Elaine Palser has an extensive chancery and commercial practice, with an emphasis on contentious probate, trusts, insolvency, and related professional negligence.

“An excellent advocate”, “technically superb”, “very good with clients”, “a team player”, and “a seasoned legal gladiator” (Legal 500), Elaine is recommended as a Leading Junior for Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Insolvency, and Professional Negligence.

With degrees in both law and business, Elaine is uniquely placed to handle the complex commercial and financial issues that arise in all of her practice areas.

Elaine is also a CEDR-accredited mediator, and a former lecturer in Trusts, Land and Tort at Oxford University.

Expertise

Elaine Palser has a strong contentious probate and trusts practice, with a focus on Inheritance Act claims, challenges to the validity of wills, proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts, removal of personal representatives, trusts disputes, TOLATA claims, the administration of estates, and related professional negligence. She is also frequently instructed on insolvency claims with a trusts dimension.

Elaine is “a seasoned legal gladiator” who is “technically superb” on the law and “an excellent advocate” in court (Legal 500). She is “very good with clients” and is equipped with the necessary “robust intellect, empathy and pragmatism” to deal sensitively and effectively with private client disputes (Legal 500).  Elaine is recommended as a Leading Junior for Private Client: Trusts and Probate.

Elaine is a full member of STEPACTAPS and ConTrA, a former lecturer in Trusts at Oxford University, and a CEDR-accredited mediator.

Notable Private Client & Trusts cases


Acting for two children in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from their estranged father’s estate: Re R (Deceased) [2021] EWHC 936 (Ch).

Acting for a beneficiary in a claim under CPR 64.2 to determine several disputed issues in the administration of two substantial estates: Papadopolous v Papadopolous [2021].

Acting for the deceased’s brother in a challenge to the validity of the deceased’s will on grounds of lack of capacity, want of knowledge and approval, and undue influence.

Acting for the beneficiaries in a constructive trust and proprietary estoppel claim for a beneficial interest in the deceased’s former home.

Acting for the deceased’s son in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 by his mother’s partner: Banfield v Campbell [2018] EWHC 1943 (Ch).

Acting for a beneficiary in a claim to remove the executors of his mother’s estate on grounds of impropriety and delay.

Acting for a beneficiary in a dispute concerning the interpretation and rectification of a trust contained in a life insurance policy.

Acting for a Russian businessman in a US$2 billion claim concerning breach of trust and dishonest assistance: Gaydamak v Leviev [2014] EWHC 1167 (Ch).

Acting for the trustee in a multi-million pound claim by his father for an account in light of alleged breaches of trust spanning several decades.

Acting for a high-profile businessman in a Quistclose trust dispute.

Acting for the trustee in bankruptcy in applications for possession and injunctive relief in respect of English and foreign properties purportedly held on trusts containing a power of revocation.

Elaine Palser’s insolvency practice covers:

  • corporate and personal insolvency;
  • related professional negligence;
  • insolvency claims containing a trusts dimension; and
  • commercial and contractual disputes arising within the insolvency context.

Elaine is “a tenacious advocate”, “very analytical”, “technically excellent”, and “very astute and commercial” (Legal 500).  She is “a top choice for professional negligence claims against insolvency practitioners” and “clearly an expert in her field” (Legal 500).  Elaine is recommended as a Leading Junior for Insolvency, as well as for her crossover specialisms of Trusts and Professional Negligence.

With degrees in both law and business, Elaine understands businesses and is well placed to deal successfully with the complex commercial and financial issues that arise in insolvency cases.

Elaine is a full member of ILA, COMBAR, ChBA and ConTrA.

Notable Insolvency & Restructuring cases


Acting for stylist and influencer, Caroline Stanbury, in a long-running claim about director duties and personal goodwill: Reynolds (as liquidator of CSB123 Ltd) v Stanbury [2021] EWHC 2506 (Ch).

Acting for a publicly-listed company in an urgent application in private for an injunction to restrain advertisement of a winding up petition and to strike it out as an abuse of process.

Acting for the neutral trustee in bankruptcy in two connected multi-million pound appeals against the admission of a proof of debt, involving the construction and interpretation of several agreements: Claims Direct Plc (in liquidation) v Hinton [2021] EWHC 1613 (Ch) and Poole v Hinton [2019] EWHC 2331 (Ch).

Acting for the former administrators in a substantial misfeasance claim by the liquidator, involving allegations of the disposal of numerous assets at an undervalue.

Acting for an Italian judgment creditor in a multi-million pound appeal against the registration of an Italian judgment in England, forming the basis of a subsequent bankruptcy petition: Percival v Motu Novu [2019] EWHC 1391 (QB).

Acting for a trustee in a claim involving the exercise of a trust power of revocation so as to reclaim properties in several jurisdictions for the bankrupt estate, and related freezing injunction applications.

Securing the dismissal of a winding up petition against a company on the basis that the debt was disputed on bona fide and substantial grounds: Re a Company [2016] EWHC 1046 (Ch).

Acting for a trustee in bankruptcy in a claim involving sham trusts, transactions at an undervalue, and transactions defrauding creditors.

Acting for a company and its liquidator in a claim by a former high profile tax advisor for alleged conspiracy, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution of civil proceedings.

Acting for several sports clubs in insolvency matters, including Cardiff City Football Club.

Elaine Palser has a broad commercial practice, including claims involving contentious trusts and those arising in the insolvency context.

Elaine is “very astute and commercial”, “with a good eye detail”, “technically superb” and “an excellent advocate” (Legal 500).  She is recommended as a Leading Junior for Insolvency, Private Client and Professional Negligence.

With degrees in both law and business, Elaine understands businesses and is uniquely placed to deal successfully with complex commercial and financial issues.

Notable Commercial and Chancery cases


Acting for stylist and influencer, Caroline Stanbury, in a long-running claim about director duties and personal goodwill: Reynolds (as liquidator of CSB123 Ltd) v Stanbury [2021] EWHC 2506 (Ch).

Acting for a property development company and its directors in a claim concerning alleged breaches of a joint venture agreement, including alleged breaches of fiduciary duties and the duty of good faith.

Acting for a commercial agent in a multi-million pound damages claim concerning risk-analysis software.

Acting for the neutral trustee in bankruptcy in two connected multi-million pound appeals against the admission of a proof of debt, involving the construction and interpretation of several agreements: Claims Direct Plc (in liquidation) v Hinton [2021] EWHC 1613 (Ch) and Poole v Hinton [2019] EWHC 2331 (Ch).

Acting for an Italian judgment creditor in a multi-million pound appeal against the registration of an Italian judgment in England: Percival v Motu Novu [2019] EWHC 1391 (QB).

Acting for a creditor in a Quistclose trust claim arising out of the liquidation of an international retail company.

Acting for a Russian businessman in a US$2 billion claim concerning Angolan diamonds, breach of trust, dishonest assistance, and conspiracy: Gaydamak v Leviev [2014] EWHC 1167 (Ch).

Acting for a major investment company in a claim by a Texan company for breach of an oil and gas exploration contract.

Acting for a company and its liquidator in a claim by a former high profile tax advisor for alleged conspiracy, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution of civil proceedings.

Acting for an Israeli businessman in a multi-jurisdictional contractual dispute worth over US$100 million concerning mining ventures in the DRC and the enforcement of securities in the BVI and Gibraltar.

Elaine Palser’s professional negligence practice focuses principally on claims arising out of her main practice areas, namely insolvency, probate, and trusts.

“Clearly an expert in her field”, Elaine is “very efficient” and “thorough”, with “great technical ability” in professional negligence law (Legal 500).  She is recognised as “a top choice for professional negligence claims against insolvency practitioners” (Legal 500) and is recommended as a Leading Junior for Professional Negligence, as well as Insolvency and Private Client: Trusts and Probate.

As a former lecturer in both Tort and Trusts at Oxford University, Elaine has considerable academic strength in this area.

Notable Professional Negligence cases


Acting for stylist and influencer, Caroline Stanbury, in a claim about director duties, alleged negligence, and personal goodwill: Reynolds (as liquidator of CSB123 Ltd) v Stanbury [2021] EWHC 2506 (Ch).

Acting for a child in a claim against an executor who negligently distributed the deceased’s estate to the wrong parties.

Acting for the former administrators in a paragraph 75 misfeasance claim by the liquidator of a company claiming disposal of assets at an undervalue.

Acting for LPA receivers against a mortgagor alleging a sale at an undervalue of commercial and residential premises.

Acting for a large professional body in a negligence dispute involving insolvency bonds.

Acting for the former trustee in bankruptcy in a section 304 claim concerning alleged negligence in the disposal of an asset held on trust.

Acting for the trustee in a multi-million pound claim by his father for an account in light of breaches of trust spanning several decades.

Acting for a beneficiary in a claim that a deed of variation was negligently drawn up, necessitating rectification.

Acting for a beneficiary in a dispute over whether payments of capital ought to have been made out of a settlement.

Advising professional indemnity insurers on a potential multi-million pound claim arising from hundreds of defective appointments of LPA receivers.

Elaine Palser is a CEDR-accredited mediator and accepts instructions to act as a mediator.

Related updates

Elaine Palser is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

"Elaine has near unique expertise in both insolvency law and professional negligence claims, making her our go-to choice for this kind of work. She is very robust, incisive, clear and precise."

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2022

"Persuasive and effective in court, her written advocacy is incisive, thorough, and thoughtful."

Private Client: Trusts & Probate, Legal 500 2022

"Elaine has a near unique expertise in both insolvency law/procedure and professional negligence claims, making her a go-to choice for this kind of work."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2022

"A silent assassin."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2021

"A top choice for professional negligence claims against insolvency practitioners. Very efficient, thorough and clearly an expert in her field."

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2021

"Elaine is very thoughtful and thorough. She has a very calm manner which was great when dealing with very forceful bullish opponents as she appeared unflappable. She also has a deep understanding of the law in this area and gave very clear and succinct advice."

Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Legal 500 2021

"Great technical ability"

Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2020

"A very thorough and efficient junior."

Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Legal 500 2020

"She is commercial, understands the bigger picture and is good at identifying the weaknesses in a case at an early stage."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2020

"She is an excellent advocate who puts forward the case robustly."

Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Legal 500 2019

"Very astute and commercial."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2019

"Technically superb, and a tenacious advocate."

Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Legal 500 2018

"Very good at identifying and dealing with the key issues"

Insolvency, Legal 500 2018

"A seasoned legal gladiator, equipped with robust intellect, empathy and pragmatism."

Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Legal 500 2017

"Very analytical, with a good eye for detail."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2017

"She is quick to respond, clear on the law and very good with clients."

Private Client: Trusts and Probate, Legal 500 2016

"A team player who synergises the efforts of clients, solicitors and clerks towards effective problem solving."

Insolvency, Legal 500 2016

To find out more, contact Matt Sale +44 (0)20 7427 4910 or Peter Foad +44 (0)20 7427 0807 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)
  • ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists)
  • ConTrA (Contentious Trusts Association)
  • ILA (Insolvency Lawyers’ Association)
  • ChBA (Chancery Bar Association)
  • COMBAR (Commercial Bar Association)
  • CEDR Exchange

  • “Remote Mediation: The New Normal and the Future” [2020] ACTAPS newsletter, July 2020
  • “The super power of the revocable discretionary trust” [2019] Corporate Rescue and Insolvency, August, 145.
  • “The court’s approach to claims against an estate by a cohabitee” [2018] Lexis Nexis Legal Analysis, 13 Sept 2018.
  • “Bold Petitioning Creditors Beware” [2016] Lexis Nexis Case Analysis, 8 June 2016.
  • “A trust by any other name” [2015] New Law Journal, 23 October, 15.
  • “Costly consequences: who bears the costs of statutory demands?” [2015] New Law Journal, 22 May, 18.
  • “Appointment of Administrators Out of Court: Clarity at Last?” [2012] Insolvency Intelligence 25(8) 113.
  • “Appointing administrators out of court: validity problems and retrospective administration orders” [2011] Insolvency Intelligence 24(8) 113.
  • “The duty of care in gross negligence manslaughter” (with Jonathan Herring) [2007] CLR 24 (described by the Court of Appeal in R v Evans [2009] EWCA Crim 650 as “an illuminating analysis”).

  • Outstanding Expertise in Commercial and Chancery Law 2020, Women in Law Awards
  • Contentious Trusts and Probate Lawyer of the Year 2017, Women in Law Awards
  • Contentious Trusts and Probate Lawyer of the Year 2016, Women in Law Awards
  • Commercial Disputes Barrister of the Year 2015, the Lawyer Monthly Awards
  • Highly Regarded in Insolvency Law – UK 2015, Corporate LiveWire Awards
  • Outstanding Expertise in Contentious Trusts and Probate 2015, Women in Law Awards
  • MA (Oxford)
  • MA (Cambridge)
  • BBusSc (Cape Town)

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