Edward Hewitt - 5 Stone Buildings
Junior counsel

Edward Hewitt

Call to Bar:2007

An instructing solicitor

His knowledge and tactical awareness make even the trickiest of cases seem much easier to navigate a way through. He is certainly one with a bright future.

Edward has a broad Chancery practice with a particular emphasis on private client work. He is predominantly a litigator who focuses on all manner of disputes concerning estates and trusts, including offshore trusts. He also has experience litigating in the Court of Protection and dealing with professional negligence claims arising in the private client arena. Edward is a native Italian speaker and is often instructed in cases involving an Italian element.

About Edward Hewitt

Trusts

Edward is regularly instructed in relation to all manner of trust disputes, both on and offshore. He has extensive experience in advising and acting in breach of trust claims, claims brought pursuant to the Variation of Trusts Act 1958, applications for the proper construction and the rectification of wills and trust instruments, applications for disclosure of trust documents, and applications for the removal and substitution of trustees.

Notable cases:

  • Blades v Isaac [2016] EWHC 601 (Ch); [2016] WTLR 589. Edward represented the beneficiary in this claim against trustees for disclosure of information concerning a discretionary trust. The decision considered the costs consequences of different types of trust litigation and analysed the interaction between inter partes costs orders and a trustee’s right to an indemnity
  • Fielden v Christie-Miller [2015] EWHC 2940 (Ch); [2015] WTLR 1689. Edward was led by Gilead Cooper QC in this dispute regarding the succession to a substantial estate in Oxfordshire, which raised issues of rectification of wills and of deeds of appointment, proprietary estoppel, the requirement that trustees act unanimously, the principle that trustees must not fetter their discretion and removal of trustees
  • Reading v Reading [2015] EWHC 946 (Ch); [2015] WTLR 1245. The court was asked to decide whether the word “issue” in a discretionary will trust included the testator’s stepchildren and their descendants as well as his own descendants and, if not, to rectify the will. Edward represented the successful claimants throughout the proceedings
  • JF and MF v Hexagon Investments [2014] (Cayman Islands, Grand Court). Edward appeared unled in this two-day trial seeking declarations as to the beneficial ownership of share portfolios that had been transferred into the name of a company
  • Re Erskine Trust; Gregg v Pigott [2012] EWHC 732 (Ch); [2013] Ch 135; [2012] 3 WLR 913. The court was asked to decide whether two adopted nephews were included in the expression “statutory next of kin” in a 1948 trust and therefore entitled to the trust fund. The court held that as a matter of English law they were not, but that the European Convention on Human Rights forced the court not to discriminate against them if possible and that in the circumstances they were entitled to the trust fund. Edward represented the trustees
Estates

A substantial part of Edward’s practice consists of challenges to the validity of wills, claims brought pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, proprietary estoppel claims and claims concerning beneficial interests in land. He also has extensive experience in advising and acting in applications for the proper construction and the rectification of wills and applications for the removal and substitution of trustees and personal representatives.

Notable cases:

  • Kunicki v Hayward [2016] EWHC 3199 (Ch); [2017] 4 WLR 32. Edward represented the successful claimants in this probate dispute between brother and sister regarding their father’s £1.3m estate. Following a three-day trial in the High Court, the court dismissed the brother’s challenge to the validity of the father’s will based on testamentary capacity, knowledge and approval and fraudulent calumny, and his novel claim that he and his sister had contractually agreed to share the estate equally
  • Jump v Lister [2016] EWHC 2160 (Ch); [2017] WTLR 61. In this case husband and wife had made mirror wills which included a 28-day survivorship clause. They later died in circumstances which made it impossible to determine who had died first. The construction issue for the court was whether the survivorship clause applied to the gift made by the wife to her husband. Edward represented the draftsman in the construction claim
  • Fielden v Christie-Miller [2015] EWHC 2940 (Ch); [2015] WTLR 1689. Edward was led by Gilead Cooper QC in this dispute regarding the succession to a substantial estate in Oxfordshire, which raised issues of rectification of wills and of deeds of appointment, proprietary estoppel, the requirement that trustees act unanimously, the principle that trustees must not fetter their discretion and removal of trustees
  • Reading v Reading [2015] EWHC 946 (Ch); [2015] WTLR 1245. The court was asked to decide whether the word “issue” in a discretionary will trust included the testator’s stepchildren and their descendants as well as his own descendants and, if not, to rectify the will. Edward represented the successful claimants throughout the proceedings
  • Christofides v Seddon [2014] WTLR 215. Edward represented the successful defendants throughout the proceedings and at the concluding four-day trial, at which the 1975 Act claim brought by an adult son against the estate of his late mother was dismissed
  • Webster v Ashcroft [2013] EWHC 1316 (Ch). Edward represented the claimant at the six-day High Court trial of a dispute concerning the succession to an estate in Somerset. The litigation involved a proprietary estoppel claim and a challenge to the validity of a will based on knowledge and approval
Professional Negligence

Many of the inheritance and trust disputes Edward deals with arise out of a professional negligence background or raise professional negligence issues, in particular in the context of will and trust drafting. Edward also frequently advises on claims involving negligent advice in relation to tax planning.

Offshore

Edward’s offshore practice is predominantly in the trusts arena. His experience includes advising in relation to Jersey and Cayman trust issues (both contentious and non), and he has appeared unled in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

Notable cases:

  • JF and MF v Hexagon Investments [2014] (Cayman Islands, Grand Court). Edward appeared unled in this two-day trial before the Chief Justice seeking declarations as to the beneficial ownership of share portfolios that had been transferred into the name of a company
Real Property

The inheritance and trust disputes Edward deals with often raise issues concerning real property, in particular proprietary estoppel claims and disputes concerning beneficial interests in land. Edward also has experience advising and acting in disputes between cohabitants as to their respective beneficial interests in land and other claims involving the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Notable cases:

  • Flanders Community Centre Ltd v Newham LBC [2016] EWHC 1089 (Ch). The dispute concerned a claim for the renewal of a business tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The community centre charity tenant and local authority landlord disagreed about the extent of the property to be demised and the rent to be paid under the new tenancy. Edward represented the tenant at the two-day trial in the Central London County Court and later successfully defeated the landlord’s appeal to the High Court
  • Fielden v Christie-Miller [2015] EWHC 2940 (Ch); [2015] WTLR 1689. Edward was led by Gilead Cooper QC in this dispute regarding the succession to a substantial estate in Oxfordshire, which raised issues of rectification of wills and of deeds of appointment, proprietary estoppel, the requirement that trustees act unanimously, the principle that trustees must not fetter their discretion and removal of trustees
  • Webster v Ashcroft [2013] EWHC 1316 (Ch). Edward represented the claimant at the six-day High Court trial of a dispute concerning the succession to an estate in Somerset. The litigation involved a proprietary estoppel claim and a challenge to the validity of a will based on knowledge and approval
  • Llewellyn v Lorey [2011] EWCA Civ 37. Led by Vivian Chapman QC, Edward represented the successful appellants both at trial and on this appeal against the finding of two prescriptive rights of way over their land and the calculation of damages for trespass. The decision confirms that an interruption in user for a period of five years will ordinarily be fatal to a claim for a prescriptive easement and that time will not run for prescription purposes when the servient tenement is tenanted unless there is some evidence that the freeholder knew of the user and acquiesced to it. Edward addressed the Court of Appeal on one of the grounds of appeal.
Tax

Most of the inheritance and trust disputes Edward deals with raise tax issues, primarily in relation to IHT. Edward has experience in advising, drafting and acting in relation to tax-efficient variations of trusts and estates, both out of court and pursuant to the Variation of Trusts Act 1958.

Education and Qualifications

Edward read law at King’s College London, graduating with First Class Honours. He then completed his BVC at the College of Law before reading for the BCL at Brasenose College, Oxford. He is a Wigglesworth and Hardwicke scholar of Lincoln’s Inn and a recipient of the Buchanan Prize.

Professional Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

STEP (Affiliate Member)

ACTAPS

British Italian Law Association

Publications and Lecturing

Edward frequently writes and delivers seminars, lectures and webinars on all aspects of his practice, both through leading training providers and ad-hoc at venues across the UK and abroad, including at his solicitors’ offices. He has recently spoken at conferences and events organised by CLT, the Bedfordshire Law Society, the Kent Law Society, the Chancery Bar Association, IBC and STEP, including the IBC conference in the Cayman Islands and the STEP Caribbean Conference in the Bahamas. He regularly delivers an all-day course entitled “1975 Act claims and other claims involving PRs” at various locations across the UK.

Publications include:

  • Regular contributor to the LawSkills website
  • Costs in litigation involving trustees: Blades v Isaac (2016)(4) Private Client Business 159
  • Ilott v Mitson: Round Five(!) (2015)(5) Private Client Business 242
  • Estrangements and 1975 Act Claims (2015)(4) Private Client Business 172
  • Who’s holding the strings? (2014) 19(3) Private Client Adviser 28
  • Re Erskine; Gregg v Pigott [2012] EWHC 732 (Ch) (2012) 18 Trusts & Trustees 718
  • The end of Re Hasting-Bass (2011) 16 Trusts & Trustees 548
  • HMRC v Re Hasting-Bass: the battle begins (2010) 16 Trusts & Trustees 548-557