Financial regulation

Three Stone have experienced practitioners who specialise in financial services regulatory work and act for a wide range of clients on a wide range of financial services regulatory issues, including:

  • Commercial disputes involving financial services regulatory issues;
  • “Perimeter” issues on the scope of regulated activities and restricted financial promotions under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and EU legislation;
  • Applications for FSA authorisation, variation of permission and approval;
  • FSA supervisory, prudential and conduct of business issues under FSA rules and EU legislation;
  • FSA investigations and enforcement actions;
  • Consumer redress; and
  • Consumer credit cases.

Members of Three Stone can be instructed directly (on a public access basis) or through a solicitor – and clients range from FSA authorised firms, and other product providers, advisers and intermediaries, to sophisticated and professional investors and consumers.

Members of Three Stone also advise on, and draft submissions, correspondence and other written material in connection with:

  • Clients’ dealings with relevant units within the FSA, including its perimeter enquiries, authorisation and enforcement teams;
  • The design of appropriate organisational and contractual arrangements and procedures to comply with regulatory requirements; including:
    • For non-FSA authorised persons, exclusions from the general prohibition on carrying on regulated activity without FSA authorisation and exemptions from the restriction on making financial promotions; and
    • For FSA authorised persons, FSA prudential and conduct of business rules;
  • The drafting of compliant financial promotions including investment brochures and information memorandum;
  • Preparations for, and responses to, FSA supervision visits and enquiries, thematic and other reviews, and enforcement investigations;
  • Consumer complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Scheme and applications to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme; and
  • Regulatory issues relevant to contractual disputes and professional negligence claims.

Wills – probate – family provision

We have a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of probate.

Members of Three Stone are often instructed on disputes relating to the succession of property, including questions relating to capacity, undue influence, breach of trust, estoppel and fraud, validity of wills (including undue influence and capacity issues), the construction and rectification of wills, the administration of estates, and the duties of personal representatives.

Member of Three Stone have wide experience of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

We are frequently asked to advise on the drafting of wills and on the variation of wills (or the intestacy provisions) within the two year period after the death of the Testator (or Intestate).


Trusts – Trusts of Land

Three Stone has outstanding expertise in every aspect of contentious and non-contentious trusts both domestically and in all the major offshore jurisdictions.

Members offer practical advice on the use of trusts  (including in personal and commercial tax planning) and  undertake or assist in the drafting of all necessary documentation and provide consequential advice on inheritance tax and capital gains tax. Often such work involves technical trust restructuring by deeds of appointment or by Court applications.

Members of Three Stone are frequently instructed in disputes concerning  trusts of land (both in a residential and commercial context). Our experience involves applications under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 for declaratory relief as to the existence and terms of a trust of land as well as for an order for sale followed by a division of the sale proceeds. We have a thorough understanding of the principles of equitable accounting should it be necessary to take an account between co-owners of land.

Some members of Three Stone have particular experience of charitable trusts  and are often asked to advise in relation to the creation and operation of such trusts.

Trusts experts also act in applications to Court for the approval of compromises on behalf of minor or unborn or unascertained beneficiaries.


Taxation

At Three Stone we recognise that the context, in which tax advice must be given today, has changed over the last decade. Traditional taxes, new direct and indirect taxes, and European rules and impositions are now underpinned by an increasingly policy-driven approach and sometimes aggressive practice by H.M. Revenue & Customs. This may be supported by bold statutory interpretation and (sometimes) opaque international treaty obligations for the provision of private information.

This can bring a burdensome complication and difficulty to the modern taxpayer’s private and commercial life, whether a company, trustee or an individual. In turn, the taxpayer obviously requires highly skilled and competent legal advice.

With innovative thinking, good judgment and technical expertise we provide that and try to resolve problems and provide practical solutions.

If litigation must be then we undertake representation of the taxpayer in every pertinent tribunal and Court, from the lowest to the highest, here and overseas.

Our skills, and experience, cover the full range direct and indirect tax -both personal and corporate; this includes income tax, corporation tax and capital gains tax. As well as VAT (both domestic and European issues), customs and excise duties, stamp duties, development land tax; inheritance and business tax reliefs; issues of residence and domicile.

In terms of corporate tax, we cover company mergers, acquisitions, demergers and group reconstructions; the current judicial approach to commercial accounting, computation of profits and proper deductions against receipts; transfer pricing, double tax treaty problems and European Union cross border tax issues; the application of HMRC practices and concessions and prospects for successful judicial review if such are not implemented.

We have skill and experience in advising on “back duty”; negligence by tax professionals and judicial review of unfair actions by HMRC. We also undertake tax litigation in foreign common law jurisdictions and at the European Court of Justice.

In each sphere of taxation, we try to dovetail our advice and expertise with other Chambers’ specialities such as trusts, pensions, insolvency and commercial litigation. In respect of both domestic and offshore trusts, whether private or commercial, we have a specialist expertise in tax. This has developed over many years as a natural adjunct to advice on the creation and development of trusts situated in the United Kingdom and overseas. It is often only with a true understanding of trust law that the tax consequences of a particular transaction or course of action can be understood or anticipated.


Regulatory

Members of Three Stone have strong expertise in acting in professional disciplinary and regulatory cases. This expertise includes, for example, work in relation to solicitors, barristers, police and accountants.

Members of Three Stone regularly appear before sporting disciplinary tribunals on behalf of regulators, sports governing bodies, sports teams and sporting athletes.


Public international law

Members of Three Stone have expertise in public international law, including all aspects of state responsibility, the law of treaties, investment protection disputes (in particular, investor-State arbitrations), international human rights law, international environmental law questions of immunity and matters involving the law of the sea (including maritime delimitation).

As well as advising on questions of international law, some of our members accept instructions in relation to disputes before international courts and tribunals (including the International Court of Justice), as well as acting in cases before the domestic courts involving questions of public international law.

Notable Cases

Members have acted in a number of high profile disputes:

  • Certain Activities in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica), Judgment of 16 December 2015 (International Court of Justice);
  • The “Arctic Sunrise” (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures, Order of 22 November 2013 (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea); and Award on the Merits of 14 October 2015 (UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunal / PCA registry) (amicus curiae briefs submitted on behalf of Greenpeace International);
  • The Railway Land Arbitration (Malaysia/Singapore) (PCA Case MY-SG 70514), Award of 30 October 2014;
  • AES Corporation and Tau Power BV v. Republic of Kazakhstan (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/16), Award of 1 November 2013;
  • A dispute before the International Court of Justice involving claims of violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and breaches of international environmental and human rights law;
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine), ICJ Reports 2009, 61

Property

Our works covers all areas of property law, including landlord and tenant law (agricultural, commercial and residential), easements, freehold covenants, boundary and title disputes, trusts of land and proprietary estoppel, nuisance, trespass, mortgages, disputes about agreements for the sale of land or the grant of an interest in it and land registration issues.

Our members regularly appear in property-related cases before the courts at all levels, the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal.

Individual members of Chambers have experience in highways, commons, town and village greens, compulsory purchase, school sites, property-related taxation and professional negligence claims against solicitors, surveyors and estate agents arising out of property transactions.


Professional liability

Members of Three Stone advise and represent claimants, defendants, and their insurers in claims against the widest possible range of professionals from architects to zoologists.

Our expertise particularly centres on claims concerning accountants, surveyors and solicitors and barristers; and allegations of negligence against underwriters, insurance brokers and other intermediaries in connection with the placement of insurance, the collection of claims, and other aspects of insurance business.


Pensions

Members at Three Stone have expertise in all aspects of pensions litigation, drafting and advice, including in relation to the Local Government Pension Scheme.


Partnership

Three Stone’s work in this area includes advisory and court work relating to the setting up, running and termination of all types of  joint ventures, partnerships, and limited liability partnerships including mergers and takeovers.

Members of Chambers are frequently involved in ongoing advisory work in relation to the general partnership issues which arise in the course of partnership businesses, and have experience of drafting a wide variety of partnership deeds.


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