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Elaine Palser

Elaine Palser

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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. She won Contentious Trusts and Probate Lawyer of the Year 2016 and 2017 (Women in Law awards) and Commercial Disputes Barrister of the Year 2015 (the Lawyer Monthly awards).

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

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

Professional Negligence

Elaine Palser’s professional negligence practice focuses on claims arising out of her main practice areas, namely insolvency, probate and trusts.  She has recently acted in several insolvency-related negligence claims, defending insolvency practitioners, as well as trusts-based negligence claims.  She is recommended as a Leading Junior for Professional Negligence, Insolvency and Private Client: Trusts and Probate in the Legal 500.  As a former lecturer in both Tort and Trusts at Oxford University, Elaine has considerable academic strength in this area.  Whilst at Oxford, Elaine co-wrote an article on the duty of care in gross negligence manslaughter (with Jonathan Herring) that was referred to by the Court of Appeal as “an illuminating analysis”.

Examples of Elaine Palser’s professional negligence cases include:

  • 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.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
  • Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists
  • Contentious Trusts Association
  • Insolvency Lawyers’ Association
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • CEDR Exchange


  • 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)


  • “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”).

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.

Areas of Law


“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

“Very analytical and works hard to get to the nub of the issues.” Insolvency, Legal 500 2014

“Technically excellent, and no shrinking violet when it comes to advocacy.” Insolvency, Legal 500 2012


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