Call: 2003

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"one of those people with a towering intellect, who's just able to verbalise things so well" - Chambers UK 2015: Court of Protection: Property and Affairs


"very bright, thorough and easy to work with. He can explain things very clearly and has a good courtroom manner" - Chambers UK 2015: Traditional Chancery


"an absolutely first-class mind" - Legal 500 2014: Private Client: Trusts and Probate


"a phenomenally bright barrister who offers excellent technical advice" - Chambers UK 2014: Court of Protection: Property and Affairs

"wins glowing praise from market sources for his technical ability and communication skills" - Chambers UK 2014: Pensions

"a very solid junior and a serious contender for smaller cases that require a high-quality barrister to appear without leading counsel" - Legal 500 2013: Pensions


"helpful, thorough and altogether excellent junior counsel" - Chambers UK 2010: Traditional Chancery



Joseph Goldsmith has a traditional Chancery practice that incorporates a wide range of contentious and non-contentious work. His practice has a particular emphasis on: pensions; trusts; wills, probate and the administration of estates; capital taxes and estate planning; proprietary estoppel; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; real property; and related professional-negligence matters.

He has experience of appearing in the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the County Court and in both the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal in relation to tax, pensions and other Chancery matters.

Joseph has a particular interest in issues relating to mental incapacity and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, on which he has written and lectured widely. He appears regularly in the Court of Protection, where he is often instructed by the Official Solicitor, particularly in relation to statutory wills and applications for lifetime gifts by persons lacking capacity.

He also practises in the field of ecclesiastical law and accepts instructions to appear in the consistory courts and other ecclesiastical tribunals.


Professional Reputation

Joseph was recommended by Chambers UK in 2007 and 2008 as an up-and-coming Chancery junior and has been recommended as a leading junior in the traditional Chancery field by Chambers UK in every year since 2009. In 2010, he was described as a "helpful, thorough and altogether excellent junior counsel". In 2014, Chambers UK recorded that "particular praise is given to his drafting skills." The Legal 500 recommended him in 2014 as a leading junior for trusts and probate, describing him as an "absolutely first-class mind".

He is also recommended by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500 for his pensions work. Chambers UK 2014 described him as having been "involved in many of the most significant pensions cases over the past year." In Chambers UK 2015, he was described as "a studious, hard-working chap who is very good on the paperwork".

For several years, Joseph has been recommended by Chambers UK as a leading junior for property-and-affairs work in the Court of Protection. In Chambers UK 2014, he was described as "realistic about the stance of parties, friendly and a pleasure to work with. On his feet he is understated yet effective. He does not go in for histrionics – when he says something, you know it is worth paying attention."


Notable Cases

Joseph’s notable cases include:

  • Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Ltd v Stena Line Ltd: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for a representative employer in an eighteen-day hearing concerning the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund, in which the issues arising included the degree to which a trustee of an occupational pension scheme may take account of the interests of the employers and the meaning of the expression "pensionable service" in the context of s75 of the Pensions Act 1995 (judgment awaited)
  • Goenka v Goenka [2014] EWHC 2966 (Ch): acted for the Official Solicitor as litigation friend for minor children in a claim by their mother for financial provision under the the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 that determined for the first time that a nomination of death-in-service benefits under a pension scheme governed by rules contained in a statutory instrument (in this case, the National Health Service Pension Scheme Regulations 1995) constituted a nomination within the meaning of s8(1) of the 1975 Act, so as to cause those death-in-service benefits to be treated as part of the deceased's net estate
  • IBM United Kingdom Holdings Ltd v Dalgleish [2014] EWHC 980 (Ch), [2014] PLR 335: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC, Paul Newman QC and Henry Legge QC) for IBM in a six-week trial concerning IBM’s implied duty of good faith in the context of an attempt to close its defined-benefit pension schemes to future accrual and to change its policy on consent to early retirement; and in a subsequent two-week hearing concerning the remedies flowing from the decision in the main trial (judgment awaited)
  • Sarjeant v Rigid Group Ltd [2012] EWHC 3757 (Ch) and [2013] EWCA Civ 1714, [2014] PLR 143: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) at first instance and in the Court of Appeal for the employer in a construction claim to determine whether or not the trustee of its defined-benefit pension scheme had the power upon a winding-up of the scheme to buy out the members’ entitlements in a two-stage process in order to maximise the debt owed by the employer to the trustee pursuant to s75 of the Pensions Act 1995
  • Trustees of the Lehman Brothers Pension Scheme v Pensions Regulator [2012] PLR 435 and [2013] EWCA Civ 751, [2013] PLR 255: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) in the Upper Tribunal and in the Court of Appeal for several companies formerly part of the Lehman Brothers group in proceedings to determine whether or not the trustees of an occupational pension scheme in respect of the group can seek a financial support directive in the Upper Tribunal when the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator has declined to issue such a directive, and to determine the application of the time-limits for issuing such a directive
  • IBM United Kingdom Pensions Trust Ltd v IBM United Kingdom Holdings Ltd [2012] EWHC 2766 (Ch), [2012] PLR 469 and [2012] EWHC 3540 (Ch), [2013] PLR 33: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC and Paul Newman QC) for IBM in a substantial rectification claim brought by the trustee of its defined-benefit pension scheme concerning the right to retire early on an unreduced pension without the consent of the employer
  • Hughes v Woolworths Group Pension Trustee Ltd [2012] EWHC 905 (Ch): acted for the trustee and, latterly, the Pensions Protection Fund, in successfully resisting an  appeal from the Pensions Ombudsman concerning allegations of maladministration arising out of a member’s failing to take ill-health early retirement before being made redundant when his employer went into administration
  • IBM United Kingdom Pensions Trust Ltd v Metcalfe [2012] EWHC 125 (Ch), [2012] 3 Costs LO 420: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for IBM in relation to protective costs orders for members of its occupational pension scheme joined as a party to proceedings concerning a claim for rectification of the scheme
  • Re JDS [2012] EWHC 302 (COP), [2012] WTLR 475: acted for the Official Solicitor in the lead case on the issue of how the best-interests test under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is to be applied in the context of an application for authority to make a gift out of a personal-injury damages award for the purpose of mitigating future exposure to inheritance tax
  • Prudential Staff Pensions Ltd v Prudential Assurance Company Ltd [2011] EWHC 960 (Ch), [2011] PLR 239: acted (with Andrew Simmonds QC) for the trustee in a claim to determine whether or not Prudential’s decision to limit future pension increases for its former employees breached its implied duty of good faith
  • Re St Columba, Warcop (2011) 13 Ecc LJ 371: acted successfully for the vicar and churchwardens in an application to the diocesan consistory court for a faculty for the sale of a painting in circumstances where the ownership of the painting by the church was challenged
  • Maskell v Denham (unreported, 8 December 2010): successful application to set aside a spousal by-pass trust on the ground of mistake
  • Hapeshi v Allnatt [2010] EWHC 392 (Ch), [2010] WTLR 987: acted for the claimant in proceedings concerning a common-intention constructive trust over a house bought with the benefit of a right-to-buy discount
  • DCM (Optical Holdings) Ltd v Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs [2010] UKFTT 393 (TC), [2010] SFTD 1204: acted for HMRC (with Julian Ghosh QC) in relation to a dispute over the application of a partial-exemption special method for VAT purposes in the context of a high-street optician
  • Re St Peter’s, Draycott [2009] Fam 93: acted (with Mark Blackett-Ord) for the party opponent (the Victorian Society) in a successful appeal to the Arches Court of Canterbury concerning an application for a faculty for the sale of a font
  • Re Horley Town Football Club, Hunt v McLaren [2006] EWHC 2386 (Ch), [2006] WTLR 1817: acted for a class of members of an unincorporated association in relation to a construction claim concerning the nature and effect of a gift to that association
  • Cadbury Schweppes plc v Williams (HM Inspector of Taxes) [2006] EWCA Civ 657, [2007] STC 106: acted (with Julian Ghosh QC) for Cadbury Schweppes in an appeal concerning the application of the accrued-income provisions of s717 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988



Joseph is an accredited mediator, having been trained through ADR Chambers. He is prepared to accept instructions both to act as a mediator and to represent parties at mediation.


Professional Memberships

Joseph is a member of the Chancery Bar Association, the Property Bar Association and the Ecclesiastical Law Society.


Publications and Lecturing

Joseph has assisted with Dymond’s Capital Taxes and is a contributor to Heywood and Massey: Court of Protection Practice. He has contributed to the volume of The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents concerning wills and the administration of estates and to Tolley’s Finance and Law for the Older Client, in which he wrote a new chapter on lasting powers of attorney for personal welfare matters. He is also the author responsible for the chapters on the appointment of trustees and reverter-to-settlor trusts in Tolley’s Trust Drafting and Precedents. Joseph has also provided case summaries to Private Client Adviser (formerly known as Elderly Client Adviser) and has written for the Trust Quarterly Review.

Joseph has lectured on, or has recorded "podcasts" in the fields of, mortgages and misrepresentation, mental capacity, wills, probate, trusts and related taxation. The topics of his most recent lectures and podcasts have included capacity to litigate, the Court of Protection, the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009 and misrepresentation/undue influence in the context of third-party guarantees of mortgage loans.



Joseph attended Hereford Cathedral School and was an exhibitioner of Brasenose College, Oxford, where he obtained a first-class degree in modern history. He obtained a post-graduate diploma in law with distinction from City University, London, and achieved the highest mark in his year on the Bar Vocational Course. Joseph is a Lord Mansfield, Lord Bowen and Hardwicke Scholar of Lincoln’s Inn, which named him "Student of the Year" upon his call to the Bar in 2003.