Steven Kempster

Partner | London

Secretary Hollie Geaney


Track record

Trust and succession disputes

Steven acts in many of the largest and most complex international trust and succession disputes, the majority of which are resolved successfully without a public court decision. Recent cases that have been reported include:

Offshore trusts transfers

Acting for high-net worth international businessman on successfully setting aside transfers into various offshore trusts that had triggered unnecessary tax on £10m+ (heard in English court in August 2019)

Removing executors of a Will

Acting for beneficiaries of an estate in proceedings that went to the Court of Appeal in England on the issue of removing executors of a Will and on the costs of the dispute; reported as Griffin v Higgs [2018]

Trustees of family trusts

Acting for trustees of substantial family trusts seeking order from the Court for additional powers under Section 57 Trustee Act 1925; reported as Gelber v The Sunderland Foundation [2018]

Attacks on trusts

Advising a blue-chip offshore trust company on its involvement in English divorce proceedings concerning attacks on trusts worth over £25 million. We handled the disclosure issues for the trustee and eventually the case was concluded without the trustee being formally joined to the English proceedings.

Inheritance Act claim

Our lawyers brought the highest value Inheritance Act claim to date in Wooldridge v Wooldridge (2016). We were acting for a widow who sought to increase provision under her husband's will after his death in a tragic helicopter accident.

Trustee decisions

Advising in the Matter of the F Settlement and the A Trust (2015) a landmark decision of the Bermuda court setting aside trustee decisions.

Validity of high value trusts

The case of BQ v DQ (2010) a decision of the Bermuda Court concerning a successful challenge to the validity of two high value trusts over 30 years after they had been purportedly established.


  • International Chamber of Commerce event in London, launching the ICC's draft clause for the arbitration of trust disputes, November 2018

  • Panellist - 'Wealthy families in dispute', Private client dining club, London - May 2018

  • STEP, Hong Kong branch, lecture on 'Trust and divorce' - February 2018

  • 'Trust planning in divorce', Isle of man conference - September 2017