Greg is a Family Finance and Family Property specialist.
His work comprises:
- Financial Remedies (often known as Matrimonial Finance);
- TOLATA (Trusts of Land / Cohabitation disputes, often coupled with Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 claims); and
- Private Client / Chancery disputes (typically Inheritance Act 1975 claims and Contested Probate).
He also accepts instructions in the Court of Protection in relation to Financial and Property Affairs.
Greg is an active member of both the Family Law Bar Association and the Chancery Bar Association. He is a member of the FLBA National Executive Committee and is Vice-Chair of the Bar Council Remuneration Committee.
Greg is ranked in the 2020 Legal 500 for Family (including divorce and financial remedies).
Greg is a specialist Family Finance barrister, having undertaken this work from pupillage to the present date.
Greg has experience of a wide range of financial remedies applications, but principally cases which involve:
- High net worth clients;
- Complexity or have an international element;
- Trusts work (including overseas trusts);
- Pre or post-acquired assets;
- A dispute over the applicability of pre or post nuptial agreements;
- Family businesses (especially farming businesses);
- Part III MFPA 1984 applications;
- Schedule 1 Children Act claims;
- Freezing Injunctions;
- Enforcement of orders.
Although a family law specialist, in the earlier stages of his career Greg had a much broader mixed family/civil litigation practice and therefore has a detailed knowledge of other areas of the law that fit well with Family Finance issues, including: property law, civil procedure and costs, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation, some company law, and personal and corporate insolvency. Given Greg’s broader expertise, he is confident when faced with complex quasi-civil/family issues.
Consequently – and also given Greg’s expertise in TOLATA work (see below) – a great deal of his financial remedies work now involves acting in trials of preliminary issue hearings concerning the true beneficial ownership of properties, where Greg acts for intervenors (often parents or companies) or the main parties (i.e. husband, wife) as may be required.
Together with Family Finance and Inheritance Act work, TOLATA is Greg’s principal area of expertise.
He is the author of ‘A Practical Guide to TOLATA Claims’; Law Brief Publishing Ltd, 2019, available at all good legal bookshops and online, including at:
- https://amzn.to/2Wk3DqB (Amazon Prime)
In the foreword to the book, Sir Andrew McFarlane, current President of the Family Division, describes Greg as “an expert in the field” … and “an enthusiast who has a gift for delivering complicated material in an open and conversational style.”
Greg has long lectured and taught on TOLATA and in 2018 and 2019 has been engaged with writing and presenting a series of lectures nationwide courtesy of MBL Seminars. He has visited, amongst other places: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham and Southampton and has taught over 200 delegate solicitors as well as providing in-house training to National Firms. A link to the booking form for the remainder of the run can be found here:
Greg can also present, on request, in-house training to firms of solicitors (in the fields of family or civil litigation) and is a regular speaker at various National and International Law Conferences as well as Chambers’ Annual Coram Conference. Recent and forthcoming examples include:
- FLBA – Autumn Lecture Series (September 2019) (TOLATA)
- Chancery Bar Association International Conference: Trusts and Probate Panel, Hamilton, Bermuda, May 2019;
- Family Law Conference (Simon Gore Events): Proprietary Estoppel, London, Jan 2019;
- Coram Chambers Annual Family Law Conference: TOLATA – the difference between inference and imputation; London, Oct 2018;
Greg has undertaken numerous multi-track TOLATA trials across England and Wales. He acts both in cases of cohabitee relationship breakdown and family investment vehicle cases (i.e. Laskar v Laskar cases) and not infrequently a combination of the two.
Greg deals equally with sole and joint names cases. He has also advised in and appeared in cases where there was a Jones v Kernott type argument that the intentions of the beneficial owners changed over time. Greg is also fully familiar with the doctrine of proprietary estoppel and how it may link to a TOLATA claim.
Greg has a busy TOLATA paper practice. Aside from advising in writing and in conference, he is often called upon to settle Part 7 claims, Part 8 claims, Defences, Counterclaims and Points of Claim for intervenors in Financial Remedies cases.
It is frequently advisable to ‘front load’ advice and work in TOLATA claims and to this end Greg is frequently sought upon by firms nationwide and internationally to advise on issues before litigation begins. To this end Greg frequently advises clients via videoconferencing or telephone and is happy to use Skype or FaceTime.
As a Family Finance and TOLATA specialist, Greg’s practice naturally encompasses applications for relief under Section 15 and Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. These tend to comprise one or more of the following:
- ‘Top up’ income cases (applications in the alternative to a CMS assessment where the respondent earns an income in excess of £156,000 gross per annum);
- Applications for capital lump sums: for example for school fees; costs of education; or other one-off items of capital expenditure;
- Property settlement orders, namely temporary housing provision for a minor until they reach majority. Many of these applications are concurrent with Greg’s TOLATA caseload.
Inheritance Act 1975 & Private Client / Chancery
Greg also specialises in Inheritance Act 1975 and contentious probate claims.
He acts for claimants under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, including partners of the deceased, minor children and adult children. He has acted in cases involving the full array of relief: from income (including Duxbury awards) to capital and property awards.
Greg also represents Estates and is frequently called on to advise administrators at an early stage with a view to dealing with any potential liabilities that may arise in this area.
As to Private Client work more generally, Greg is recognised by his professional clients for having a wide knowledge of chancery issues including contentious wills, will trusts, intestate estates and the intestacy rules, undue influence, powers of attorney, lack of capacity and fraud. A large part of his paper practice relates to providing Opinions on these issues.
Private Client (including Inheritance Act and Contested Probate)
Other Property / Chancery related areas
Court of Protection (Finance and Property)
Called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn (March 2006)
Bar Vocational Course – Nottingham Law School
LLB (Hons) – University of Warwick
Basic French, German and Spanish
The Family Law Bar Association
The Chancery Bar Association
The London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
The Denning Society
Associate Member of Resolution
Denning Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn
Hardwicke Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn
Winner, Warwick Mooting Competition 2004
Runner Up, Oxford University Press National Mooting Competition 2004
Bar Council Member, as FLBA representative to the Bar Council (Jan 2016 – to date)
FLBA Executive Committee (January 2014 – to date)
Bar Council Remuneration Committee member (February 2016 – to date)
Bar Council Remuneration Committee Vice Chair (Family) – (January 2018 – to date)
Advocacy Tutor/Trainer, Lincoln’s Inn, (July 2015 – to date)
C v C (2017) (4 Day Hearing of the set aside of a consent order, Financial Remedies, Central Family Court)
A four-day trial following an application by a former spouse and millionaire to set aside a final financial remedies consent order, on grounds of misrepresentation and material non-disclosure. The case also concerned press reporting restrictions.
J v J (2017) (3 Day Financial Remedies Final Hearing, Family Court sitting at Chelmsford)
A financial remedies final hearing where the principle issue of dispute was the intervention into the proceedings by the parents of one of the parties, who asserted a TOLATA type beneficial interest in the family home, as a result of capital contributions to it.
S v S (2017) (3 Day Financial Remedies Final Hearing, Family Court sitting at East London)
A three-day final hearing following a short, two-year marriage. Greg acted for the wealthier of the two spouses, and who had amounted a considerable amount of assets prior to the marriage but had invested them in the family home. The primary issues therefore concerned the correct approach to distribution where the sharing and needs principles were said to be engaged.
B v J (2016) (3 Day Financial Remedies Final Hearing, Family Court sitting at Wandsworth)
In a long running dispute where a Husband was found to have continually frustrated an application for a financial remedies order, Greg acted for the Wife leading to a successful award in her favour. The complicating issues at the Final Hearing concerned the Husband’s solvency, and that of the business which he controlled. Other complications included difficulties in realising investment property assets, including a property abroad.
O v O (LPA receiver intervening) (2016) (County Court sitting at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch)
At a Financial Remedies Final Hearing, the Family Court transferred a property from a Husband’s sole name to a Wife’s sole name, subject to a mortgage. The mortgage company refused to agree to the transfer or otherwise deal with the Wife and, sometime later, when the Husband had let mortgage arrears accrue, it sought possession by way of instructing Law of Property Act 1925 receivers. Greg successfully appeared for the Wife, was granted an adjournment of the mortgage possession proceedings, and as a result the Wife was able to sell the property on her own terms and redeem her equity in it.
A v A (2016) (3 day Financial Remedies Final Hearing, Family Court sitting at Uxbridge)
This was a rolled up Final Hearing (the FDR having been dispensed with) due to the trial of a preliminary issue as to whether an ante-nuptial agreement was binding on the parties. The wealthier of the two parties asserted that it was binding, but Greg, acting for the less affluent party, successfully argued on the facts that his client could not be held to the so called ‘agreement’. The Court went on to make a needs based award in any event in favour of Greg’s client.
F v F (2015) (Financial Remedies, Mortgagee Intervening, Family Court at Croydon,)
Greg acted for a Wife in civil proceedings where the mortgage on the FMH was in the Husband’s sole name and the mortgagee had refused to deal with the Wife, despite her locus under the Family Law Act 1996. (She had registered her matrimonial home rights.) In circumstances where the Wife had been ready and willing to pay the mortgage and the Husband and the mortgage company’s conduct was intransigent, if not counterproductive, the Court found in favour of the Wife and granted her declaratory relief and ordered the Husband and the Mortgage company to pay an equal half of her costs bill.
M v M (2015) (3 Day Financial Remedies Final Hearing, Family Court sitting at Bedford,)
This was a Final Hearing in a short marriage where one party had significant pre-acquired assets. The primary issues were whether those pre-acquired assets had become matrimonial property (in particular, the property which served as the FMH), and in any event the parties’ needs.
H v P (2015) (TOLATA Hearing, County Court sitting at Bedford)
Two cohabitees were in a relationship and were joint owners of property. During the relationship, one party had made significantly greater capital payments to reduce the mortgage outstanding on the property. When the relationship later broke down, that party sought a greater share of the net proceeds of sale to recognise that greater contribution. Greg, acting for the other party, successfully argued that – notwithstanding the greater contributions of the former party – this was a 50/50 case under TOLATA principles, and, as a result of an early Part 36 offer, he helped to place his lay client in a position which secured a very advantageous outcome.
Allen & Coyle v Coyle (2014) (1 day trial, TOLATA, County Court at Central London)
This was a claim under TOLATA 1996 for possession and sale of a property owned by the parties as tenants in common in equal shares under a Will Trust. The Defendant did not join with the Claimant trustees in dealing with the property, necessitating litigation. Greg successfully gained an order for possession and sale, with all necessary equitable accounting and an order for full costs.
B v K (2014) (2 Day – Contested Divorce Annulment Petition, Family Court sitting at Barnet)
This was a petition for the annulment of a marriage by a Husband pursuant to S.12 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 on the ground that his Wife has wilfully refused to consummate the marriage. The Wife’s case was that she had not so wilfully refused, having been legitimately waiting to consummate but not until after the parties’ prospective religious marriage – which had been planned to follow their civil ceremony, but which the Husband had delayed and then cancelled. Greg, acting for the Wife, submitted that following the logic in Jodla v Jodla  1 All ER 625, the Husband should not be allowed to petition for annulment where the refusal to have intercourse was attributable to his refusal to arrange the religious marriage. The Court agreed and the Husband’s petition for an annulment was dismissed.
M v K (2014) (Central Family Court)
This was a claim under TOLATA 1996 by a Father for a beneficial share in a London property, the legal title to which was held by the Mother. The parties had had a 15-year relationship and had three children. The Mother cross applied for relief under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. The complexity was that the parties had moved properties several times during their relationship but legal title had always been placed in the Mother’s name. The case settled with a large lump sum award being made in the Father’s favour. Greg acted for the Father.
B v B (2013) (5 day Final Hearing, Principal Registry of the Family Division)
This was a claim for financial remedies under the MCA 1973. The issues included the distribution of the parties’ nine properties, shares and investments; assets outside the jurisdiction; the alleged dissipation by a party of a significant seven figure sum; Norris add backs; and freezing injunctions.
M v M (2013) (3 day Final Hearing, Family Court sitting at Wandsworth)
In a claim for financial remedies under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Greg successfully acted for the Petitioner in a case where the Respondent had provided inadequate disclosure. The Respondent controlled a number of companies and properties, the value of which was unclear before the trial. Following findings made by the Court subsequent to Greg’s cross-examination, judgment was given in favour of the Petitioner.
Yordanova v Iordandov  EWCA Civ 464; (3 day trial, Family Court sitting at Wandsworth)
In a petition based on unreasonable behaviour, the Respondent applied to strike out the petition based on a purported decree already made abroad. Greg, acting for the Petitioner, successfully argued that the decree made abroad although technically valid was manifestly contrary to public policy based on the circumstances in which it was made. Accordingly, the Court refused to recognise the Respondent’s decree pursuant to EC Reg 2201/2003, Article 22, and the Petitioner was granted a decree in London. The Respondent later applied for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, which was refused.
“Often my first port of call… thorough, tenacious and extremely knowledgeable. He is excellent with clients and extremely reliable.”
“Greg Williams is my first choice for both advice and advocacy. He has an unmatched attention to detail and tenacity that time and again impresses… He is also deeply sensitive to the commercial realities of each case.”
“He provides clients with sound and robust advice in a personable manner and will always do his best for the client….In the most difficult cases, Greg has been able to secure very good results for the clients by being completely thorough and determined.”
“Greg has worked his magic again!”
TOLATA seminar testimonials
“Absolutely brilliant seminar. Thank you.”
“Friendly, knowledgeable and well versed!”
“Excellent course, delivered in an interesting way.”
“Very engaging, great seminar – interesting and very useful materials.”
“Informative and presented extremely well.”
“Excellent, will be really useful in practice.”
“Made the subject very entertaining, especially by using group discussions, brilliant.”
“Excellent speaker and very knowledgeable.”
“Very detailed and good source of reference to take away.”
‘Outta Time, but not outta luck’ (with Alex Laing), – which looks at the case law on applications for an extension of the six month time limit in Inheritance Act 1975 claims (The Review, August 2019, Page 29-31)
A Practical Guide to TOLATA Claims – a practical guide for the cohabitation practitioner. (First published by Law Brief Publishing, June 2019)
Ilott: a battle for independence – which analyses the Supreme Court decision in the Inheritance Act 1975 case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and others , and its impact on testamentary freedom. (First published in the New Law Journal, 28 April 2017)
Who to trust? – which considers the updating case law concerning trusts of land and cohabitation since the Supreme Court decision in Jones v Kernott . (First published in the New Law Journal, 21 September 2012)
Stemming a rising tide – which considers the effectiveness of the new mortgage possession pre-action protocol (together with Tom Bailey) (First published in the New Law Journal, 13 February 2009)
Speaker on Family Law and Trusts at the Chancery Bar Association International Conference (May 2019, Bermuda)
Advanced TOLATA – Complex Cohabitation Made Clear (MBL Seminars 2018 – 2019)
Small Money – Big Problems: The Family Justice Council Guidance on “Financial Needs” on divorce; periodical payments; and clean breaks (July 2017)
Deal or No Deal: Ante-nuptial agreements (March 2017)
Cohabitation and Trusts of Land: An overview of the state of the law (May 2016)
What happens if a tenant becomes insolvent? (November 2015)
Trusts of Land and cohabitation; after Jones v Kernott (July 2012)
Family Procedure Rules 2010: A guide to the new rules (July 2011)