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Serle Court is sought after for its strength in offshore trusts matters, and has a wealth of experience of acting in the Cayman and Channel Islands, the BVI, Bermuda and the Bahamas, with additional strength in cases in China and Hong Kong. It is regularly instructed by trustees and leading offshore firms. Members were recently instructed in Wong v Grand View PTC and Others, a USD10 billion dispute over the validity and operation of five Bermuda purpose trusts. One source comments: "The barristers are all completely on top of their game and are not afraid to hold strong opinions on legal issues, while remaining commercial."
Client service: "The clerks are very personable and mindful of the service for their international clients." Steven Whitaker is the head clerk.
Alan Boyle QC
Widely praised as a leading light of the Offshore Bar, Alan Boyle is highly sought after for trust, insolvency and probate litigation, among other things. He provides counsel on BVI, Cayman and Bermuda matters and serves as head of chambers at Serle Court. Boyle has appeared in many of the leading trust cases during his 29 years in silk.
Strengths: "A brilliant advocate and fierce opponent."
Recent work: Appeared before the Privy Council to resist an appeal regarding a discretionary trust in the BVI.
Dakis Hagen QC
Has a strong reputation for handling international trust, fraud and asset-tracing matters. He regularly appears in Bermuda and Jersey, as well as the Caribbean jurisdictions. Hagen is highly experienced in regulatory proceedings and is noted for his skill in handling trustee applications and jurisdiction challenges.
Strengths: "He is tremendous to work with, incredibly smart, very insightful and a real team player." "A go-to QC for offshore trusts work."
Recent work: Acted for the claimants in Scherbakova v Morina, a trial regarding the appointment of interim administrators in respect of a BVI estate worth over USD100 million.
Elizabeth Jones QC
Excels in complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation and has in-depth expertise in company and commercial law generally. Her areas of expertise include financial services, contentious trust matters and civil fraud cases. She regularly advises on disputes in the Channel Islands and is also called to the Bar of the BVI. Jones has recently been engaged in significant proceedings in Bermuda and the Bahamas.
Strengths: "She has got a great reputation."
Recent work: Acted for Sir Owen Glenn in proceedings relating to Spartan Capital, a BVI joint venture company.
Frank Hinks QC
Has long-standing experience of handling litigation across numerous offshore jurisdictions, having appeared in a wide range of locations both across the Caribbean and in Hong Kong. He is particularly adept at co-ordinating complex and multi-jurisdictional litigation, and is sought out for his trusts expertise. His clientele includes high net worth families and private trust companies.
Strengths: "If you have a really hard trusts problem, he is a go-to person."
A key player in contentious international trusts cases, who has acted for both trust companies and personal trustees in places as far-flung as the Channel Islands, the BVI and St Kitts & Nevis. He specialises in real estate-focused trust funds and regularly acts for fund liquidators.
Strengths: "Very responsive, helpful and thorough. He provides good insights." "He's outstanding – incredibly technically able and on top of his game, but very easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees, the new Swiss trustees of Channel Islands settlements held for the family of Simon Halibi, regarding trustee lien issues arising from the retention of trust assets by former trustees.
Acclaimed by market sources for his work in trusts and estates litigation. He is frequently called upon to represent clients in the BVI and the Channel Islands, and has garnered accolades for his role in the Tchenguiz trust litigation. He is further noted for his non-contentious trusts work.
Strengths: "For trusts law there is no one better at the junior Bar. He has quite exceptional intellect, is phenomenal on trusts law and is a wonderful tactician." "Great to work with, user-friendly, technically very highly skilled and great at forming arguments and explanations about really complex areas."
Recent work: Continued to act on behalf of a beneficiary in Watson v Novatrust, a dispute regarding a trustee's conduct in relation to a joint venture conducted through two trusts.
John Machell QC
He has a wide range of offshore expertise regularly handling major trusts cases as well as general commercial disputes. He is frequently sought out by clients in Jersey and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: "He gives clear, strategic advice."
Recent work: Acted for a group of trustees in proceedings in the Cayman Islands relating to the validity of a pre-death variation to a trust and the mental capacity of the settlor.
Jonathan Adkin QC
Highly regarded in the area of contentious trust work, with additional experience in civil fraud, insolvency and partnership matters. His expertise is sought after for non-charitable purpose trust and company matters, including shareholder disputes. He is called to the Bar in Gibraltar, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Strengths: "A very good, thorough lawyer."
Recent work: Acted in Re Nord Anglia Education, a USD1 billion share value appraisal action in the Cayman Islands Grand Court.
Has experience acting as a solicitor in Jersey and as a result enjoys a strong practice in the Channel Islands. She regularly advises on trust disputes and fraud matters.
Strengths: "She is really sensible, a pleasure to work with and has a lovely way of defusing unnecessary tension with the other side."
Recent work: Acted for the new trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust in Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd v Glenalla Properties Ltd and Others.
Has experience of practising in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the BVI, Jersey and the Isle of Man, among other jurisdictions. He has had notable roles in several high-value, cross-jurisdictional disputes. His work in this area predominantly focuses on alleged fraudulent misappropriation and breach of trust litigation.
Strengths: "He lives his cases and knows every corner and every scrap of detail."
Philip Jones QC
Advises on the whole range of offshore matters, including investment fund litigation, trust disputes, fraud and tax avoidance. His clients include high net worth families and company directors. He has been called to the Bar of the BVI, the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man.
Strengths: "He is a modern, responsive and communicative counsel who is very easy to work with as a team. He is able to explain his views in an easily digestible manner."
Recent work: Continued to be instructed in Ng v Chen, a dispute over the ownership of a BVI company which is the ultimate owner of a hotel and casino in Macau.
Philip Marshall QC
Demonstrates strong credentials in asset recovery and civil fraud cases, and has additional strength in restructuring and insolvency disputes. His clients include international banks and high-profile directors. Marshall has appeared or advised in courts in jurisdictions including the Channel Islands, Hong Kong, Bermuda and the BVI.
Strengths: "Very pragmatic and hands-on." "He is a tough opponent – he'll rip apart your case if he can."
Recent work: Instructed in Emmerson v Renova Industries, a USD1 billion claim in the BVI arising out of a failed joint venture in Russia.
Richard Wilson QC
Enjoys a strong reputation in traditional and commercial chancery litigation, and has particular expertise in trusts, probate and partnership disputes. His practice also encompasses private international law. Although particularly noted for his presence in the Channel Islands, he has also appeared for clients in Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
Strengths: "He is pragmatic in his advice and a really good person to have as part of your team." "Astute and responsive."
Recent work: Acted for the trustees in Tchenguiz v Rawlinson & Hunter to oppose an application for the disclosure of trust information.
A new entrant to the table with expertise in a range of offshore commercial work, including shareholder and investment disputes. She is particularly adept at handling litigation in the Bahamas.
Strengths: "She is meticulous in her review of papers." "She works incredibly hard and doesn't miss anything. She has a great ability to make connections in different jurisdictions."
Recent work: Appeared in the Supreme Court of the Turks and Caicos Islands for the plaintiffs in Dodds v Proprietors of Ocean Club West, a challenge to a policy banning condominium owners from independently renting their properties.