Henry Legge QC - 5 Stone Buildings
Queen's counsel

Henry Legge QC

Call to Bar:1993

Appointment to Silk:2012

Chambers 2017 Art and Cultural Property Law

He is very good. He is an expert on the artworks market, and has a real in-depth knowledge of the subject.

Henry’s practice includes a broad range of Chancery work, with particular emphasis on cases involving trusts, estates, pension schemes and art.

In recent years, he has appeared in a number of large and not so large trust disputes both onshore and offshore (for example the Longleat litigation, the Trilogy litigation, Gorbunova v Berezovsky) as well as appearing in some of the most notable pensions cases of the last few years (for BT in the Crown Guarantee litigation and the related proceedings in the European court, for IBM in the proceedings relating to its Imperial duty and for the monitor in the Canadian Nortel litigation). This, together with his practice in art disputes, means that he has considerable experience of heavy and complex litigation.

He has acted in numerous trustee and beneficiary disputes, claims in breach of trust and asset recovery claims (see below). As well as domestic trust and estate disputes, he has extensive experience in advising and acting in offshore jurisdictions and in cases involving offshore structures (including foundations and other civil law structures). He has appeared and advised in a number of significant cases in which complex offshore structures were under attack (for example, Berezovsky, Trilogy, Stow v Stow, Mubarak and Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman) and is familiar with the principles of law and tactical issues involved. He has also advised extensively on non-contentious trust issues, both domestic and offshore, including in relation to commercial trusts and securitisation structures as well as private trusts.

Henry spent much of his early years in practice defending solicitors and actuaries in negligence proceedings and he has continued to advise and appear in negligence claims for both claimants and defendants. Over the years he has acted in a broad range of cases and is used to dealing with complex issues of tax, actuarial practice, investment or accounting should they arise.

He has an additional area of expertise in disputes involving works of art and chattels. Henry became interested in the law of chattels early in his career, partly as a result of a lifelong interest in art. In recent years he has appeared in many of the most significant cases in this niche area, including Avrora v Christies, in which he acted for the successful claimant, and Thwaytes v Sothebys, in which Henry was praised in the judgment for “the exemplary way in which this fascinating case was presented at trial“.

5 Stone Buildings - brick wall
Chambers 2017 Art and Cultural Property Law

He is very good. He is an expert on the artworks market, and has a real in-depth knowledge of the subject."

Chambers 2017 Pensions

He's brilliant in terms of his intellectual and legal analysis. He's very forensic and analytical but he brings a commercial, practical angle as well."

Chambers 2017 Offshore

He's a real pleasure to work with, and that's really important. He's very good at what he does."

About Henry Legge QC

Professional Reputation

Henry is recommended by Chambers and Partners in five areas: in two long-established categories, Traditional Chancery and Pensions (in which he has been recommended for many years), and now also in three newly-introduced categories, Offshore, Trusts and Art and Cultural Property. He is praised for his advocacy as well as for his ability to deal with technical matters.

“He is very good. He is an expert on the artworks market, and has a real in-depth knowledge of the subject.”

Chambers 2017 Art and Cultural Property Law

“He is just great fun and always a joy to work with. Clever and practical.” “He is a chancery heavyweight who is never anything other than impressive.”

Chambers 2017 Chancery Traditional

 “He’s a real pleasure to work with, and that’s really important. He’s very good at what he does.”

Chambers 2017 Offshore

“He’s brilliant in terms of his intellectual and legal analysis.” “He’s very forensic and analytical but he brings a commercial, practical angle as well.”

Chambers 2017 Pensions

“Carries the case and has a charming advocacy style. He’s tactical, he shows good judgement and is good with clients. Clients feel comfortable as he explains things clearly.”

Chambers UK 2017 Trusts

Notable Cases Trusts
  • The Longleat litigation (2016) – disputed application to remove trustees. Acted for the continuing trustees
  • The Trilogy litigation: (Trilogy Management v YT – principal decisions at [2012] JRC 093, [2012] JCA 152 [2014] JRC 214) – disputed claim by charitable beneficiary to dismantle a very substantial Jersey charitable structure, administered by a Private Trust Company
  • Faircliff v BDO (2012) – advising and acting for the claimant trustees and beneficiaries of a Jersey trust in a complex and valuable multi-party claim for negligent investment and fraud brought by them against the former trustees and advisers to the trust
  • Page v West (2012) EWHC 4390, [2010] WTLR 1811 and [2006] WTLR 157 – long-running dispute over the sale of trust property and the appropriate division of the proceeds
  • Lonsdale v Lowther Trustees (No 1) Limited (2007) – advising and acting for trustees in challenge to the re-arrangement of a large landed estate
  • Re Chilco(2007) – advising claimant in substantial fraud claim arising out of the conviction of members of a firm of Jersey accountants
  • Advising and appearing in numerous trust applications offshore and onshore: for trustee directions; under Variation of Trusts Act (and under the Cayman and Jersey equivalents); and in applications to set aside or vary trusts and other documents in rectification; for mistake or under the principle in Re Hastings Bass (for example, Burrell v Burrell [2005] BTC 8011).
Notable Cases Estates
  • Gorbunova v Berezovksyand Wood v Gorbunova [2013] EWHC 1209 and 1935 (also at (2013) 5 Costs LR 713) – securing a multi-jurisdictional freezing injunction against Boris Berezovsky and entities related to him. Acting for the claimant in the litigation relating to his estate and in ancillary litigation relating to the appointment of receivers
  • Martin v Triggs Turner [2010] PNLR 3 and (on a separate point) [2008] WTLR 509 – negligence claim brought by disappointed beneficiary against solicitor executors in relation to drafting of will and administration of estate. First case in which professional executors found to owe a duty of care in negligence to a beneficiary
  • Stow v Stow [2008] Ch 461 and related litigation – complex litigation involving family provision and other claims brought by a widow against the estate of her husband and various offshore trusts with which he was connected
  • Advice and litigation on multi-jurisdictional estates (most not in the public domain but, by way of example, Dellar v Zivy [2008] WTLR 17 – conflicts of law arising on death of French testator with English will where proceedings had been commenced in France).
Notable Cases Pensions
  • Re Nortel Networks Canada (2014) – acting as expert witness in the Canadian courts on UK law of pensions and construction of contracts. Instructed on behalf of the court-appointed “monitor” of Nortel Networks Canada, the Nortel group holding company
  • IBM United Kingdom Holdings Limited v Dalgleish [2014] EWHC 980 – acting for IBM in the lengthy Imperial duty proceedings relating to the closure of the IBM defined benefit schemes
  • Acting for BT in the litigation relating to the scope of the Crown guarantee and related issues BT Pensions Scheme Trustees Ltd v BT plc [2011] EWHC 3388, [2011] EWHC 2071, and [2010] EWHC 2642 (also at [2010] Pens LR 487)
  • Acting for BT on the pensions aspects of the state aid proceedings and appearing in the European court in European Commission v BT [2013] Pens LR 359 and in the appeal
  • Advising a group of ports in the PNPF litigation (2010)
  • Re X [2010] – acting for the senior partner in a firm of actuaries in relation to disciplinary proceedings brought by the faculty against him following a referral by the Pensions Regulator
  • Alexander Forbes v Jackson [2005] PLR 33 – the T&N litigation: pension scheme trustees’ application for directions arising out of the multi-jurisdictional (and multi-billion dollar) insolvency of the Federal Mogul group as a result of US asbestos claims. Also acted as pensions junior in parts of the related insolvency proceedings extensive advice acting for and against scheme administrators, actuaries and other advisers in claims relating to pension schemes, fund investment and actuarial practice.
Notable Cases Offshore structures
  • See Gorbunova v Berezovsky, Trilogy, Faircliff, Stowand Chilcot cases under trusts and estates above
  • Numerous cases advising Jersey advocates in relation to issues arising in Jersey litigation and administration of trusts
  • Tchenguiz-Imerman (2011) – acting for the husband on the trust issues in this well-known case
  • MT v OT [2008] 2 FLR 1311 – acted as joint expert in this important case on the structuring of orders made under schedule 1 of the Children Act where offshore domiciled parties or offshore money are involved
  • advice on extracting money from and protecting assets in offshore structures (e.g. in the matrimonial context, acting for the wife in F v F [2007] EWHC 3050 – the “flying carpet” case)
Notable Cases Art

Many are not within the public domain

  • Thwaytes v Sothebys (2014) – acting for the Claimant vendor in this case relating to the sale of a painting which was sold by Sothebys as a copy but subsequently attributed to Caravaggio.
    Henry was praised in the judgment for “the exemplary way in which this fascinating case was presented at trial
  • Avrora Fine Art Investment Limited v Christie Manson and Woods [2012] PNLR 35 (and [2012] EWHC 106 on another point) – successfully suing Christies under its limited warranty, establishing that attribution of the painting was incorrect. Leading case on auctioneers’ negligence
  • Spencer v S Franses Ltd [2011] EWHC 1269 – acting for leading dealer in this action arising out of the purchase and consignment of an important mediaeval embroidery. Leading case on liens
  • Re Coronation of the Virgin– acting for the Courtauld Gallery in successfully resisting a claim brought before the Spoliation Advisory Panel for restitution of a Rubens sold in Berlin in 1934. Believed to be the first oral hearing before the panel (2010)
  • Various claims for and against dealers and auction houses, including issues relating to attribution, title and spoliation.
  • Various contentious and non-contentious matters relating to the ownership and partition of collections (including the litigation relating to the estate of Francis Bacon)
Some other interesting relatively recent reported cases
  • Government of Canada v Hertel [2010] EWHC 2305 (Divisional Court) – acting for defendant successfully resisting extradition for alleged tax evasion (one of the very few cases in which the English courts have refused extradition to Canada)
  • Re: Horley Town Football Club [2006] WTLR 1817 – leading case on unincorporated associations
Publications and Lecturing

Henry’s publications include:

  • Pension Schemesin Company Directors: Duties, Liabilities and Remedies (edited by Simon Mortimore QC), Oxford University Press
  • Subrogation(Law and Practice) by Professor Charles Mitchell and Stephen Watterson (consultant editor), Oxford University Press
  • Jointly-owned chattels– how to sell them and how to value them for tax‘, Christies Bulletin, 2001. This article was written as a form of memorandum for the Inland Revenue forum on the taxation of jointly-owned chattels and ultimately contributed to Revenue policy

Henry frequently lectures on topics within his areas of expertise. He has lectured to and conducted seminars for the Chancery Bar Association, the Association of Pension Lawyers and the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists as well as giving regular talks on art litigation. He is a member of the Trust Law Committee. In 2013, he was appointed a trustee of the Samuel Courtauld Trust, which holds the paintings and other contents of the Courtauld Gallery.