Emma Saunders

Dispute Resolution, Personal and Family

Title: Partner

Tel: 0191 226 3293

Email Emma Saunders

Emma is a Partner specialising in Contentious Probate and disputed Court of Protection matters. She advises on disputes arising from trust and probate issues including will challenges, administration disputes, the removal of executors and trustees and disputes relating to beneficial interests in property.

Emma has considerable experience in both bringing and defending claims against estates under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. She further has specialist expertise in contested applications brought in the Court of Protection, such as those for Statutory Wills, deputyship applications and disputes regarding the registration of Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney.

Emma is committed to resolving disputes in a cost effective manner and sensitive to the issues that arise in disputes in this specialised area, which often involve family members.  She is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) and an affiliate member of STEP. The wills and probate team won team of the year at the 2019 Northern Law Awards.


  • Inheritance Act claim by cohabiting partner – Advised a client in relation to her claim against her late partner’s estate, which included assets in England and a jointly-owned property in France which passed to the deceased’s wife and children. The deceased died without a will and had remained married to his wife
  • Will challenge – Acted for the children of a deceased man who had died excluding them from his will and leaving the valuable family home to his paid carer. Settlement was achieved at a lengthy mediation
  • Statutory Will dispute – Represented a client in proceedings relating to a Statutory Will for her cohabiting partner, which included his children and his wife, from who he was separated. Achieved a favourable settlement following a round table meeting
  • Breach of trust – Successfully negotiated that a trustee step down and restore funds to the trust following allegations from the other trustees that she had misappropriated trust funds
  • Claim for an account and wilful default – Obtained judgment against the co-administrator of an estate in relation to a claim for an account and for wilful default. The Court ordered that a substantial sum be returned to the estate
  • Trust dispute – Obtained a favourable settlement for a client relating to a trust which arose by his interest in a property in which he had invested monies for the benefit of his mother during her lifetime, which was then registered in a sibling’s name
  • The Wills, Trusts & Probate Team won Private Client Team of the Year at the 2019 Northern Law Awards and has been shortlisted for Private Client Team of the year in the Legal 500’s Northern Powerhouse Awards 2023

Client/professional quotes:

Emma is described as a leading individual in the Legal 500 2023 & 2024 Guides, where it was said “‘Emma Saunders is extremely intelligent and capable, and doesn’t rest until the last ‘i’ is dotted and the final ‘t’ crossed.”

The 2024 Guide added “Emma Saunders has been excellent across all aspects of the advice and action I have needed, at what has been the most difficult time of my life. She has expertly guided me through all aspects of the situation I have found myself in and the possibilities to ensure I fully understand the options available and their implications. Her attention to detail is incredibly reassuring. She has represented my interests decisively and unequivocally and it has helped me navigate an incredibly difficult and distressing situation with dignity.”

Emma was described as a ‘rising star’ in the Legal 500 2020, 2021 & 2022 Guides and is known for her ‘honesty, transparency and commitment to her clients’. It was also said that “Emma Saunders is excellent. Knowledgeable, gives rational, objective advice, and is good fun to work with.”

The 2022 guide stated “Emma Saunders is a star and produces partner level work. Good knowledge and reputation in the field and excellent judgment.”

Emma was ranked as a leading individual in the 2022 & 2023 Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide. In 2023, Emma was listed in band one. She was descibed as being an expert in contentious probate and Court of Protection matters, including Inheritance Act (1975) claims and trust disputes. “I would highly recommend her,” says a barrister, adding: “She is intelligent, pragmatic and hugely technical.”

The 2023 guide also said: “Her guidance, experience and knowledge are commendable and impeccable. She is decisive, efficient and very responsive. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone.”

In the Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guides 2019, 2020 & 2021, Emma was recognised as an Associate to Watch. “She’s excellent,” says a source, who adds that she is “very sensible, pragmatic, practical and just a pleasure to work with.” Saunders is “extremely able and gets the job done,” states another commentator.

The 2021 Guide also said “Emma is wonderful,” says one market commentator, continuing: “She is a really nice and down-to-earth person. She is very sensible and pragmatic.” One interviewee commented: “I have found Emma to be very understanding, transparent and committed to my case. She is very good at explaining the law and looking at alternative ways to deal with the issues.”

Key Practice Areas

  • Will challenges
  • Inheritance Act claims
  • Administration disputes
  • Court of Protection
  • Beneficial interest disputes
  • Removal of executors