- Contentious Wills and Probate
- Commercial Litigation
As head of Contentious Wills and Probate as well as a leading partner in the Commercial Litigation team, James has a great deal of experience advising in relation to disputes, especially those encountered in family businesses. In the former instance, he represents beneficiaries, personal representatives and trustees and specialises in all types of will validity challenges, claims for financial provision by spouses, children and co-habiting dependents and applications against trustees and executors for their removal arising out of allegations of mismanagement or conflict.
He is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists and has been described by Legal 500 (2016) as “a very able litigator and incisive tactician”.
His experience includes:
- reorganising a multi-million pound estate to make proper provision for the deceased’s widow and children
- proving the validity of a will where the testator had communicated some of his intentions in secret
- acting in connection with an estate which involves a challenge to at least two wills, a partnership dispute, a claim for provision from the estate and arguments concerning shares in family businesses.
His wide range of experience and technical expertise in the Commercial Litigation sphere extends to claims relating to breach of restrictive covenants, misuse of confidential information, directors’ breaches of duties, the prejudice of shareholders’ interests, breach of supply or service contracts and professional negligence of the business’ former advisers.
- “We were particularly impressed with James’ immediate grasp of both the key issues and the finer points.”
- “James’ strong professional response gave us the confidence to carry the case forward when, without his help, we might have given up. We could not have asked for any more.”
- “It has been a complicated, and sometimes a distressing case for us all, but James has diligently handled it on our behalf, with what I consider to be utmost skill and understanding.”
- “Thanks Gordons and James Laycock in particular for everything they have done to extricate us from a tangled legal mess. After enduring nearly 20 years of legal harassment, James’ knowledge, experience and patience were instrumental in finally bringing it to an end. We are so grateful to him – and to Gordons – for their help. We can now get on with our lives.”
- “May I take this opportunity to thank James and Gordons for their excellent service, and wish them all the best for the future.”
- “James’ brain works incredibly fast – he’s so quick to grasp the issues and work through all the angles. He’s a pleasure to work with and very effective”
- “James dots every ‘i’ and crosses every ‘t’. His preparation for even the smallest hearings is meticulous. He is a fighter who also gives sensible and pragmatic advice.” – Barrister, St Phillip’s Chambers.
- “I have had the privilege of working with and against James a number of times over the last 10 years. Each time I am struck by the excellent quality of his work. The best instructing solicitor is one who has mastered the case and so can play an equal role, with the barrister, in providing an effective solution for the client. On each occasion I have worked with James he has mastered the case before he has even instructed me and I have observed him delivering the best result for his client. On each occasion I have worked against James he has displayed the professionalism and high standards I have come to expect of him.” – Chancery Barrister
- “James reads the dynamics of a dispute and delivers a winning strategy.” – Barrister, London
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