Call: 2007

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"She's got a fantastic knowledge of this area and very much has an eye on the welfare issues. She is really fantastic on her feet. She is really practical and makes sure the protected party is being looked after. She is absolutely in her element in this work."

Chambers UK 2016 – Court of Protection


"Very knowledgeable and thorough"

Chambers UK 2015 – Court of Protection


"a focused, bright, effective barrister who is tenacious on her feet"

Chambers UK 2014 - Court of Protection


"strong all-rounder" Legal 500 2013 - Private Client: Trusts and Probate


"is an emerging force within the Court of Protection. She appears in gift and statutory will applications, and also handles lasting powers of attorney and deputyship claims.”

Chamber UK 2013 – Court of Protection


“ up-and-coming young junior, has represented clients up and down the land in recent years and is regarded as a barrister to watch in this area”

Chambers UK 2012 - Court of Protection


Ruth has a busy Traditional Chancery practice.  She accepts instructions for both contentious and non-contentious work.  Ruth regularly appears in the High Court and the Court of Protection where she is often instructed by the Official Solicitor. Ruth has also appeared in the Court of Appeal.   Ruth has spent time seconded to the private client department of a West End firm of solicitors.

Ruth is a member of the Attorney General's B Panel. She has acted for HMRC, the Bona Vacantia Division, the Attorney General, BIS,  the Official Receiver and the Public Guardian.

Ruth has obtained experience of insolvency tax cases and commercial litigation wider than her private practice. She has particularly enjoyed litigation arising out of injunctions.

Ruth has recently appeared in HMRC v Ingenious Games LLP [2014] STC 1416, [2015] STC 1659 with Malcolm Gammie CBE QC on an interlocutary appeal to the Upper Tribunal. She is acting in the underlying litigation which concerns a film scheme financing films such as Avatar, Life of Pi and Shaun of the Dead. The tax at stake is c£1bn.


Particular Areas of Expertise


Traditional Chancery / Private Client

The core of Ruth’s practice is contentious probate and family provision claims including claims involving mutual wills and proprietary estoppel which she particularly enjoys.  Ruth frequently acts in relation to administration disputes including the removal of trustees/personal representatives and claims involving allegations of breach of trust/duty.  Ruth often advises in respect of the proper construction of wills and trusts and rectification.  Ruth advises on Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax issues in estates and trusts.

Recent experience includes

  • Re Stanley [2014] a three day testamentary proprietary estoppel claim. Instructed by Linder Myers LLP.
  • Zarrinkhat v Kamal [2013] WTLR 1477 - acted for the beneficiary in an adult child claim under the 1975 Act.
  • Bennett v Petit [2013] EWHC 988 (Ch) - three day want of knowledge and approval claim. Instructed by Russell-Cooke LLP.
  • Re King [2010] EWHC 3939(Ch) - instructed for the unborn and unascertained beneficiaries of a divorce settlement in an application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1988. Instructed by Withers LLP.
  • A three day will forgery trial.  Instructed by Blake Lapthorn.
  • Ruth acted in the Thorner v Major litigation concerning testamentary proprietary estoppel.
  • Obtaining an injunction regarding the scattering of ashes.
  • A two day lifetime undue influence claim.  Instructed by Cozens Hardy LLP
  • Acted for the Official Receiver in the K v A divorce proceedings before Charles J.


Ruth often undertakes work that involves cross border issues.


Court of Protection

Ruth is one of the leading barristers of her level of seniority in Property and Affairs cases, although she also undertakes welfare claims.  Ruth is often instructed by the Official Solicitor for example in statutory gift and statutory will cases and cases involving an element of welfare. Ruth’s experience advising on capital taxation issues, and in drafting wills and trusts is particularly helpful in this area.

Notable cases:

  • Re Jones [2014] EWCOP 59 – acted for the Official Solicitor in this multi-jurisdictional statutory will claim involving complex taxation issues.
  • Re E [2014] EWCOP 27, [2014] Med LR 417 – acted for the Official Solicitor in this case which involved an injunction to restrain the removal of E from the jurisdiction and the validity of her living will.
  • Re Meek [2014] EWCOP 1, [2014] COPLR 535 - appeared for the Official Solicitor in this high profile statutory will and security bond application.
  • Claim for recognition and enforcement of a Swiss order authorising the execution of a deed of variation of a Swiss will. Instructed by Macfarlanes LLP.
  • Re AS; SH v LC [2013] COPLR 29 – an application for a deputyship by a professional.
  • Re MN [2010] WTLR 1719 with David Rees QC - the first reported case on Sch 3 to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 concerning the abduction of a mentally incapacitated person from the US. Instructed by Lawrence Graham LLP.



Ruth often appears in claims with aspects of fraud.

  • HT and Co (Drinks) Ltd v HMRC - Ruth is involved (led) in the Tax Tribunal and the Judicial Review aspects of this claim which later aspect is to be heard by the Court of Appeal in May 2016, it involves the revocation of authorisations to trade in duty suspended alcohol where excise duty fraud had been (unknowingly) facilitated.
  • Perfect v HMRC [2015] UKFTT 639 (TC) - Ruth was involved in this case which considered the issue of the knowledge required to be “holding” smuggled goods at the duty point for the purposes of liability for excised duty.
  • Abbey Forwarding (in liq) v HMRC [2015] EWHC 225 (Ch), [2015] Bus LR 882 - important decision on when the court will enforce the undertaking in damages given to support the appointment of a provisional liquidator. Ruth Hughes acted for HMRC with Stephen Nathan QC and Sarah Harman.
  • Abbey Forwarding v Hone [2015] Ch 309 acted for HMRC in this appeal in relation to an inquiry into damages following the discharge of a freezing order which clarifies the law regarding the measure of loss.
  • HMRC v San Marco London Ltd [2014] UKFTT 712 (TC) - appeared for HMRC in this strike out application in relation to an appeal to reinstate a trader’s licence to trade duty suspended alcohol
  • A three day will forgery trial. Instructed by Blake Lapthorn.
  • Close v Abaowa [2010] EWHC 1920 (QB) - a five-day fraud trial involving the beneficial ownership of property, resulting trusts and the presumption of advancement



Ruth is an accredited mediator, trained through ADR Chambers


Professional Memberships

Elected member of the Bar Council

Elected member of the committee of the Chancery Bar Association



Publications and Lecturing


Ruth has taught company law on the Bar Vocational Course and has contributed to the Trust Quarterly Review and other professional journals. She has written headnotes for the Wills and Trusts Law Reports.  She is the assistant editor of the Elder Law Journal and a correspondent for Private Client Business.  Ruth lectures on all areas of her practice and in particular proprietary estoppel, mutual wills and family provision.



Graduated from Trinity Hall Cambridge, 2006, First class (Bateman Scholar)

Erskine Chambers Prize for Company Law

Called to the Bar 2007, Lincoln's Inn (Levitt Scholar)

Ruth is also a local authority governor of Duncombe Primary School in North Islington