Having obtained a first-class degree from Exeter University in 1992, Angus undertook pupillage in specialist Chancery Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, London (7 Stone Buildings, now Maitland Chambers, and 24 Old Buildings).
Angus is one of very few barristers practising outside London who specialises almost exclusively in contentious trusts and probate work. For many years he has been ranked as a leader in this field, and in the most recent edition of Chambers and Partners, published in November 2017, he was ranked in Band 1 with the following comments made about him:
A pure traditional chancery barrister whose practice focuses on contentious trusts and probate. He has an excellent reputation for his technical skill and advocacy, as well as approachability and client care
[People said]: "Really persuasive and highly regarded by the judiciary. Utterly brilliant. For difficult contentious probate he is the only barrister I’d use. He lives and breathes this. He is extremely responsive and knows the law better than anybody else I deal with”
Very many cases now settle at mediation and Angus has wide experience of acting as the advocate in upwards of 100 mediations often in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. He is also a fully qualified mediator and accepts instructions in that capacity.
The types of cases in which Angus is regularly instructed in the High Court and the Court of Appeal include:
- Claims for financial provision pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
- Disputes as to the substantial and procedural validity of wills
- Applications for the removal of executors and trustees
- Applications for the rectification of wills
- Breach of trust/breach of fiduciary duty claims
- Administration actions in particular disputes as to the construction of wills or directions from the court
- Proprietary estoppel, undue influence and constructive trust claims
- Disputes concerning charitable trusts
- Professional negligence actions relating to wills and trusts work
A highly contentious application for the removal of professional executors ending in a three- day hearing on written evidence in the High Court involving allegations of undue influence and conflicts of interest, A proprietary estoppel trial relating to promises made to leave by will land with a potential value of 13m, A claim concerning the due execution of a will.
A substantial claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 in relation to a farmland also involving allegations of proprietary estoppel, A trial concerning the disputed dissolution of a charitable trust, A claim concerning constructive trusts and secret trusts, Angus’s most well-known case is Perrins v Holland  2 Ch. 270 CA a contentious probate trial in which the Court of Appeal reviewed the law concerning the requirement of knowledge and approval, and the application of the rule in Parker v Felgate.
Angus also undertakes general non-contentious estates work, including construction questions and inheritance tax issues. He passed the STEP Diploma in the Taxation of Trusts and Estates in 2012, and has sat on the STEP technical committee.
In addition, Angus has post graduate qualifications from Bristol University in Insolvency Law, Restitution and Company Law, and enjoys lecturing. His recent lectures include one to the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists on Trustees’ powers and duties, and an in-house seminar on valuing Inheritance Act claims for a national law firm.
In terms of Angus’s approach, he believes a detailed knowledge of the transactional aspects of private client work is an essential feature of being an effective contentious practitioner. No less importantly, he recognizes the importance of being sensitive to the underlying family and factual context in disputes of this nature as an essential part of providing an effective service.
Angus is married with three children. In his spare time, he likes to indulge a love of tennis and an ambition (unfulfilled) to hit a half-decent backhand which he in turn inflicts on his children at every opportunity.
A pure traditional chancery barrister whose practise focuses on contentious trusts and probate. He has an excellent reputation for his technical skill and advocacy, as well as approachability and client care
Chambers & Partners, November 2017
"Really persuasive and highly regarded by the judiciary. Utterly brilliant. For difficult contentious probate he is the only barrister I’d use. He lives and breathes this. He is extremely responsive and knows the law better than anybody else I deal with”
In the Legal 500 in which he is ranked in tier 1, he is referred to as calm considered and exceptionally thorough and as having a particularly good manner in mediations.
Hill v Haines  Ch. 412 CA
An insolvency case which considered the relationship between insolvency law and matrimonial property adjustment order
Perrins v Holland  WTLR 95 and  2 Ch. 270 CA
A leading case on the validity of wills in particular the requirement for knowledge and approval
Hope v Knight  WTLR 583
An Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim
Breslin v Bromley  WTLR 219
A claim concerning the procedural requirements for execution of a will
McGuinness v Preece  EWHC 1518 (Ch)McGuinness v Preece  EWHC 1518 (Ch)
A substantial proprietary estoppel claim