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Claire-Marie Cornford



I am the lead Partner for the Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team in London.

I specialise in private client disputes and litigation, specifically those concerning trust, estate and succession disputes. My clients include private individuals, trustees, executors, administrators, protectors and beneficiaries.

I deal with all manner of disputes both in the UK and internationally, including claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, will disputes, and claims in respect of beneficial interests in property.

I have been consistently recommended in The Legal 500 for this work.

Notable Cases

A.H. Baldwin and Sons Ltd & Others v. His Excellency Sheik Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Al-Thani [2012] EWHC 3156 (QB)

Acting for an auction house and obtaining a worldwide asset-freezing injunction against Sheikh Saud Al-Thani, a member of the royal family of Qatar and one of the world's most prolific collectors of art and antiquities.

Wilson v. Dodd [2012] EWHC 3727 (Ch)

Obtaining judgment for an American investor who was induced to invest in an English business due to a fraudulent misrepresentation.

Singellos v Singellos [2010] EWHC 2353 (Ch) (The Times, 22 December 2010)

A multi-jurisdictional contentious probate dispute which extended a 19th Century legal principle relating to the necessary mental capacity to execute a will (Parker v Felgate) to documents executed to effect lifetime transfers to offshore companies.

Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd & Ors v Fattal [2007] EWHC 2808 [2008] EWHC 991 [2008] EWHC Civ 427

Strike out of a claim against professional trustees for abuse of process.


"Experienced and very impressive lawyer, client focused and tactically astute" - Legal 500, 2018/19

Claire-Marie has "a calm manner that helps to diffuse the most difficult of situations" - Legal 500, 2016

"Claire-Marie is a specialist in family trusts. She is 'a very safe pair of hands' and provides 'useful input on strategic decisions'." – Legal 500, 2014

What Inspired You To Get Into Law?

I was drawn to law by a desire to help others.

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

Developing a strong personal bond with my clients and supporting them through the litigation process.

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

I enjoy yoga, gardening, sport and driving fast cars.

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 22/02/2019
    High Court Rules Wife Who Accompanied Husband To Dignitas Can Inherit His Estate

    “Having to come to terms with the fact that a loved one has a terminal illness and wants to plan to end their own life is something nobody ever wants to go through. At a time when families are dealing with all the range of emotions following their death, they then have to deal with the potential for criminal charges and the real possibility that they might not be able to inherit from them due to the provisions of the forfeiture rule. Accordingly, it’s important to plan not just for the person who wants to end their life but the people left behind. “This is an area of law which has been considered in the Supreme Court and is on the radar of politicians to review the laws around assisted dying to bring them into the 21st century. Therefore, the recent judgment from the High Court provides helpful guidance for families who finding themselves in this very sad position. Each family’s circumstances will be different but this case highlights the need to take sound independent legal advice in order to protect the person wishing to end their life and those family members who may be considered to be criminally liable for encouraging or assisting the suicide (or attempted suicide) of their loved one. “If you or a loved one are considering the possibility of an accompanied suicide at Dignitas or elsewhere, it is important to devise a well-considered plan not only from a medical perspective but also from legal perspective in order to protect those who you would wish to avoid any criminal culpability and to inherit your estate.”

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  • 07/08/2018
    Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth Partner Listed in Legal Week's Private Client Global Elite 2018

    “I am thrilled to have been recognised by my peers and selected for the Private Client Global Elite’s ‘Ones to Watch’ list. “The listing is a testament to the quality of work the team attracts and that Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth is competing on a global level. Individuals and businesses across the world will know that Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth can be trusted as a leader in the private client world. “Legal Week is a highly regarded publication and I would like to thank them for recognising me in this way.”

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  • 04/07/2018
    Two New Solicitors For Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth's London Office

    “We’re delighted to have Kate on the team. We’ve been working hard to make sure we’re one of the top international teams in the country and Kate will help us to achieve that vision. “The recruitment of talent like Kate is critical to the continued growth of London Private Wealth as a centre of excellence and expertise. We are delighted Kate has decided to join us at this exciting time for the business.”

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  • 29/11/2017
    National Cohabitation Week: Out-Of-Date Wills ‘Can Spell Disaster For Cohabiting Couples’

    “It’s very concerning that there is such little understanding around cohabitation, which in the long run can spell disaster for couples when it comes to will disputes. “Will disputes and inheritance disputes can take years to resolve and can involve several parties, depending on who has a claim to the estate. The increase in divorce means more complex family structures are common and this can lead to many people feeling extremely disappointed when it comes to the administration of their family members estates.” “Without any sort of agreement in place or an updated will couples could spend their entire adult lives together and literally be left out in the cold once their partner dies because they have a limited claim to the estate. The intestacy rules do not include provision for a cohabiting partner and any claim for financial provision that can be brought is limited to a claim for maintenance only, whereas spouses have a much more beneficial test in such claims and can expect to receive a much more generous award in the same circumstances. “Cohabitees can also struggle to persuade trustees in claims for life assurance pay outs and pension entitlements which can very often be paid out automatically to spouses. Some parties can struggle to access bank accounts or even have a say on how a funeral is arranged.”

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