How to prepare for court

October 3, 2023

Last Monday’s Charity focused webinar with Radcliffe Chambers marked the beginning of a series of webinars taking place over the next three months. In association with the Institute of Legacy Management, hosted by Radcliffe Chamber’s barrister Kate Selway KC and IDR Law’s partner Cara Hough, this session aimed to give advice to Legacy Officers and legal teams working in or with charities on how to prepare for court – including an insightful overview of the various ways in which charities receive an inheritance, the types of estate claims that charities can be involved in, advice on any necessary evidence gathering, mediation and much more.


The training covered many relevant points, with Kate kicking off  with a useful summary of the different parties that charities might have to deal with. This addressed potential questions of who the executor may be, how the litigation may then progress, how to cope with potentially varied landscapes and at what stage should you get your council involved. As well as this, Kate also gave a detailed explanation of the types of claim that a charity may deal with and how these may be resolved – disputes identified included fall outs over will construction, will validity challenges, administration concerns, and even how to deal with the removal of an executor.


Further to this, Cara addressed the subject of cost consequences and ethical issues associated with defending claims affecting the charity. This covered matters such as consulting the charity commission’s published guidance, trustee checklists, the mission statements, aims, and obligations of the charity itself. Cara also emphasised the importance of the timing of specialist advice and referred to IDR’s own Charity Claim Checker (link to page) (soon to be released), as an instant source of helpful advice on the merits of any such claim. The session additionally, considered the initial procedural steps to be taken when dealing with such a claim which included: securing letters of claim/letters of response for each party, considering alternative dispute resolution (ADR) attempts, and considering the timing of counsels advice before being restricted by Court deadlines. And to conclude, Cara spoke to the process of Court proceedings itself, delving into the concern for cost budgeting, an awareness of financial consequences and expert evidence.


To conclude what was a very successful first in the series both Kate and Cara summarily offered their personal insights into their own experiences dealing with the mediation process. They shared their own advice on picking the right mediators, the benefits and pitfalls of in-person and remote mediation, how to prepare for mediation and finally how to prepare for trial. To end Kate and Cara looked to the future in anticipation of the next combined IDR and Radcliffe Chambers session set to take place next month, which looked forward to discussing what happens during the next step of this process – trial.


Watch the session 


Eleanor Stenson, Partner & Tom Dumonth KC, host the next in the series on Tuesday 24th October, 12pm.


Register here