Carlos de Serpa Pimentel

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Carlos de Serpa Pimentel is a partner and Global Head of the Private Client and Trusts department of the Appleby Group.

Carlos specialises in all aspects of Cayman Islands trust law advice and trust litigation. He regularly advises trustees and ultra-high net worth individuals on the establishment, restructuring and administration of trusts, and the use of private trust companies as well as providing advice to Protectors and beneficiaries on a variety of trust related matters. He also advises on estate planning and administration of estate issues for high net worth individuals. Carlos has substantial experience in relation to Cayman Islands and BVI trust litigation matters, acting on behalf of trustees, beneficiaries and Protectors in Court proceedings. He regularly appears in Court on their behalf as counsel.

Carlos continues to be lauded for his strengths in trusts litigation. He was named Private Client Lawyer of the Year at the 2020 Who’s Who Legal Awards. Chambers Global 2019 ranks him as a top trusts lawyer, noting his peers consider him a ‘particularly excellent’ practitioner. In 2018, he was included in the Private Client section of Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders. Global Elite 2019 and Chambers Global described him as ´a market leader in this area´ and ´clearly very experienced and knowledgeable´. He was recognised by Chambers Global High Net Worth Guide 2017 as “the go-to Cayman trusts person,” as well as being praised for his measured approach to contentious matters. Also in 2017, Chambers Global described him as “a very good lawyer and a very nice guy,” with sources saying that he is “very good on offshore planning.”

Carlos has been ranked as a ‘leading individual’ in Legal 500 2019 and was also recognised by Chambers Global 2016 with clients describing him as having a “calm, relaxed and authoritative” working style. One source observed that “He is always highly commercially focused in his advice, as well as being very pleasant and a genuinely nice guy.” The 2016 Citywealth Leaders List  also noted that ´Carlos is one of the very best practitioners in the offshore world´, further stating that ´if there is a solution he will find it´.

In 2015 by Chambers Global, Carlos was recognised for being one of the most well-known trust litigators on the island, and a leader in Appleby´s private client and trusts department.  Carlos was ranked Band 1 against other lawyers in his field and clients have said to have thought “really highly of him” and are always “very impressed with him.” In addition, Citywealth Leaders List described Carlos as “one of the very best practitioners in the offshore world, widely regarded as being at the top of his game.”

He has presented at numerous international trust conferences and is a regular contributor to trust law journals including Trusts & Trustees, Trusts & Estates and the STEP Journal. Carlos is a member of STEP and served as Chairman of STEP Cayman Islands from 2009 to 2012 and prior to that as Secretary from 2006 to 2009. He is also a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists, the ITPA, and the Cayman Islands Law Society. He has been a panel member of experts judging the prestigious STEP Private Client Awards since 2007.

Carlos was called to the Bar of England and Wales (now non-practising) in 1990, and practised at the Chancery Bar in London for approximately ten years in the Chambers of G.C. Vos QC, 3 Stone Buildings, Lincoln´s Inn. He was called to the Cayman Islands Bar in 2001. Carlos worked for two years at Maples and Calder in the Cayman Islands, and then joined Appleby in 2003. He was called to the British Virgin Islands Bar in 2004 and became a partner of Appleby in 2006.

Carlos speaks French and Portuguese and is currently a member of the International Bar Association.



Recent cases include:

  • Even Wahr-Hansen et al v Compass Trust Co Limited et al; acting for thirteen defendants to a substantial breach of trust/ constructive trust claim brought by the estate of one of the wealthiest Norwegian ship owners.
  • Grupo Torras S.A. v Bank of Butterfield International (Cayman) Limited; the Cayman Islands proceedings related to the lengthy Esteem Settlement litigation brought by Grupo Torras S.A. in Jersey (the Esteem Settlement decision, Jersey Royal Court, 13 June 2003).
  • Acted on behalf of numerous trustees, beneficiaries and guardians ad litem before the Grand Court, most recently in several notable applications for Court approved variations.
  • Acted on behalf of one of the beneficiaries at various stages in the Circle Trust litigation.
  • Currently acting on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem of the minor beneficiaries in a substantial restructuring of a Cayman Islands trust pursuant to Section 63 of the Trusts Law.



University of Exeter (England)

Kingston University London (England)

“It is hard to find an offshore litigator with the type of trust experience that [Carlos] has.”

Chambers Caribbean


26 Jul 2021 | News

Appleby Receives High Rankings in Chambers’ Annual High Net Worth Guide 2021

Lawyers from Appleby’s Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Jersey Private Client & Trusts practices ha...

15 Jul 2021 | News

Amendments to Trust and Probates Legislation of the British Virgin Islands now in force

Further to our April 2021 news alert the amendments to Trust and Probates Legislation of the British...

29 Apr 2021 | News

The British Virgin Islands modernises its Trustee Act and welcomes changes to its Probate Legislation

The Trustee (Amendment) Act recently gazetted and expected to be enacted in the British Virgin Islan...

29 Jan 2021 | News

Appleby lawyers recognised in the Private Client Global Elite Directory

Lawyers from across three of Appleby’s global jurisdictions have been selected for the Global Elit...

12 Nov 2020 | News

Appleby lawyer named Private Client Lawyer of the Year

Appleby partner Carlos de Serpa Pimentel has been named Private Client ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in t...

21 Oct 2020 | News

Safe Haven Found: The Cayman Islands introduces Global Citizen programme for digital nomads

On 16 October 2020, the Cayman Government gazetted regulations bringing into effect its Global Citiz...

Contributors: Esmond Brown
24 Aug 2020 | News

Appleby named as a finalist in STEP Private Client Awards

Appleby’s Private Client and Trusts team have been announced as a finalist in the Private Client L...

14 Jul 2020 | News

Appleby Receives High Rankings in Chambers’ Annual High Net Worth Guide

Lawyers from Appleby’s Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Jersey Private Client & Trusts practices ha...

17 Jun 2020 | News

Considerations for Trustees during COVID-19

Who saw a global pandemic coming in 2020?  Was anyone ready for it?  And could anyone have predict...

25 May 2020 | News

Beyond the textbook: lateral thinking in complex blessing applications

On 14 February 2020, the Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands, the Honourable Anthony Smellie QC (CJ)...

Contributors: Esmond Brown


15 Apr 2021 |

6 months on: Temporary relocation and residency by investment continues to increase in popularity

Six months on from the new digital nomad programmes, did the predicted upward trend reflect the real...

16 Jul 2019 |

A Sympathetic Ear: a review of trustees’ use of the Cooper application in the Cayman Islands

The Public Trustee v Cooper application is a well-established route used by trustees who are seeking...

Contributors: Esmond Brown

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