Thomas  Cutts-Watson

Thomas Cutts-Watson 

Senior Associate | Guernsey

Private Client and Trusts

  • A real pleasure to deal with.
    Client feedback
  • Extremely helpful and very practical, right from the off.
    Client feedback


Tom is an Advocate of the Royal Court of Guernsey and Senior Associate in the Private Client and Trusts team. 

"I practise a modern approach to litigation – forcefully and strategically representing client interests without bluster, and always with their ultimate aims in mind."


He specialises in contentious and semi-contentious trust matters, appearing for trustees, beneficiaries, protectors and other power-holders, usually with an international or cross-border element.
Matters and experience includes: 

  • Appearing for a Guernsey trustee in defending a specific disclosure application for trust documentation brought by a former beneficiary of a trust (Popat v Popat and Ors [2021]GRC033)
  • Successfully obtaining Royal Court approval for the variation of a trust on behalf of a large number of ascertained but absent beneficiaries, pursuant to a novel area of Guernsey law (section 57(1)(e) of the Trusts (Guernsey) Law, 2007)
  • Advising a beneficiary family branch of a high-value trust (involving historic properties in Milan, real estate in London and companies and structures in multiple other jurisdictions) in relation to the removal / replacement of the trustee.
  • Advising beneficiaries in one of Guernsey's most significant trust disputes including multi-million pound global assets, applications for the removal of trustees/protectors and claims for breach of trust;
  • Representing a corporate trustee in cross-border asset tracing and breach of trust claims brought against it in respect of four trusts, including assets worth millions of pounds in London, Vancouver, Portugal and Kenya.
  • Acting for an HNWI in a professional negligence action brought against an investment bank relating to investments made into Madoff-linked securities.


Tom studied English at the University of Sussex before converting to Law at BPP Law School, London.
During his training contract he worked at both Collas Crill and a leading firm in Malta. He was admitted as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales in 2013 and called as an Advocate of the Royal Court of Guernsey in 2020,

*Business Assistant
Caroline West

Caroline West

My services
Contentious risk and regulatory

In regulatory disputes there are often fine lines between the usual wrangling with the regulator and something more serious – by matching our mix of experienced contentious and non-contentious lawyers to the particular problem at hand, we achieve better and more efficient outcomes. As regulatory experts, we frequently act on contentious matters and can leverage our experience to help clients achieve the highest regulatory standards and avoid common pitfalls.

Housing and immigration

If you are looking to expand of move your business offshore we can assist your company with all forms of immigration visas and permits.

Trust disputes

We represent beneficiaries, high-net-worth individuals, trustees, protectors and other power holders in a range of contentious and semi-contentious situations. Our lawyers have been at the forefront of the most complex, high-value private wealth litigation offshore. 

We often deal with novel points of law, creating new and innovative solutions to meet the needs of our clients.

Given the international nature of private wealth, with clients and their assets spread across the world, we work as a joined-up global team so that our clients can benefit from the knowledge and experience wherever they may need it.

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Private wealth

Alongside companies and wills, family trusts are still a very popular tool for estate planning and asset protection – perhaps even more so in the light of the envisaged changes to the UK non-domiciled regime. Family foundations are proving to be a popular new tool for families looking to ensure their wealth and assets are protected for future generations. We establish trusts and foundations for local and international families to preserve family businesses and ensure appropriate succession planning. We work closely with tax advisers in order to ensure that any new family trust or foundation fits with a family's overall tax position and will be a workable long term, cost efficient structure. Discretionary trusts are still the most popular but we can also advise on fixed trusts, will trusts and pension trusts.

Private wealth structures

For wealthy individuals, family-controlled businesses and entrepreneurs managing wealth across generations, succession planning and transferring control of assets has never been more challenging. That's why it's important to work with lawyers who not only have the highest standards of legal knowledge and expertise, but also the ability to find unique solutions tailored to your unique circumstances.

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Private trust companies and private trustee foundations

Private trust companies (PTC) and private trustee foundations (PTF) are an ideal solution for clients wanting to divest themselves of ownership while still retaining a level of control. A PTC, or its most recent incarnation, the PTF, is a corporate vehicle which is used by a family in place of a professional trustee so that the family themselves can control the board of the trustee and thereby control the underlying assets.

11 Sep 2023

UAE New Family Business Law

Family businesses hold a prominent and important role in the UAE economy and, prior to this year, have done so without a flexible and robust legal framework within which to govern them. That has now changed. As of this year, UAE Federal Decree Law No.37 ...

27 May 2022

Executor not arbiter

First published in ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client magazine, offshore edition, which can be downloaded in full here. This article examines the very recent decision handed down by the Bermuda Court of Appeal in the matter of Ingham & Anor v Wardmanet a...

15 Sep 2020

Nine Channel Island promotions

Collas Crill has made a number of promotions in the Channel Islands across its fee-earners and business services team. Sam Williams, Laura Perkins and Simon Heggs have been promoted to Partner, and Bonnie McPartland and Tom Cutts-Watson have been made S...

24 Feb 2020

Rusnano: An update

In December 2019 the Guernsey Court of Appeal handed down its decision in Molard International (PTC) Limited and Pullborough Int. Corp v Rusnano Capital AG (in liquidation), an appeal from a decision of the Royal Court in May of that year. Although hande...

17 Jul 2019

Guernsey's new discrimination law

The States of Guernsey has unveiled details of its proposals to introduce multi-ground discrimination legislation. It launched a consultation on 9 July 2019 seeking feedback from the public on its proposals. The consultation papers and detailed backgrou...

3 Apr 2019

Footballer's pension trust

The Royal Court has recently handed down judgment in one of the first local cases that addresses the interaction between family law and trusts law, an issue of considerable interest and importance to lawyers and trusts practitioners alike. In an anonymi...

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Event 30 Mar 2022

Trusts in Litigation

Event 30 Nov 2016

Collas Crill Moot

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