Paul Hewitt

Partner

Paul is a partner in the trust, estate and inheritance disputes team.

Top ranked in the directories, Paul is described as a ‘star litigator’ and ‘a formidable opponent’; as well as listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2020.

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.

Paul Hewitt enjoys an excellent reputation for his work on complex private client disputes. "There is a uniquely commercial aspect to his work and he is exceptional at judging whether something is worth running," observes one source. Another comments: "He really knows what he’s doing and is absolutely determined to do the best with his clients."

The Lawyer says "There aren’t too many lawyers who can claim to have acted in a case spanning more than 70 years concerning two countries, a bank and a former state. However, that is precisely what Paul Hewitt did when representing the 8th Nizam in High Commissioner for Pakistan In the United Kingdom v Prince Muffakham Jah & Ors last year, a dispute linked to a £1m fee that eventually ballooned to £35m."

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
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Thank you to you [Paul] and your team for all your help & guidance. Your involvement in a number of our cases has proved invaluable.

Kate Wilson, Legacy Administrator - Princess Alice Hospice
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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
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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
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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
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Thank you [Paul] for the effort and perseverance and guidance…I was lucky to have a good firm with great lawyers onside to reach a conclusion, top notch firm without a doubt and you were right when you said ‘leave it to us’.

Client
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Paul Hewitt is a peerless litigator with a remarkable capacity for tactical invention.

Legal 500 UK, 2020
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There is a uniquely commercial aspect to his work and he is exceptional at judging whether something is worth running. He really knows what he’s doing and is absolutely determined to do the best with his clients.

Chambers HNW, 2020
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Paul Hewitt is an excellent lawyer and tactician. He never loses sight of what is best for his clients but he fights for them ceaselessly.

Legal 500 UK, 2021
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I would recommend him unhesitatingly…he can be very straight-talking and he knows the law. He is zealous for his clients, but you can have a sensible discussion with him.

Chambers HNW, 2021

Clients

Track record

Admissions

Publications

Memberships

Talks

Paul and Alice Tomlin act for Sightsavers as representative residuary beneficiary in Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind v Beasant and others [2021] in the charity’s successful application to determine that a legacy expressed to be equal to the maximum that could pass free of tax had a nil value where there were already gifts in excess of £500,000. Click here to read our briefing note on the case and click here to read to Judgment.

Paul Hewitt and Sarah Aughwane advised the nominated representative of the former employees of Zaha Hadid Limited in Schumacher v Clarke and others [2020] in which the executors and trustees of Dame Zaha Hadid’s estate sought the Court’s blessing of a decision to pass significant assets to an Employee Benefit Trust. The Court accepted submissions made on behalf of the former employees and other representative parties that the decision should not be blessed. Click here to read the Judgment.

Paul, Deborah Nicholls-Carr and Olivia Turner represented Prince Mukarram Jah, His Exalted Highness Nizam VIII of Hyderabad, in a dispute over funds frozen at Natwest Bank for over 70 years (the subject of a 1958 House of Lords decision Rahimtoola v Nizam of Hyderabad), involving the governments of India and Pakistan. Pakistan issued a new claim in 2013. The High Court decided in Pakistan v Natwest and Ors [2015] EWHC 55 (Ch) that the Nizam’s claim to the funds should be allowed to proceed. The Judge upheld the Nizam’s claim (along with those of his younger brother and India) to his grandfather’s funds. Read the Judgment here. The case was one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20 Cases of 2019’.

England and Wales, 1997

‘Inheritance Act Claims’, Law Society - second edition, co-author, 2017

‘Probate Disputes and Remedies’, Jordans third edition - March 2014, 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

Contentious Trust and Probate Ceremony - James v James - 8 February 2018

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

Regularly works with...