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23 January 2023 | Firm News | Article by Roman Kubiak TEP

Hugh James announces growth of contested wills, trusts and estates team across the UK

The firm has expanded its Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team with the appointment of senior associates Sarah O’Grady and Ryan Taylor based in Cardiff and London.

Sarah and Ryan are part of a ten-strong team, now one of the largest teams specialising in Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates in England and Wales, advising across the whole range of estate, trust and inheritance disputes for clients in the UK and internationally. The two new hires follow the arrival of Partner Victoria Jones, who strengthens the team based in our Southampton office.


Sarah O'Grady


At our Cardiff headquarters, Sarah joins the firm from Clarke Willmott. Referred to as a ‘rising star’ by Legal 500, Sarah has many years of experience in will, trust and estate disputes and is a member of both STEP and ACTAPS. She brings expertise in agricultural estates, including proprietary estoppel claims and partnership disputes, and is a member of the Agricultural Law Association.


Ryan Taylor


Ryan, who joins the team based out of our City office, likewise specialises in disputed estates and trusts and joins Hugh James from Anthony Gold, where he gained recognition as a key lawyer in successive Legal 500 rankings. Ryan qualified in Australia in 2011 and has specialised in private client law since then, originally advising on business and personal succession planning, as well as trusts for families and high net-worth individuals, before branching out into estate and trust litigation. Since settling in the UK eight years ago, Ryan cross-qualified and devoted his practice to contentious trusts and probate, practising in a Legal 500 London team for three years before making the move to Hugh James.


Victoria Jones


Partner Victoria Jones joined the team at our Southampton office in 2022, making the move from a South Coast based firm. Victoria has advised high net-worth families and specialised in contentious wills, trust and estate cases for over 20 years. She has also advised vulnerable adults and their families since 2006 in Court of Protection disputes, with a particular focus on cases involving elder financial fraud. Victoria also has an established niche charity legacy practice, which assists charities and trustees in both realising and protecting legacy income. Victoria co-wrote Remember a Charity’s ‘Guide to Professional Advisors’ for drafting wills with charitable legacies and is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists (ACTAPS); the Association of Women Solicitors and Charity Law Association.


We’ve bolstered our team during an exciting period of growth. Last year, we extended our service across the north of the UK through the acquisition of Potter Rees Dolan, a Manchester-based national catastrophic personal injury and clinical negligence practice, with strong Court of Protection and Welfare Benefits departments and the firm’s Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team is now actively looking to bring in a senior hire to help develop the practice in the north and support the team there.

Head of the Hugh James Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team, Roman Kubiak, welcomes the specialist talent to the team and confirms plans for recruitment in the North of England in 2023. He said:

“I am proud and delighted to be able to welcome Victoria, Ryan and Sarah to the team, all of whom are noted leaders in the field of contentious trusts and probate. Their hires are not only a direct response to the number and value of new instructions we are now receiving both nationally and internationally but also part of our strategy to bring on and retain the very best talent. Our people are our greatest asset and, as we look to an exciting and ambitious future, I am keen to replicate our successes in Manchester.”

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Author bio

Roman Kubiak is a partner and head of the market leading Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team.

He advises across the whole spectrum of private wealth disputes, with a particular focus on high value, complex and cross-border disputes including: trust disputes, breach of trust claims and applications to remove trustees; will disputes, particularly those with an international element; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; and claims for equitable relief under proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts and resulting trusts.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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