Michael Hartman practices in the civil bar mainly in Chancery matters involvingcontracts, trusts, and fraud.
Michael’s strengths lie in his analysis of legal concepts and getting the best result for his clients. In Court he contests his client’s case forcefully.
As a long-established practitioner, he is now frequently called upon to represent clients facing or bringing difficult and complex claims. The value of these claims range from thousands to many millions of pounds.
Some examples include cases where the client felt he must claim:

A client had made some mortgage arrangements with a bank, worth about £1m in borrowings. He later realised the repayments were unfair to him. The bank eventually offered a settlement agreement but when he came to work out the details, the bank did not disclose what were to be the actual dates for maturity and repayment. The settlement somehow concealed that he still could not repay the loans within the time periods claimed by the bank. One real problem is that Courts do not willingly overturn settlement agreements. But there was an issue on which he could fight to the Court of Appeal; it turned on the interpretation of the Property Act which required, in complex terms, every term of his mortgage to be in writing and here the dates for repayment of the mortgages had not been formally agreed. The bank is still having problems complying with its terms.

Counsel was asked what happens when a Liechtenstein trustee of a trust decides after the death of the benefactor that it will not pay out the trust monies and assets, say nearly $1billion held on discretionary trusts, to any of the beneficiaries. At the same time, the trust monies were being depleted at an alarming rate by the trustees. Once again counsel was asked to advise on the interpretation of contracts, statutes and trusts. Not easy when, as in Liechtenstein, the law is that a discretionary beneficiary has no right to make any claims on the trust. After establishing the true meaning of the trust, the battle became one of nailing down the missing money and the missing trustees. Even Liechtenstein Trusts can be challenged Internationally.

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