Book Reviews – Contentious Trusts Handbook

My seventh book, the ‘Contentious Trusts Handbook’ was published by the Law Society in July 2020, and can be ordered from the Law Society and Wildy’s Bookshop in London online.

Contentious Trusts Handbook – Law Society Bookshop

Wildy & Sons Ltd — The World’s Legal Bookshop : Islam, Carl

Book Reviews

‘This practical overview of contentious trusts sets out a clear route from letter before claim to costs orders. Its logical and helpful structure enables readers to find what they want to know exactly where they would expect to do so. The case analyses are cogent and commendably concise. The reviews of the law on liability for ‘dishonest assistance’ and Beddoe orders are models of their kind. The author is to be commended on succeeding in providing a portable reference work covering all aspects of the law and practice governing trust disputes in the English courts.’

Ian Mayes QC, Head of Chambers, 1 Essex Court, London EC4Y 9AR

‘Carl Islam has an impressive set of credentials and has much experience in advising on all aspects of contentious trusts. In his work Contentious Trusts Handbook, he has produced a practical reference guide for practitioners, enabling them to undertake litigation in this complex and specialist area of law. As a practical and comprehensive reference work for busy practitioners, the author is to be commended.’

Henry Frydenson LLB MBE TEP CTAPS

‘This book gives the reader what they need to know when arguing – or defending – a contentious case. Overall, the book admirably meets the authors aims. It fills a clear need for a simple guide to the principles and conduct of trust litigation and should be a welcome addition to all practitioners’ libraries.’

Richard Dew, Barrister, Ten Old Square.

Contentious Trusts Handbook – Law Society Bookshop

For more information about the book and purchasing links please visit the ‘Contentious Trusts Handbook’ page at

A book review is also scheduled for publication in the next edition of Trusts & Trustees (Oxford University Press): Trusts & Trustees | Oxford Academic ( This journal is sold and circulated by OUP to trust practitioners, academics, and judges, worldwide.

My next in-depth article which I am planning to co-write with a leading trust law academic at Cambridge University in the Summer will be about ‘Executors and Trustees Duties and Powers in relation to investments and property’.

Foreword to the Contentious Trusts Handbook (2020)

‘Sir John Baker explains that the publication in 1837 of “A Practical Treatise on the Law of Trusts” authored by Thomas Lewin signified a shift away from perceiving trusts as principally an adjunct of conveyancing of land towards an institution in their own right. Trusteeship shifted from being a relatively passive office ancillary to landed settlements towards a more general and demanding role. Trusts ceased to be the exclusive preserve of the aristocracy also becoming a vehicle for the wealth of Victorian England’s middle classes. The book is now known as Lewin on Trusts. It continues to dominate the English texts.

Similar observations might be made of the Contentious Trusts Handbook commissioned by the Law Society and written by Carl Islam (who like Thomas Lewin is a leading barrister practicing in the field). This is because its publication reflects the unfortunate fact that the risk of trustees becoming involved in court proceedings appears to be on the increase. Such proceedings are increasingly hostile and hard fought. This handbook provides the busy practitioner with a practical overview of themes that are commonly encountered. It will guide them through every stage of proceedings, from pre-action protocols through discovery to settlement and trial. It contains a detailed discussion of mediation and arbitration and it is accompanied by a set of useful precedents and contributions from an art expert (Pandora Mather-Lees), an expert in trust litigation in the Cayman Islands (Hector Robinson QC) and a mediator (Anthony Trace QC).

The handbook will enable practitioners to anticipate and head off problems, thus hopefully reducing the risk of litigation, as well as providing guidance if and when proceedings are necessary. As with its non contentious cousin, authored by Gill Steel, Mr Islam’s handbook will become a well established staple on our bookshelves. The author and the publishers are to be congratulated.’

Toby Graham

Partner and Head of the Contentious Trusts and Estates Group at Farrer & Co LLP

Co-editor of Trust & Trustees (Oxford University Press)

To read reviews of my book the ‘Contentious Probate Handbook’ please visit the ‘Publications’ page at

I would like to take this opportunity to thanks each of the reviewers for their time in reading and reviewing my new book.

With my kindest regards,