owned asset tax 


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