The Spear’s 500 guide has released the 2021 editions of its Tax and Trust, and Reputation and Privacy sections. Our Tax Litigation and Investigations team has five lawyers or tax directors included in Tax and Trust once again, while Trust and Probate Litigation has three listed as ‘Top Recommended’ in their fields. Stewarts also has one lawyer ‘Recommended’ in the Reputation and Privacy guide.

Spear’s 500 is the high net worth individual’s guide to the market’s best private client advisers. From wealth managers to family lawyers and property advisers to fine wine experts, Spear’s offers advice on the advisers.


Top Recommended Contentious Tax Lawyers

Head of Tax Litigation and Investigations, David Pickstone, is acclaimed for his work on “significant” cases and for providing a “tailored approach” to clients. Spear’s acknowledges the Stewarts team’s work on large class actions including Ingenious and Eclipse. “A number of our cases have the potential to change the way UK law is applied and are being watched by the market,” David says.

James Le Gallais is also ‘Top Recommended’ in the tax field. The guide notes that much of James’ practice “involves representing clients in disputes related to tax, financial and investment advice. Litigation is not the only solution.” Spear’s notes that James “has drawn praise from the legal press for his work supporting clients in their disputes against promoters of failed film finance schemes.”

Lee Ellis receives plaudits for putting client management first. “My goal is to help clients understand what they want to achieve, and then provide a clear strategy on the relevant aspects of tax law,” Lee says. His work on defending claims for overpaid landfill tax and helping HNWIs to resolve complex disputes with HMRC is also highlighted.

Tax Director Lisa Vanderheide is also listed. “Whether there is a disagreement with HMRC regarding a technical issue, suspected tax fraud, or a client involved in a tax avoidance arrangement under enquiry needs assistance, she navigates the relationship between the client and HMRC to arrive at the best solution,” Spear’s says.

Sarah Stenton, tax director, is listed as ‘Recommended’ for her work with the Stewarts tax investigation team. ‘What sets us apart is our collective experience,’ Sarah says. “Instructing an adviser on a tax investigation is a bit like visiting the doctor. No-one wants to go until you really have to – and you have to work out where you’ll get the best service possible.”


Top Recommended Contentious Trusts Lawyers

Head of Trust and Probate Litigation, James Price, is credited as a leading figure in onshore and offshore trust disputes, “there is usually an international dimension.” James notes that “this type of work brings with it particular challenges created by events like death, divorce or family breakdown, so lawyers in this area require both emotional intelligence and technical expertise in equal measure.”

Geoff Kertesz receives praise for “striking a balance between securing results and managing emotions… hearing clients’ aspirations and marrying them up with the law.” Spear’s says that Geoff’s “career-highs are numerous, with recent highlights including acting for the successful beneficiaries in a case where trustees surrendered their discretion to an English court.”

Emma Holland is also acclaimed for trust and probate litigation work. Together with James Price, she has “undertaken some of the most complex cases in the landscape involving high value assets.” Spear’s acknowledges that “most of her clients are international, and her practice has impressive breadth.”


Recommended for Reputation and Privacy

Head of Media Disputes Emily Cox is recommended by Spear’s for her work on “defamation, misuse of private information, breach of confidence and data protection cases,” as well as experience of working for clients in crisis situations. “‘My diverse experience allows me to stay one step ahead when it comes to strategic and creative thinking,” Emily says.


The full edition of the Spear’s 500 can be found here.




You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Tax Litigation and Investigations, Trust and Probate Litigation  and Media Disputes pages.

If you require assistance from our team, please contact us.



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