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Julia Burns

Associate Solicitor


I qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and I joined Irwin Mitchell in March 2013 having previously worked at Clarion in Leeds. I was originally a commercial dispute resolution lawyer, but I now specialise in Will, trust and estates disputes exclusively. 

I have experience in:

  • Inheritance Act claims
  • Will validity claims
  • Disappointed beneficiary claims including proprietary estoppel and constructive trust claims
  • Trust disputes
  • Actions arising in the administration of an estate relating to the conduct of personal representatives
  • Financial abuse claims where it has been alleged that someone has taken advantage of an elderly or vulnerable person for their personal financial gain
  • Contested Court of Protection applications

I act for any party involved in a will, trust or estate dispute including beneficiaries, executors, trustees or any individual who may find themselves involved in a family dispute when somebody has passed away or is lacking mental capacity to deal with their own affairs.

I believe in resolving disputes wherever possible without the need for court proceedings but, as a qualified commercial litigator, I am fully equipped with the skills required to pursue a case aggressively in court should this be necessary and appropriate. I always fight hard on my client’s behalf to ensure that the best possible result is achieved.

I am a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), as well as an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). I hold the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes and am also a member of the STEP Contentious Trusts and Estates Special Interest Group.

What Inspired You To Get Into Law?

I have always liked an argument and therefore the law appealed to me as a teenager! When I was 15 years old I did work experience in a Barristers' Chambers in Inner Temple in London and loved the work and the atmosphere so I decided to pursue a career in the law. The real thing that motivates me is the relationship I have with my clients.

What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?

There is no better feeling than knowing that you have helped someone through difficult times and guided them to a better place where they feel they can move on with their lives.

What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?

Irwin Mitchell is a buzzing place to work. The pace is fast and the people are absolutely lovely.  Everyone has a real passion for what they do which makes your working day very fulfilling.

What Do You Do Away From The Office?

As I sit down for most of my working day when I am out of the office I like to be as active as possible. I play lacrosse, take part in triathlons and also play golf. I am always up for a physical challenge, whatever it may be! I also enjoy travelling and skiing and generally do not enjoy sitting still! I enjoy spending time with my family and friends too, especially if it includes good food and wine (preferably steak and Argentinian Malbec!).

Client Testimonials

"We would like to thank you and everyone involved at Irwin Mitchell for all your help and support over the last 18 months because without it we could never have got through what has been the most stressful time we have ever known. We will not forget what you have done for us both - you have been a rock through this awful ordeal and we are forever grateful."

"Julia has acted for me over the last few years during a very difficult and upsetting time. Throughout the entire period she has been supportive, understanding and extremely kind. She has dealt with everything promptly, efficiently and honestly, and although she was always confident of a successful outcome to my case, she never gave false hope and always answered my doom-laden questions regarding worse-case scenarios very patiently, constantly reassuring me that based on her considerable experience, there was no need to worry. She was proved right."


"Bringing a claim as soon as possible shows the Court you are on the case", Solicitors Journal, 157/47, 10 December 2013

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 24/04/2018
    Thompson v Ragget: Latest Will Dispute Judgment ‘Highlights Variation In Decision Of The Court’

    “Ms Thompson is an elderly lady who requires care, and who was determined to return back to her home on the estate. “It is significant that the other beneficiaries of the estate still inherited a sizeable amount from the £1.5 million estate and this is always an important factor for a judge when deciding the amount of an award. “The decision highlights the point that in these types of claims, different judges will reach different decisions on the same set of facts depending on how creative they are. “The decision also reinforces the issues for cohabitees in that any provision is for their maintenance only. Until legislation make provisions for cohabiting couples we would advise that anyone cohabiting makes sure they have a will in place – the more variation in decisions made by the courts, the less certain an outcome will be in a will dispute.”

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  • 21/07/2017
    Will Dispute Case Shows Estranged Children Can Still Receive Inheritance Act Award

    “After the Ilott case, it was thought that estranged adult child claims should be treated with real caution and that estrangement could be fatal to claims or severely reduce the value of an award. “However, the Judge here commented that the Deceased was stubborn, intransigent and insensitive and that the estrangement was not for want of trying on the part of the Claimant who had been rebuffed. “The award was 11.3% of the estate which is very similar to that in the Ilott case (within 1%). There was specific mention of her wanting to do a veterinary course so this is an example of something that falls under the definition of 'maintenance' post Ilott. “This means that estranged child claims are not dead in the water but suggests that any claimants will need to show a track record of reconciliation attempts in order for the Judges to consider their views.”

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  • 06/06/2016
    Divorcee's Appeal Of Mother-In-Law's Will Show Judges Are Moving The Goalposts For Similar Claims, Say Lawyers

    “It would appear that the Courts have taken a lenient approach to Mr Randall’s case, seemingly sympathising with his position. “The courts have interpreted the rules around who has a right to make a claim more flexibly than previous Courts have done, and have extended its application to people who are in Mr Randall’s position. “This case seems to be have been decided on very specific facts however, it could move the goalposts to allow similar exceptional claims."

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  • 19/03/2015
    Actor Patsy Byrne Leaves Majority Of £1.5m Estate To Youngest Stepdaughter

    This is an interesting case in which the facts suggest that the deceased may have underestimated the estate she would be leaving to her family, but fortunately for all involved it appears that the assets in question will be shared evenly. "We see many cases when matters do not run as smoothly, with families being driven apart by disputes and arguments related to how loved ones intended their estates to be distributed. This can sometimes lead to not just costly and time-consuming legal battles, but also means those involved may face significant emotional turmoil. It is however often possible to resolve matters without the need for Court action and we use various methods, including mediation, to ensure that the costs and emotional impact of a will dispute are limited. "It is important for anyone preparing a will to have a proper understanding of the assets they need to consider within it and the value of the estate they are leaving behind. Failing to do so could have major consequences."

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