Kerry Bornman

Call 1999

Kerry’s practice covers the full range of litigation and drafting/advisory work in the private client field and related professional negligence claims. She has been a full member of STEP since 2005 and specialises in trusts, Wills and probate disputes, administration of estates, Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims, Court of Protection and elder law, and co-ownership disputes.

After taking time off to raise her young children, Kerry is delighted to be back advising and appearing for personal representatives, trustees and beneficiaries in relation to disputed estates, trusts and breach of trust matters, and the construction of Wills and other trust instruments. Most of her cases settle at mediation and are confidential owing to the high net worth client identities. Kerry is an accredited mediator (trained through ADR Chambers (UK) Limited) and is on the panel for the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

  • Cases of interest

    Commercial disputes/litigation

    G v F [2015]: disputing Bill of Costs, detailed assessment under recent costs management rules and effect of costs budgets (Bar Pro Bono Unit) 

    Company law/insolvency

    Cadlock v Aboagye [2006] All ER D (170): personal insolvency, appeal from finding of fact, rehearing (Bar Pro Bono Unit)

    Stanley v Phillips [2004] BPIR 532, [2003] EWHC 720 (Ch): insolvency, compliance, disclosure, IVAs, mortgages, real property.

    Elder law

    Re. K [2013-2015] Court of Protection and Ch D: acting for a deputy to recover patient’s inheritance; property allegedly given as a deathbed gift to patient’s brother

     Re. Lady A [2013] Court of Protection: acted for successful objector in compromise of the application to remove a deputy on the grounds of excessive fees and successfully recovered the objector’s costs

    Re. AS [2012] Court of Protection: advising trustees of a discretionary settlement whether attorney could give necessary written consent on behalf of incapacitated settlor to £1 million appointment out of the trust and drafting application to CoP


    Dorricott v Carter [2003] All ER (D) 283 (Jan): determination of boundary dispute by surveyor was valid and binding on the parties

    Trusts (including trusts of land)

    Singh v Singh [2015] 1 P & CR. DG4, [2014] EWHC 2762 (Ch): successfully obtained declaratory relief for a protected party without a trial where the claim to set aside lifetime transfers for lack of capacity alternatively undue influence was seriously arguable, the declarations sought were necessary to afford her justice, and granting the declarations would not cause repercussions for any third parties.

     D Will-Trust [2013-2014] Ch D: advising beneficiaries on removal of trustee and claim for breach of trust causing loss to trust fund of at least £2.7 million

    Re. x Harley Street [2011] Ch D: construction of a trust deed and deeds of variation of a head lease

    Green v Gaul [2007] 1 WLR 591; [2006] EWCA Civ 1124; [2005] EWHC 406 (Ch) (led by Sarah Asplin QC): at first instance, successfully represented beneficiaries to remove the personal representative and recover assets that she had wrongly transferred to her son; in the Court of Appeal, successfully challenged appeal on limitation under ss.21 and 22 LA 1980 and laches.

    Marshall v Hill [2003] All ER D 304 (Mar): construction of a deed of variation to include all grandchildren

    Wills, probate & family provision

    Estate of P [2015]: advising executor and successfully settling challenge to later Will invalid for lack of capacity alternatively undue influence

    Re. L [2012-present]: initially advising and drafting application for appointment of deputy for 100-year old patient with a £12 million estate. Subsequently, advising the executor on the administration of the estate, including: construction of the Will, inheritance tax liability on lifetime gifts, gifts to foreign charitable bodies, assets in Delaware USA, conditional lifetime gifts/purpose trusts to UK university, hotchpot, and foreign bank accounts.

    Estate of JS [2014] Ch D: advising executors on construction of a Will and transferable nil-rate band, drafting and settling claim

     Est of SC [2013] Ch D: advising, drafting and settling at mediation a claim by a cohabitee under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

    X v Y [2012] Ch D: giving second opinion on a UK high net worth estate with foreign assets and interplay of UK Will with forced heirship provisions

    D v R, Estate of R [2007] Ch D: construction of a homemade Will, resulting/constructive trusts, proprietary estoppel

    Hansen v Barker-Benfield [2006] WTLR 1141 (Ch), [2006] EWHC 1119: successfully represented the widow-defendant to set aside Will obtained by stepdaughter for lack of testamentary capacity, for declarations that lifetime gifts to the widow were not invalid for undue influence and that an earlier homemade Will in favour of the widow had been duly executed.

  • Memberships

    Chancery Bar Association

    Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners

    Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists

    Professional Negligence Bar Association

  • Education

    1993-97 Law with French Law at Reading University and Nanterre Paris X

    1998 Middle Temple Queen Mother’s Scholar and Blackstone Entrance Exhibition

  • Languages


  • Publications

    Kerry’s webinar on Estate Planning for Digital Assets will be screened by STEP on 6 March 2016.

    Kerry has published articles in Private Client Business and the 3 Stone Buildings Newsletter. Her article “Limitation Issues for Personal Representatives and Trustees” (PCB 2007, Issue Number 3) is cited in Pettit, Equity and the Law of Trusts, 12th ed. (2012) OUP.

    Topics she has covered in publications include:

    • Cautionary Tales for Trustees: Jones v Firkin-Flood
    • Fielden v Cunliffe [2005] – surviving spouses and the 1975 Act
    • Limitation Issues for Personal Representatives: Green v Gaul
  • Past seminars & events

    Kerry lectures on all aspects of her practice both in seminars hosted by 3SB in London and at venues around England and Wales (including her solicitors’ offices).


    Kerry’s current seminar topic is Digital Assets. Previous topics have covered:

    • Limitation issues for personal representatives
    • Mental capacity
    • Undue influence
    • Pre-owned asset tax

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