The team at Lupton Fawcett is experienced in handling difficult, emotionally charged situations. Our aim is to make often extremely distressing issues as pain-free as possible.
We have one of the UK’s leading dispute resolution teams and have extensive experience in dealing with the following types of disputes:
- Validity of Wills
- Claims involving trusts/trustees
- Negligent Will drafting
- Restructuring of trusts
- Trusts disputes
- Inheritance Act Claims
- Disputes within Family Businesses
- ‘Estoppel’ cases – where you have been promised something by the testator in return for doing something for them
In particular, in recent years we have acted for clients in respect of:
- A multi-million pound claim involving a conflict between a Will made in England and another Will made in a different European country;
- Successfully challenging a Will made by a dementia sufferer that excluded one of the testator’s children from the Will all together;
- In a landmark and well reported case, obtaining an award for a client for the entire net proceeds of the testator’s estate on the basis of a proprietary estoppel.
Whichever side we represent, we strive to help our clients to achieve a settlement out of court where possible. However, if a settlement is not possible we have the necessary experience to take claims to trial. Where litigation is necessary, we will assist our clients to bring their disputes to court quickly and efficiently.
Many members of our specialist contentious probate team our members of ACTAPS, the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists.
If you have any questions, take a look at our “Frequently Asked Questions” below, or get in touch today.
We provide advice on a wide range of legal issues to clients around Yorkshire and beyond from our offices in Leeds, York and Sheffield. For an initial discussion about your case, contact one of our specialist solicitors today using the contact details on the form.
- Paul Sykes acted on behalf of a senior probate lawyer in resolving a long running, complex and acrimonious Family Trust and Probate dispute. This included cross-border and international dimensions. The Estate had been tied up for years. A specialist City of London firm had been unable to resolve the case for the client.The case was transferred to Paul by recommendation. His intervention and urgent issue of proceedings forced the opponent to negotiate. Unusually, “alternative method” service of the proceedings on the opponent, abroad by email was approved. This tactic saved substantial time and costs. A satisfactory settlement and distribution of the Estate was achieved within a few months of being instructed.
- Paul Sykes acted on behalf of the successful Defendants in Beeforth -v- Beeforth, Court of Appeal.  EWCA Civ 1151.The Times [17.9.1998]
This was a test case, regarding inheritance and partnership issues in a highly contentious farming and ancillary business. It established that the court had to carry out a balancing exercise and weigh proportionality regarding a strike out for breach of “Unless” orders. Successful reinstatement of the Defence was achieved. N.B. the Defendants were represented by other solicitors in the earlier proceedings.
The clients’ eviction from extensive farmland and properties was overturned. Also, Paul made a successful “Calderbank” offer on costs. This meant that the opponent had to pay the clients’ costs of the appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Defence was reinstated and the case was later settled on favourable terms.
As a final step, a solicitors’ negligence claim was then successfully made against the clients’ previous solicitors. A full indemnity, and damages were obtained from the previous solicitors.
Details: Turning round an “Unmitigated Catastrophe”
When the Defendants in Beeforth v Beeforth were struck out of Court for delay, things could not have looked much bleaker for them. Their previous solicitors had failed to produce documents in Court by a specified date, after several chances. The clients suffered their entire defence being struck out in a complex and high value, acrimonious case. It had already dragged on for 6 years. To add insult to injury, they had been ordered to pay all the costs.
To make matters worse, they had also been ordered to vacate their land. It was a particularly hard decision on them because this was more than just a case of losing a courtroom battle. It meant losing extensive farmland that for years had been a thriving agricultural business and leisure park. So when an existing client whom Paul Sykes had represented in a complex and difficult matter recommended that they talk to him, it was great advice!
The case had been decided against the clients in the Chancery Division. The strike out decision, which was for breach of a previous Court Order seemed not to deliver real justice. The case was taken up from scratch and challenged through the Court of Appeal. In succeeding, the decision was a legal precedent in “striking out of cases”, an important and fast developing part of the Law.
The key argument accepted by the Court of Appeal was based on “proportionality”. Due to experience and skill, plus a fundamental desire to see that justice was done, the clients were able to get the case back on the road. In addition, a sensible “without prejudice” settlement offer was made to the other side. This was rejected, resulting in a Costs Order against the opponent. This was all within 3 months of taking on the case.
“…It was great to turn this around so dramatically and quickly. Originally it was an unmitigated catastrophe. Within 3 months of first seeing the clients, the judgment was overturned. The case was then driven forward to a successful conclusion. Action was also taken against the client’s previous Solicitors to win compensation and costs…” J Paul Sykes