Gareth is a partner in the trust and estate disputes team.
He advises on the resolution of conflicts that may arise out of trusts, or the estate of a deceased person including:
- challenges to wills
- claims for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- claims relating to domicile and where assets are located in multiple jurisdictions
- breach of trust/applications to remove executors and trustees
- claims relating to ownership of a deceased's property (implied trusts and proprietary estoppel)
Gareth is also an expert in mental capacity law and contentious Court of Protection matters. He advises deputies, attorneys and others with an interest in an incapacitated person's best interests on matters including:
- deputyship/attorneyship disputes
- disputed lifetime gifts
- statutory wills
- financial abuse
Quoted in The Legal 500 as being "clever as well as practical", Gareth recognises that these disputes are often driven by considerations other than financial ones. Gareth works with clients to secure the most advantageous outcome in the circumstances of each case.
Where possible, he seeks to resolve matters through alternative dispute resolution; however, he is also a determined litigator who will pursue matters in the courts where appropriate.
Gareth qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and joined Russell-Cooke in 2008. He became a partner in 2015 and was appointed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion partner in February 2020.
- Will challenge - successfully defended four defendant siblings in a challenge to their brother's will, brought by the deceased's daughter. Issues arose of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval, lack of due execution, fraud and forgery (Brennan v Prior and Ors  EWHC 2867 (Ch)).
- Will interpretation - acted for the partner of the late Bernard Matthews in a claim by three of his children that his will should be interpreted so as to confer a benefit on them worth £2.8 million, notwithstanding they were not named in the will (Scarfe v Matthews  EWHC 3071 (Ch)).
- Domicile dispute - acted for long term partner of a deceased with links to France, Greece and the UK arguing that the deceased had a permanent intention to remain in the UK.
- Mutual will - acting for executors and beneficiaries of will which is being challenged on the basis of an earlier agreement by deceased not to make the will in question.
- Financial abuse - acted for daughter of a victim of financial abuse by two acquaintances. Made successful application for appointment of professional deputy and cancellation of powers of attorney.
- Statutory will - applied for an emergency statutory will on behalf of the unmarried partner of a terminally ill patient in the final stages of his illness. The patient sadly died before the final hearing of the application and Gareth subsequently acted for the partner in an Inheritance Act claim.
- Copy will - acted for a charity to admit a copy will (of which it is the residuary beneficiary) to probate in circumstances where the deceased's children are invoking a presumption that the will has been lost.
- Proprietary Estoppel - defended a court-appointed professional personal representative of an estate subject to a claim brought by the deceased’s brother for a house from the estate.
- Rectification of will - successfully negotiated claim to rectify a will where instructions had not been implemented despite a time lapse of over 15 years between drafting and the error coming to light.
- Member ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists).
- Member STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).
- Committee Member of the London Branch of CoPPA (Court of Protection Practitioners Association).
- Immediate past president South London Law Society.
- LLB Law with French Law and Language - University of East Anglia.
- LLM French Law and European Law - Université Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne).
- Gareth is a fluent French speaker.