"He has a fantastic eye for detail and a clear grasp on strategy."
William has a general Chancery practice in all the areas of work undertaken in chambers, including but not limited to trusts, wills, probate and the administration of estates, Inheritance Act claims, real property (particularly proprietary estoppel), pensions, Court of Protection (both property and affairs and health and welfare), Chancery issues in family law and professional negligence claims related to those areas of practice.
William regularly appears in the County Court, the High Court and the Court of Protection, and has appeared in the Court of Appeal. He has also appeared in the Tax Tribunal.
Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2020
Impressive and pragmatic.
Legal 500 2020
Has good instincts for how to run a case.
Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2019
He has a fantastic eye for detail and a clear grasp on strategy.
Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide 2019
Fantastic to work with and excellent with clients. He's one of my go-to juniors because he's hands on, and academically very gifted without it getting in the way of client service.
Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide 2019
Very calm, level-headed and considered - he's really knowledgeable on the law, and good at tricky situations.
About William East
“Very calm, level-headed and considered – he’s really knowledgeable on the law, and good at tricky situations.”
“Fantastic to work with and excellent with clients. He’s one of my go-to juniors because he’s hands on, and academically very gifted without it getting in the way of client service”.
Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide – 2019
“Well known for his breadth of experience in chancery matters, he’s frequently involved in cases concerning statutory wills and contested deputyships, some of which are highly complex and involve challenging clients.”
“He takes a very cheerful approach to things, backing this up with a lot of knowledge.”
Chambers UK – 2019 (Court of Protection)
“He is very perceptive.”
Legal 500 2019
“He was amazing and got a really good settlement. Our client was a nightmare, but William managed to inject humour into conferences, and you could tell the client had real confidence in him.”
Chambers UK – 2017 (Court of Protection)
“He’s incredibly user-friendly. I have no hesitation putting him in front of clients knowing he will make us look good. He produces some really good results.”
“His drafting is super, he’s very good in conference and he’s very good on his feet in court.”
Chambers UK – 2016 (Court of Protection)
- Re MJL  EWCOP 31 (Court of Protection, proposed statutory gifts with the purpose of tax planning).
- Supple v Supple  EWHC 2619 (Ch) (committal application in proceedings concerning the administration of an estate). This case and Wooldridge (see below) generated national press coverage.
- Wooldridge v Wooldridge  Fam Law 451 (dismissal of surviving spouse’s Inheritance Act claim in £6.8m estate. William successfully acted for the defendants with Penelope Reed QC). See also the costs decision ( 3 Costs LO 531) in which the defendants were awarded indemnity costs.
- Crossfield v Jackson  WTLR 1519 (alleged undue influence regarding a property purchase) (Court of Appeal)
- Scott v HMRC  WTLR 1461 (alleged gift of paintings with Inheritance Tax implications) (First-Tier Tax Tribunal). William successfully resisted HMRC’s claim that further tax was due in this case.
William’s recent experience includes:
- Acting for the claimant in an Inheritance Act claim involving a cohabitant and an estate worth £7.5m
- Successfully pursuing a committal application in the High Court in relation to the administration of an estate – see Supple v Supple  EWHC 2619 (Ch)
- Acting for the Official Solicitor and Office of the Public Guardian in a number of contested Court of Protection matters
- Acting at a trial in matrimonial financial remedy proceedings in relation to a dispute over the ownership of a property
- Successfully defending an Inheritance Act claim by a spouse in relation to an estate worth £6.8m with Penelope Reed QC in Wooldridge v Wooldridge  Fam Law 451
- Advancing a proprietary estoppel claim in relation to an estate worth £4.5m up to trial at which the matter settled (led by Penelope Reed QC)
- Successfully defending a claim by executors for Beddoe relief in relation to a proprietary estoppel action
- Acting for an ex-professional footballer against an IFA and several pension companies for allegedly failing to preserve his favourable retirement age and making unauthorised payments out of his pension fund; acting for the same ex-footballer against another IFA and several pension companies for alleged breaches of trust
- Successfully representing the appellant in the First-Tier Tax Tribunal in Scott v HMRC  WTLR 1461, in which the appellant argued that certain paintings had been given to him and therefore were not within his mother’s estate for IHT purposes
- Acting for the claimant both at trial and in the Court of Appeal in a claim of undue influence in relation to a property purchase in Crossfield v Jackson  WTLR 1519
William is a keen member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit and has advised and appeared in a number of matters. He received a Special Mention in the 2011 Pro Bono Awards from a panel of judges including Lord Goldsmith QC. He is willing to consider working pro bono through the Unit or on instruction from a solicitor in deserving cases.
William also participates in CLIPS, the Chancery Bar Association’s scheme providing representation for litigants in person in the Applications Court of the Chancery Division.
Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent)
2007 Lincoln’s Inn Lord Denning and Hardwick Scholarships
Runner-up, Times Law Awards
Graduate Diploma in Law (Commendation)
2006 Lobbyist and health policy adviser at the Confederation of British Industry
2005 Intern at the US Congress (Office of Congressman Don Young)
2003 HWC Davis Prize for the highest mark in Modern History exams across Oxford University; St John’s College Scholarship
2002-2005: St John’s College, Oxford (Modern History)
William was educated at St John’s College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. Before joining the Bar, he worked for some time in the US Congress and at the Confederation of British Industry, where he acted as a lobbyist on health policy issues on behalf of several FTSE 100 and 250 firms.
In 2009, William was appointed as a judicial assistant to Lord Walker and Lord Dyson in the Supreme Court. He took up this role in September 2009, returning to chambers in August 2010.
William is a member of the Chancery Bar Association and a member of the Main Committee of the Association. He also sits on the Chancery Bar Association Wellbeing and Chambers Social Responsibility Sub-Committee.
William regularly speaks both at chambers seminars and externally concerning his practice areas.
William also regularly writes articles in legal journals. Some of his articles include:
- Solicitors for the Elderly Chancery case updates – various dates from 2014-18
- “Flexible deadlines: why are some delayed claims out of time and not others?”, Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal, May 2019, 4-9.
- “Removing defaulting attorneys and deputies”, Trusts & Estates 2018/19, December/January, 4-7 (with Eliza Eagling)
- “Does a witness to a will need to sign it?”, Trusts & Estates 2018, June, 1-3
- “Constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel (again)”, Trusts & Estates 2018, June, 6-8
- “Trustees who have lost capacity – a guide to removing and replacing them”, Private Client Business 2016, 4, 182-189
- “Setting aside tax mistakes in settlements post-Pitt v Holt”, Elder Law Journal, 2015 5 (3), 323-327
- “Business tenancies and the Equality Act”, Solicitors Journal, 2013 157 (21), 10-11
- “Letting the cat out of the bag: the law of trust disclosure”, Private Client Business, 2013 3, 106-112
- “Agricultural property relief: recent developments”, Elder Law Journal, 2012, 2(2), 198-203
- “Drafting a deathbed will”, Solicitors Journal, 2012, 156(13) Supp (Private Client Focus March 2012), 9-11
- “The Court of Protection: no longer the “secret” court”?”, Elder Law Journal, 2011, 1(4), 415-423
- “The removal of trustees by the court”, Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal, March 2011, with Penelope Reed QC
- “Surely some mistake? The widening jurisdiction of the court to set aside voluntary transactions”, Trust Quarterly Review (Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2010), pp. 17-20.