Nicholas Le Poidevin specialises in trusts and estates work, both contentious and advisory. He has appeared in significant cases in England at the highest level in both areas of practice, Crociani v Crociani (2014: trust jurisdiction clauses) in the Privy Council and Marley v Rawlings (2014: switched wills) in the Supreme Court. Over half of his work comes from overseas, especially Jersey and Guernsey, and he also appears in courts abroad. He is familiar with the trust laws of most of the offshore jurisdictions. A particular interest is the conflict of laws and the problems it causes in both trust and estate administration.
He is an editor of the leading practitioners' textbook, Lewin on Trusts, and is a frequent speaker at conferences.
His practice extends also to property law, company law and insolvency, either in their own right or in connection with trusts and estates.
"He's bright, charming and the ideal version of a chancery silk."
Chancery: Traditional - Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2022
Trusts, Wills & Estates
Nicholas is highly regarded in the field of trusts. Legal 500, ranking him as a leading silk, refers to his “great reputation” and describes him as "intellectually outstanding, but also approachable and accommodating." Chambers UK Bar calls him “one of the top experts in the international trust arena” and says, “Any superlative would not do him justice. His advice is superb, his drafting is elegant and he is tremendous in conference.”
It was recorded in Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2022 that: "He is one of the people who is first port of call on any trust matter. His drafting style is superb and stands as an example to all of how to convey complex issues with crystal clarity. He is an excellent advocate who is highly responsive."
Chambers UK Bar (Trusts) & Chambers Global (Private Wealth) 2017 describe him as "Bright, up to speed and a lawyer with a very nice persuasive advocacy style. He's absolutely substance not show."
He litigates trust disputes of all kinds and advises on difficulties in trust administration. He is relied on by leading firms of solicitors and advocates both in England and abroad. In Crociani he argued the construction of a trust jurisdiction on appeal from Jersey and had earlier run a similar argument in Bermuda in Re A Trust. He is glad to work with local advocates in assisting their preparation of cases, as in Re B, dealing with French threats of criminal proceedings against a Guernsey trustee.
For many years he has been an editor of Lewin on Trusts (20th ed., 2020) and has written in detail elsewhere about sham trusts; writing and practice inform each other. He is often asked for contributions at conferences, for example speaking on trust investment at the first STEP Global Congress in Miami in November 2014.
Wills and Estates
Nicholas deals with all aspects of wills and estates, both litigation and advice. Chambers UK Bar records “Learned but practical and able to take a commercial approach. Whatever he says about the law, you feel comfortable with, and he’s very good at working with you and seeking out your ideas.”
He has a special expertise in cases involving cross-border issues, such as conflicting rules of succession, getting in foreign assets and questions of the jurisdiction in which a grant of representation should be sought. He appeared in the first probate case to be decided in England’s highest court for over 50 years, Marley v Rawlings, where husband and wife signed each other’s wills; and he was later successful in seeking from the Supreme Court an order for costs directly against the insurers of the negligent solicitor.
He has written on problems in estates and spoke on cross-border issues at the STEP Caribbean conference in 2013.
In Chambers UK Bar 2022, Nick is described as having "a depth of experience and looks at a case with a breadth of perspective."
Who's Who Legal (UK Bar 2016) states in its Private Client section that Nicholas Le Poidevin QC is particularly well known for his work in the offshore market and is "a pleasure to work with".
Nicholas frequently appears in courts in offshore jurisdictions, including Bermuda, the B.V.I., the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands, and also takes instructions for litigation or advice in Jersey, Guernsey and elsewhere. Notable cases offshore include Serena v Equity Trustee Ltd in the B.V.I. in 2014 and Re A Trust in Bermuda in 2012. He has a special expertise in firewall legislation and issues arising under the Hague Convention. He has also acted as an expert when issues have arisen about trusts in foreign proceedings.
As an editor of Lewin on Trusts (20th ed., 2020), he has had particular responsibility for its treatment of the conflict of laws. He has lectured widely abroad on matters within his practice and contributes articles to legal publications. He is a member of STEP and has sat on its International Committee.
General property law
Nicholas maintains an active involvement in property law, such as advising on easements and restrictive covenants. Having sat as a Commons Commissioner (until the abolition of the office by the Commons Act 2006), he has a special interest in rights of common and appeared in R. (Littlejohns) v Devon C.C. (2015), funded by the N.F.U., to establish the status of unregistered rights.
His familiarity with both real property law and company and insolvency law prove useful in trust and estate work, where such ancillary questions often arise. He is instructed in the winding-up in the Isle of Man consequent on Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd.
Qualifications / Education
Cayman Islands (2001)
Isle of Man (c. 1990)
M.A, LL.B. (Cantab.)
Head of New Square Chambers (2014 - 2015, 2020 to date)
Bencher of Lincoln's Inn
The International Academy of Estate & Trust Law
Deputy Chair, STEP Contentious Trusts & Estates Special Interest Group
The Chancery Bar Association
Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Association
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
Professional Negligence Bar association
French - Basic