STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes

This qualification will help those involved with the creation and administration of trusts to anticipate, and avoid, the common pitfalls which can lead to trust litigation

This qualification is a collaboration between STEP and CLT International (CLTI).

As a Chartered Accountant I have been involved in the offshore environment in relation to trusts for over thirty years. In that time I have been involved with trust disputes on both sides of the fence. The course is first class and certainly an eye-opener in relation to advising what not to do. The course is set up to be as easy or challenging as you want to make it and the distance learning aspect is very convenient. Overall it certainly enhanced my trust consultancy skills.

Patrick Murrin TEP, Consultant, RTC Consultancy

Course outcomes

How will this course benefit me?

Completing the Advanced Certificate will enable you to:

  • Understand the recurrent themes and key principles which often arise in trust disputes and anticipate the different causes of trust disputes
  • Identify the potential risks involved in the creation and administration of trusts and how to manage those risks
  • Take appropriate measures to protect the interests of relevant parties threatened by a looming trust dispute
  • Take appropriate action to try to avoid trust litigation from unfolding
  • Understand the litigation process in outline including the issues to consider in cross-border litigation
  • Understand how to protect the interests of relevant parties after litigation has commenced.

How will this benefit my employer?

Trustees can end up in the middle of a family fall out. An awareness of the pitfalls that trust practitioners can inadvertently walk into can help ‘future-proof’ trusts against litigation.

If claims for breach of trust or third party claims do occur and result in litigation, then the trust practitioner armed with the requisite knowledge of the litigation process and relevant recent case law is much better placed to manage the situation to their and their client’s advantage.

Course content and delivery

What does this qualification cover?

  • Sham trusts
  • Defective trusts
  • Trustee powers
  • Investment disputes
  • Corporate issues
  • The consequences of a breach of trust
  • Trustee defences
  • Construction, rectification and mistake
  • Variation of trusts, public trustee and other such applications
  • Claims in negligence in connection with creation of trusts and their administration.


How is it delivered?

This Advanced Certificate is delivered via an online distance-learning platform and will take around four months to complete.

Course author

The course content has been written by Toby Graham TEP. Toby is a partner and Head of the specialist Contentious Trusts and Estates Group at Farrer & Co in London. He is a leading trusts litigator and is well-known in the field of trust and estate disputes. He has extensive experience of trust and estates disputes both in England and in offshore jurisdictions. This experience includes disputes relating to sham and other validity issues, breaches of trust, Hastings Bass and rectification applications, third party claims in relation to trust assets, and constructive trusts and tracing claims.

He is described as “an absolute star...he is highly recommended throughout STEP” (Chambers & Partners) and “an excellent communicator who develops a good rapport with his clients. He is particularly respected as a safe pair of hands in litigation relating to trusts” (Legal 500). Toby received a STEP Private Client Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2007.

Toby is co-editor, with Tony Molloy QC, of Trusts and Trustees (Oxford University Press) and lectures extensively in the UK and abroad.

Entry advice and requirements

Who would find this qualification useful?

This Advanced Certificate will be of particular interest to barristers, trust administrators and managers, family lawyers, commercial litigators other contentious lawyers and advisors to PI insurers. More broadly the course will be of interest to anyone involved in the creation and administration of trusts or to those giving professional advice in relation to trusts. Whilst focusing on private express trusts, the course may well be of interest to anyone involved in pension trusts too. The course is also aimed at contentious lawyers who act for trustees or beneficiaries, or lawyers who advise trustees’ professional indemnity insurers.

What are the entry requirements?

Admission to Advanced Certificates depends on meeting the Entry Level requirements, outlined in the Qualifications and Membership Framework.

Further course information

How much will it cost?

The course fee for this certificate is

  • STEP full members GBP645, EUR800, USD1,010
  • Non-member GBP 695, EUR865, USD1,090

This fee includes:

  • A bespoke course manual
  • Access to an online-learning platform
  • Self-assessment material
  • Distance learning support
  • Examination entry
  • STEP certification.*

* Currently STEP certification does not carry any designatory letters or title and confirms only that the assessment has been successfully completed.

What are the course dates?

For full details of course dates, please visit the CLTI website

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is by way of a 3,500 word written assignment.

How do I apply?

CPD Policy

Members are required to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills to ensure a high standard of practice.

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CLT International

Our training partner CLT International provides a range of courses for those working in the UK trust and estates industry.

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We offer a range of member categories to suit your professional requirements, qualifications and experience.

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