Elspeth Talbot Rice QC has a broad commercial Chancery practice and an extremely loyal client base. Clients comment especially on her meticulous eye for detail, particularly well-used in cross examination, her clear and robust advocacy in Court and her practical approachable style outside court. She is highly sought after for her incisive legal analysis, the depth of her experience, her ability to present complicated law and facts in a simple and clear way, the energy and zest she brings to the cases with which she deals, her strong court presence and her superb advocacy.
She is recommended in the major legal directories including Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, her entries over the years having described her as a “a formidable litigator”, an “incredibly smooth and extremely pleasant advocate” with “a voracious work appetite” and “a very commercial approach“. She is praised as “a very tenacious advocate; forthright in her advice and very easy to work with”, “superb on complex matters and very good with clients”, “mightily impressive and very composed” and “incredibly incisive and good at drilling down through all the facts: she can unpick a case in an instant”.
She has strength and depth right across the spectrum of commercial chancery matters: her expertise and experience straddles large scale trust, succession and probate litigation, both domestically and internationally, and business-based litigation and arbitration including fraud, company, partnership, insolvency and contractual disputes. She is particularly well regarded for international trust and succession disputes, Chambers & Partners High Net Worth recording that “It’s a race to get Elspeth when we have any contentious issue,” reports a solicitor. “She is a phenomenal lawyer, I’ve never met anyone harder working. She is extremely efficient with amazingly good judgement, knows when to take a point, tests every angle before going into court so she knows exactly where she stands. She is just so trusted, and she’d never walk past a stone without turning it over,
Many of her cases have overseas and international elements. She has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean, and has appeared in the British Virgin Islands on a number of occasions. She has also been licensed to appear, and has appeared a number of times, as an advocate in the Courts of the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Additionally she has advised on many cases being fought in Guernsey, Jersey, the USA, the Bahamas, other islands of the Caribbean, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Notable cases include:
- Wong v Grand View: multi billion dollar litigation in Bermuda challenging the validity of, and transfers, into 5 purpose trusts and the use of powers of addition and exclusion to destroy the substratum of a discretionary trust for the benefit of the family.
- In the matter of the X Trusts: litigation in Bermuda relating to the trusteeship and administration of a very large number of very valuable family trusts and the role of the protector in relation to them.
- Morina v Sherbakova: international succession dispute litigating in England and Belgium.
- Schumacher v Clarke: disputes arising in the administration of the estate of Zaha Hadid.
- Coward v Ambrosiadou, Coward v Phaestos: various disputes (in England and the BVI) arising out of the ownership of a hedge fund business
- Meritus Trust Co Ltd v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda Ltd)  WTLR 545, 21 ITELR 177: a claim challenging a former trustee’s right to retain trust assets as security and to require contractual indemnities from new trustee.
- J Toomey Motors Ltd v Chevrolet UK Ltd  EWHC 276 (Comm): claims for loss arising out of termination of car dealership franchise agreement.
Elspeth is a much sought after speaker at conferences, webinars and seminars both in England and abroad. She speaks regularly at Legal Week’s Trusts and Estates Litigation Forum and their International Private Client Forum at Lake Como and at the Transcontinental Trust conferences in Geneva and Bermuda. She has also spoken at White Paper’s Fraud conferences and IBA, STEP and Law Society conferences.
Elspeth’s publications include:
- “The trust supervisory jurisdiction: how broad is it really? How far can it be stretched?” (with Andrew Holden) Trusts and Trustees 2019
- “I’m a Trustee, get me out of here with indemnities and security)” published in Trust and Trustees vol 25 No 2, March 2019.
- “A trustee by any other name – who is a “trustee” for limitation purposes?” (with Andrew Holden) Journal of International Business and Finance Law (2014) 29 JIBFL 438
- “Whose liability is it anyway?” (with Daniel Warents) Journal of Business and International Law (2012) (dealing with whether trustees of personal pension schemes can be liable in respect of undisclosed commissions paid to investment managers or advisors, and if so in what circumstances)
- “He’s Madoff with my Money” (with Bajul Shah) Trust and Trustees (Oxford University Press) (2010) 16 (4): 213-225 (an article examining hedge fund structures, Madoff’s fraud and the resultant clawback claims)
- “Oops, I’ve made a mistake: Will England or Jersey law fix it for me?” the Lawyer website, December 2012
- “Core Distinction” Legal Week, 30th March 2010 – an examination of the rule in Re Hastings Bass and mistake
- Insolvency Issues for Estates and Trust Practitioners (with Edward Cumming and Sarah Bayliss) Insolvency Intelligence Insolv. Int. (2010) Vol.23 No.3 Pages 33-37 and No.4 Pages 49-53.