Richard Wilson

The directories say

"personable, insightful and forward-thinking"



- Chambers UK 2013

Included in the ‘Chambers 100’ list of the top 100 juniors at the English Bar, and ranked in band 1 of the Chambers UK Guide (2015 edn.) for traditional chancery, offshore and trusts work, Richard Wilson has a practice encompassing litigation, drafting and advisory work across a wide range of traditional and commercial chancery, with a strong emphasis on trusts and probate (both contentious and non-contentious), related company and partnership issues, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, tax, professional negligence and civil fraud.

The bulk of Richard’s work at present consists of trusts and probate litigation, including numerous high-profile and significant trust disputes as well as non-contentious applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958, claims for rectification or rescission of trust instruments and a number of high-value 1975 Act claims. However, Richard retains a significant advisory practice and acts for the trustees of numerous landed estates as well as major corporate trustees in many jurisdictions.

Richard has developed particular expertise in assisting trustees, solicitors and their insurers to deal with consequences of mistakes made in the planning and implementation of arrangements involving trusts and wills. He has appeared in numerous applications for rectification of wills and trusts, applications for rescission on the basis of mistake and applications to set aside exercises of trustees' discretion under the rule in Re Hastings-Bass. Richard appeared for the trustees in Futter v. Futter [2013] UKSC 26 at first instance, in the Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court. Richard has also been involved in the leading Channel Islands cases on these issues: Re the B Life Interest Settlement [2012] JRC 229 (Jersey) and Dervan v. Concept Fiduciaries (Guernsey) and is currently instructed in similar matters in a number of jurisdictions, including some of the first mistake claims in the Cayman Islands. 

Richard is regularly instructed in matters offshore or involving issues of private international law. He has appeared in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He has also given expert evidence of English Law in the Royal Courts of Jersey and Guernsey.

Before commencing practice at the Bar, Richard worked as a tax consultant with Price Waterhouse.


Professional Reputation

  • Chambers 100 UK Bar: "He applies his thorough understanding of the law in a client friendly manner, often coming up with imaginative solutions to the underlying issues. He is hard-working and very responsive."

  • Chambers & Partners 2014: "Technically able, and a man with in-depth knowledge. He is a very commercial chap and has a very good approach to strategy." (Offshore - Band 1)

  • Chambers & Partners 2014: "A very good advocate, who takes difficult points," he is "a lateral thinker, who is persuasive in a reasoned sort of way." Peers say he is "knowledgeable, tactically astute and stands his ground well." (Traditional Chancery – Band 1)

  • Chambers & Partners 2013: “Richard Wilson is another to impress at the set. He is consistently singled out as a ‘commercial and incisive’ junior who brings a ‘creative approach to problem solving.’ His practice has an emphasis on trusts and probate, tax, civil fraud and insolvency matters, and he has conducted various high-value cases in Gibraltar, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands.” (Offshore – Band 

  • Chambers & Partners 2013: “The ‘personable, insightful and forward-thinking’ Richard Wilson has a well-rounded chancery practice, but concentrates heavily on trusts, probate and tax” (Traditional Chancery – Band 1)

  • Chambers & Partners 2012: “Richard Wilson ‘has become really quite impressive over the years,’ according to solicitors, and he, too, frequently leads in matters. An ‘outstanding litigator,’ his keen knowledge of tax, trusts and offshore issues appeals to clients and solicitors.” (Traditional Chancery – Band 2)

  • The Legal 500: Richard has been recommended in the category of private client: trusts and probate for a number of years.

     Richard was shortlisted in the category of ‘Chancery Junior of the Year’ at the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Awards 2012.

     Richard is also listed in the Citywealth Leaders’ List as a prominent barrister in the field of trusts



Notable Recent Cases

  • J.F. and M.F. v. Hexagon Investments [2014] (Cayman Islands, Grand Court) Richard appeared for the Plaintiffs in this application for declarations as to the beneficial ownership of share portfolios that had been transferred into the name of a company owned by them.

  • The Woodland Trust v. Loring [2014] EWCA Civ 1314 Richard appeared in the High Court and Court of Appeal for the successful claimants in this claim for construction of a will. The claim involved the important question of whether the introduction of s.8A of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 resulted in a single or double nil rate band passing under the will.

  • Tadros v. Barratt [2014] EWHC 2860 (Ch): Richard appeared for a Dutch Foundation, successfully opposing an application for anti-suit and freezing injunctions where probate proceedings had been brought in both England and the Netherlands.

  • Hurd v. TPL Holdings [2014] All ER (D) 266: Richard appeared for the petitioner in this application to strike out a petition under s.994 of the Companies Act 2006. The application to strike out was successfully resisted and the case involved consideration of the important question of the extent to which a petition may be based on past conduct.

  • Re Turquand Young (Deceased) [2013] JRC 235: Richard gave expert evidence to the Royal Court of Jersey as to the proper construction of a will in circumstances where a particular charitable beneficiary had been named twice (under different names) in the will.

  • Slutsker v. Haron Investments [2013] EWCA Civ 430: Led by Gilead Cooper QC, Richard appeared for the successful defendants in the High Court and Court of Appeal. The claim involved determination of the question of the extent to which the Russian regime of joint matrimonial property applies to land in England held on a Cayman trust.

  • Futter v Futter [2013] UKSC 26: Richard acted in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court for the trustees who applied at to set aside the exercise of their discretion under the principle in Re Hastings-Bass. The case is the leading authority on the circumstances in which the exercise of a trustee’s power can be set aside.

  • Dervan v. Concept Fiduciaries, Richard appeared as the expert witness on English Law in this application to the Guernsey Royal Court to set aside a transfer of shares into an employee benefit trust, on the grounds of mistake. The Court stated that “Mr Wilson’s exposition of the law was inevitably well-informed”

  • Re The B Life Interest Settlement [2012] JRC 229: Richard advised and assisted Jersey advocates in this claim to set aside deeds of exclusion and appointment on the basis of mistake and the principle in Re Hastings-Bass.

  • Tamlin v Edgar The Times, 23rd February 2012: Richard appeared for the trustees in this application for approval of the winding-up of a trust before the Chancellor and in which guidance was given as to the proper approach in such applications.

  • Austin v. Woodward [2011] EWHC 2458 (Ch): Richard appeared for the successful claimant in this application to rectify a will on the basis of a clerical error resulting from the use of an incorrect precedent.

  • Official Solicitor v. Yemoh [2011] 1 WLR 1450: Richard appeared for the Official Solicitor in this landmark case in which the Court determined the entitlements on intestacy of spouses to polygamous marriages.

  • A-B v. Dobbs [2010] WTLR 931: Richard acted for the successful Respondents to an appeal against the refusal of the district judge to pass them over as executors under s.116 of the Senior Courts Act 1981. The Court held that there was no jurisdiction under s.116 following the issuing of a grant of probate and that in any event, no 'special circumstances' sufficient to justify passing over had been shown.

  • Pedder & Ors. v Cabor Trustees Ltd ([2010] Unreported, Supreme Court of Gibraltar): Determination of whether negotiations concerning trustee's indemnities were subject to 'without prejudice' privilege and if so, the extent to which such privilege had been waived or could be overridden in the interest of justice.

  • Bishop v. Bishop: Richard acted for the successful claimant in this probate claim involving a will made by an alcoholic within 2 weeks of discharge from rehab. The will was admitted to probate despite the evidence of the deceased's consultant psychologist that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity.

  • Bonham v. Fishwick [2008] EWCA Civ 373: Richard appeared in both the High Court and Court of Appeal in this claim involving the question of whether trustees were protected against liability for breach of trust by an exemption clause in the trust instrument.

  • Blackman v. Man: Richard appeared for the professional executor in both the High Court ([2008] WTLR 389) and the Court of Appeal in this high profile probate case concerning a woman who left her £10m property fortune to friends who owned a Chinese restaurant.

  • Sillett v. Meek (2007) 10 ITELR 617; [2007] EWHC 1169: Richard represented executors who successfully recovered a Jersey bank account that had been put into joint names during the deceased's lifetime.

  • Slater v. Simm [2007] Fam Law 667 Ch.D: Richard represented the claimant who successfully argued that the terms of an express trust had been varied by a constructive trust.

  • S v. T1 [2006] WTLR 1461: Application under s.1 of the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 in order to prevent a child with an interest under the statutory trusts on intestacy from losing his entitlement on adoption. The problem highlighted by this case has resulted in the introduction of s.4 of the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014.

  • Bonham v. Blake Lapthorn [2006] All ER (D) 164 (Oct): Richard acted for the claimants in this claim for breach of trust and professional negligence relating to shares in the Bonhams auction house.

Professional Membership


Chancery Bar Association

Revenue Bar Association



Professional Negligence Bar Association


Seminars and Lectures


Richard lectures on a wide range of subjects. He has spoken at the Legal Week Trusts and Estates Litigation Forum on numerous occasions. He has lectured to a number of STEP branches in the UK and around the World, including the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, New York, Gibraltar and Bermuda.




Richard writes extensively on subjects within his fields of expertise. He has had numerous articles published in journals such as Private Client Business, The Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal and Elderly Client Adviser. He is the co-author of ‘The Trustee Act 2000: a Practical Guide' (Jordans, 2001) and is currently co-writing the ‘Trust Litigation Handbook' which is due to be published by Jordans. Richard is a former editor of the Trusts Quarterly Review, and is a member of the editorial board of the Wills and Trusts Law Reports.




Richard read law at the University of Sheffield (LLB) and the University of London (LLM)




Prior to starting practice at the Bar, Richard worked for Price Waterhouse as a tax consultant.


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