Stephen Willmer

Stephen Willmer

Call: 2004

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Stephen Willmer took degrees in history from King’s College London and in political science from the LSE and in 2004 was Called to the Bar with the assistance of a Middle Temple Queen Mother scholarship.

He has developed a wide-ranging commercial and chancery practice representing businesses, individuals and sometimes public authorities and, broadly speaking, in the areas headlined below.

Stephen’s preferred approach is to try to get under the skin of a case early on, in the belief that this will save costs and prevent client misery further down the road. His advice is candid but courteous and he likes to think his advocacy follows the same pattern. Where appropriate, he has been known to devote significant time to trying to persuade clients not to get involved with the legal system but is a firm believer in the dictum that ‘forewarned is forearmed’ – in other words, if assistance is needed then it is best sought early.

His practice has evolved to focus on the areas listed below, albeit there are frequent overlaps with each other and with other areas of law. His work is contentious and non-contentious. He has been public access qualified for well over a decade.

In his spare time, Stephen is a keen amateur cook and is trying to learn how to play golf and how to box. He reveres the music of J.S. Bach and enjoys esoteric and genre literature.

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Civil Barrister

Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act (ToLATA)

Stephen has extensive County Court (i.e. non-Family Court) experience in these often evidentially historic and nebulous claims.

Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act

Cases which, perhaps more than most, benefit from early advice, and where the deadlines for bringing a claim are uncommonly tight. See below, Re. Hendry.

Insolvency and finance

Challenges to lenders, including secured lenders, Petitions and applications to restrain and to annul, the unfreezing of accounts, public and private examinations, section 236 Insolvency Act account of dealings, statutory demands, spousal rights in the marital home, disqualification of directors


From drafting and advising on the interpretation of contracts to advice and representation. Recent cases have involved construction disputes, miss-sold land bank and property deals, a digital data provider, utilities billing, personal guarantees and promissory notes, economic duress.

Proprietary estoppel

Stephen’s recent experience has spanned corporate and private client claims, acting for claimants and defendants.

Landlord and tenant

Possession claims, including against trespassers, mortgagee’s claims for possession, leasehold disputes over matters such as service charges and covenants in the Land Tribunal and County Court, claims in unlawful eviction and relief from forfeiture, as well as commercial lease renewals.

Contentious probate

Usually instructed by claimants in this often fraught area of law, particularly in the recent past, Stephen regards this, as with Inheritance Act claims, as an area which benefits more than most from early advice on merits.

Companies and partnerships

Partnership disputes and terminations, advice in relation to partnership property and insolvency. Corporate personality and liability, insolvency, directors’ duties and disqualification, restoring dissolved companies, unfair prejudice petitions and derivative claims.

Boundary and neighbour disputes

Cases involving disagreements over boundaries, easements, nuisance and trespass, often with harassment as a ‘bolt-on’.

Selected, relevant cases

Re. Hendry – a case on the 1975 Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act, with a focus on claims being out-of-time (i.e. late).

Khan -v- Khan – a case on undocumented partnerships, constructive trusts and fiduciary duties:


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