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Chris Duncan


Chris Duncan is Counsel in our Trusts and Private Wealth Practice in the Cayman Islands.

Chris advises on a broad range of trusts and private client matters, from contentious to non-contentious, with a particular focus on complex and high value advisory and restructuring matters, many of which have required court sanction or intervention, and has significant experience in hostile trust and estate litigation. Chris has also advised trustees, family offices and institutional clients in relation to regulatory and tax investigations involving international tax disclosures.  In addition, Chris advises clients in tech and cryptocurrencies in connection with succession planning and immigration issues.

Chris is a registered Trusts and Estates practitioner, holding the full TEP designation, and has been recognised as a leading private client lawyer by eprivateclient making the Top 35 under 35 lists for both the UK and the Channel Islands in 2018 and 2019. He also featured in the Citywealth Future Leaders List, Top 100 in 2020 and was shortlisted for the Citywealth Lawyer of the Year (IFC) – Senior/Managing Associate category.  

His recent experience includes advising or acting for:

  • The trustee of a Cayman Islands STAR trust in connection with disclosure requests and a wider family dispute.
  • The trustee of a billion dollar Cayman Islands structure in relation to breach of trust claims and a proposed global restructuring exercise.
  • The primary beneficiary of a Cayman Islands STAR trust in connection with a successful reformation by the Cayman Islands Grand Court.
  • The protector of a Cayman Islands trust in connection with challenges to its validity in European courts.
  • The trustees of various employee benefit, employee retention and pension trusts in relation to a complicated pre-acquisition restructuring exercise (to simplify the holding structure of a significant UK business prior to its sale to a US private equity firm).
  • The taxpayer in the first Guernsey challenge (by judicial review proceedings) to a tax information exchange agreement notice.
  • Trustees and beneficiaries in relation to international tax disclosures in France and Switzerland and the subsequent Public Trustee v Cooper 'blessing' applications in respect of the payment of foreign taxes.
  • The trustees of a Guernsey trust in relation to foreign sham trust proceedings and challenges to the validity of trusts.
  • Trustees in relation to their obligations under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs).


Prior to joining Carey Olsen, Chris was with Mourant in Guernsey from 2012 to 2019, working in both the Litigation and International Trusts and Private Client teams. Before that Chris worked at AWS Legal in New Zealand.

Chris graduated from the University of Otago, obtaining degrees in both Law and Chemistry.

Chris was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2008, as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2019 and as a Cayman Islands attorney in 2019. Chris is also a full member of STEP, holding the official TEP designation.

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