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Experience and Expertise
William has experience in litigation and advisory work in all aspects of the law relating to trusts including their construction, identification of the proper objects and beneficiaries of trusts, rectification, exercise by the trustees of their powers and actions for breach of trust as well as recovery of trust property in the hands of fiduciaries and third parties.
He has also advised upon, and represented parties to, applications for the variation of trusts under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958.
William has particular expertise in trusts of land, common intention constructive trusts as well as constructive and resulting trusts in a commercial context.
William’s practice in this field frequently overlaps with his wills and estates work, which is covered separately here.
William is recommended for Traditional Chancery and Real Estate Litigation by Chambers UK and for Commercial Litigation, Professional Negligence and Property Litigation by The Legal 500. Recent directory editorial includes:
- superb attention to detail and a charming manner with clients
- As an advocate he does not get distracted by difficult opponents and focuses on building and presenting the best possible case for the client
- head and shoulders above others of his year of call
- popular with clients and really takes the fight to the other side
- produces skeleton arguments that are very clear and show good analysis
- an advocate with a good, relaxed manner, he is firm but not unduly aggressive in court
- a born problem-solver with a loyal and diverse following
- lauded for being thoughtful and thorough
- an excellent lawyer and a strong and clever advocate
- very reliable and always delivers when he says he will
- a truly outstanding trial advocate.
Cases and Work of Note
- In Vallee v Birchwood  EWHC 1449 (Ch) William Moffett appeared in the Court of Appeal on this case concerning a donatio mortis causa, a death-bed gift, made in respect of a house by handing over title deeds, by the donor to his daughter some 4 months before his death. William appeared for the ‘heir hunters’ who represented the interests of the donor’s relatives, who had been traced to the Ukraine. In addition to the unprecedented interval between gift and death, the case also considered the position where the donor had continued to live in the house during the whole of that interval;
- In Green v Montagu (Re the Duchy of Manchester Settlements)  EWHC 1856 (Ch),  W.T.L.R. 1341 William represented the successful defendants, children of the Duke of Manchester. Being the product of a bigamous marriage their entitlement as beneficiaries under the trusts settled by a previous Duke had been questioned. The court found that the children were entitled, in doing so considering the rule proposed in Dicey & Morris Rule 104(2) (namely whether the right of inheritance of ‘illegitimate’ children under a trust for ‘issue’ depends upon the status of those children under the law of the country of domicile of the father, mother or both), a point on which there was no previous precedent;
- William has experience in advising, and acting for, trustees in respect of the exercise of their powers of investment;
- William has advised a local authority on the use of recreational land left on trust, in that case a nationally renowned sports stadium;
- William has advised local authorities on trusts governing civic buildings and land including pleasure gardens, nursing clinics, concert halls and libraries;
- William has recently acted for successful beneficiaries in a claim for the removal and replacement of trustees in dereliction of their duties;
- William acted for the successful trustees of the trust considered in Jasmine Trustees Ltd v (1) Wells & Hind (2) Eversheds  EWHC 38 (Ch), 1 All ER 1142, 3 WLR 810, in subsequent professional negligence litigation.
William co-wrote, with Tom Dumont, an article on Green v Montagu (Re the Duchy of Manchester Settlements) (see above) in the Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal December 2011, no.132 p.5.