Ayesha Vardags, President

Precis: Hannah joined Vardags as a Director in February 2017. She has over 10 years’ experience in advising high net worth individuals, executors and trustees in the context of contentious trusts, disputed wills, contentious probates and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. Hannah acts for private individuals and professional trust and corporate services providers and her instructions frequently involve complex multi-jurisdictional issues.

Hannah Southon, Director – Private Client

Precis: Hannah joined Vardags as a Director in February 2017. She has over 10 years’ experience in advising high net worth individuals, executors and trustees in the context of contentious trusts, disputed wills, contentious probates and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. Hannah acts for private individuals and professional trust and corporate services providers and her instructions frequently involve complex multi-jurisdictional issues.

Ayesha Vardags, President

Hannah is a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists, and an Affiliate of STEP, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Education: Hannah read Biological Sciences at Jesus College, Oxford, then completed an MSc in Environmental Change & Management at Linacre College, Oxford. She moved into law in 2002 when she enrolled at BPP. She then went on to achieve a diploma from the Institute of Art and Law in 2008.

Press & publications: Hannah is a contributor to Planning and Administration of Offshore and Onshore Trusts published by Bloomsbury Professional. She has also written many articles for the legal press:

  • ‘Chattels: cutting the Gordian knot’ (an exploration of the High Court decision in Butler v Butler) – Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal (December 2016).
  • ‘Protectors: an awkward position’ (The standing of protectors in England and Wales) – Trust and Estates Law and Tax Journal (Legalease) (June 2016).
  • ‘Trusts: the importance of Judicial Discretion’, Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal (Legalease) (March 2015).
  • ‘An Old Master painting as a wasting asset’, Harcus Sinclair website (April 2014).
  • ‘Chasing the Dragon: trust assets caught by the divorce courts’ (with Deborah Sevitt) Trusts and Trustees (September 2007).

Career: Prior to Vardags, Hannah was an Associate in the Private Client Contentious Trusts and Probate team at a leading firm of London solicitors for eight years. Hannah is also highly experienced in issues concerning title to and provenance of works of art and antiques, again acting for private individuals, professional trustees and charity trustees. Her recent work in this area include acting for the Defendants in the reported case of Butler and Butler v Butler and Butler, concerning the Butler Family Collection of Chinese porcelain, and acting for a private individual to recover a work of art fraudulently conveyed to a third party in the United States.

Languages: French (working proficiency)

Personal: Outside her professional life, Hannah is a trustee of a counselling charity in London and in her free time enjoys riding and attending the opera and ballet.

Reported Cases:
  • Davidson and Davidson v RHK Seelig and others [2016] EWHC 549 (Ch)
  • Butler and Butler v Butler and Butler [2016] EWHC 549 (Ch)
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