Roberta is highly skilled in conducting trust-based disputes in numerous offshore and domestic jurisdictions. She advises trustees, protectors, and beneficiaries. Her recent track record includes worldwide freezing injunctions, disclosure, asset tracing and recovery, validity issues, breach of trust, and Hasting Bass applications.
She also has significant experience in advising personal representatives, beneficiaries and charities in will and estate disputes. Roberta uses her deep knowledge of acting on contentious matters to advise trustees and settlors on risk management when establishing trusts. She also works closely with Forsters' highly regarded Family team with the preparation of pre and post nuptial agreements. Roberta has higher rights of audience. She is also co-founder of the "Fresh Perspectives" annual trust litigation conference.
Roberta joined Forsters in January 2019.
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.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a first-instance decision and confirmed that the plaintiff can make a claim out of time for reasonable provision from her husband's estate. The court disagreed with the first-instance decision that to allow this claim would amount to forced spousal heirship, as each case depends on its own facts and the specific application of the factors set out in the inheritance act.
The High Court recently ruled that parties cannot be ordered to engage in early neutral evaluation or financial dispute resolution procedures where one party objects to doing so. The case in question centred on a claim brought by a widow under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act against her late husband's estate and two lifetime trusts. The claimant sought variation of the trusts in order to meet her reasonable needs, but her stepson strongly resisted her claim.
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.