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Matthew Evans


Matthew is a partner and heads up the firm’s private wealth offering. He is responsible for the development, implementation and long-term strategy of the team.

Matthew has a UK-wide reputation in the field of contentious probate, recognised by his clients and peers in the leading legal directories.

Matthew’s expertise lies in all aspects of contentious probate including: contesting a will/defending a will challenge, bringing and defending Inheritance Act claims, estates and trust disputes, Court of Protection disputes and Bringing and defending claims founded in doctrines of equity, such as proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts.

Matthew regularly receives instructions from a wide range of clients including lay beneficiaries, professional trustees and executors, company directors, charities, financial institutions, and trust corporations.

Matthew has acted in several widely publicised cases including reported cases such as Re: Edwards [2007] EWHC 1119 (Ch) which involved a successful challenge to a will on the basis of undue influence, Iqbal v Ahmed [2011] EWCA Civ 900 a successful claim by a disinherited spouse against her husband’s estate by virtue of the Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependants Act) 1975.

Matthew has also been heavily involved in the development of Hugh James’s volume wills, estate administration and trust administration services which are provided to the customers of banks and other financial institutions. He has considerable experience of working with professional partners to develop and implement such propositions and working closely with them to optimise service delivery.

Matthew has developed expertise in tax, trusts and estates disputes arising in the agricultural sector and has acted in many high value and high profile cases, often involving proprietary estoppel. One of his notable cases, Davies v Davies (2016) EWCA Civ 463, a successful proprietary estoppel claim arising in a farming business, has attracted considerable coverage in the national press and within the legal community with his client being termed ‘the Cowshed Cinderella’. The matter was heavily litigated, with two first instance trials, two appeals to the Court of Appeal, to deal with the questions of eligibility and quantum, and numerous interim applications, as well as an appeal to the Supreme Court. Ultimately Matthew’s client was awarded £500,000 with the case reported at each stage of its journey through the courts.

Work history

Since qualifying in 2003, Matthew has practiced and developed an expertise and national reputation in contentious probate. He joined Hugh James in 2006 with a view to assisting in the development of the contentious probate offering. Having played a key role in the team’s growth, he was made partner in 2012.

Matthew was subsequently appointed as head of the firm’s entire private wealth group in 2015. He now continues his contentious probate practice, while also developing and growing the firm’s broader private wealth proposition.

He is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).

Matthew is currently one of a small group of professionals invited by the Law Commission to sit on an advisory group in respect of the ongoing consultation in respect of proposed amendments to the law of wills.