Harry Martin
Junior counsel

Harry Martin

Call to Bar:2012

Chambers HNW 2020 – Chancery

“He's incredibly thorough, which is very reassuring. His advice is pragmatic, client-focused and realistic. He's always on top of the case”

Harry has a busy junior practice specialising in Chancery, Commercial Chancery and Art and Cultural Property work. He is available to accept instructions in all areas of work undertaken by Chambers.

5 Stone Buildings - building sign
Chambers HNW 2020 – Chancery

“Harry Martin is becoming a much sought-after junior for a range of traditional chancery cases, including contentious probate, Inheritance Act claims and trusts matters.”

Chambers HNW 2020 – Art and Cultural Property

“He is so, so clever, you would not believe how clever he is. He delivers quickly, and he is good for quick pieces of advice. He is going to be an amazing QC one day."

Chambers HNW 2020 – Art and Cultural Property

"We think he is spectacular; we use him because he is wise beyond his years and dynamic."

Chambers UK Bar 2019 – Chancery

"He’s a really brilliant junior - a future superstar."

Chambers UK Bar 2019 – Art and Cultural Property

"Acts on numerous art cases and knows this world inside out. He is very bullish and confident in court and is very good on his feet."

Chambers HNW 2018 – Art and Cultural Property

“Harry provides practical advice and provides a clear answer to thorny problems”

About Harry Martin

Traditional Chancery/Private Client

Harry has experience across the range of traditional Chancery and private client work. He advises in relation to contentious and non-contentious matters, both in England & Wales and offshore.

In 2019 he received the “star junior” award at the Chambers High Net Worth Awards.

For the last two years he has been ranked as an “up and coming” barrister in Chambers UK Bar Guide. He is ranked as a leading barrister for Chancery work in the 2020 Chambers HNW Guide.

Recent experience includes:

Contentious Probate

Harry regularly advises and appears in court in matters concerning formalities, capacity, knowledge and approval and undue influence. Recent notable cases:

  • Acting in a contentious probate dispute in the BVI in relation to the estate of a wealthy Middle Eastern Sheikh (led by Edward Cumming QC). The case raises novel issues as to the application of Sharia law in the BVI.
  • Appearing as successful sole counsel in Shaw v Shaw [2018] EWHC 18 (Ch), upholding a homemade will drawn up by the testatrix’s son.
  • Advising in relation to the negotiation and settlement of a long-running international probate dispute concerning a testator who died domiciled outside of the UK with assets situated in England, Jersey, Spain and Morocco.
Proprietary estoppel and Constructive trusts

Harry has broad experience advising and drafting proceedings in claims relating to family homes, agricultural estates and other property. Recent notable cases:

  • Appearing as sole counsel in a four-day High Court trial in Dobson v Griffey [2018] EWHC 1117 (Ch).
  • Acting for the Part 20 defendants in the Fielden v Christie-Miller litigation concerning a £40m estate in Oxfordshire. Harry appeared as a sole advocate in the interim applications court [2014] EWHC 3959 (Ch) and as a junior (led by Richard Wilson QC) in two successful interim hearings: [2015] EWHC 87 (Ch) and [2015] EWHC 2940 (Ch). The case spanned a wide range of legal issues, including rectification, proprietary estoppel, unanimity of trustees, non-fettering of trustees, alleged defective execution of a will, and removal of trustees.
Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Harry has advised in relation to many claims under the Inheritance Act. He is particularly sought-after for his advice on quantum and his mediation advocacy. Larger recent cases include:

  • Acting for the US claimant in a claim in respect of the estate of a well-known deceased pop star, with an estate of c. £100m (led by Penelope Reed QC).
  • Acting for the claimant widow in a £10m claim in respect of a large landed estate, which included one of the country’s principal stately homes.
  • Acting for the defendant charitable trust in response to numerous claims from the deceased’s girlfriends and partners against a £6m estate.
Removal of trustees and personal representatives

Harry has particular experience appearing in court in contested applications for the removal of trustees and personal representatives. Recent successful removal applications include:

  • Jones v Dzinotyiweyi (Chief Master Marsh, 2020) – Removal of the deceased’s accountant as executor, who was thought to have absconded to Nigeria with the estate’s funds.
  • Kelly v Evans (Master Kaye, 2019) – Removal of the claimant’s sister as executrix of the estate on the basis of delay and maladministration.
  • Baynton-Williams v Baynton-Williams (Master Clark, 2018) – Removal of the claimant’s brother as executor. A later instalment of the proceedings holding the defendant liable for the rent-free occupation of the deceased’s property is reported at [2020] EWHC 625 (Ch).
  • Numan v Munter [2017] EWHC 885 (Ch) (Deputy Master Linwood) – Removal of the claimant’s brother as executor. An unusual order in that the brother claimed to have completed the administration of the estate.
  • Kondel v Yunyazev (Master Bowles, 2016) – Successful application on behalf of the widow of a Russian national murdered in Moscow.
  • G v T (Deputy Master Cousins, 2016) – Acting for the family of an Olympic gold-medallist securing an urgent order for preservation of an estate pending removal of the defendant as executrix.
The forfeiture rule

Harry has acted in a number of unusual cases in relation to the forfeiture rule, including:

  • Representing the defendant beneficiaries in a claim for relief from the forfeiture rule and a claim under the Inheritance Act by a claimant who killed his father and grandfather whilst suffering from schizophrenia.
  • Representing the trustees in a novel case concerning the application of the forfeiture rule to acceleration of trust interests following a murder.
Contentious trusts

Harry has wide experience acting in contentious trusts matters, both in the domestic courts and offshore. Recent notable cases:

  • Advising in relation to a long-running blessing application in Guernsey in relation to a trust fund worth several hundred million pounds.
  • Smith v Heng (2018) – Acted for the trustees of a discretionary will trust with assets of c. £5m in contested proceedings for construction and rectification of the trust instrument.
Non-contentious trusts and taxation

Recent experience includes:

  • Advising on the winding-up of trusts established by the will of a well-known singer who died 20 years ago.
  • Advising on the transfer of trusteeship of an offshore employee benefit trust in contentious circumstances.
  • Advising in relation to the unwinding of a £10m investment in real estate in Montenegro structured in a complex manner involving offshore trusts and international financing arrangements.
Trusts and divorce

Recent experience includes acting for the trustees of a family trust in divorce proceedings (led by Penelope Reed QC), with litigation taking place in both the Family Division and the Chancery Division.

Commercial and Commercial Chancery

Prior to commencing practice at the bar Harry taught on the undergraduate Principles of Commercial Law course at Oxford University. He is happy to advise on commercial matters, particularly those involving a Chancery element.

Recent experience includes:

  • Unfair prejudice petitions. Harry has experience acting both led and unled bringing and defending unfair prejudice petitions.
  • Charging order dispute. Harry represented the defendant in High Court proceedings concerning the enforcement of a charging order. The key issue concerned the interpretation of a settlement of Queen’s Bench Division proceedings in 2009 after the collapse of a diamond-trading business.
  • Loan disputes. Harry has advised in relation to a contemplated claim by Jersey-based trustees of an offshore trust for repayment of loans made to entities involved in oil and gas development in the Middle East and Africa, and (led) in relation to the interpretation of two convertible loan agreements which were the subject of litigation in Singapore.
  • Document review. Harry was instructed by a leading City firm as independent Counsel to review a large volume of documentation and advise the firm on the existence of conflicts of interest and the firm’s ability to act in multi-jurisdictional £100m litigation.
Art and Cultural Property

Harry has a particular interest in art and cultural property disputes. This was developed, in particular, working with the late Norman Palmer QC. His experience includes:

  • Plantagenet Alliance Ltd v Secretary of State for Justice. Harry was instructed (led) to advise and represent Leicester City Council in relation to the dispute concerning the place of re-interment of the remains of King Richard III, which were discovered underneath land owned by the Council.
  • G v Everything I Want Ltd (2017, QBD). Harry advised and appeared in the Queens Bench Division on a successful Norwich Pharmacal application concerning the sale of a painting for $15m.
  • A v Borro Loan 4 Ltd (2017, Ch D). Harry advised and appeared in the interim applications court on two urgent applications concerning the auction at Christies of £10m of wine subject to a pledge.
  • Jeddi v Sotheby’s. Harry (led by Henry Legge QC and Luke Harris) advised in this dispute concerning ownership shares in a £5m crystal jar on issues regarding interpleader and disclosure.
  • Dispute concerning salvaged property. Harry advised and drafted proceedings (led) in a matter concerning title to, and the sale of, three cannons of Dutch manufacture recovered from the wreck of a 17th Century warship.
  • Early 20th century painting. Harry was instructed (led) to advise the heirs of the sitter and owner of a well-known painting for its return from the National Gallery in London.
  • Claim against a bank. Harry advised in relation to a proposed claim against a bank regarding the loss of valuable jewellery missing from a safety deposit box held with the bank.
  • Paintings in the possession of the police. Harry advised and appeared in court on an application under the Police (Property) Act 1897 relating to paintings in the possession of the police.
  • Sale of goods and choses in action. Harry is co-editor of the volumes of the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents entitled Sale of Goods and Choses in Action.

Harry regularly advises on pensions-related matters and in particular professional negligence disputes. Recent examples include:

  • Advising (led by Henry Legge QC) a very large occupational defined benefit pension scheme in a claim relating to the incorrect calculation of benefits paid to spouses of members who died in retirement.
  • Representing (led by Henry Legge QC) the employer and trustees of an occupational defined benefit pension scheme in a claim concerning construction, rectification and mistake in relation to the terms of certain scheme resolutions and deeds.
Real property

Harry regularly appears in court in relation to residential and non-residential landlord and tenant disputes. He also advises on other real property issues concerning, for example, adverse possession, easements and boundary disputes.

Recent experience includes:

  • Injunction proceedings. Bringing and defending urgent applications in the Chancery Division and the County Court for re-admittance to property after entry by the landlord.
  • Opposed and unopposed claims for lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. Recent instructions have included advising on and settling proceedings in relation to the premises of a Marylebone art gallery and a business on the Burlington Arcade.
  • Enforcing unpaid licence fees. Harry represented the claimant licensor in a successful trial claiming unpaid licence fees, insurance and service charges. The key issue at trial was the actual or apparent authority of an employee of the licensee to enter into a new licence agreement with the licensor.
  • Harry has experience in obtaining orders for the eviction of squatters. On a pro bono basis he has also represented a group of protestors responding to a claim by a property developer for possession and injunctive relief regarding premises in and round Denmark Street, Soho (known as “Tin Pan Alley”).

Harry has experience in a wide range of matters concerning both corporate and personal insolvency. His recent experience includes:

  • Re Telrock Communications Limited. Harry was instructed in High Court proceedings on behalf of the applicants, seeking to reverse the decision of liquidators to refuse to admit the applicants’ proof of debt in the sum of c. £500,000. The case concerned the nature and terms of the contractual relationship between the applicants and the (now insolvent) company, as well as the liquidators’ obligation to provide disclosure. The parties engaged in what is thought to be the first early neutral evaluation in the Companies Court and the case settled shortly before trial.
  • Re Nortel Networks. Harry was instructed to act as part of a team for the European administrators in relation to this very large, multi-jurisdictional insolvency dispute. Harry’s role involved reviewing the depositions of a large number of witnesses to facilitate the marshalling of the evidence into the written arguments.
  • Acting for trustees in bankruptcy. Harry is regularly instructed by trustees in bankruptcy in relation to matters such as annulment, possession of tenanted residential premises (in particular the High Court appeal in Re Bolter reported at [2016] BPIR 367), and possession and sale of property).

Harry read Jurisprudence (Law) at the University of Oxford, Keble College. He achieved a Distinction in his first year Law Moderations, a scholarship in his second and third years, and First Class Honours.  After obtaining his undergraduate degree Harry took the Bachelor of Civil Law (Masters) at the University of Oxford, Keble College in which he achieved a Distinction. Harry undertook the Bar Professional Training Course at BPP Law School where he was graded as “Outstanding”.

  • Co-editor of the Sale of Goods and Choses in Action volumes of the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (LexisNexis)
  • Contributor to Heritage, Ancestry and Law: Principles, Policies and Practices in Dealing with Historical Human Remains (Institute of Art and Law; 2015).
  • The Tadros Case [2014] EWHC 2860 (Ch): Concurrent Probate Actions and Anti-Suit Injunctions (October 2014 edition of the ACTAPS newsletter).
  • The Contractual Importance of Committing to Paper(Journal of Art, Antiquity and Law, October 2013).
  • Protecting Cultural Assets in the Event of Insolvency(Journal of Art, Antiquity and Law, January 2013).
  • Harry also writes headnotes for the Wills and Trusts Law Reports (recent examples include the headnotes for Freedman v Freedman[2015] EWHC 1457 (Ch), Credit Agricole v Papadimitriou [2015] UKPC 13, P v P [2015] EWCA Civ 447, Law Society v Elsdon [2015] EWHC 1326 (Ch), Bagum v Hafiz [2015] EWCA Civ 801, and Kennedy v Kennedy [2014] EWHC 4129 (Ch)).
Seminars and Lectures

Harry enjoys giving seminars and lectures on areas within his expertise, and in particular in the field of art and cultural property. Recent examples include the following:

  • Speaking to the annual conference of the British-German Jurists’ Association in Dublin (April 2015), the Withers Art Law Group (November 2015), and the Institute of Art and Law (November 2015) on The Life, Death and Legal Battles of King Richard III.
  • Speaking at seminars organised by the Institute of Art and Law on topics including: Temporary Export Licensing(May 2015), Building Contracts and Antiquities (December 2014), The Return of the Ghandharan Buddha (September 2014), and The Compatibility of Anti-Suit and Anti-Seizure Legislation with the European Convention on Human Rights (2013, in Berlin).
  • Delivering seminars on the changes to the rules of intestacy and family provision claims brought about by the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 to Farrer & Co, Charles Russell Speechlys, Boodle Hatfield, Withers, Radcliffes Le Brasseur and Henmans Freeth (2014–2015).
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