Richard Wilson

The directories say

"An outstanding litigator"

- Chambers UK 2012

Richard's practice encompasses litigation, drafting and advisory work across a wide range of traditional and commercial chancery, but 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, civil fraud. The bulk of his work at present consists of trusts and probate litigation, including numerous high profile 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 a 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 at first instance, in the Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court. Richard was also involved in the leading recent Jersey case on these issues: Re the B Life Interest Settlement [2012] JRC 229.

Richard's work frequently involves offshore matters and issues of private international law. He has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI) and has also appeared in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar. He is currently instructed in numerous matters involving most of the principal offshore jurisdictions.

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


Professional Reputation

  • 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 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 2)

  •  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. The 2011 edition described him as “superb, approachable and very thorough.”

  • Richard is listed in the 2013 Citywealth Leaders’ List as a prominent barrister in the field of trusts.

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


Notable Recent Cases

  • 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.
  • Slutsker v. Haron Investments [2013] EWCA Civ 430 and [2012] EWHC 2539 (Ch): Richard appeared (led by Gilead Cooper QC) for the successful Defendant trustees in the High Court and the 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.

  •  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.
  • Spurling v. Broadhurst [2012] EWHC 2883 (Ch): Richard acted for the executors in an application to construe the terms of an ambiguous will.

  • Oakhurst v Blackstar (Isle of Man) Ltd [2012] EWHC 1131 (Ch): Richard appeared for the beneficiaries of a number of EFRBS trusts seeking to determine whether the trustee had been validly removed.

  • 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.

  • Esson v Esson (Re Clements, deceased) [2010] WTLR 187: Richard successfully argued that the words "should he predecease me" contained in a codicil should be construed as meaning "even if he should predecease me" thereby ensuring that the deceased's grandchildren received legacies

  • Lim v. Thompson [2010] WTLR 661: Successful opposition to a claim to propound alleged wills on the basis of want of due execution pursuant to s.9 of the Wills Act 1837.

  • 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.

  • Burt v. HMRC [2008] STC (SCD) 814: Successful appeal against the refusal of HMRC to grant retirement relief on a sale of shares.

  • 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.

  • Levy v. Perry: Claim for removal against a trustee who had agreed to retire before proceedings were commenced. Richard acted for the successful defendant and obtained an order for indemnity costs against the beneficiaries.

  • Re Eurocruit (Europe) Limited [2007] 2 BCLC 598: Determination of the question of when limitation starts to run in respect of claims brought under s.212 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

  • 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 within s.53(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925.

  • Goodman v. Goodman [2006] WTLR 1807: Contested application for rectification of a will under s.20 Administration of Justice Act 1982.

  • 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 prompted the Law Commission to consider reform of the interaction between the adoption and intestacy rules.


Professional Membership


Chancery Bar Association

Revenue Bar Association



Professional Negligence Bar Association




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.




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 in 2013. Richard is one of the editors of the Trusts Quarterly Review, and a member of the editorial board of the Wills and Trusts Law Reports.


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. In 2012, he was also a speaker at the STEP Caribbean Conference in the Cayman Islands. He has also lectured to a number of STEP branches in the UK and around the World, including the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, New York, Gibraltar and Bermuda. He is also available to give in-house seminars for solicitors' firms.


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