Mark Baxter - 5 Stone Buildings
Junior counsel

Mark Baxter

Call to Bar:2006

Chambers UK 2017

He's technically superb, is very good with clients, and is a very persuasive advocate who provides a tremendous service.

Mark has a thriving traditional Chancery and Court of Protection practice and accepts instructions in both contentious and non-contentious matters across the full range of Chambers’ core practice areas. He appears regularly in the High Court, County Courts (especially Central London), Court of Protection, and at mediations.

5 Stone Buildings - brick wall
Chambers UK 2016

He is very, very good on his feet. He is just a fantastic advocate."

Chambers UK 2015

He also has a fantastic eye for detail, and is able to see the bigger picture."

Chambers UK 2014

He has a practical, approachable, pragmatic style."

About Mark Baxter

Professional Reputation

“He’s technically superb, is very good with clients, and is a very persuasive advocate who provides a tremendous service.”

Chambers UK 2017

“He is always very diplomatic and polite, but he is direct”. Clients in difficult situations benefit from a bit of rational talking and he’s very reassuring in that way.”

Chambers 2017 Chancery Traditional

“He is very, very good on his feet. He is just a fantastic advocate.”

Chambers UK 2016

“He also has a fantastic eye for detail, and is able to see the bigger picture.”

“He’s extremely thorough and very personable.”

Chambers UK 2015

He has practical, approachable, pragmatic style.”

“He is very friendly, which makes things so much easier.”

Chambers UK 2014

“Excellent value for money.”

Legal 500 2013

“Has earned the respect of both his peers and instructing solicitors.”

Chambers UK 2012

Traditional Chancery/Private Client

The core of Mark’s practice consists of disputes as to the administration and distribution of deceased’s estates, including advising on and litigating contentious probate claims (on all grounds), Inheritance Act claims, proprietary estoppel and other equitable claims to estate assets, construction and rectification, and substitution and removal of Personal Representatives. Mark also regularly advises in respect of the administration of trusts and disputes arising therefrom, especially as to breach of duty and/or the proper exercise of discretions. Acting in such cases often involves aspects of real property law, and requires Mark to advise on aspects of professional negligence and the taxation of trusts and estates.

Mark’s notable cases in these areas include:

  • Roberts v Fresco [2017] EWHC 283 (Ch): succeeded on trial of a preliminary issue of law as to whether a claim by a surviving spouse under the 1975 Act survives their death so that it may be pursued on behalf of their estate, confirming it does not and so resisting attempt to bring such a claim by the beneficiaries of that the estate
  • Randall v Randall [2014] EWHC 3134 (Ch), [2016] EWCA Civ 494: Instructed at first instance in High Court and on appeal to Court of Appeal in leading case, and only modern decision not limited to 1975 Act, on standing to challenge or propound a Will under Part 57 of the CPR
  • Colling v Ripley [2016]: successfully applied for removal of sibling beneficiary as executor, notwithstanding intimated dispute over validity of two codicils to Will which amended appointment of executors, with effect of avoiding need for contentious probate claim; claim issued in 2015 but secured order for defendant to pay claimants’ costs since 2006
  • Harris v Earwicker [2015] EWHC 1915 (Ch): successfully defended residuary beneficiary’s claim for removal of executors, and obtained indemnity costs against all residuary beneficiaries notwithstanding application made by only one of them
  • Swetenham v Walkley [2014] WTLR 845: successfully brought claim under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on behalf of co-habitant where co-habitation disputed on basis deceased retained own house and often slept there
  • Ritchie v Joslin [2009] EWHC 709 (Ch): with Mark Blackett-Ord successfully established invalidity of Will on ground of lack of testamentary capacity by reason of the testatrix’s delusions as to the character and conduct of her children
  • Glass v Segelman [2008] WTLR 1615: rectification of a deed of gift
Court of Protection

Mark is a highly experienced Court of Protection practitioner and regularly appears before Court of Protection judges in London and the regional courts. His caseload is primarily concerned with Property and Affairs work and he has been involved in numerous proceedings for statutory wills (for existing beneficiaries, potential beneficiaries, charities, deputies, attorneys, and the Official Solicitor), gifts, authorisation of investments, disputed EPAs and LPAs, and the appointment and removal of deputies. He has been recommended for Court of Protection work in the directories since 2012.

Mark’s recent Court of Protection work includes:

  • Application for authority to invest part of P’s significant wealth in co-ownership of home for parent following sale of co-owned family home on divorce of parents
  • Disputed property and affairs deputyship application in respect of multi-millionaire P in circumstances where one of P’s major assets and sources of income was her shareholding in a family company; acting for the proposed deputy, who was a director of and shareholder in the company
  • Disputed Statutory Will application which went to final hearing with five represented parties. Acted for litigation friend for P’s minor children and successfully argued (against the professional deputy and two other parties) that the Will should provide for lower capital provision for P’s spouse, with an additional life interest trust in their favour, so as to achieve an inheritance tax saving to the benefit of the children by using the spouse exemption
  • Advice in respect of the administration of a personal injury trust for the benefit of a minor who will lack capacity on attaining the age of 18 years, and in particular the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction and power to direct the trustees to use the Trust Fund to purchase a home for P and family outside of the jurisdiction, and the structure the Court of Protection would require for the ownership and administration of such property and any other money from the trust transferred out of the jurisdiction
  • Representing one of several charities in complex Statutory Will case in which P was intestate and without close relatives, but had made a lost Will many years previously and given instructions for a Will after losing capacity
Taxation

Mark regularly advises and drafts in connection with the taxation of trusts and estates, as well as the taxation consequences of variations thereto (and mitigation of those consequences), including by way of exercise of powers, agreement, and litigation. Recently, Mark has advised on the inheritance tax consequences of the settlement of certain rights arising on the death of the partners of a large international professional services firm.

Professional Negligence

Mark regular advises on professional negligence in the other areas of his practice, including the drafting of Wills and other instruments, the administration and distribution of trusts and estates (especially the tax treatment thereof), and the conduct of litigation. Mark is one of the co-authors of a textbook on negligence in trusts and estates (and the principal author of the section on negligence in the taxation of trusts and estates).

Education and Qualifications

Mark read law at the University of Bristol, graduating with First Class Honours and winning both the Herbert Smith Mooting Competition and the Maitland Essay Prize. Mark is a Hardwicke, Lord Denning, and Sunley Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn.

Professional Memberships

Mark is a member of the Chancery Bar Association and the Property Bar Association, and is secretary of the Denning Society.

Publications and Lecturing

Mark is co-author (with Martyn Frost and Penelope Reed QC) of Risk and Negligence in Wills, Estates and Trusts, published by OUP (1st ed 2009, 2nd ed 2014).

Mark speaks regularly to solicitors, STEP branches and special interest groups, and professional conferences, and records webinars for a variety of providers, on all areas of his practice.