Matthew Paton
Junior counsel

Matthew Paton

Call to Bar:2005

Sir Michael Barnett; ex-Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of The Bahamas

A fearless but fair adversary...very articulate in his delivery of cogent argument.

Matthew has a wide practice encompassing all aspects of traditional and commercial chancery with a particular focus on litigation in the areas of trust and probate (both non-contentious and contentious), related company matters, insolvency (particularly cross-border issues), and civil fraud. He regularly appears in the county and higher courts.

Matthew’s work frequently involves offshore matters and issues of private international law. He has appeared in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in The Bahamas, and has been led in the Privy Council. As well as being called to the Bahamas Bar, Matthew frequently advises in matters arising from all of the principal offshore jurisdictions, including the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cayman and Jersey and Guernsey. He has also acted as an expert on Bahamian law in the English and US courts.

As well as acting as sole counsel Matthew has significant experience and welcomes being instructed as part of a larger team.

5 Stone Buildings - brick wall
Legal 500 2020

"He has a track record of Bahamian work."

The Hon. Mr. Justice Winder; Justice of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, Chancery Division

"Undoubtedly one of this country’s finest young advocates."

About Matthew Paton

Traditional Chancery

Matthew’s recent work in this area includes acting on contentious trust and probate matters advising protectors, trustees, executors and beneficiaries on issues surrounding: removal and appointment; variation; powers and duties; liability and indemnity; jurisdiction; enforcement; Hastings-Bass/mistake; directions/Public Trustee v Cooper; costs; and privacy/disclosure.

Notable Cases Traditional Chancery

• Lady Hayward v. Striker Trustees Ltd – (with John Brisby QC) Appearing on behalf of private trustee of discretionary trust re dispute over loans made to primary beneficiary and obtaining court sanction of settlement/indemnification following execution of DORA’s. Raised complex issues re representation orders and trustee liability. Instructed by Harcus Sinclair LLP (UK).

• Dillon v Butterfield Bank (Bahamas) Ltd – Representing the settlor beneficiary of $25m Isle of Man trust in suing Bahamian professional trustee for negligence/breach of trust in transfer of trust where improper consideration of beneficiary domicile status led to adverse UK tax consequences and liquid assets being caught by spouse seeking interim ancillary relief in UK by way of injunctive relief. Instructed by Collyer Bristow LLP (UK).

• P v C Trustees – (with Brian Simms QC) Advising and appearing on multiple variation applications of $500m trusts seeking court approval for changing governing law and exclusive jurisdiction clauses to re-domicile trust onshore and residual implications. Instructed by Levin, Schreder & Carey Ltd. (IL, USA).

• Re the Lee-Steere Trusts – Advising UK solicitors firm in respect of the administration of a trust including and representing settlor in rectification application. Instructed by LBMW LP (UK)

• Re the C Trust – Advising UK protector of Bahamian trust on removing professional trustee and liability re retirement. Raised issues of costs for professional services and construction of provisions within trust deed. Successfully representing protector in establishing implied indemnity for actions taken whilst protector. Continue to advise and appear on costs/termination applications. Instructed by NGD/Trust Corp Intl., (Guernsey, CI)

• Re Palomino Trust – (with Brian Simms QC) Hasting -Bass type applications and rectifying mistake to avoid adverse tax consequences for onshore UK beneficiaries of offshore trusts. Instructed by LennoxPaton, Bahamas.

• Pastoukhova v Soffer et al – Instructed and appearing on contentious probate action in Florida regarding a $500m Bahamian estate. Raised Issues of whether executrix was properly appointed and capable of representing the estate in US proceedings for wrongful death suit. Concerned matters of English matrimonial law validity of appointment hinged on validity of UK marriage. Instructed by Kenny Nachwalter LLP (Fl., USA)

• Re JPM Trustees – (with John Brisby QC) Acting for JP Morgan Trust Co. in $550m variation application driven by primary beneficiary following controversial statutory amendments seeking inclusion directed investment and protector provisions. Instructed by JP Morgan Trust Co. (Bah) Ltd.

• Re the MDG Trust – Representing solicitors in respect of potential liability surrounding onshore administration of offshore trust. Included advising on Bahamian Public Trustee v Cooper and rectification applications. Instructed by RPC LLP (UK)

• Re the K trust – Advising professional trustees on construction of clauses in deed re nature of protector powers and what level of exculpation is permissible under English law and BVI law. Instructed by Day Pitney LLP (NYC, USA).

• RTL v AFD et al – (with Brian Simms QC) Acting for Guardian ad litem of minor beneficiaries of $350m private family trusts in Bahamas and US. Involved advising and appearing in multi-jurisdictional trust litigation re forum/proper construction/removal of trustee/anti-suit injunction. Instructed by Homer Bonner Jacobs (FL., USA)

• Ansbacher Bank & Trust Ltd v Joiner et al. – Representing the executor of deceased’s estate in an administration action re construction of a testamentary will trust and distribution of the $8m residuary estate amongst the beneficiaries of the trust. Instructed by LennoxPaton, Bahamas.

• Re the S trust – Representing applicant beneficiaries of $60m trust seeking their reinstatement following their wrongful removal by protector, included successfully removing protector for fraud on the power. Instructed by Schindler & Co. (NYC, USA)

Commercial Chancery

On the commercial side Matthew’s focus is on litigation concerning all aspects of company law commonly related to contentious trust and probate, civil fraud, and insolvency, often with a private international law element. He has extensive experience in: world-wide freezing orders; search and disclosure orders; enforcement of judgments; minority shareholder/director disputes; and cross-border insolvency.

Notable Cases Commercial Chancery

• Aldford House v Grosvenor Estate – Instructed as expert on Bahamian company law in respect of corporate actions taken by Bahamian IBC’s holding UK property. Issues included construction; interpretation; and binding effect of various resolutions passed by corporate directors. Instructed by Forsters LLP (UK)

• Todhunter (Bahamas) Ltd. – Advising purported UBO’s of Bahamian sub-co in efforts to remove sub-co from global structure. Raises evidential issues as to ownership and corporate governance in light of moving to petition for voluntary liquidation. Instructed by Pernod Ricard USA (NYC)

• Re Pacific Trust – Advising Californian Court Appointed Trustee of $80m estate in bringing a derivative action on behalf of Bahamian company owned by trust and on tracing assets by imposing constructive trusts on banking institutions and BVI IBC’s. Instructed by Conyers Dill & Pearlman (BVI).

• Bannister et al. v Matvieshen et al. – Represented UK beneficial shareholders of offshore cross-holding structure worth #12m to trial and on appeal. Extensive interlocutory applications re service out and security for costs/fortification. Successfully obtained declaratory relief as to ownership and specific performance and enforcing the judgments. Instructed by Nixon Wenger LLP (BC, Canada)

• Mohammed al Saleh v SML Ltd et al. Advising and appearing in a $70m action arising from contractual disputes between shareholders of complex multi-jurisdictional corporate structures in USA, Bahamas, and Saudi Arabia to establish liability and evidence civil fraud, including free standing freezing injunctions and constructive trusts and limitation issues. Instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP (UK)/Burford Capital (UK)

• Bahamar DevCo Ltd (In Liquidation) – Advising UBO’s of Bahamian sub-co in moving to voluntary liquidation where 100m contingent liability existed in form of NY judgment. Oversaw appointment of liquidator and transition to court supervised liquidation. Included advising on third party litigation funding and enforcement of foreign judgments in insolvency proceedings. Instructed by Kobre & Kim LLP

• Alfraedo Moraes v Paulista Ltd. Representing minority shareholders vs Brazilian bank and advising them on protection of rights under Unanimous Shareholders Agreements resulting in the exercise of their right of dissention and the subsequent claw-back wrongful dividends in excess of 25m. Instructed by LennoxPaton.

• Re Nauticus Fund – Advising the auditors of various offshore investment funds on their rights and obligations with respect to pre-action disclosure with of audited accounts and defending efforts to claw-back purported fraudulent payments. Instructed by KPMG.

• Florida Floats Inc v. EBR Holdings Ltd – Represented court appointed liquidators for offshore hotel resort in contractual dispute concerning legitimacy of Romalpa clauses and whether assets fell within liquidation. Instructed By Ernst & Young.

• TG Investments LLC v New Hope Holding Ltd et al – advised on contesting the validity of promissory notes worth $40m and events surrounding default with success at first instance and on appeal. Instructed by Hunton & Williams (Fl., USA)

Admiralty

Matthew also has a niche practice in shipping matters concerning Bahamian law. He has advised a number of major UK financial institutions and international solicitors firms on all aspects of the Merchant Shipping Act 1976. This has included advising on the procedures and costs surrounding the arresting of vessels in Bahamian waters; priority of liens; enforcement of maritime liens; subrogation clauses; registration of cautions; and private international law. Recent cases include:

• MV NEA TYHI – Advising insurer as to proper law considerations and the limit of liability should Bahamian law apply. Instructed by London P & I Club

• FLNGS CORAL – advising AIP on the jurisdictional reach of UNCLOS in The Bahamas in respect of the Government of Mozambique and its retention of sovereignty over an FLNGS structure in its EEZ. Instructed by Linklaters LLP

• MV Asian Wind – acting for Brazilian cargo owners on jurisdictional advantages of arresting vessel in Bahamian waters and possible causes of action and priority raking of claims. Instructed by Field Martin Solicitors.

• MOL Comfort advising owners on Bahamian law and possible claims and actions that may arise in this jurisdiction, and specifically with respect to limitations on forum shopping. Instructed by Ince & Co.

• Governor Bank of Ireland v M.V. Ingegas/MV Athengas – advising the bank on priority of liens under Bahamian law and chances of success of recouping losses. Instructed by Ince & Co. and Denton Wilde Sapte.

Education and Qualifications

Matthew went to Radley College, and then on to Bristol University to study Philosophy and Politics, graduating in 2001 with an Upper Second Class Honours Degree. He then went on to BPP Hyperion successfully completing both the Securities Institute Certificate and Investment Management Certificate. In 2004 Matthew obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Law from The College of Law, London, before going on to complete the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court School of Law, London. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales and the Bahamas Bar in 2005.

Professional Memberships

Member of Honourable Society of Inner Temple

Ad eundem Member of the Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn

Member of the The Bahamas Bar Association

Member of the Chancery Bar Association

Member of STEP

Publications and Lecturing

Matthew’s publications include: Hastings-Bass re-visited (ILO); Evidence, Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions & Public Policy” (ILO). He also regularly contributes to Trusts & Estates, recent articles include: International Trust Administration; Public Trustee and Cooper Offshore. Matthew is also responsible for the chapter on The Bahamas in Wolters Kluwer International “The Enforcement of Foreign Judgments”.
Matthew frequently gives talks regarding difficult areas of trust law and related updates to solicitors’ firms and has recently spoken at the SG Contentious Trusts conference; and the Chambers Trust & Estates conference held in February.

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