William Hopkin

William Hopkin

Call 2000

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Commercial and Chancery barrister

William is one of the leading commercial barristers in the South West. His practice includes:
• Serious commercial litigation
• Company disputes and arrangements (including insolvency)
• Property and construction litigation
• Charity law
Please see the accompanying links to William’s specialist profiles for further details of his expertise and experience.

Recognised in the Legal 500

William is consistently ranked as a leading individual in the Legal 500 in the area of Commercial, Banking, Insolvency and Chancery Law. Recent entries include:

The Legal 500 2020 - ‘His advice is first rate, commercially minded, and pragmatic’
The Legal 500 2019 - ‘Very astute and a great orator’
The Legal 500 2017 - ‘Extremely able at assimilating complex information quickly.’
The Legal 500 2016 - ‘He has an ability to disarm the most aggressive opponents with his frank, considered and calm approach.’
The Legal 500 2015 - ‘He provides clear, forthright and sensible advice’


William is one of the Western Circuit’s leading barristers in commercial work.

He takes a practical and constructive approach, which combines attention to detail, technical expertise and business sense.

He is recommended in the ‘Legal 500’ (see main profile) and is a member of Combar.


William’s expertise covers:

  • All aspects of serious commercial litigation
  • Injunctions and urgent applications
  • Asset-tracing and recovery
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Advice and drafting in relation to commercial arrangements
  • A broad spectrum of commercial activity, including:
    • Trading disputes
    • Joint ventures, partnerships and SPV’s
    • Financial services and mortgages
    • Construction
    • Public sector contracts
    • Associated professional negligence and property matters


4 examples of cases in which William has recently been instructed are:

GFH v EE et al

  • Multi-£million Dubai fraud in the Commercial Court
  • International asset recovery proceedings
  • Freezing injunction
  • Pursuit of substantial property assets


  • Multi-£million public sector technology dispute
  • Framework agreement covering national service delivery
  • Technical subject matter 

M&R v DC

  • Historic agreement re landmark development
  • Hidden breaches of contract
  • Range of interested parties 

C v P et al 

  • Multi-£million joint venture re major development site
  • Alleged wrongful disposal of the proceeds of sale
  • Tracing, trust claims and extra-jurisdictional entities

Company, Partnership & Insolvency

William is one of the region’s leading barristers in company work.

He is technically strong in company, insolvency and partnership law, and delivers practical guidance and solutions.

As well as contentious business, William advises in relation to transactions and corporate arrangements, often as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

He is recommended in the ‘Legal 500’ (see main profile).


William’s expertise covers:

  • All aspects of serious company litigation
  • Shareholder and director disputes
  • Company register and share issues
  • Corporate and personal insolvency
  • Claims against directors of insolvent companies
  • Partnership litigation and advice


4 examples of cases in which William has recently been instructed are:

B et al v H et al

  • Unfair prejudice action re major mining operation
  • Issues as to the long-term management and re-financing of the enterprise
  • Allegations of exclusion from the business and unfair equity investment arrangements.

D v CDLC et al

  • Unfair prejudice claim re property investment scheme vehicle
  • Failure to register member investors and to secure property rights
  • Multiple entities

C v AH et al

  • Cross-border dispute in relation to the promise of shares
  • Estoppel, tracing and trust issues
  • Probate, capacity and jurisdictional aspects

A v P et al

  • Liquidators claim against former directors
  • Alleged preference and other prohibited payments
  • Issues in respect of offsetting claims

Property & Chancery

William has extensive experience across a range of construction, property and broader Chancery matters.

He has advised and acted in numerous construction disputes. His construction expertise includes resolving issues in relation to:

  • Technical specifications
  • The design and build process
  • Tendering requirements
  • Expert surveying and engineering involvement
  • Multi-party involvement
  • Regulatory and contractual frameworks

William is regularly instructed in commercial, agricultural and residential property disputes, with regards to both freehold and leasehold property.

He is experienced in the construction and operation of trusts, together with related Wills and probate matters.

William is recommended in the ‘Legal 500’ (see main profile).


William’s expertise covers:

  • All aspects of construction litigation
  • Restrictive covenants (interpretation, damages, injunctions and s.84)
  • Rights of way and other easements
  • Adverse possession and land registration
  • Leasehold covenants and dilapidations
  • Charges
  • Estoppel and constructive trusts
  • Trusts, and aspects of Wills and probate (see also Charity Law profile)
  • Tortious claims


4 examples of cases in which William has recently been instructed are:

Re T et al

  • Enforcement of leasehold covenants across a major estate
  • Range of stakeholders with differing entitlements
  • Issues re injunction, damages and acquiescence

E&C v B

  • Significant dilapidations claim in relation to an historic waterside complex
  • Proliferation of sub-tenants
  • Divergent expert evidence

M v WP et al

  • Construction dispute in relation to NHBC compliance
  • Expert surveying evidence
  • Sub-contractor claim

Re G et al

  • Dispute in relation to unadministered property under an historic Will
  • Interpretation of family agreements
  • Land registry, probate and trust issues

Charity Law

William is one of the leading charity specialists at the Bar.

He is technically excellent, and combines attention to detail with practical insight.

William was co-chair of the Charity Law Association Annual Conference in 2017 and 2018, as well as previously sitting on the CLA’s Executive Committee and chairing a number of sector working parties.

His clients include universities, philanthropists, national charities, regional specialist organisations, public sector bodies and ancient foundations.

He is regularly recommended in the ‘Legal 500’ in respect of commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery (see main profile page).


William’s areas of specialism include:

  • Registration and Charity Commission regulation
  • Mergers, joint-ventures and partnerships
  • Charitable structures and arrangements (including drafting)
  • Trustee duties and conflicts
  • Construction of governing documents, Wills and historic bequests
  • Application of property cy-pres
  • Powers of, and restrictions on, charities
  • Trading and commercial arrangements


  • Advising, as part of an international cross-disciplinary team, on the global structure for a development charity
  • High Court litigation as to the ‘quasi corporation’ status of a religious institution
  • Creation of a group structure for previously independent disability charities
  • Guidance on the reconstitution of a major regeneration body into a charity
  • Interpretation of an ancient charitable trust’s historic records, to clarify modern investment options
  • Advice on the restructuring of an international arts charity
  • Advice on the de-merger of a charitable organisation
  • Guidance to a university on the proper interpretation of its historic charitable bequests


  • Chair of the Charity Law Association Working Party on Corporate Register Reform 2019
  • Lead co-chair of the CLA Annual Conference in 2018
  • Junior co-chair of the CLA Annual Conference in 2017
  • Executive Committee of the CLA 2016-2019
  • Chair of the CLA Working Party on new Charity Commission powers 2016
  • Member of the CLA
  • Trustee of an international enterprise charity (2016 to date)
  • Trustee of an education charity (2014 to date)
  • Trustee of a representative charity in the south west (2008-11)
  • Trustee of a national disability charity (2002-07)
  • Regular speaker at charity sector events

Memberships & Scholarships

  • Member of the Commercial Bar Association
  • Member of the Charity Law Association
  • Inner Temple: Duke of Edinburgh Exhibitioner
  • Inner Temple: Poland Prize Scholar
  • Former visiting lecturer on the BPTC