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Carlos de Serpa Pimentel is a partner in 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 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 worked for two years at Maples and Calder in the Cayman Islands, and then joined Appleby in 2003. He became a partner of Appleby in 2006.

Carlos speaks French and Portuguese.

Work Highlights

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.


Carlos continues to be lauded for his strengths in trusts litigation.  He is recognised by Chambers Global High Net Worth Guide 2023 as a top trusts lawyer and described by clients as ‘Fantastic, extremely professional and respectful.’  ‘He’s prominent in his field and an excellent lawyer.’  Another client said ‘Carlos is very open and practical.  He is keen to listen to all sides of every story or matter to fully grasp what it is.’  In 2022 one client said ‘I have never heard him be mildly ruffled by being asked super-urgent and thorny questions.’  Also listed as an ‘Expert based abroad’ for his work in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a BVI client described him as ‘An excellent lawyer with a strong reputation in the BVI and Cayman.’

Carlos is also ranked as a ‘Leading Individual’ in Legal 500 2023 and is described by clients as ‘Very experienced, always remains calm and measured; a reassuring presence for clients.’  ‘He is one of the most knowledgeable lawyers on the circuit with impressive experience and knowledge.’  Another client said ‘He is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, but combines that with a real empathy for the client and a real commitment to delivering the right result.’

Carlos was named Private Client Lawyer of the Year at the 2020 Who’s Who Legal Awards.

Coverage & Insights

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. In March 2020 Carlos was elected as an Academician of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Lawyers (IAETL).  He 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.

Qualifications & Education

Carlos was called to the Bar of England and Wales (now non-practising) in 1990; to the Cayman Islands Bar in 2001; and to the British Virgin Islands Bar in 2004.

  • University of Exeter (England)
  • Kingston University London (England)

Memberships & Associations

Carlos is a member of the International Bar Association.

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

Chambers & Partners

Related People

Alan Bercow

Partner: Cayman Islands

T +1 345 814 2036
E Email Alan

Will Porter

Associate: Cayman Islands

T +1 345 814 2979
E Email Will

Esmond Brown

Counsel: Cayman Islands

T +1 345 814 2012
E Email Esmond

Andrew Jackson

Partner: Cayman Islands

T +1 345 814 2738
E Email Andrew

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