Paul Hewitt

Partner | London

Paul is a partner in the trust and succession disputes team.

He is described as a ‘star litigator’ and ‘a formidable opponent’.

Paul specialises in all types of trust and probate disputes. This includes 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. A barrister interviewed by the leading independent legal directories commented: ‘if I were a client with a contentious trusts or probate claim, I would, without hesitation, go to Paul’.

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 a ‘litigation friend’.

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

He heads the firm’s work for charities and not-for-profit organisations on legacy income with Stephen Richards.

Secretary Abigail Joyce

‘‘

Paul provided clear, intelligible advice and answered questions readily and accurately, and the trustee body was content that he be our lead contact throughout the months of this contentious issue. The Royal Society is grateful for the assiduous work that Paul and Katie Emerson put in to bring the matter to a successful conclusion.

Dr Julie Maxton, Executive Director - The Royal Society
‘‘

As a New Yorker newly resident in London, I have found Paul Hewitt of enormous assistance during the challenging time after my husband’s passing. Paul’s expertise, high morals, and absolutely peerless work ethic were a strong foundation and comfort during an extremely difficult and unsettling time. He and his team worked tirelessly to ensure my well-being and future on all levels when faced with hostile and aggressive opposition. I am deeply, deeply grateful to all of them.

Paulina Moggach
‘‘

Over the years we have come to rely on Paul Hewitt and his colleagues for their proactive and value-added legal advice deeply rooted in their thorough understanding of our work. I have always found their style and approach to be responsive, effective and efficient with the expertise and experience to provide the highest level of legal service allowing us to make informed decisions.

Miss Mojdeh Zand, Head of Legacy Administration - RSPB
‘‘

I went to Withers because I was told they were the best in this field. I was not disappointed. It’s not just about good lawyering, although that of course is vital. It’s about working with us and listening to find out the full circumstances of the issue. I found Paul Hewitt and Natasha Stourton to be sympathetic and practical. They didn’t over promise and gave us a fair and realistic view of our chances. I felt like we were all a team with a common goal.

Peter Burgess
‘‘

‘Brilliant litigator’ Paul Hewitt is ‘very experienced’ in handling contentious matters for his Court of Protection clients. Areas of expertise include statutory will applications, applications for gifts, and disputes over the appointment and conduct of deputies and solicitors.

Chambers UK, 2017
‘‘

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 2015

Clients

Track record

Admissions

Publications

Memberships

Talks

In British Red Cross and Others v Werry and Others, reported at [2017] WTLR 441, Paul, together with Richard Walker successfully appealed a 1975 Act order made as long ago as April 2011 on the basis that it resulted from a fundamental mistake (namely a belief that the deceased had died intestate when, five years later, it was discovered he had made a will).

In Royal Society v Robinson & 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.

England and Wales, 1997

‘Probate Disputes and Remedies’ (Third Edition), Jordan - March 2014, co-author

‘Strength of Will’, Law Society’s PS Magazine - May 2013, co-author

‘A matter of Record’, Private Client Advisor - April 2013, co-author

Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

Law Society Private Client Section

Charity Law Association

International Association of Young Lawyers

Solicitors for the Elderly

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

The Law Society Private Client Cross Border Conference 2016, Cross Border Contentious Probate

Law Society, Will drafting post Illot v Mitson - 9 October 2015

Me in a minute

I love the challenge of my specialist area

I wanted to be a lawyer since I was about ten even though I don’t think we knew any lawyers. As my wife and colleagues know only too well I enjoy a good debate and if I hadn’t gone into the law, I would most probably have pursued a career in politics.

I love the challenge of my specialist area. Disputes about wills and trusts require detailed knowledge of the law but they also require strategic planning, detective work and understanding of the family emotions that often drive discord, as well as commercial common sense.

Probably my highest profile case is acting for His Exalted Highness the VIII Nizam of Hyderabad over the ownership of £35 million his grandfather deposited with NatWest bank in 1948 (the money is also claimed by the governments of India and Pakistan).

The case I am proudest of is Burgess v Hawes - a finely balanced probate dispute where our preparation tipped the balance in a winner takes all scenario.

I act for a whole variety of charities, as well as individuals, some high profile. I am very proud of my record in resolving the vast majority of disputes without putting clients through the risk, stress and expense of going to court.

Education


Languages


  • English

Dates


Joined

1998
Partner

2003

Recognition


London

16 Old Bailey,

EC4M 7EG

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