Paul Hewitt

Partner

  • Education: University of Kent at Canterbury, Law with a Contemporary Language (French)
  • Admitted: England and Wales, 1997
  • Languages spoken: French
  • Year joined: 1998
  • Year became partner: 2003

Overview

Paul is '..of the highest competence and judgement and a formidable opponent... one of the leading advisors in the area..' '..quite simply, one of London's leading trust and estates litigation solicitors...if I were a client with a contentious trusts or probate claim, I would, without hesitation, go to Paul.'

'Paul is a well known star of the contentious private client arena.  There are very few solicitors in this field who can match his experience, depth of knowledge, tactical insight or judgment.  He is one of my favourite solicitors to work with.'

 Citywealth Leaders List 2014 & 2015

'Paul Hewitt is a "star litigator, who knows when he needs counsel but is confident in his own judgement as well.  He knows what he can achieve through litigation, but is always very sensitive to the client's case".'

'Top of the list for probate litigation.'

'He is one of the best in the market: very practical, very commercial and tactically aware.'

 Chambers, 2014 & 2015

Paul is a partner in the Contentious Trust and Succession team.  He specialises in all types of trust and probate disputes, including claims about the validity, construction and rectification of wills and trusts, Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims, removal of executors and trustees, and contentious estate and trust administrations.  The Court has appointed him administrator in a number of contentious estates. 

Paul also advises on contentious Court of Protection matters, both financial, and health and welfare, involving those unable to manage their own affairs.  These include statutory will applications and disputes over the appointment or conduct of attorneys and deputies.  Occasionally he acts as 'litigation friend'.

He also advises on professional negligence claims arising out of trust and estate administration, and failed estate and tax planning.

Paul is listed as a leading practitioner in Chambers Global, Chambers, Citywealth, Legal 500 and Who's Who Legal Private Client 2014.  Legal 500 2013 said '...at the top of the game right now, really upping the ante.'  Who's Who Legal describes Paul as "known for his 'fierce intellect' and 'commitment to cases".  He is listed in the Super Lawyers directory and in Best Lawyers International.  Chambers 2013 said 'There's no two ways about it: he's absolutely brilliant'.  In relation to contentious Court of Protection work Legal 500 says, 'clearly an expert' and Legal 500 2014 say that Paul 'handles even the most difficult of clients with aplomb.'

Paul was awarded the ACTAPS Solicitor of the Year 2014.  He heads the firm's work for charities and not for profit organisations on legacy income with Stephen Richards.  Chambers 2014 says of his work for charities, 'an absolute expert in this subject' and 'extremely hard-working'.

Highlights

  • In Royal Society v Robinson and others Paul and Katie Emerson acted for the Royal Society in its successful application to extend the meaning of 'United Kingdom' to include Jersey and the Isle of Man in the context of the Will of the eminent physicist, Michael Crowley-Milling.  Read our summary here.
  • In Bourke v Favre [2015] EWHC 277 (Ch), Paul acted for the owner of Chettle in Dorset, one of a handful of privately held villages in England, in response to her nephew's claim that she was required to leave him the entire village based on a purported 50 year old oral family agreement.  The Court rejected the nephew's attempt to add a significant new cause of action, proprietary estoppel, after exchange of witness statements.  Click here to see the decision.  The substantive dispute settled shortly thereafter.
  • Paul, together with Paola Fudakowska and Deborah Nicholls, represents Prince Mukkaram Jah, His Exalted Highness Nizam VIII of Hyderabad, in a dispute over funds held at Natwest Bank for over 50 years (the subject of the House of Lords decision Rahimtoola v Nizam of Hyderabad [1958] AC 379).  The High Court decided in Pakistan v Natwest and Ors [2015] EWHC 55 (Ch) confirming that the Nizam's claim to the funds may now proceed.  Click here to see the decision.
  • In the matter of the estate of Nicholas Turquand-Young [2013] JRC 235, Paul and Emma McCall working with Jersey advocates advised Macmillan Cancer Support on an application before the Royal Court of Jersey about the correct interpretation of a will.  Under the will, two shares of residue were left to Macmillan, but under different former names.  The executor considered Macmillan only took one share.  The Royal Court, applying English law, held that Macmillan was entitled to two shares.  Click here to see Carey Olsen's briefing note on the case.
  • In the matter of the representation of Hawksford Executors, reported at [2013] JRC 188, Paul and Phineas Hirsch working with Jersey advocates advised RSPCA, Cancer Research UK and RAF Benevolent Fund in securing an order that Mrs Ivelaw had not intended to revoke an earlier will benefitting the three charities when making a later Belgian will.  Click here to see the decision.
  • Paul acted for Louisa Hodkin in a judicial review of the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages’ refusal to register a Church of Scientology Chapel as a place of religious worship (thereby denying Louisa and her fiancé the right to a legally recognised marriage in their own church).  Ouseley J refused the application, reported at [2013] ACD 32, because he was bound by a 1970’s Court of Appeal authority, but recognised that Scientology is a religion.  In a separate judgment the Judge gave permission to seek leave to appeal direct to the Supreme Court (leapfrog).  The Supreme Court expedited the hearing and in December 2013 unanimously upheld the appeal.  Click here to view Lord Toulson summarising the Court's decision, which is reported at [2014] AC 610 and [2014] WLR 23.
  • Paul and Natasha Stourton acted for the first defendant in In re Goodman, decd, reported at [2013] 3 WLR 1551, where Newey J, on appeal from Master Bragge, upheld the first instance decision on removal of executors (Paul was the successful advocate before Master Bragge).  
  • In Burgess v Hawes Paul and Natasha Stourton acted for the successful claimants in overturning a will purported to be that of their late mother and securing recovery of lifetime transfers from their sister and her immediate family.  The Court of Appeal reported at [2013] WTLR 453, unanimously upheld the first instance decision which is reported at [2012] WTLR 423.  Click here to view the decision or here to read our briefing note on the case.
  • Paul and Beatrice Calderbank acted for the trustees in the Hastings Bass matter of Futter v Futter in their application to set aside an advancement, the result of incorrect tax advice, which went to the Supreme Court.  The first instance decision is reported at [2010] WTLR 609.  The Court of Appeal decision is reported at [2011] 2 All ER 450.  Click here to download the Supreme Court decision which is reported at [2013] 3 All ER 220. 
  • In Spurling & another v Broadhurst & others, reported at [2012] WTLR 1813, Paul and Paola Fudakowska represented the executors who sought a declaration  to determine which of four possible constructions was the correct interpretation of the will. 
  • In Semmens v Hards & another (2011), Paul acted for the applicant to secure relief from forfeiture and ensure that he received his uncle's entire estate, notwithstanding assistance in his uncle's final trip to the Dignitas Clinic.
  • In Clark v World Wildlife Fund and others, reported at [2011] WTLR 961, Paul Hewitt and Natasha Stourton represented the charities who successfully argued that English law governs the validity of a will dealing with English immovable property (the first judicial approval of the rule in Dicey).  The court also held that England rather than Alabama is the appropriate forum for the dispute, despite the testatrix's nephew, Mr Clark, having obtained letters of administration in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  • Paul and Stephen Richards acted for the charity in RSPCA v Sharp and Others in which the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the RSPCA's case that its benefactor, the late George Mason, intended his estate to pass free of inheritance tax.  Click here to view our briefing or visit the Civil Society website.  The first instance decision is reported at [2010] WTLR 855.  The appeal is reported at [2011] STI 253 and [2011] WTLR 311. 
  • In Re MN, reported at [2010] WTLR 1355, a dispute over the enforcement of a Californian Order that MN be returned to California, Paul and Stephen Richards represented MN's niece.  It is the leading authority on cross-border welfare disputes in the Court of Protection.
  • In Natalia Morley-Clarke v MT Brooks & Others, reported at [2011] WTLR 297, Paul and Stephen Richards represented Mrs Natalia Morley-Clarke, whose husband had died intestate.  The judgment was the first on a widow's application to capitalise her life interest.  It was contested by one of the husband's sons from a previous marriage, who was subsequently ordered to pay costs of the entire dispute.
  • In Esson v Esson and Others, reported at [2010] WTLR 187, Paul and Isabel Moreton acted for the successful claimant in an application for construction and rectification of his mother's homemade codicil.  The Judge agreed that the words ‘should I predecease him' in the codicil were not intended to be a condition of the gift of a bank account to the testatrix's grandchildren.
  • In ITW v Z, M, and various charities, reported at [2009] WTLR 1791, Paul and Stephen Richards represented the charities in support of ITW's application for a statutory will.

Publications and speaking engagements

Publications 

  • Co-author of Probate Disputes and Remedies (Third Edition) published by Jordans, March 2014
  • Co-author of Strength of Will Law Society's PS Magazine (Issue 105 May 2013)
  • Co-author of A matter of Record Private Client Advisor April 2013 
  • Co-author of The Court of Protection, Charities and the Evolution of Best Interests Elder Law Journal (Vol 1 Issue 3 2012)
  • Co-author of the Law Society's Inheritance Act Claims
  • Author of the Tolley's Charities Manual chapter on Legacy Income published by LexisNexis
  • Contributor to Practical Will Precedents and McCutcheon on Inheritance Tax (both Sweet and Maxwell)
  • Contributor to Legal Network Television programmes including Private client: troublesome trustees, executors and beneficiaries; Will and Trusts: Mistakes; Private Client: Contested Legacies and Trusts and Mistakes 
  • Contributor to the Law Society Private Client Section/ILM Charities as Beneficiaries guidance

Speaking engagements

  • The Law Society Private Client Cross Border Conference 2016 Cross Border Contentious Probate
  • Law Society Will drafting post Illot v Mitson (9 October 2015)
  • Contentious Trust and Probate Conference Removal of Personal Representatives (8 October 2015)
  • Institute of Fundraising, Legacy Fundraising Summit What happens when your legacy gift is under dispute? (14 September 2015)
  • IBC's UK & Cross Border Contentious Wills & Probate Conference Examining the Role of the Personal Representative in Probate Litigation (January 2015)
  • Legacy Labyrinth Chattels as a source of discord (January and February 2015)
  • Law Society webinar Contentious probate (September 2014)
  • Legacy Labyrinth Deathbed Gifts (January and February 2014)
  • Law Society webinar The latest on contentious probate (September 2012)
  • Jordans Wills Trust and Probate Update 2011 - Contentious Probate - the Golden Rule revived? (November 2011)
  • STEP Cheshire Charities as beneficiaries - friend or foe? (September 2011)
  • Surrey Law Society 2011 Private Client Conference Construction of wills - when words don't always mean what they say (September 2011)
  • Solicitors Group Wills and Probate Trustee Errors - Hastings Bass and other remedies after the Court of Appeal (May 2011)
  • LexisNexis Webinar Charities as Beneficiaries under wills: drafting, administering and litigating (April 2011)
  • STEP Cross Border Incapacity Conference The Case of Re MN (December 2010)
  • STEP Norwich and Norfolk Family disputes: pre and post death (November 2010)
  • Surrey Law Society Private Client Conference The Court of Protection in Practice (September 2010)
  • Solicitors for the Elderly Putting Tax Mistakes Right (June 2010)
  • STEP Lakes and Lancaster Confusion in Wills - the modern approach to construction (May 2010)
  • Advising The Elderly Conference 2010 Court of Protection Issues including Lasting Powers of Attorney (April 2010)
  • Jordans Wills, Trusts & Probate Seminars Autumn 2009 No Contest Clauses 
  • 4me Convention Nationale des Avocats 2008 Reformes des tutelles: La protection en Common Law, Illustrations transfrontalière (France/Grande Bretagne)

Memberships

  • Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS)
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners STEP
  • Law Society Private Client Section
  • Charity Law Association
  • International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA)
  • Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)  

 

Recent accolades and awards

    
   
     

 

 

      

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