Five members of our Trusts and Probate Litigation and Divorce and Family teams attended the ConTrA (Contentious Trusts Association) Trusts in Litigation Conference. The 2022 event took place in Seville from 30 March to 1 April.

Almost 200 delegates in total from the UK and various offshore territories assembled at this year’s conference. Partner Emma Holland, senior associate Luca del Panta and associate Jemma Goddard from our Trust and Probate Litigation team were in attendance, alongside Sarah Havers and Voirrey Ward, both senior associates in the Divorce and Family team.

This was the fifth Trusts in Litigation conference hosted by ConTrA. Each event aims to facilitate debate between lawyers from around the world on the issues facing their clients. 2022’s conference kicked off with a drinks reception on the first day, followed by lectures and workshops on days two and three, before a final lunch and olive oil tasting at a bodega just outside Seville.

The topics of discussion included insolvent trusts and tax in litigation, as well as family disputes relating to trusts and estates, and Court of Protection cases. Other interesting sessions explored the psychology of giving evidence and witness preparation, and the importance of building resilience in the workplace.


Key speakers

This year’s keynote speakers were Francis McGlone, Professor in Neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University; and Matthew Marsh, Former Chief Master of the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. Professor McGlone’s session was a refreshingly non-legal and fascinating look at his research into the human sense of touch, particularly the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the corresponding reduction in use of touch.

On day three, Matthew Marsh offered his reflections on the Civil Procedure Rules and best practice in the civil courts. This session focused in particular on whether the current rules are (or in his view, are not) fit for purpose.

Jemma Goddard spoke on the morning of the third day alongside Timothy Sherwin of XXIV Old Buildings in a ‘Quick Fire Debate’ on the somewhat controversial topic of the “substratum rule”. This point of law is relevant to the recent Privy Council hearing in Grand View Private Trust Company and another (Respondents) v Wong and others (Appellant) No 2 (Bermuda), in which Head of Trusts and Probate Litigation James Price, Luca and Judith Swinhoe Standen recently acted. Whether there is such a “substratum rule” will hopefully be addressed by the Privy Council in its awaited judgment.


Emma commented:

“The quality of the speakers and variety of topics discussed at the ConTrA conference resulted in a very engaged audience. All of the events were meticulously planned. I think everyone was also thrilled to finally be catching up in person, particularly in such a stunning location.”



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