60-second interview with Miranda Allardice

Miranda Allardice, 2/2/2017

Miranda Allardice is a barrister at 5 Stone Buildings in Lincoln’s Inn, London and a trained mediator. 

Where do you work?

I am a barrister at 5 Stone Buildings in Lincoln’s Inn, which handles constructive trust and proprietary estoppel cases, as well as inheritance, will disputes and Court of Protection matters. I specialise in family money disputes in life and death. I am also an experienced mediator, having qualified in 2005.

What has STEP done for you, individually, or as a business?

STEP provides a supportive professional environment. It enables me to be up to date and to increase my depth of knowledge.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP ensures that practitioners are able to develop their specialisations, and maintains high standards amongst its members. The lay client can be sure that STEP membership means the practitioner is a specialist.

You recently recorded a webcast for STEP. What was the subject and why is this important?

The webcast was on proprietary estoppel. There have been a number of recent cases at appeal level, where the thorny issue of satisfying the equity was tackled. As the value of land and property has increased, so has the value of the awards.

There is a difficult balance between whether the courts should be giving effect to the representation made; or whether the remedy should be contained, so as only to compensate for detriment. There are also more challenges being made during the lifetime of the person who has made the representation, where people have fallen out. The needs of an elderly person who has made the representation, for example to sell a property and spend the proceeds on care, makes these cases very difficult.

What do you most like about your job?

The combination of the intellectual challenge, together with the need to secure a cost-effective resolution.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

When working as a mediator, it is very rewarding to help the parties work towards a result that secures a settlement.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

Be aware that the Bar is a very small profession, and consider where else you would enjoy working with the law. Try to gain some experience in solicitors’ firms. If possible get involved in volunteering in areas where the law and the vulnerable individual interact.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

In an era of increasing longevity, the vulnerable elderly will have more need for support from the professions. The Court of Protection will need to be involved more often, where parties lack capacity.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing practitioners at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

The Law Commission will publish a Consultation Paper on wills this spring. Given the problem of the vulnerable elderly, it is vital that the profession’s role is appreciated in securing people’s testamentary wishes.

Mediation in the area of contested inheritances has an important role to play. Clear rules will be necessary to ensure that lay parties have the best possible experience of the mediation process.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

One New Year resolution is to improve my ability to tweet!

Miranda Allardice is a barrister and mediator at 5 Stone Buildings, London. She undertakes a wide range of contentious probate/administration claims. She has extensive experience of 1975 Act claims, appearing for the charities in Ilott v Mitson before King J. She is a major contributor to Jordan’s Inheritance Act Claims.