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James Bacon

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James’s clients are UK and overseas individuals and families, landed estates throughout the UK, and trustees, trust protectors and beneficiaries in the UK and abroad.

James advises on trust and succession law and tax. His work covers estate planning, trust variations, contentious trust and estate work, heritage property taxation, charities and the commercial use of trusts.

James qualified in 1991. He joined Payne Hicks Beach in 2006 from Lawrence Graham, where he had been a partner since 2000.

James is recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2024 for personal tax, trusts & probate and is described as having “an uncanny ability to solve the most exacting tax or trust problems.” He is also recommended for art and cultural property by the directory which writes “Bacon is recognised for his knowledge of heritage property taxation matters, and has niche expertise in the use of maintenance fund settlements for land” and for partnership where he is noted for “specialising in tax, trust and succession law, offering significant experience in farming partnerships.”

The Legal 500 UK recommends James for both estate planning and charities, recognising “the highly able” James and his team for their art and cultural property work. In particular, the directory notes that James has “niche expertise in garden, park and estate maintenance fund settlements and is also an expert in heritage property taxation” and is known for his “knowledge of heritage property taxation and the use of maintenance fund settlements for land”. James is commended as a “name to note” and “the stand out figure” for charities and not-for-profit.   

James was listed in the Citywealth Lawyers List 2023 in the Honours List for contentious trusts, cultural property and landed estates.

“… genial, charming yet uncompromisingly efficient …” The Legal 500 UK 2022

“If trusts and estates were a martial art, then partner James Bacon would be a black-belt.” The Legal 500 UK 2022

“Rolls-Royce, gold-standard, all the clichés fit exactly. No estate is too problematic, no tax issue too complex. A wealth of ability and expertise combined with a – now – old-fashioned dedication to client service. James Bacon is a master of all the light and dark arts of the agriculture and estate sector. He leavens his deep knowledge and expertise with a delightful gentle humour.” Legal 500 UK 2022

“James Bacon has a remarkable blend of technical expertise and understanding combined with an ease with his clients. He rightly generates complete faith, while never losing sight of the need to communicate and understand.” The Legal 500 2021

“James Bacon is a technical supremo, while also as charming as they come. Every estate, however complex, however grand, is dealt with effectively and apparently simply.” The Legal 500 2021

“James Bacon is a leading figure in this field. He has a rare combination of sensitivity to the client and a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the law and its complexities.” The Legal 500 2021

“A very capable trusts lawyer – absolutely brilliant – James Bacon has carved out a niche practice for himself in dealing with complex trust matters and variation of trust applications on the back of his extensive trust law knowledge and experience. He has a knack of coming up with innovative solutions and drafting to cater for even the most restrictive trust deeds.”  The Legal 500 UK 2020

James Bacon is listed as a “Recommended Tax Lawyer” in Spear’s 2023.

He is ranked by the Spear’s Tax & Trust Advisers Index 2023 as “Recommended”.

The English contributor to Bloomsbury’s International Succession Laws, James was also one of a number of contributors to Maggioli Editore’s Il Trust Nella Nuova Legislazione di San Marino.