Josh Lewison specialises in dispute resolution in the fields of private client and insolvency. He has extensive court experience, including High Court trial experience and appeals at all levels up to the Court of Appeal, as well as experience of non-contentious private client matters, particularly trusts and tax. He is regularly involved in litigation involving offshore and other international jurisdictions, and is admitted to the Bar of California. He is recognised as a leading junior by both Chambers UK Bar and The Legal 500 UK Bar.
Josh has a broad experience of contentious trusts work. He has defended trustees in claims for breach of trust and has acted for beneficiaries in similar claims. He has advised on and conducted Beddoe applications and applications for disclosure of trust documents.
Josh has considerable experience of drafting trusts, including will trusts. He has provided advice and representation in applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 and in claims to remove trustees. Josh also advises trustees in relation to their duties in administering trusts, particularly discretionary trusts.
Josh has a special interest in beneficial ownership registers. He has advised extensively in relation to reporting requirements and has provided advice on structuring and restructuring with a view to managing information risk.
He has experience of offshore trusts work, particularly from Jersey and Guernsey. Josh was seconded to Ogier Jersey in October 2016 where he worked on a number of non-contentious trust projects. These included an exercise to harmonise the terms of a series of family trusts, designing a structure to hold high risk assets and establishing a charitable Jersey foundation.
Josh also completed a secondment to a well-known Jersey firm of advocates to assist in long-running litigation.
Josh’s recent reported trusts cases include:
- Macintyre v Oliver  EWHC 3094 (Ch) – Representing an NHS Trust in a case raising issues of construction of a gift in a will and the rule in Lassence v Tierney, where a gift was left to a hospital ostensibly for certain purposes, but those purposes had ceased.
- English v Keats  EWHC 673 (Ch) – Representing the trustees in a case confirming the continued existence of an equitable jurisdiction under which the court could correct a formal error in execution where only three of the requisite four trustees executed a deed of appointment.
- Representation of RBC Trustees (Guernsey)  JRC 135 – Providing an English law opinion as to the effect of a sole trustee exercising an express power to retire and, following the failure of the settlor to appoint a successor, retaining the trust property. The Royal Court of Jersey considered and accepted Josh’s opinion as part of its decision as to whether to re-appoint the former trustee.
- Hand v George  Ch. 449 – Representing the defendants in a trial in the Chancery Division considering whether the Human Rights Act permitted adopted children to benefit under a trust under which they would otherwise be excluded. The Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal, but the appeal was compromised.
- Re A – Advising in a Jersey case concerning assets misappropriated from an estate, which also raised issues as to whether Bankers Trust v Shapirarelief should be sought.
- Hanspaul v Ward  EWHC 1358 (Ch) – Acting in an ongoing dispute over the costs consequences arising out of an application to remove trustees and the correct approach for the court to take.
- In re B (2016) – Appearing in an application for the court’s approval of a settled advance into a discretionary trust so as to protect a vulnerable beneficiary.
- In re F (2015) – Appearing in an application for the court’s approval of a settled advance to postpone vesting of a minor’s entitlement to a trust fund.
Josh has a wealth of experience of litigation arising out of wills and intestate succession. He has experience of advice and representation in claims relating to the validity of wills due to want of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval and undue influence.
Josh has acted in claims concerning disputed paternity and in claims in family disputes centred on the division of assets. He has been instructed in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. Josh has acted in applications to remove executors and in proceedings brought by substitute personal representatives in support of their appointment.
He also appears in non-contentious probate matters, including applications for leave to swear death, the discontinuance of caveats and entitlements to grant.
Josh has drafted wills and clauses for wills and has frequently been instructed to draft deeds of variation.
Josh is frequently instructed in contentious and non-contentious charity matters. He has acted for charity trustees and for members and beneficiaries of charities in disputes relating to the governance, membership and termination of charities and has particular experience of religious charities, including mosques and Sikh temples.
Josh has assisted in advice and drafting relating to the establishment of charities, including the choice of appropriate charitable structure and in relation to their present and future governance. He has a particular expertise in relation to companies limited by guarantee, having co-written the third edition of Companies Limited by Guarantee, published by Jordans.
He has undertaken a secondment with a leading firm of solicitors, gaining valuable experience of working closely with solicitors, charity trustees and legacy managers.
Josh provides advice and drafting in matters relating to the taxation of trusts and estates, principally in relation to IHT and CGT.
His experience includes advice as to the CGT consequences of actual and deemed disposals of trust property and the creation and termination of trusts. He has provided advice in relation to the CGT and IHT consequences of variations of trusts and the IHT and CGT implications of compromising claims and disposing of property by way of lifetime gift.
In relation to IHT, Josh has experience of drafting trusts and will trusts for the benefit of disabled persons and bereaved minors. He has advised on trusts falling within the relevant property regime and on the tax treatment of trusts created before 22nd March 2006. He has experience of business property relief and agricultural property relief.
Josh has also been involved in drafting an employee benefit trust following a buyout of the relevant company.
Josh is regularly instructed in matters arising out of corporate insolvency, including cross-border insolvency. He has particular experience of the conduct of administrations, including applications to extend the term of office, to be discharged from liability, to disapply the prescribed part and for directions.
Josh has often appeared in claims relating to preferences and transactions at an undervalue and in property claims related to companies that have become insolvent, particularly forfeiture claims. He also has experience of applications for delivery up of books and papers and for oral examination.
Josh also acts in bankruptcy matters. He has represented creditors, debtors, bankrupts and trustees in bankruptcy. His experience includes applications for validation orders and to set aside statutory demands and claims relating to transactions defrauding creditors.
He contributed to “Insolvency Litigation: A Practical Guide”, which was authored by a number of members of Radcliffe Chambers and published in October 2016. Josh wrote the chapters about fraudulent and wrongful trading, applications to restrain presentation and advertisement of winding up petitions and the conflict between the insolvency jurisdiction and the matrimonial jurisdiction.
Josh’s international experience is principally in the field of trusts. He has been involved in a number of disputes relating to offshore trusts. In particular, he has experience of trusts administered in Jersey, both English law and Jersey law. He has given talks in Jersey and Guernsey about the beneficial ownership registers and their implications for individuals who organise their affairs through offshore trusts and other structures.
He also has experience of commercial disputes involving foreign parties. Josh has appeared in applications challenging the jurisdiction of the courts of England & Wales under the Brussels Regulation. He is also fully familiar with the newly recast Regulation.
Josh is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has been appointed in a number of arbitrations, principally in property-related claims.
Josh speaks French, Spanish and Italian, which is often useful when there has not been sufficient time or justification to translate every available document. He is able to offer assistance from chambers or locally.
Josh was admitted to the Bar of California in November 2015, having passed the notoriously difficult July 2014 bar exam. He continues to practise from Radcliffe Chambers in London and is able to give advice in relation to Californian and cross-border issues.
Josh is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
He has experience of submitting disputes, both domestic and international, to arbitration as well as enforcing and appealing against arbitral awards. In addition to acting as advocate, Josh is able to accept appointments. He has been appointed in a number of arbitrations as sole arbitrator, primarily in matters concerning damage to property.
He has been empanelled as an arbitrator of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.
Josh is a member of the International Bar Association, the ICC Young Arbitrators Forum and the LCIA Young International Arbitrators Group.
Josh has participated in a number of mediations, including mediations of claims relating to the maladministration of estates, undue influence and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
- “Hugely knowledgeable.” (Charities, The Legal 500 UK Bar 2020)
- “He has a track record of notable Channel Islands work.” (Offshore, The Legal 500 UK Bar 2020)
- “Really bright and very good on technical points.” (Charities, Chambers UK Bar 2019)
- “A really bright barrister in the trust dispute world.” “He makes concise points and comes up with memorable comments in court that really resonate with the judge.” (Chancery: Traditional, Chambers UK Bar 2019)
- “Responsive, commercial and to the point.” (Offshore, The Legal 500 UK Bar 2019)
- “Strong knowledge of subject area and attention to detail.” (Charities, The Legal 500 UK Bar 2019)
- “He stands out for his accessibility and his ability to grasp a problem very quickly. He is very quick to adapt to changing situations.” He’s very bright and knows his subject inside out.” (Charities, Chambers UK Bar 2018)
- “You are sure he will get it right as he knows his way around everything. He attends to matters speedily and can deal with the most technical aspects of a case with ease.” “Very quick on his feet and very eloquent in presenting his cases.” (Chancery: Traditional, Chambers UK Bar 2018)
- “He knows his subject very well and is a good strategist.” (Charities, The Legal 500 UK Bar 2017)
- “He is always happy to help, and his advice and manner are both excellent. He is also quite robust; you don’t get ‘I’m not sure’ answers with him.” (Charities, Chambers UK Bar 2017)
- “He has good common sense and quickly breaks down a seemingly complex scenario.” (Charities, The Legal 500 UK Bar 2016)
Josh is a keen supporter of pro bono work and is an enthusiastic participant in the CLIPS scheme. Josh reviewed cases for the Bar Pro Bono Unit from 2013 to 2017. In 2013, Josh was nominated for the Bar Pro Bono Award. He was nominated again in 2015.
Josh is the author of the Insolvency division of Butterworths Civil Court Precedents.
He contributed chapters on wrongful and fraudulent trading, application to restrain presentation and insolvency and the matrimonial home to Insolvency Litigation: A Practical Guide, Sweet & Maxwell, 2016.
He is the co-author (with Mark Mullen, now and ICC Judge) of Companies Limited by Guarantee, 4th Edition, Jordans, 2014.
Josh enjoys giving seminars and conducting workshops. He has done so for firms of solicitors, local law societies and legal publishers and conference providers. Suggestions for topics are always welcome.
Recent subjects have included testamentary capacity, changes to the intestacy rules, and attacking wills. Josh has a comprehensive series of talks about the PSC Register and similar regimes in other jurisdictions.
- MA (Cantab)
- Public Access
Josh supervised Land Law at Christ’s College, Cambridge during the 2011 academic year.
- Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists
- Chancery Bar Association
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)
- Insolvency Lawyers Association