Jody Atkinson


Jody Atkinson

Call 2005 (Inner Temple)
Qualifications 2011 STEP Diploma in Trusts and Estates, 2005 BVC & CPE, Inns of Court School of Law; 2002 MA in Modern History, Distinction, University of York; 2001 BA (Hons.) in History, First Class, Bristol University.
Professional Memberships Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP, Full Member), Chancery Bar Association, Family Law Bar Association, Western Circuit.
Scholarship and Awards 2004 Inner Temple Major Scholar (BVC); 2003 Inner Temple Major Scholar (CPE); 2001 George Hare Leonard Prize from Bristol University for best degree in year.

Expertise


Jody is able to assist clients involved in commercial/contract disputes including:

  • Sale of goods
  • Defective motor vehicles
  • Timeshare disputes

Jody has a great deal of experience in litigation involving unincorporated associations, such as trade unions and other associations or clubs. Reported decisions before the Certification Officer for Trade Unions and the Employment Appeal Tribunal involving Jody Atkinson can be found at www.certoffice.org including:

  • Dooley v UCATT – Union failed to ballot all members, General Secretary removed, election re-run ordered.
  • Beaumont v Unite – dispute regarding eligibility of members to stand for election.
  • Warne v Unite – victimisation and unjustifiable discipline of union member.

Combining both family and trusts/probate expertise, Jody is able to undertake the full range of Court of Protection work. On the financial side, he can advise on powers of attorney, deputyship, and statutory wills. On the welfare side, he can advise upon the applications that can be made in respect of a person who has lost capacity to determine where they should live and who they should see, and also represent families who are in dispute with local authorities over the care of a person who lacks capacity to take decisions for themselves.

As a private client specialist, Jody is able to offer clients advice and representation with regard to all litigation arising out of the breakdown of family relationships.

Jody is regularly instructed by both husbands and wives to advise and represent them in financial proceedings resulting from divorce. Jody advises in cases involving trust funds, foreign assets, farms or family businesses, as well as those of more modest means. As an experienced family practitioner, Jody frequently deals with highly acrimonious and emotional disputes, settling them where practicable, or litigating them where that is in the client’s best interests.

Jody is happy to advise on settlement prior to issue of claims (including on a public access basis) or to represent people at mediation appointments. Jody can also advise on the tax implications of divorce. Although Jody does not now specialise in children work, he has ten years experience in this area, and will act in children disputes where there are associated financial proceedings, thus enabling the client to be represented ‘across the board’ by the same advocate.

As a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Jody is well qualified to advise unmarried people on the financial implications of the breakdown of their relationships, which are governed by the law of trusts (Kernott v Jones, Stack v Dowden), and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA). He is equally happy litigating under either the Family Procedure Rules (FPR) or the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and will settle proceedings for family solicitors unfamiliar with the CPR.

Jody is uniquely well placed to advise those making or defending claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This difficult jurisdiction combines elements of matrimonial and probate law, and Jody is rare in having experience in both areas.

Jody is renowned for his knowledge of the law concerning child maintenance and the Child Support Agency (CSA/CMEC), having appeared on many occasions both before the First Tier and Upper Tribunal: Social Entitlement Chamber (formerly the Child Support Appeal Tribunal and the Commissioners). Jody often undertakes CSA cases on a public access basis.

Recommendations

  • “Jody focuses his practice on matrimonial finance issues, and is skilled at taking on inheritance and probate cases. Also active in matters related to child support. ‘Brilliant, bright, very good on child support agency work.’ ‘Very knowledgeable’.” Chambers UK, Family/Matrimonial (2017)
  • “Jody specialises in family finance.” Legal 500, Family and children law (2016)
  • “Jody is noted for his expertise in financial remedy cases which feature complex issues concerning trusts or third-party interests. He also has considerable experience in handling matters relating to the Child Support Act. ‘He is technically very strong and also able to build a great rapport with clients.’ ” Chambers UK, Family/Matrimonial (2016)
  • “Jody is the go-to counsel for complex child support issues.” Legal 500, Family and Children Law (2015)

Professional Negligence

Jody advises and represents claimants and defendants in professional negligence actions arising in his specialist areas.  This frequently involves claims by disappointed beneficiaries who have not received a legacy after the death of a loved one or relative due to a failure by a solicitor to prepare a will in time, or where a will has been found to be invalid. Jody has also acted in claims against family solicitors, where negligence is alleged in the settling of financial proceedings after a divorce.

Jody is happy to accept instructions dealing with the Income Tax, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax aspects of:

  • The creation, administration and winding up of trusts
  • Tax planning following divorce or separation
  • Estate planning, including the drafting of wills and trusts
  • Post-death variations
  • Applications under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958
  • Rectification and trustee mistake claims
  • Applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Professional negligence in relation to all of the above.

As a Registered Trusts and Estate Practitioner (TEP), accredited by the international professional body the Society of of Trust and Estate’s Practitioners (STEP), Jody is qualified to advise clients on all matters connected with trusts and estates law. Jody frequently deals with highly acrimonious and emotional disputes, settling them where practicable, or litigating them where that is in the client’s best interests.

Jody can assist clients with all of the disputes that can potentially arise on the death of a loved one or relative. He is the author of the chapters in the Westlaw Legal Encyclopaedia, Insight, on ‘Executors’, ‘Administrators’, ‘Personal Representatives’, ‘the Preparation of Wills’, and ‘the Interpretation of Wills’. Jody takes instructions on all contentious probate disputes, and has experience cross examining expert medical witnesses, which can be essential where there is a dispute over whether a person had mental capacity to make a will.

Jody is uniquely well placed to advise those making or defending claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This difficult jurisdiction combines elements of matrimonial and probate law, and he has the ideal skill set, with experience in both areas.

Jody also frequently advises unmarried people on the financial implications of the breakdown of their relationships, which are governed by the law of trusts (Kernott v Jones, Stack v Dowden), and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA). He also advises on other family trusts and settlements. Jody has experience in proprietary estoppel claims, which often arise in a family context (Thorner v Major).

Jody is able to advise and represent clients in:

  • Validity of wills
  • Construction of wills
  • Contentious probate
  • Construction of trusts
  • Administration of trusts
  • Co-ownership and trusts of land
  • Breach of trust
  • Court of Protection (powers of attorney, deputies and statutory wills)
  • Tax implications of any of the above

Jody is happy to advise on settlement prior to issue of claims (including on a public access basis) or to represent people at mediation appointments.

Practice Overview

Jody Atkinson is described in Chambers and Partners as ‘a very bright guy of singular ability with a massive intellect’. Jody is a specialist private client practitioner, and is therefore a member of both the Chancery Commercial and the Family Finance departments of St John’s Chambers. Jody’s Chancery practice focuses on disputes concerning wills, trusts, and probate. He also provides advice on associated taxes (IHT & CGT). Jody is a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), and was the first person to pass all four of the entrance exams in one sitting. Jody is also popular matrimonial finance practitioner, and is often instructed in financial remedy cases that involve complicating factors (such as trusts, international issues, or third party interests). Jody is also renowned for his expertise in the Child Support Act, being the author of a text book on the subject. Due to his rare crossover expertise, Jody is often the first choice for Inheritance Act cases and disputes between cohabitees (proprietary estoppel). Jody has long experience representing clients in acrimonious disputes between family members and achieving settlement where appropriate, or litigating where settlement is not possible.