Hugh Cumber - 5 Stone Buildings
Junior counsel

Hugh Cumber

Call to Bar:2013

Chambers HNW 2020 Chancery Traditional

Rising star Hugh Cumber is developing a strong reputation among solicitors for his traditional chancery work. "He's excellent, very subtle and intelligent, with a lovely manner with his client," comments a source. Another interviewee says: "He's approachable, and writes in clear language the clients can understand. He gave good, comprehensive advice."

Hugh has a busy traditional Chancery practice covering all aspects of trusts, estates, and probate, with a focus on contentious trusts and estates work.

Hugh is regularly instructed in applications to the High Court in connection with the administration of trusts and estates and often advises trustees, personal representatives, and beneficiaries. This work includes claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, in which Hugh is frequently instructed by both Claimants and Defendants.

In the Court of Protection, Hugh is frequently instructed in contested deputyship applications, applications for statutory wills, and other applications before the Court.

Hugh appeared before the Supreme Court in Ilott v Blue Cross [2017] UKSC 17 the leading case on awards under the Inheritance Act (led by Penelope Reed QC) and in the recent Supreme Court case of Parry v HMRC [2020] UKSC 35, concerning the inheritance tax treatment of pension transfers (led by David Rees QC).

After completing pupillage in Chambers, Hugh was seconded to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for the 2014/15 legal year to act as Judicial Assistant to Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court.

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Chambers HNW 2021 Chancery Traditional

Hugh Cumber is "clever, thorough, reliable and a strong advocate," observes a source. He represents clients in trusts and estates matters, including Inheritance Act 1975 claims. "He is brilliant. He is very responsive, very flexible with his diary and very good with clients," says an interviewee, adding: "I feel he is an excellent team player. I can't recommend him highly enough."

About Hugh Cumber

Inheritance Act Claims

Hugh regularly advises on claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Recent work includes:

  • Acting for the appellant charities in Ilott v Mitson on their successful appeal to the Supreme Court, led by Penelope Reed QC
  • Acting for the successful defendant to a claim by an adult child against her parent’s estate.
Trusts and Estates

Hugh provides advice in the contentious and non-contentious aspects of the administration of trusts and estates, and regularly appears in proceedings. He advises and appears in connection with contentious probate claims including challenges on the basis of lack of capacity, want of knowledge and approval, or challenges to the formal validity of wills.  Hugh often advises in respect of the proper construction of wills and trusts and rectification as well as advising on Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax issues in estates and trusts.

Recent work includes:

  • Successfully defending a claim to remove a personal representative.
  • Successfully claiming for an account and for the removal of an executor in proceedings in the High Court.
  • Obtaining an order for committal against an executor who failed to provide accounts.
  • Acting for trustees in connection with Beddoe relief
  • Advising on the proper construction of a clause of a will, the proper construction of which is subject to ongoing proceedings.
  • Advising trustees of a trust on the extent of their powers under the trust to make provision for a disabled beneficiary.
Court of Protection

Hugh provides advice and appears in proceedings in the Court of Protection, principally in connection with property and affairs. He sat with David Rees QC and Barbara Rich during his pupillage.

Recent work includes:

  • Appearing on behalf of the Public Guardian in proceedings for the removal of an Attorney for property and affairs.
  • Acting on behalf of a Deputy in an application relating to the property of P.
  • Acting on behalf of an Attorney in connection with an application by a local authority for the removal of the Attorney.

Hugh regularly advises on taxation issues in connection with trusts and estates in both a contentious and non-contentious context.

Recent court work includes:

  • Acting for HMRC in proceedings in the First-Tier Tribunal in London Luton Hotel BPRA Fund LLP v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 212 (TC), led by Jonathan Davey QC.
  • Acting for the taxpayer in proceedings in the Court of Appeal in Parry v HMRC ([2018] EWCA Civ 2266) and in their subsequent successful appeal to the Supreme Court ([2020] UKSC 35), led by David Rees QC
Education and Qualifications

Hugh read English Literature and English Language at Magdalen College, Oxford where he obtained a first class degree. He undertook a master’s degree in English Literature at Somerville College, Oxford and was awarded the Lady Margaret Thatcher scholarship by the University of Oxford.

Hugh achieved the grade of “Outstanding” in the Bar Profession Training Course at City Law School, where he also undertook the Graduate Diploma in Law. He received the Everhard Ver Heyden Foundation Prize from City Law School. He was awarded the Lord Bowen scholarship and the Lord Denning scholarship by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, as well as the Hardwicke Entrance award.

Professional Memberships

Hugh is a member of the Chancery Bar Association (‘ChBA’) and the Contentious Trusts Association (‘ConTrA’)

Hugh is also a member of the Court of Protection Bar Association (‘CPBA’) and sits on the committee


Hugh is currently the succession correspondent for Private Client Business.  He has previously acted as case-notes editor for the Elder Law Journal and contributed headnotes to the Wills and Trusts Law Reports. His published articles include:

Donationes mortis causa: a doctrine on its deathbed?” Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, 2016, 1

“IHT and Pensions: Charge ahead?” Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal, 2014

“Where there’s a will there’s a way: Marley v Rawlings” Kings Law Journal, 2014

“Berger v Berger- How Late is Too Late?” Private Client Business, 2014, 1

“Simon v Byford in the Court of Appeal: Banks v Goodfellow revisited” Private Client Business, 2014, 3

His articles have been cited in the Law Commission’s consultation paper as part of its project ‘Making a Will’ (Consultation Paper 231)

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