Heather Murphy

Heather Murphy

Call: 2009

"Heather is a creative thinker and problem solver and is unflappable, even in the most difficult of situations. As an advocate, Heather is straight to the point, very persuasive and quick on her feet."

Legal 500 2023

Heather is an experienced advocate with a rich and varied commercial chancery practice. Her core areas of practice are commercial disputes and private wealth litigation. She appears regularly in the High Court as sole counsel.

Heather is recommended by the Legal 500 as "very diligent and thorough" and "excellent at making sense of a morass of difficult material". She has been praised as "unflappable", and "straight to the point, very persuasive and quick on her feet". She has been particularly recommended for her ability to cut "through all the noise to identify the key issues and decisions which need to be takenand her focus on getting "a good result for clients". 

Examples of Heather's recent work include:


Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 recommend Heather as a leading junior in aviation.

She was led by Philip Shepherd QC in the leading case on lawful act economic duress, Pakistan International Airline Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Ltd [2021] UKSC 40.

She also acts as sole counsel in the appeal in Pakistan International Airline Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Ltd (No 2). Heather successfully obtained a High Court judgment requiring PIAC to pay the claimants £5million of unpaid commission and interest.

Heather has also recently acted in disputes about sums due under leases, storage contracts and aircraft crew management software.

Commercial disputes

Heather has recently advised and acted in a wide range of commercial disputes, including actions on guarantees, claims under shareholder agreements and applications for administration. She regularly advises on difficult technical disputes that arise at short notice.

For more information, see the sections below on commercial litigation, insolvency, civil fraud, and company.

Private wealth, trusts and estates

Legal 500 recommends Heather as a leading junior in private client, trusts and probate.

Heather has considerable experience advising on matters relating to trusts and private wealth.

She has recently acted in as Advocate to the Court in Womble Bond Dickinson (Trust Corporation) Limited (as Trustee of the Stephris Trust) [2022] EWHC 43 (Ch), on the construction of a trust instrument which defined the beneficial class by reference to a now dissolved company.

She is currently acting in Radwan v Al-Sultan, a long-running high value private wealth dispute in the Chancery Division.

For more information, see the sections below on art and cultural property, Court of Protection, and trusts and probate.


Areas of experience

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  • Art and Cultural property

    Heather deals with a wide range of disputes concerning art, cultural property, and luxury assets. She has experience of dealing with these assets in both commercial and private wealth disputes. Having worked on several disputes involving international trust structures, she is well placed to advise on issues relating to the ownership, investment and control of these assets, particularly when they are held overseas.

    Her recent work includes:

    • Advising on jurisdictional issues which arose in a claim by the owner of some contemporary art for its recovery from an international exhibition;
    • Advising on a claim involving the sale and ownership of thoroughbred horses;
    • Advising on a long running offshore trust dispute involving an extensive collection of classic cars in multiple jurisdictions; and
    • McDonald v Universal [2019]: successfully acted for the Defendant. The Claimant, a contemporary artist, claimed that the Defendant had damaged artwork which had been lent to the Defendant for an exhibition in New York. The case raised questions of bailment, the construction of (and deterioration) of the artwork and expert evidence as to construction methods and loss.
  • Aviation

    Heather is an experienced aviation lawyer. Her practice includes high profile and high value cases involving travel agents, aircraft leasing and financing and aviation insolvency. She regularly appears in the High Court on aviation matters.

    Her recent work includes:

    • Pakistan International Airline Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Ltd [2021] UKSC 40, led by Philip Shepherd QC: the leading case on lawful act economic duress: Read about the case here


    • Times Travel (UK) Limited and Nottingham Travel Limited v Pakistan International Airlines Corp [on-going]: successfully obtained a judgment in excess of £5million against PIAC for outstanding commission and interest due to the travel agents. PIAC have appealed the judgment. The appeal is listed for March 2022;


    • Proventus Capital Partners v Eyre [2021]: acted for the defendants in a claim by the claimant lenders for $18 million under a series of loan agreements and guarantees;


    • FTAI AirOp Co UK Limited v Olympus Airways SA [2021]: acted for the lessee. The dispute concerned whether the lessee had returned the aircraft or the lessor had deliberately refused to accept the return for two years. The lessor was claiming the full value of the aircraft ($18 million) as it claimed the aircraft was a total loss.


    • (1) ILFC UK Ltd (2) AERCAP Ireland Ltd v Olympus Airways SA [2020] EWHC 221 (Comm): successfully represented the defendants in varying default judgment in respect of sums due under an aircraft lease.
  • Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery

    Heather is regularly instructed in cases involving lost assets and fraud. She acts for individuals, companies and insolvency practitioners.

    Her recent work includes:

    • The Conservatory Advisory Service Limited v Yates [on-going]: defending a claim against a director of an insolvent company for fraudulent misrepresentation, in a case that raises issues of loss on VAT invoices and the Statute of Frauds Amendment Act 1828;
    • In the matter of CFL Finance Limited [2021]: acted for the Company in a winding up petition arising from CFL Finance Ltd v Laser Trust [2021] EWCA Civ 228;
    • Advising as to the recovery of modern art which had been included in an exhibition without the owner’s permission;
    • Obtained an injunction restraining an aircraft in support of foreign proceedings;
    • Samiian v Samiian [2019 – 2020]: successfully recovered a central London property purportedly settled into trust under a power of attorney; and
    • Acted against a company employee and their relatives to recover company funds stolen by the employee for gambling.
  • Commercial Litigation

    Heather acts on a broad range of commercial litigation, with experience which includes disputes arising from factoring agreements, guarantees and agency arrangements.

    Her recent cases include:

    • Pakistan International Airline Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Ltd [2021] UKSC 40, led by Philip Shepherd QC: the leading case on lawful act economic duress: Read about the case here/;
    • Acting for a licensee to recover fees due under a licence [on-going];
    • Acting for the defendant in a claim by a supplier for sums claimed to be due under a guarantee [on-going];
    • Proventus Capital Partners v Eyre [2021]: acted for the defendants in a claim by the claimant lenders for $18 million under a series of loan agreements and guarantees; and
    • Acted for the defendant resisting a claim by a publisher for fees claimed to be due under an advertising contract [2020].
  • Company

    Heather is an editor of the Companies’ edition of Atkin’s Court Forms. Her practice involves shareholders’ agreements, breaches of directors’ duties, as well as questions about partnerships, limited liability partnerships and joint venture matters.

    Her recent work includes:

    • Advising on the construction of and obligations under an LLP agreement in a construction dispute;
    • Advising an option for the purchase of shares of, were the valuation of the shares was in dispute;
    • Advised in relation to a venture to develop and market software and hardware;
    • Acted in the sale of land held for a partnership; and
    • Advised trustees in relation to the disputed sale of shares (which was also trust assets) under a shareholders’ agreement.
  • Court of Protection

    Heather is Treasurer of the Court of Protection Bar Association.

    Heather’s recent work involves:

    • acting to recover property transferred by an attorney out of the donor’s control (on-going case in the Chancery Division);
    • acted for deputies in OPG investigations;
    • advised on gifts by attorneys and deputies;
    • advised on a dispute as to the adequacy of social services offers and P regaining capacity;
    • acted on a matter in which P was removed from the jurisdiction; and
    • acted in a contested application to appoint a property and affairs deputy

    Heather also advises as the consequences of lack of capacity in general civil litigation, including

    • advised on the loss of capacity of a party during proceedings, including the standard of capacity required to present a debtor’s bankruptcy petition;
    • advised on the removal of a litigation friend; and
    • obtained court approval of a settlement of insolvency proceedings by an infant.
  • Insolvency
    Heather is regularly instructed on bankruptcy and corporate insolvency. She has also acted in petitions presented against partnerships. Further, she has also been involved in a number of applications to annul bankruptcies as well as extend administrations and to rectify the Companies’ Register outside the scope of the Companies Act 2006.

    Her recent work includes

    • acted to recover unlawfully declared and paid dividends.
    • acted to obtain court approval for a settlement by an infant of insolvency proceedings.
    • appeared on an application to cross examine company officers.
    • advised on the death of an insolvents and the assignment of claims which fell within the estate.
    • acted on an application to vary an injunction restraining the presentation of a petition.
    • acted on a contested bankruptcy on a foreign debt of a foreign national.
     Heather has also acted in bankruptcies to secure or prevent the sale of the bankrupt’s real property.
  • Trusts, Probate & Estates

    Heather is an experienced private wealth lawyer.

    As sole counsel, she has advised on both the law and tactics arising in a question of contested domicile of the deceased in a cross-border probate dispute, as well as dealing with the rectification of deeds, post death variations and actions against Personal Representatives.

    She has also advised on questions of undue influence and questions of construction.

    In led matters, she has been involved in offshore trust disputes regarding mismanagement of trust funds, Beddoes applications, as well as the administration of a complex estate with a homemade will. She also has experience of questions involving mutual and mirror wills.

    Her traditional chancery practice extends to work in the Court of Protection, and her insolvency experience lends well to dealing with insolvent estates and the death of bankrupts.


    Her recent trusts work includes

    • advising on the cloak of mediation privilege;
    • assisted in an international trusts dispute regarding the mismanagement of the trust fund;
    • advised trustees in relation to potential conflicts of interest;
    • advised trustees in relation to the disputed sale under a shareholders’ agreement of shares that were trust assets;
    • considering questions of privilege in requests for disclosure of trust documents;
    • acted in a claim to recover trustee’s fees;
    • acted in a claim involving waiver of privilege;
    • assisted in a breach of duty claim against trustees for failure to supervise the investment of the trust fund;
    • advised on the revocation of a trust.



    Heather’s recent work includes

    • advised on a claim against executors of a will, including allegations of undue influence
    • advised on the consequences of a failed testamentary gift to a charity
    • advised on contested sale of property by executor and beneficial owner
    • assisted with Larke v Nugus statements
    • advised on the retirement and replacement of executors
    • advised the death of an insolvent
    • advised on a case concerning the contested domicile of the deceased.


    Disputes over property

    • Radwan v Al-Sultan [on-going]: acting for the defendants in a claim and counterclaim worth in excess of £25 million about the management and distribution of family assets across the last 30 years, including real estate in three countries;
    • Procter v Procter [on-going]: acting for the trustees of agricultural land, where the nature and extent of the interests in the land is disputed by the beneficiaries of the trust and the farming partnership;
    • Advising on the ownership of foreign property left by a will made in 1930;
    • Advising in relation to property settled into purportedly tax efficient structures, and options for its recovery;
    • Advising on the trust over land created by will in 1970, including whether a strict settlement arose;
    • Samiian v Samiian [2019 – 2020]: successfully recovered a central London property purportedly settled into trust under a power of attorney; and
    • Advising on whether the bankrupt’s residence would re-vest under the Insolvency Act 1986 were the property was mixed commercial and residential property.


    Professional Negligence

    Heather also advises on professional negligence aspects that arise, including:

    • Purported tax efficient structures;
    • Advice given in relation to investments designed to reduce tax liabilities;
    • Advice on the terms of leases and leasehold enfranchisement; and
    • Wrongly drafted wills.

Other information

  • Recommendations


    Chambers & Partners: Leading Junior: Band 3

    Heather Murphy is an esteemed junior counsel in the realm of aviation. She has a wide range of experience acting in matters involving leasing and economic distress. Heather has experience at all levels of court including the Supreme Court. Strengths: “Heather is incredibly astute and provides advice in a very commercially aware and client friendly way.” “Heather is bright and has a deep knowledge of her subject area which she can apply adeptly to the client’s issue.” “Heather is a tenacious and quick-thinking advocate.” (2023)

    Legal 500: Leading Junior: Tier 2

    “Heather is a creative thinker and problem solver and is unflappable, even in the most difficult of situations. As an advocate, Heather is straight to the point, very persuasive and quick on her feet.” (2023)

    “Heather is very diligent and thorough and takes every point available to her client.” (2022)


    Private Client: Trusts and Probate

    Legal 500: Leading Junior: Tier 4

    “Heather is excellent at making sense of a morass of difficult material. She is really good at cutting through all the noise to identify the key issues and decisions which need to be taken.” (2023)

    “She is very focused on getting a good result for clients and not afraid to take novel points. Good at unpicking difficult issues.” (2022)



  • Memberships
    • Chancery Bar Association
    • Court of Protection Practitioners Association
    • Court of Protection Bar Association (Treasurer)
    • COMBAR
  • Academic history and scholarships

    BA (Hons) Law: Downing College Cambridge

    Lord Mansfield and Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn