Oliver Hilton

Barrister, Radcliffe Chambers
Oliver enjoys a busy and thriving traditional and commercial Chancery practice. His expertise is in trusts, wills and estates, with a particular focus on succession and property disputes, pensions and charities. He has substantial experience in dealing with a broad range of administration issues.


As well as non-contentious drafting and advisory work, Oliver has a strong litigation practice: he appears regularly in the High Court, including in large scale, complex, high profile cases; he has acted on numerous occasions before the Court of Appeal; and he has considerable experience representing clients at mediations. Oliver is equally at home acting as sole counsel or being led, and he particularly enjoys working as part of a wider team.


Experience and Expertise

Oliver specialises in trusts, estates and property disputes, especially contentious probate, breach of fiduciary duties, setting aside lifetime transactions, Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims and real property related litigation, including constructive trusts, proprietary estoppel and co-ownership disputes (both in the commercial and domestic context) as well as personal property.

Oliver regularly advises and acts for trustees, personal representatives and beneficiaries on all issues that may arise during administration of trusts/estates/pension schemes, including questions of construction, distribution, the exercise of administrative and dispositive powers and Beddoe applications. He has gained a wealth of experience in drafting complex and intricate wills, trusts, pension documentation and associated instruments, as well as applying for variation of the same.

Oliver’s practice also includes dealing with the consequences of mistakes in relation to the creation of, amendments to and administration of wills, trusts and pension schemes, both in the context of rectification/rescission and removal from office.

Oliver's practice compliments his considerable expertise in pensions related matters, having acted and advised in relation to pensions liberation schemes, amendments to trust deeds, pensions administration, trustee disclosure, the winding up of schemes and the interaction between bankruptcy and pensions.

Oliver's trusts and estates expertise also encompasses charities and tax and professional negligence related matters.

A significant proportion of Oliver's chancery practice is commercial in nature. Fraud and asset tracing and recovery in particular form an important part of Oliver's practice. He also acts regularly in relation to company and shareholder disputes (including unfair prejudice petitions), partnerships, insolvency, business contract disputes, guarantees and finance related matters.
Contributed to

32

Amending mistakes and rectification in pensions
Practice Note

This Practice Note focuses on rectification. It explains why rectification may be required in the context of pension documentation (eg trust deed and rules) and the circumstances in which the courts will order rectification. This note considers the evidence the courts will look for before rectifying a document, the procedure for making a rectification claim, the identity of the potential parties to the action and the merits of making such a claim.

Costs and pensions litigation
Practice Note

This Practice Note sets out the general principles relating to costs as they apply to pension scheme dispute resolution by the courts, the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Ombudsman. In particular, in relation to the courts, it looks at trustees’ right of indemnity, the treatment of costs in each type of litigation in which trustees might become involved, costs protection for trustees, Beddoes applications and prospective costs orders. This Practice Note also covers the treatment of costs by the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Ombudsman.

Discretionary decisions—what must pension trustees do?
Practice Note

This Practice Note covers the key legal principles that trustees must follow when exercising a trustee discretion under the rules of a pension scheme and how they can avoid potential challenges to the exercise of their discretionary powers. In particular, the Practice Note looks at the considerations for trustees when dealing with an application for early retirement on the grounds of ill-health or when deciding how to exercise their discretion to pay lump sum death benefits.

Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman—what is involved?
Practice Note

This Practice Note covers what scope there is for making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman (PO), including the persons eligible to apply to the Pensions Ombudsman to make a complaint, the type of matter that can be referred to the Pensions Ombudsman, steps that must be taken before a complainant can apply to the Pensions Ombudsman (ie going through a scheme’s internal dispute resolution procedure), the time limits to complain. It also looks at the steps involved in dealing with the complaint (ie the complainant’s application, the respondent’s response, the investigation and the determination), enforcement issues and appeals.

Pension trustee claims against advisers (professional negligence)
Practice Note

This Practice Note considers the issues relevant when pension scheme trustees make professional negligence claims against their advisers, including duty of care issues, limitation periods, Beddoe applications and cost considerations. This Practice Note also looks at common claims made by trustees against their advisers, including in relation to payment errors, failed equalisation and drafting mistakes in scheme documentation.

Privilege in pensions
Practice Note

This Practice Note focuses on privilege, ie the ability to withhold documents from someone’s inspection, in the context of pensions. It distinguishes between legal advice privilege and litigation privilege and sets out the requirements for each and when privilege is lost. Finally, this Practice Note considers the scope of privilege vis-à-vis the courts, the Pensions Ombudsman and the Pensions Regulator.

Other work

Appeals against determinations of the Pensions Ombudsman

This Practice Note looks at the issues relevant (including procedural and timing issues) when appealing a determination of the Pensions Ombudsman. As appeals can only be made on a point of law, it compares a point of law from a point of fact and also considers the potential for judicial review.

Representation of beneficiaries in pensions litigation

This Practice Note looks at the making of representation orders in pensions litigation. In particular, it covers what a representative party is, when and why representation orders are made, jurisdiction to appoint a representative party, types of representation orders, who may be appointed a representative party, consent and notification of the represented class, duty, role and costs of the representative party, compromise involving a representative party, and the effect of a representation order.

Practice areas

Qualifications

  • LLB (Hons), Kings College London

Membership

  • Chancery Bar Association

Panel

  • Contributing Author
  • Q&A Panel

Education

  • Kings College, University of London

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