Liam conducts high value commercial litigation with a particular specialism in contentious probate disputes, and disputes arising from wills, estates and trusts generally. He leads the contentious trusts and probate team at George Green.
Liam frequently obtains referrals from previously satisfied clients, barristers he has worked with and solicitors from other (and well-respected) firms, as well as sometimes from those who have been on the opposing side to him in previous cases. Liam takes pride in being trusted to look after his clients’ interests, including in respect of very large trusts and/or estates which can hold life-changing sums of money. Liam appreciates that smaller sums of money can be life-changing to clients too, and tries to always understand his clients’ objectives, and how those can best be achieved in the relevant legal context. He acts in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, disputes over the validity of wills, claims for breach of trust/claims against trustees, argument relating to promises allegedly made by a deceased during their lifetime but not adhere to in that person’s Will, and issues related to estate properties and who lives in them. Liam also receives instructions in respect of claims against professionals, including professional negligence claims against other solicitors and barristers.
Liam has been recommended by the legal directories for a number of years. The Legal 500 has ranked Liam as a "Next Generation Partner" for commercial litigation in the Birmingham area, stating that Liam "is impressive. He is smart and very thorough. A fighter with a relaxed demeanour, which belies his steel-like approach”. Chambers and Partners ranks Liam as "Up and Coming" in respect of private wealth disputes and it states “Liam is totally dedicated to knowing his client’s case, its strengths and weaknesses and the optimum way to pursue it. He is a dedicated strategist.” The Legal 500 also writes that “Liam Owen is meticulous and extremely thorough. That way he is in the best position to know the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s case at an early stage. He leaves no stone unturned’.
Liam is also a qualified mediator who practises in civil and commercial disputes, having gained accreditation as a mediator through the ADR Group in 2018.
He also has significant court experience and is a solicitor advocate with higher rights of audience in the civil courts of England and Wales.
Examples of Contentious Probate and Related Work
- Acted for two beneficiaries of a deceased in relation to a high seven figure trust regarding some potential issues between them and the trustees.
- Represented the two principal beneficiaries of a substantial six-figure estate in respect of a dispute over their late grandmother’s testamentary capacity when she made her last will and testament. The matter settled on confidential terms.
- Represented the estate on the Defence of an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim in the High Court, brought by the deceased's girlfriend at the time of death. This was a complicated dispute which also required the interests of the minor children of one of the beneficiaries (who passed away shortly after the testator) to be taken into account. The matter resolved on confidential terms at mediation, and the settlement was approved by the court.
- Acted for three of the children of two deceased parents and, after issuing proceedings in the Chancery Division of the High Court, obtained a court order for the rectification of the mother’s codicil.
- Acted for the prospective personal representatives of a relative who had passed away with no will and no immediate family in respect of a claim on two different bases under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 intimated by the deceased’s partner. The matter settled at mediation.
- Acted for the daughter of the deceased (who was also a beneficiary of his Estate and an executor of his will) in relation to a claim advanced by her brother for invalidity of the will, an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim, and breach of trust. The brother did not pursue his claims following a substantive Letter of Response from George Green’s client.
- Acted for a beneficiary of an estate in circumstances where an unreasonable delay by solicitors in carrying out the deceased’s instructions and drafting a will had meant that the deceased passed away before executing their will. As a result, the proposed beneficiary had missed out on the inheritance the deceased had wanted to give them under the will. The disappointed beneficiary was able to be compensated for their loss.
- Acted for the husband of the deceased. The dispute contained issues relating to estoppel, donatio mortis causa (an alleged gift in the contemplation of death), and funds allegedly taken from the Estate without permission or authority. The dispute settled on confidential terms.
- Succeeded on an application for an order for sale under s. 14 of TOLATA;
- Acted for the daughter of a deceased who had passed away intestate in relation to the deceased’s share of a property in which he had co-habited with a partner, securing a payment to her following a remortgage;
- Acts for a potential claimant in relation to an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim and in respect of a claim for unlawful/unauthorised withdrawals from a joint account, as well as in defence of intimated claims that Liam’s client is jointly and severally liable for two loans.
Examples of Commercial Litigation Work
- Acted for a company in respect of a claim against two former senior employees and another company in respect of alleged: breach of contract; breach of fiduciary duty; breach of confidence; inducement and unlawful means conspiracy and diversion of business. George Green’s client issued proceedings in the King’s Bench Division of the High Court for injunctive relief and damages. The Defendants agreed to provide affidavits. The matter settled on confidential terms at mediation shortly after proceedings were issued.
- Represented a prospective Defendant in respect of a seven figure claim against him. There were several causes of action set out including breach of contract, breach of trust and/or estoppel. The matter settled at mediation.
- Represented a widow in respect of a six figure professional negligence claim against a company authorised by the FCA to advise on the transfer of pension benefits. The claim related to her late husband’s pension. The matter settled at mediation shortly after draft Particulars of Claim were provided to the Defendant.
- Acted for two alleged guarantors of a loan in defending a potential seven-figure claim against them;
- Acts for the Claimant in a Chancery Division claim for a declaration in relation to the beneficial shareholdings in a limited company;
- Represented two former partners in a firm of solicitors in relation to a six-figure dispute over the value of their capital accounts, and partnership interests generally, upon their retirement from that firm. This complex and highly contentious claim settled on confidential terms following a mediation and a subsequent further half-day without prejudice meeting, following expert evidence from the forensic accountant Liam instructed.
- Brought claim in the High Court for breach of fiduciary duties against the former directors of a sports equipment company in relation to, among other things, their alleged involvement in setting up a competing company before their resignations. The matter settled at mediation on confidential terms shortly after Liam’s client issued proceedings.
- Represented the Claimant, a "partworks" publisher, on a complex claim regarding an alleged breach by the Defendant of a joint venture agreement relating to a Reader’s Digest publication. The Claimant pleaded unilateral mistake and rectification, breach of fiduciary duty, and misrepresentation. Morse v Eaglemoss Publications Limited  EWHC 1507.
- Represented the Claimants on a seven figure professional negligence dispute with their previous solicitors. Liam’s clients argued that their previous solicitors negligently failed to advise them that their proposed course of action would leave them in breach of their fiduciary duties as directors exposing them to the risk of litigation with minority shareholders. This dispute settled at mediation shortly before a listed 10 day trial in the High Court.
- Represented a minority shareholder in an engineering company who had been ejected from the company and removed as a director. Liam’s client recovered a very substantial six figure sum after Liam acted as his advocate at mediation, arguing that the company’s affairs had been conducted in a way which was unfairly prejudicial to his interests.
- Acted for the Respondents in defending two linked winding up petitions, arising from a dispute based on the management of two dental practices in the West Midlands. The petitions were heard together at a one-day hearing in the Rolls Building. Liam later pursued a breach of contract claim on behalf of a director of the Respondents on the basis that he had a beneficial interest in the dental practices. That claim settled on mutually acceptable terms at mediation.
- Acted for the liquidator on an application under s.212 of the Insolvency Act 1986 against the directors of a company in liquidation, also including a claim for unlawful payment of dividends under s.830 of the Companies Act 2006. The liquidator's claim for a six figure sum settled on confidential terms at mediation.
- Represented the Claimant on a breach of trust claim relating to shares held in several Thai restaurants and pubs from which the Claimant recovered substantial damages following a fully contested 3 day trial. The court accepted that shares in a company were held on trust for the Claimant and that the Defendants had breached that trust.
- Represented an international charity in a dispute with a major financial institution relating to that institution's alleged procedural failings when transferring its client between different accounts. The dispute settled on confidential terms.
- Acted for an Independent Financial Advisor client in a six figure dispute with a partner practice over the wrongful termination of his contract. The dispute was resolved on mutually satisfactory terms.
- Successfully recovered a six-figure settlement sum from a major national firm of solicitors which had misadvised a mutual client on several claims on which it had acted. This matter required sensitive handling, as it was of paramount importance to maintain the commercial relationship between that firm and the mutual client. The settlement achieved this.
- Acted on behalf of a tainted blood scandal campaigner against a high profile politician and that politician's publishers with regard to a statement made in the hardback publication of the politician's memoirs, and achieved a resolution and a change in the said memoirs for the paperback edition.
Liam also has significant experience of high value construction disputes, including adjudications under the Scheme and the subsequent enforcement in the Technology and Construction Court of the decisions his clients obtained in those adjudications.
Examples of Contentious Construction Work
- Successfully acted on a final account adjudication brought by a developer against a construction client, resulting in the developer being ordered to pay an additional sum of £1.4m plus interest to Liam’s client above what it had already paid.
- Successfully defended a £1.1m claim brought through adjudication in relation to purported operational losses and the purported remedying of defects in relation to a luxury hotel. The Referring Party was awarded nothing.
- Defended a multi-million pound construction claim by a local authority arising out of purported breaches of a Framework Agreement. The dispute settled at mediation.
- Successfully applied for summary judgment in relation to a final account adjudication decision, defeating arguments alleging a breach of natural justice on the part of the adjudicator. RGB P&C Limited v Victory House General Partner Limited  EWHC 1188 (TCC).
- Acted for a developer, who was the Responding Party, on a six figure adjudication in relation to a Final Account dispute with a Main Contractor over a luxury hotel. The matter settled on mutually acceptable terms shortly after our client filed a Response.
- Successfully defended an adjudication brought by a main contractor, in relation to the construction of a hotel, for the sum of more than £250,000. The adjudicator decided that the main contractor was not only entitled to no further payment, but must pay back to the developer more than £130,000.
- Acted successfully on the strike out of a Part 7 claim brought by the developer in the Technology and Construction Court for declarations that an £800,000 sum awarded to Liam's client by an adjudicator should be returned following the final account. The final account was determined in favour of Liam's client. The opposing developer discontinued its claim shortly before the strike out application was due to be heard.
- Acted for a roofing company in respect of defending a suite of three claims intimated against them by a Main Contractor.