Charles read Classics and then Law at Christ Church, Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1988.
He specialises in private client work including wills, probate, succession and claims relating to the estates of deceased persons. He also has a background in tax, having started life at the Bar as a specialist tax barrister. Another string to his bow is property law.
Charles is a prolific writer and lecturer on trust, tax and probate matters, who is regularly in demand to give seminars and lectures to firms or groups of solicitors. He also presents webinars.
Charles has extensive experience in trust drafting, the use of trusts in tax planning, and in matters relating to trust administration. However, he is equally at home with trust litigation, both friendly and hostile. He has recently appeared in a leading case in the High Court on the construction of a provision in a 1948 trust for the benefit of “statutory next of kin”. The issue was whether adopted children were entitled, as a matter of construction, and having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights: Re Erskine Trust  EWHC 732 (Ch).
He has developed a speciality in contentious trust disputes involving claims for breach of trust, removal of trustees, and challenges to the exercise of trustees’ discretions. He is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.
Charles regularly lectures on claims by beneficiaries against trustees.
Wills, Probate and Administration
Charles has considerable experience in relation to wills, probate and administration, and succession. He is experienced in will drafting, and in tax planning through wills.
On the contentious side, Charles has appeared in the Privy Council in a leading case on the construction of wills: Sammut v Manzi  1 WLR 1834. He also has considerable experience and expertise in claims relating to the estates of deceased persons such as probate claims, proprietary estoppel, and family provision claims. He appeared in the Court of Appeal in a leading case on proprietary estoppel: Campbell v Griffin  EWCA Civ 990; and in the High Court on constructive trusts: Thomson v Humphrey  EWHC 3576 (Ch).
Charles has a particular interest in claims to set aside wills on the grounds of undue influence, want of knowledge and approval, lack of testamentary capacity, and/or forgery. He has given many lectures on these issues, and has advised and appeared in many cases in this area.
Tax and estate planning
He has edited Halsbury’s Laws of England on Inheritance Tax and is experienced in estate planning, capital taxes, and the taxation of trustees and personal representatives. A particular area of expertise is estate planning through wills (on which Charles has written a pamphlet).
Charles contributed a chapter on taxation in the current edition of Mortimer, Williams and Sunnucks on Executors, Administrators and Probate. He is also currently presenting a lecture on the use of trusts in tax planning and has recently presented a webinar on the taxation of relevant property settlements.
Court of Protection
Charles is experienced in all matters relating to patients, mental health, the Court of Protection, lasting powers of attorney, statutory wills, and the appointment of deputies. He has appeared many times in the Court of Protection.
Inheritance Act claims
Charles has appeared in two of the leading cases on claims by adult children for reasonable provision out of the estate of a deceased parent: Robinson v Bird  WTLR 529 and Garland v Morris  2 FLR 528. He regularly advises and acts in Inheritance Act claims.
Charles has a particular interest in professional negligence and has lectured extensively upon negligence claims relating to wills. He has addressed the Professional Negligence Lawyers’ Association’s annual conference on two occasions on professional negligence in the private client context.
Property and Land
Charles’ expertise covers the whole field of property and land law, including commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, manorial rights, markets and fairs, leasehold enfranchisement, possession proceedings, mortgages, easements, restrictive covenants, options, conveyancing, boundary disputes, dilapidation claims, licences, adverse possession, land registration, rights of co- owners, applications for sale of land, planning, trusts of land, land taxation, overage agreements, proprietary estoppel, property related negligence and insolvency, and equitable claims as they affect land.
Charles is a qualified mediator and member of ADR Group. He has acted in the capacity of mediator and in representing clients at mediations.
Areas of practice
- Commercial Chancery
- Trusts and Estates
Directories and Acknowledgments
“is a pragmatic barrister who gets to the crux of the matter and offers sensible, straightforward advice”
Chambers UK Bar 2013 – Chancery: Traditional
Leading Junior – Chancery: Traditional – Chambers UK Bar 2013
thorough and approachable
Legal 500 – 2012 Edition – Private Client: Trusts & Probate
Leading Junior – Legal 500 – 2012 Edition – Private Client: Trusts & Probate
commands respect for the quality of his work in property litigation, contentious trusts, probates and succession disputes
Chambers UK Bar 2012 – Chancery: Traditional
Leading Junior – Chancery: Traditional – Chambers UK Bar 2012
always takes a careful and thorough approach to extremely technical problems
Chambers UK 2011 – Chancery: Traditional
[quotes tyle=”boxed”]the advice we receive invariably chimes with the objectives of the clients.[/quote]
Chambers UK 2011 – Chancery: Traditional
Leading Junior – Chancery: Traditional – Chambers UK 2011