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Matthew Watson
Barrister at XXIV Old Buildings


Matthew is an experienced trusts and estates litigator. He appears regularly in the High Court (Chancery Division) and in the appellate courts on contentious chancery matters. He has experience of all manner of proceedings, including claims for breach of trust, contentious probate actions, removal applications, proceedings for accounts, rectification claims and urgent asset protection or recovery applications.

Matthew has appeared as counsel in some of the most legally significant and high profile English chancery litigation of recent years including: Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd & Ors v Glenalla Properties Ltd [2018] UKPC 7 (conflicts of laws and trustees’ liabilities in Jersey); First Tower Trustees v CDS (Superstores International) Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 1396 (clauses limiting trustees’ liabilities); Barnett v Creggy [2016] EWCA Civ 1004 (application of limitation act to claims against fiduciaries); and Bourke v Favre [2015] EWHC 277 (Ch) (high profile dispute about ownership of Chettle village).

In addition to his domestic practice, Matthew has an established offshore trusts and estates practice. He is regularly retained by offshore firms to advise on complex disputes, with a particular focus on trust disputes in the Channel Islands. He has acted in several substantial trust disputes in Guernsey including Jefcoate v Spread Trustee [2014] GRC 42; Zaleski v GM Trustees Ltd [2015] GRC 042 and [2016] GCA 009; Re the Arasbridge Unit Trust [2015] GRC 039; and Kleinwort Benson v Aras Investment Management [2017] GRC 002

His private client practice is, however, only one string to Matthew’s bow. He maintains a thriving commercial litigation practice. Matthew is therefore often instructed in complex commercial disputes with a significant trust element, such as Kazzaz v Standard Chartered Bank [2019] SGHC(I) 15, a claim before the Singapore International Commercial Court alleging the miss-selling of complex financial instruments in a Channel Island trust structure.

Agenda Sessions

  • Whose body is it anyway? Answering all the questions private client lawyers were too squeamish to ask