Call: 1971

Silk: 2002

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"makes opponents blush such is her  wisdom in comparison to theirs. Well versed in both the domestic and international markets, she has dealt with many large-scale private client and overseas trust cases. This all-embracing legal background means that she can be trusted to deliver “assiduously prepared statements” and determine the best course of action for her clients."

Chambers UK 2011


"she stands out in particular for “her practical and pragmatic approach to solving problems - she explains the issues to lay clients, and persuades them of the advantages of compromise solutions in instances where they are hell-bent on litigating.”

Chambers UK 2010

"thorough, effective and really fantastic with clients"

"she’s commercial and experienced as well as tremendously accessible"

Chambers UK 2007



As a referral barrister and Cayman attorney who acts on professional instructions Shân is both an adviser and a litigator with an equal enthusiasm for both. She specialises in private and commercial trusts, succession and other private and commercial wealth issues often involving a number of different jurisdictions. Shân has a truly international practice which takes her around the world from her London base at 5 Stone Buildings, Lincolns Inn and her Cayman base at ICT Chambers and has been called to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. She has a particular interest in wealth structuring and protection for international families from both the advisory and the litigation standpoints.

Shan is at the forefront of developments in the private client field and has been involved in many of the major trust cases of recent years.


Professional Reputation

Shân is highly recommended as a leading Silk in the current editions of Chambers UK, The Legal 500, and Legal Experts.

The Legal 500 (2006) notes that Shân Warnock-Smith QCs track record on many leading cases is second to none, and gains [her] promotion to the top tier

Shân has been named as one of the Top 20 Lawyers in the 2008 Citywealth Leaders list and was the Chairman of the Judges at the STEP awards of 2008.

Notable Cases

Shân is at the forefront of developments in the private client field. She appeared in Re Yorke (deceased) [1997] 4 All ER. 907, the test case on estates of Lloyds Names, and is the author of the subsequent Practice Direction permitting paper applications to the court in such cases. Some of Shân's other notable cases are:

  • Re Mrs L (Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, unreported) - this case concerned the approach of the Cayman court to the property and affairs jurisdiction under the Mental Health Law.

  • MEP v Rothschild Trust Cayman Ltd (Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, unreported) - this case concerned the jurisdiction of the court under section 63 of the Trusts Law ( in similar terms to section 57 Trustee Act 1925) to confer a power to partition a trust fund. A pdf of the judgment can be found here.

  • Sutton v England [2010] WTLR 335, [2009]EWHC 3270 (Ch) - this concerned the jurisdiction of the English court under section 57 Trustee Act 1925 to confer a power to partition a trust fund.

  • A v Rothschild Trust Cayman Ltd [2006] WTLR 1129 (establishing the availability of the Hastings-Bass jurisdiction in Cayman)

  • Re Carapiets Trusts [2002] WTLR 989 (foreign charitable purposes)

  • IRC v Mallender [2001] WTLR 459 (availability of IHT business property relief for Lloyds underwriter)

  • Midland Bank v Wyatt [1995] 1 FLR 697 (the first English case on sham trusts)


Advisory and Drafting Work

Shân has also appeared in numerous important and often highly sensitive unreported cases dealing with variations of trust, construction and rectification proceedings, breach of trust claims and applications for directions by trustees, particularly those concerning the sale or management of family companies. She has recently been engaged in cases concerning the nature of the power to appoint a protector and the validity of a no contest provision in a trust, both awaiting publication.



Shân is an accredited mediator and a specialist in the mediation of trust and probate disputes.


Professional Memberships

Shân is a member of STEP, ACTAPS and the Chancery Bar Association. She is also a Bencher of Lincolns Inn. Shân also sits on the editorial board of the STEP-sponsored Wills and Trusts Law Reports and on the Conferences Committee of STEP. Called to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.


Publications and Lecturing

Shân contributes regularly to professional journals. She is a regular speaker at professional conferences both in England and abroad and has recently spoken as far afield as Bermuda, Dubai and Hong Kong. Shân has chaired the highly successful Trusts and Estates Litigation Forum in Provence since its inception and has spoken at trust conferences in Puerto Rico, Miami, Cayman, Chicago, Jersey, Guernsey and Italy.