Joseph Goldsmith - 5 Stone Buildings
Junior counsel / Mediators

Joseph Goldsmith

Call to Bar:2003

Legal 500 2014: Private Client: Trusts and Probate

An absolutely first-class mind

Joseph Goldsmith has a traditional Chancery practice that incorporates a broad range of contentious and non-contentious work.

He has experience of appearing in all courts and tribunals in relation to pensions, trusts, estates, tax and other Chancery matters.

Joseph has a particular interest in issues relating to mental incapacity and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. He appears regularly in the Court of Protection.

He also practises in the field of ecclesiastical law and accepts instructions to appear in the consistory courts and other ecclesiastical tribunals.

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Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2018

"A pragmatic and sensible barrister, who will always handle matters in a diligent and conscientious manner." "He has an excellent written style and impressive grasp of detail and of the law."

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2018

"Diligent and industrious, he has an excellent written style and an impressive grasp of the law. He is very thorough and definitely knows his stuff."

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2018

"He has an excellent written style and an impressive grasp of details and of the law."

About Joseph Goldsmith

Professional Reputation

Joseph was recommended by Chambers UK in 2007 and 2008 as an up-and-coming Chancery junior and has been recommended as a leading junior in the traditional Chancery field by Chambers UK in every year since 2009. In 2010, he was described as a “helpful, thorough and altogether excellent junior counsel“. In 2014, Chambers UK recorded that “particular praise is given to his drafting skills”. The Legal 500 recommended him in 2014 as a leading junior for trusts and probate, describing him as an “absolutely first-class mind“. In 2015, Chambers UK described him as “very bright, thorough and easy to work with. He can explain things very clearly and has a good courtroom manner”. The 2017 edition described him as “a hard-working junior counsel” who provides “excellent technical advice”.

He is also recommended by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500 for his pensions work. Chambers UK 2014 described him as having been “involved in many of the most significant pensions cases over the past year” and reported that he “wins glowing praise from market sources for his technical ability and communication skills”. In Chambers UK 2015, he was described as “a studious, hard-working chap who is very good on the paperwork” and the 2017 edition called him “a very technically strong junior [with] a good drafting style…He does very high-quality work to a high technical standard with a very precise and well laid out style”.

For several years, Joseph has been recommended by Chambers UK as a leading junior for property-and-affairs work in the Court of Protection. In Chambers UK 2014, he was described as realistic about the stance of parties, friendly and a pleasure to work with. On his feet he is understated yet effective. He does not go in for histrionics – when he says something, you know it is worth paying attention. In 2016, Chambers UK referred to his “towering intellect” and in 2017 described him as “very bright and always on top of the papers”.

Traditional Chancery/Private Client

Joseph has a broad contentious and non-contentious practice extending across the entire field of trust, probate, administration of estates and family provision matters. These include advising and acting in relation to testamentary capacity issues, claims based on proprietary estoppel or constructive trusts, and mutual wills. He also has experience of acting both for and against personal representatives and trustees in disputes concerning the administration of estates or allegations of breach of trust. Joseph frequently advises in relation to the construction and rectification of trusts (both private trusts and pension trusts) and wills. In all of these matters, Joseph is able to provide advice in relation to associated capital taxation issues (both in the context of contentious matters and in the context of future estate planning).

  • Goenka v Goenka [2014] EWHC 2966 (Ch) [2016] Ch 267: acted for the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for minor children in a claim by their mother for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 that determined for the first time that a nomination of death-in-service benefits under a pension scheme governed by rules contained in a statutory instrument (in this case, the National Health Service Scheme Regulations 1995) constituted a nomination within the meaning of s. 8(1) of the 1975 Act, so as to cause those death-in-service benefits to be treated as part of the deceased’s net estate.
  • Maskell v Denham (Morrit C, ex tempore, LTL 8/12/10): successful application to set aside a spousal by-pass trust on the ground of mistake.
  • Hapeshi v Allnatt [2010] EWHC 392 (Ch) [2010] WTLR 987: acted for the claimant in proceedings concerning a common-intention constructive trust over a house bought with the benefit of a right-to-buy discount.
  • Re Horley Town Football Club [2006] EWHC 2386 (Ch) [2006] WTLR 1817: acted for a class of members of an unincorporated association in relation to a construction claim concerning the nature and effect of a gift to that association.

Joseph has acted in several of the leading pension cases in recent years. In addition to contentious matters, he also provides advice in relation to members, trustees or employers in relation to all types of schemes.

  • Re Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund [2015] EWHC 448 (Ch) [2015] Pens. LR 239: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for a representative employer.
  • Goenka v Goenka [2014] EWHC 2966 (Ch) [2016] Ch. 267 (see above).
  • IBM United Kingdom Holdings Ltd v Dalgleish [2014] EWHC 980 (Ch) [2014] Pens. LR 335: acted (with inter alios Andrew Simmonds QC) for IBM concerning IBM’s Imperial duty in the context of an attempt to close its defined-benefit pension scheme to future accrual; and in a subsequent remedies hearing: [2015] EWHC 389 (Ch) [2015] Pens. LR 99.
  • Re Rigid Containers Group Staff Pension Fund [2012] EWHC 3757 (Ch) and [2013] EWCA Civ 1714 [2014] Pens. LR 143: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for the employer in a construction claim to determine whether the trustee of its defined-benefit pension scheme had the power upon a winding-up of the scheme to buy out members’ entitlements in a two-stage process in order to maximise the debt owed by the employer pursuant to s.75 of the Pensions Act 1995.
  • Trustees of the Lehman Brothers Pension Scheme v The Pensions Regulator [2012] Pens. LR 435 and [2013] EWCA Civ 751 [2013] Pens. LR 255: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for companies formerly part of the Lehman Brothers group in proceedings to determine whether the trustees of a pension scheme in respect of the group can seek a financial support directive.
  • Re IBM Pension Plan [2012] EWHC 2766 (Ch) [2012] Pens. LR 469 and [2012] EWHC 3540 (Ch) [2013] Pens. LR 33: acted (with inter alios Andrew Simmonds QC) in a substantial rectification claim.
  • Hughes v Woolworths Group Pension Trustee Ltd [2012] EWHC 905 (Ch.): acted for the trustee and, latterly, the Pensions Protection Fund, in successfully resisting an appeal from the Pensions Ombudsman concerning allegations of maladministration.
  • IBM United Kingdom Pensions Trust Ltd v Metcalfe [2012] EWHC 125 (Ch) [2012] 5 Costs LO 572: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) in relation to protective costs orders (see above).
  • Re Prudential Staff Pension Scheme [2011] EWHC 960 (Ch) [2011] Pens. LR 239: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for the trustee in a claim to determine whether Prudential had breached its Imperial duty.
Court of Protection

Joseph has a particular interest in issues relating to mental incapacity and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, on which he has written and lectured widely. He appears regularly in the Court of Protection, where he is often instructed by the Official Solicitor, particularly in relation to statutory wills and applications for lifetime gifts by persons lacking capacity.

  • Re JDS, Smyth v JDS [2012] EWHC 302 (COP), [2012] COPLR 383: acted for the Official Solicitor in the lead case on the issue of how the best-interests test under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is to be applied in the context of an application for authority to make a gift out of a personal-injury damages award for the purpose of mitigating future exposure to inheritance tax.

Joseph provides advice in relation to inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning in the context of trusts and estates. He also accepts instructions to settle trust deeds and other instruments with a tax context. He also has experience of appearing in courts and tribunals at all levels.

His reported cases include:

  • Murray Group Holdings Ltd v Advocate-General for Scotland v [2017] UKSC 2016/73: acted (with Julian Ghosh QC, Mark Herbert QC and Barbara Belgrano) for the Advocate-General on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs in a case concerning the re-direction of earnings into an employee benefit trust and the powers of the protector under such trusts (judgment forthcoming). Previously advised HMRC regarding English trust law for the purposes of previous hearing before the Court of Session: [2015] CSIH 77.
  • DCM (Optical Holdings) Ltd v Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs [2010] UKFTT 393 (TC), [2010] SFTD 1204: acted for HM Revenue and Customs (with Julian Ghosh QC and un-led in an interlocutory hearing before the First-tier Tribunal sitting in Edinburgh) in relation to a dispute over the application of the partial-exemption special method for VAT purposes in the context of a high-street optician.
  • Cadbury Schweppes plc v Williams (HM Inspector of Taxes) [2006] EWCA Civ 657 [2007] STC 106: acted (with Julian Ghosh QC) for Cadbury Schweppes in an appeal concerning the application of the accrued-income provisions of s. 717 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
Ecclesiastical Law

Joseph is prepared to accept instructions to appear in the consistory courts and other ecclesiastical tribunals.

  • Re St Columba, Warcop [2011] Ecc LJ 371: successfully acted for the vicar and churchwardens in relation to an application to the Diocesan Consistory Court for a faculty for the sale of a painting, the ownership of which was disputed by the descendent of a parishioner.
  • Re St Peter’s, Draycott [2009] Fam 93: acted (with Mark Blackett-Ord) for the party opponent (the Victorian Society) in a successful appeal to the Arches Court of Canterbury concerning an application for a faculty for the sale of a font.

Joseph is an accredited mediator, having been trained through ADR Chambers. He is prepared to accept instructions both to act as a mediator and to represent parties at mediations.

Education and Qualifications

Joseph attended Hereford Cathedral School and was an exhibitioner of Brasenose College, Oxford, where he obtained a first-class degree in modern history. He obtained a post-graduate diploma in law with distinction from City University, London, and achieved the highest mark in his year on the Bar Vocational Course. Joseph is a Lord Mansfield, Lord Bowen and Hardwicke Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn, which named him “Student of the Year” upon his call to the Bar in 2003.

Professional Memberships

Joseph is a member of the Chancery Bar Association and the Ecclesiastical Law Society.

Publications and Lecturing

Joseph is a contributor to Heywood and Massey: Court of Protection Practice. He has previously assisted with Dymond’s Capital Taxes and the volume of The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents concerning wills and the administration of estates. He also wrote a new chapter on lasting powers of attorney for personal welfare matters for Tolley’s Finance and Law for the Older Client. He was also responsible for the chapters on the appointment and removal of trustees and reverter-to-settlor trusts in Tolley’s Trust Drafting and Precedents.

Joseph has also contributed case summaries to Private Client Adviser (formerly known ad Elderly Client Adviser) and has contributed to the Trust Quarterly Review and the Elder Law Journal.

Joseph has lectured on, or recorded podcasts in, the fields of pensions, mental capacity, mortgages, wills, probate, trusts and related taxation. Recent topics include capacity to litigate, the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009 and misrepresentation/undue influence in the context of third-party guarantees of mortgage loans.

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