| Call 1985
Experience and Expertise
Piers frequently acts in litigation relating to trusts. Piers also undertakes drafting, advisory work and litigation in relation to all aspects of domestic and offshore trusts, including resulting trusts, constructive trusts, the exercise of trustees’ dispositive and administrative powers, removal and discharge of trustees, rectification of trusts, applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958, s.57 Trustee Act 1925 or s.64 Settled Land Act 1925, resettlement by way of compromise, breach of trust claims, self-dealing, investment, the position of trustees in relation to adverse claims, taxation, construction, limitation, accounts, disclosure, and Beddoe Applications for directions as to the prosecution and defence of claims. Piers has also represented classes of employee members of large employee trusts on applications by the trustees to approve transactions affecting the members’ interests.
Cases and Work of Note
Piers recently appeared successfully for the claimants against the estate of Jimmy Savile in the much publicised hearings before Sales J and the Court of Appeal as to its administration.
- Blades v Isaac  WTLR 589
- Re Savile  EWCA Civ 1632
- Re Huntley  WTLR 745
- Re Savile  WTLR 637
- Acting for the beneficiary named as intended recipient in a testatrix’s non-binding letter of wishes, of a Chinese Qing vase that the executors sold at auction for £9m, exercising a power to give the vase and its proceeds to the residuary beneficiaries instead of the beneficiary named in the letter of wishes, on the grounds, inter alia, that tax on the vase would swallow up the estate; seeking to set aside their exercise of discretion on the ground that the executors had misconstrued the power, taken the wrong matters into account, and were subject to a conflict of interest that meant they should surrender the power to the Court;
- A number of claims against trustees for breach of trust in relation to investment and application of trust funds/ balancing the interests of the beneficiaries/ exceeding powers/ acting under an obligation void for inalienability;
- Drafting appointments under trusts so as to carve up an estate and give rights such as easements and restrictive covenants to the beneficiaries over each others’ parcels without creating liability to Stamp Duty Land Tax;
- An application to rectify a will so as to prevent it excluding future born grandchildren from benefit;
Varying a trust to prevent minors inheriting a substantial capital at 18 and achieve a tax benefit;
- A claim by a settlor to set aside a discretionary trust made for the benefit principally of a named grandchild on discovery that the grandchild is not his natural grandchild;
- Advising in a hostile Beddoe application for authority to sue former trustees of the trusts of a substantial landed estate for fraud on a power in the exercise of a discretionary power so as to give the estate to one side of the family;
- Advising in relation to a Deed of Variation whereunder nil rate shares are passed into a discretionary trust and the possibility that widower may then seek to buy the shares from the trustees in consideration for a covenant to pay their then market value on demand, including consideration of relevant property regime charges, Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes legislation, s103 Finance Act 1986 Associated Operations and Furniss v Dawson;
- Advising on relevant property regime in relation to discretionary pension trusts and the rate of charge on distributions from life policy trusts;
- Advising and making successful 75 act application to interpose short interest in possession or husband to reduce IHT for children where husband’s interest was forfeited by reason of manslaughter of wife;
- Advising on business property relief in relation to tv/radio intellectual property rights and the estate of a major artist;
- Advising on agricultural property relief in relation to a complex farming partnership structure and semi retired widow;
- Advising on and drafting appointment and deed of variation to channel shares which had risen in value into nil rate fund;
- Advising and drafting appointment of family trust to ensure no creation of a new settlement for CGT purposes;
- Advising will trustees as to exercise of power of appointment in a way which would be immune to criticism by warring beneficiaries;
- Advising trustees of family settlement on construction, vesting, revocability, allocation of IHT liability between sub-funds, burden/lending between capital and income of expenses, tax and insurance to cover tax, exercise of investment powers fairly between capital and income, compliance with standard investment criteria in particular diversification in relation to ownership of family company, and ability to support co-purchase of own shares from profits with regard to fairness between income and capital.
- Piers was also responsible for trust and property law and wayleave damages in the team of Counsel acting in large scale group litigation for the Bodo community against Shell Petroleum, that reached the landmark settlement in the Bonny-Bomu oil pipeline litigation.
Piers also frequently advises on issues, and acts in claims, relating to unincorporated associations and in this respect has on different occasions been counsel to the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrat Party, the Communist Party of Great Britain, and the Socialist Workers Party and the Muslim Council of Great Britain.
Piers has received the following recommendations in Directories:
- Traditional Chancery section, Chambers Guide 2015: “Highly skilled and knowledgeable in Court of Protection matters, he has an invaluable ability to keep clients focused.” “He’s very pragmatic, decisive and a good all-rounder.”
- Traditional Chancery section, Chambers Guide 2013: “Piers Feltham has been active on property disputes, issues regarding wills and estates, and taxation matters. He also is frequently instructed on proprietary estoppel cases. One client describes him as ‘an invaluable advocate who provides advice that is beyond great’.”
- Traditional Chancery section, Chambers Guide 2012: “Piers Feltham impresses by being ‘cerebral and practical at the same time.’ He has a number of Privy Council appearances under his belt and is universally respected as being a very able property, contentious probates and estates barrister.”
- Traditional Chancery section, Chambers Guide 2011: “…an efficient operator who ‘doesn’t get needlessly caught up in over-lawyering an issue.’ He has an especially strong grasp of trust and property law.”
- Traditional Chancery section, Chambers Guide 2010: “Piers Feltham’s broad practice encompasses insolvency, partnership and charities cases, and he is also recommended for his expertise in property litigation and general trusts work.”
- Traditional Chancery section, Chambers Guide 2009: “Strong on property litigation and general trusts work, Piers Feltham has a broad practice that also takes in insolvency, partnership and charities cases. ‘A consummate all-rounder,’ he acted in Colonial Fire & General Insurance Co v Harry, and has more recently successfully tackled cases in both the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council.”
Piers is a member of the Chancery Bar Association the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners and the Association of Trusts and Probate Specialists and the Charity Law Association.
Piers was for ten years a Trustee Alone in London Charity for the young homeless and an Honorary Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London. He is presently a Trustee of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust and Vice-Chairman of Fitzrovia Community Centre.