Call: 2007    
Charlotte Ford  

"Very commercial in her approach and a real scrapper, who is able to handle tricky issues. Her attention to detail is marvellous."

Chancery: Traditional - Chambers UK Bar 2019

 

Practice Overview


Charlotte has a thriving traditional chancery practice, with significant expertise in contentious probate and administration of trusts and estates, both domestic and offshore. She is ranked as a tier 4 “leading junior" for both Traditional Chancery in the Chambers UK Bar Guide and Private Client: Trusts and Probate in the Legal500 guide, with particular praise for her "excellent advocacy skills". In the 2016 Chambers UK directory it was noted that "She works well with the instructing solicitor, engages with the case and drafts documents in a clear and uncomplicated style." Charlotte is also ranked at band 4 in the Chambers High Net Worth 2017 directory, which notes “She really knows her stuff; she is pragmatic and commercial” and “is technically very capable”.

Charlotte has a "high-profile" (Chambers UK Bar) practice with strong international elements, for example acting as junior counsel in the heavily contested dispute over the administration of the estate of Boris Berezovsky. She is an editor of both Theobald on Wills and Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks: Executors, Administrators and Probate.

Charlotte is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences in the fields of trusts, estates and probate. Charlotte has significant experience as both sole and junior counsel, including acting in the Court of Appeal; and is at ease acting against silks and senior juniors, whether as sole or junior counsel.

Recent work includes acting as sole counsel for the interim manager of a charity in the High Court in Charity Commission v Framjee [2015] 1 WLR 16.

She is "down-to-earth", provides a user-friendly and responsive service and is described as “a person of real integrity”.

  • Trusts and Estates
    • Trusts (both domestic & Offshore)

      Charlotte regularly acts and advises in both contentious and non-contentious issues arising in respect of trusts. Charlotte has significant experience in applying to court for approval of trustees' decisions and for directions in the administration of a trust, for example when acting in the Boris Berezovsky estate.

      Charlotte deals with matters arising from both express and implied / constructive trusts, and related issues such as proprietary estoppel and applications under TOLATA 1996 relating to trusts of land. She acted as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal case of Davis v Smith [2011] EWCA Civ 1603, a recent authoritative restatement of the principles applying to severance of a joint tenancy in equity.

      Charlotte has recently acted for intervening pensioners in a High Court action brought by the Pensions Regulator against certain funds.  She also acted in Charity Commission v Framjee [2015] 1 WLR 16 for the Interim Manager of a charity in which the Charity Commission intervened, arguing a novel point of law as to how a shortfall in trust funds should be distributed amongst various innocent parties

      Charlotte regularly advises both trustees and beneficiaries, for example in relation to the construction of a trust deed; and has experience of commercial chancery litigation involving trusts elements. One particular interest is applications for the removal of trustees and claims for breach of trust.

       

      Wills

      Charlotte is an editor of Theobald on Wills, and has significant experience of both contentious and non- contentious questions arising from wills and intestacy. She is noted in the Chambers UK Bar Guide as having particular expertise in 'complex Inheritance Act issues' for both applicants and respondents, and has very recently acted in a highly contentious case between a widow and second wife of the testator, and his children from his first marriage (which claim was settled at mediation).  She is presently advising a vulnerable adult child of the deceased as to her claim under the Act.

      Charlotte frequently acts for both executors and trustees, in matters including advice on and applications concerning the construction or rectification of wills. Charlotte has a particular interest in issues relating to the validity of wills, such as want of knowledge and approval, undue influence and questions of formal validity. She also advises on questions relating to mutual wills, constructive trusts and other matters (such as proprietary estoppel and unravelling lifetime gifts) which might affect the operation of a will.

       

      Probate and administration of estates

      Charlotte acts for both personal representatives and beneficiaries in a wide range of matters encompassing the administration of estates. Charlotte is noted in the Chambers UK Bar Guide for her 'high-profile' contentious probate practice, being particularly active in matters concerning the disputed representation of estates. She also has significant expertise in non-contentious probate business in the Probate Registry, such as applications for limited grants (as was the case in the Berezovsky estate). Charlotte is an editor of Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks: Executors, Administrators and Probate.

      Charlotte frequently acts in applications for approval of executors' decisions and for directions in the administration of an estate. She was specialist probate counsel in the heavily contested proceedings relating to the disputed representation of the estate of Boris Berezovsky deceased. She has a special interest and expertise in applications for the removal of personal representatives and consequential orders, such as for an account.  Charlotte also has significant experience in advising as to cross-border estates, and is presently acting for the court-appointed administrator in a complex estate involving property in both Ireland and England.

      Charlotte argued a novel point of English law in the High Court in Bignall v Cullen / Re Gailis (deceased) [2014] EWHC 1118 (Ch) as to whether a complex cross-border estate could be distributed in the face of a threatened but very stale claim by an alleged creditor.

      On the non-contentious side, Charlotte frequently advises as to the correct administration of estates, inheritance tax questions (including the variation of estates) and estate planning.

      Charlotte has dealt with a number of cases involving questions as to a testator's mental capacity to make a will, and where there is considerable suspicion as to the circumstances in which it was made.

      Linked to this, Charlotte has significant experience of applications in the Court of Protection for statutory wills, issues arising from powers of attorney, the appointment of Deputies, and applications for permission to litigate on behalf of the patient.

      Charlotte has experience of dealing with cross-border estates, and advises on matters such as jurisdiction and the impact of the EU Succession Regulation.

       

      Professional negligence

      Charlotte frequently advises on cases of professional negligence, particularly in relation to her main practice areas of trusts, estates and probate. She has particular expertise of cases involving allegations of negligence by solicitors and other legal professionals in the preparation and drafting of wills, such as failing to ensure that jointly held property forms part of an estate rather than passing by survivorship.

       

  • Offshore
    • Charlotte has significant experience of cases with an international element, and acts in relation to both domestic and offshore trusts. She has experience as a junior in large-scale litigation concerning an insolvent and complex offshore trust structure; and has advised in relation to trusts in offshore jurisdictions including the Caribbean and Channel Islands.


      Recent offshore work includes advising on the effect of a letter of wishes in a BVI will, and advising as to theappointment of a Protector in a Gibraltrar trust.


      Charlotte also frequently lectures in offshore jurisdictions, notably the Channel Islands.

  • Insolvency
    • Insolvent Trusts and Estates

      Charlotte has significant experience of and a particular interest in matters concerning actual or potentially insolvent trusts and estates, stemming from her experiences in dealing with such assertions by creditors in the Berezovsky estate. She acts in applications for both retrospective and prospective validation orders, by personal representatives and trustees.

       

      Charlotte also has expertise in applications to undo trust structures both within and outside the insolvency context, including void transactions, transactions at an undervalue and preferences. Charlotte has acted in a number of cases where a trust set up by a settlor who later became bankrupt has been alleged to be a sham; and for local authorities attempting to claw back monies apparently gifted to family members which would otherwise be available to cover costs of care, for example.

  • Additional Information

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