Anthony Poulton

Partner  |  Baker Mckenzie

England and Wales


Trusts litigation
Family governance

Enhanced Q&A

What has been the highlight of your practice over the past 12 months?

High profile litigation in Bermuda concerning the validity of certain purpose trusts. Recent summary judgment on a $500m claim in relation to one of the trusts has just been overturned on appeal, but we applied for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. It is interesting, dealing with questions of whether powers in a trust are to be interpreted to reference to the beneficial core, substratum or whether the words in a trust deed simply mean what they say regardless of the original intention, purpose and who it was set up for.

How did you get into private client?

I was an associate at Macfarlanes, where I was involved fairly early in my career in a case for Kodan Trust in Bermuda. The client was Alec Anderson of Conyers and it was to do with an Ecuadorian fruit and shipping family, with litigation in London. It was fascinating and after that, I was hooked- I wanted to deal with litigation.

What advice would you give rising stars/new lawyers in the private client world?

Represent your client's interests faithfully and uncompromisingly, but always be respectful of the professional relationships you develop with others. Those relationships will sustain your practice in the future and help you to better serve your clients.

What is your favourite quote?

"Once, during Prohibition, I survived for days on only food and water!" William Claude Fields.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

Farming. Literature. Theatre. Concerts. Environmental issues, including energy systems. Cycling.

When the restaurants reopen, where would you like to go?

Spring at Somerset House, London.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

Asset tracing and recovery litigation, including trust busting, inspired by (a) Covid lockdown-related divorces and (b) the growing jurisprudence around "illusory trusts".

Can you identify any new areas you have developed within your practice to further benefit your clients?

For those clients involved in family owned companies, and for family offices that invest via corporate acquisitions, there is enormous momentum behind the ESG movement and more and more enterprises and governments are waking up to the challenges of implementing sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally sound governance in traditional settings. This is an area we see more and more activity around. In pure litigation terms, we now routinely embed project management resource into our litigation teams, to reduce cost for clients, improve efficiencies and give better support for our lawyers.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Learn to touch type properly, you idiot.