Ashleigh is an associate in the Dispute Resolution team, specialising in a wide range of disputes regarding Wills and Trusts.
She has experience in acting for professionals and private individuals, based both nationally and internationally. Her experience includes acting in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, challenges to the validity of wills, rectification claims, breach of trust claims, removal of executors, executor and trustee disputes and professional negligence claims arising in the context of trust and estates work. Ashleigh also has experience in Court of Protection matters, Propriety Estoppel claims and claims pursuant to the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.
She routinely represents clients involved in litigation in the County Court and High Court. She also has experience of negotiating settlements and alternative forms of dispute resolution. Ashleigh is passionate about her work, and achieving the best possible outcome for her clients.
She began her career at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, qualifying as a solicitor in 2015. Ashleigh joined Forsters as an associate in 2018.
Ashleigh was named as one of the Top 35 Private Client Lawyers Under 35 by eprivateclient in 2017.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned the High Court judgment in Lomax v Lomax, confirming that the courts can order early neutral evaluation even without the parties' consent. The decision – which was made in the context of a claim by a widow under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and which was strongly resisted by her stepson – will be of particular interest to private client practitioners because of the court's endorsement of early neutral evaluation in the context of family disputes.
Proprietary estoppel claims often arise in a farming and/or family context and 2018 was a bumper year for such claims. No fewer than 12 claims relying on the equitable doctrine came before the High Court over the same number of months (seven of which related to farms or farming businesses). However, this spike in cases did not translate into a high success rate, with only three claimants managing to satisfy the court in relation to the three elements required to establish an estoppel.
Shortly after rejecting a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act outside the statutory six-month time limit, the High Court of Justice allowed a claim to be brought 25 years and nine months after the deadline. As the statutory deadline had passed, the court exercised its discretion in favour of the claimant based on, among other things, the merits of her claim and the fact that refusing the application would leave her with no benefit from the estate and effectively homeless.