"Mark Keeley has excellent personable skills, enabling him to quickly build a rapport with clients and other parties alike. He is a very able technician who is also able very quickly to deliver pragmatic commercial solutions in the best interests of his clients"
(The Legal 500, 2020)
Mark heads our Private Litigation Team and he has over 20 years experience of dealing with contentious trust and probate disputes and professional negligence claims.
Mark is a longstanding member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (“ACTAPS”) and sits as a Regional Member of the ACTAPS organising committee. Mark holds the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trusts Disputes.
He has extensive experience of successfully handling High Court, County Court and Tribunal litigation. A recognised leader in his area, Mark is a qualified mediator and he has a proven track record of resolving complex trust and probate disputes.
Mark is married with three children, he lives in Derbyshire and is a keen cricket and football fan. He is qualified as a ADRg (Alternative Dispute Resolution Group) mediator, he is a STEP Awards Finalist, has an ADR Civil and Commercial Mediation Training Accreditation, and has a STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes.
Mark is listed as a Leading Individual in both the Legal 500 (2020 edition) and Chambers (2020 edition).
Contentious Trusts & Probate
Mark is ranked in the Legal 500 as a Leading Practitioner in Contentious Trust and Probate work and his team at Freeths have for the last 3 years been ranked as the number 1 team for Contentious Trusts and Probate work in the East Midlands.
His aim is to achieve the best result for the client at minimal cost and he has considerable experience of alternative dispute resolution, as an alternative to trial. Mark provides clear and concise advice to clients and he has been successful in recovering substantial damages for numerous clients.
- High profile cases include Walker v Walker  EWHC 597 and Nankervis v Coates & Coates.
- Mark has represented well over 200 clients in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 in estates, ranging from a modest value up to estates exceeding £25 million.
- Mark has been appointed by the High Court as replacement administrator in several high value disputed estates, following the removal of the previous personal representatives.
Since qualifying as a commercial mediator in 2010, Mark has built a busy mediation practice and has mediated over 150 cases. His mediation practice centres on Contentious Probate and Trust dispute and he is ranked for his mediation work in Chambers.
Mark adopts a no nonsense down to business approach to mediation. He has genuine hands on experience of acting for parties in over 300 mediations spanning his 20 years in practice as a solicitor. He brings this practical experience to bear by controlling the mediation process and encouraging parties to adopt a common sense and practical attitude towards dispute resolution.
Mark is a qualified solicitor and Partner with Freeths LLP where he has practised since 1994. He heads up the Freeths’ Private Litigation Team and has experience of representing clients in a wide range of civil disputes. He is an enthusiastic advocate of the mediation process and has particular specialism in the fields of contentious probate and trust litigation and professional negligence claims. Mark is recommended in the 2016 edition Legal 500 and Chambers 2016 for his mediation work.
- Mark successfully represented the claimant in the case of Walker v Walker  EWHC 597 and has substantial experience of dealing with disputes from £10,000 up to £50,000,000.
Mark has successfully mediated cases in the following practice areas:
- Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- Probate claims (challenges to Wills)
- Trust disputes
- Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
- Proprietary estoppel
- Professional Negligence claims
- Contract disputes
- Boundary disputes
- Licensing/regulatory matters
- Fraud and restitutionary claims
Mark has received instructions to mediate cases from amongst others the following firms:
- Robinsons solicitors
- Mishcon de Reya solicitors
- MFG solicitors
- Gordons LLP
- Stuart Ward solicitors
- Blacks solicitors
- Hawkins Hatton LLP
- Cohen Cramer solicitors
- Thursfields solicitors
- Bell & Buxton solicitors
- Browne Jacobson LLP
- Russell-Cooke solicitors
- DFA Law
- Stone Rowe Brewer solicitors
- Hewittsons Solicitors
- TV Edwards solicitors
- Berrymans Lace Mawer
- Langleys solicitors
- Sharp Young & Pearce
- Thorpe & Co solicitors
- Tollers LLP
- Bury & Walkers solicitors
- Wilkin Chapman
- Dickinson Dees solicitors
- Highcross Law LLP
- Gosschalks solicitors
- Miller Rosenfalck LLP
- Kieran Clarke Green solicitors
- John Mohamed & Co
- Lewis Frances Blackburn solicitors
- LDJ Solicitors
- McGlennons solicitors
- JH Powell & Co
- Hamilton Downing Quinn solicitors
- Gray Hooper Holt LLP
- Nelsons solicitors
- Ward Gethin Archer
- Whitaker Firth solicitors
- Banner Jones solicitors
- Howells solicitors
- Jones Myers LLP
To contact Mark or for more information…
- Mark is a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) and the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA). He is also an affiliate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).
- He is a member of the ACTAPS organising committee and has also completed the ACTAPS Contentious Trusts and Probate Associate Membership Course that is operated in conjunction with the College of Law.
- Mark is a Panel Member of the Association of Midlands Mediators and now sits on their organising committee as secretary.
- He acts as Trustee for a number of family trusts.
- Mark is a member of the Civil Mediation Council.
- BA (Hons) International History and Politics, First Class, Leeds University
- CPE/LPC (Distinction), College of Law, York
“I have often said how grateful I am for your help, and how staunch you have been through the whole experience, but yesterday you were fantastic. Legal expertise is one (necessary) thing, but being able to make your clients feel defended, protected and that they have a pro-active champion on their side is of very great significance as well.”
“Top-class litigator and practice head Mark Keeley commands universal respect in this area.”(Legal 500, 2019)
Mark Keeley “is one of the best litigators outside London, for sure,” states a source. He leads the private litigation team and has extensive experience handling contentious trust and probate matters and professional negligence claims. He is also a qualified mediator. “Mark is one of the stars of this area of law,” enthuses a commentator, adding: “He can swiftly see where the client needs to end up, and drawing on his long experience as a mediator as well as a litigator, is imaginative and creative in getting there.”(Chambers & Partners, 2019)
“Mark surpassed himself at the mediation and was absolutely outstanding in every regard. I am certain had it not been for Mark’s years of experience and expertise in will disputes that the mediation would not have settled. I cannot thank Mark enough for his perseverance and commitment to secure a settlement. Thank you, Mark. You really did go beyond the call of duty in staying until 2:00 am! We will definitely be using Mark again.”
Mark Keeley is many lawyers’ go-to for mediation work, and serves clients in high-value complex estate disputes. “Mark is brilliant, absolutely super,” enthuses an interviewee; “he’s got a huge mediation practice – he’s a celeb on the Midlands circuit and rightly so. Mark knows his stuff, doesn’t suffer fools and I always recommend him as a mediator.” Another source says: “He has the technical skills to achieve what we want. He’s an accomplished lawyer but also has a very easy bedside manner. I’ve seen Mark defuse quite volatile situations in a way that probably distinguishes him from others.”(Chambers & Partners HNW, 2019)
“Excellent! Mark did an extremely good job in a difficult case and was able to assist the parties in agreeing a settlement which appeared very unlikely at the beginning of the day. Mark had a very good manner with the clients and took plenty of time to explain things to them and make sure they fully understood the mediation process. I will definitely be instructing Mark again and would be very happy to recommend him to any of my colleagues.”
Frequently recommended as a mediator because he is practical, approachable and very client friendly. He also knows when to push and when to back off, and he is particularly good with vulnerable clients.”(The Legal 500, 2019)
The Legal 500, 2020 stated that “Mark Keeley is good with clients and knows his stuff” and “the team has real strength in depth. It is well respected and ably led by Mark Keeely.”(The Legal 500, 2020)
Mark Keeley is many lawyers’ go-to for mediation work, and serves clients in high-value complex estate disputes. “Mark is brilliant, absolutely super,” enthuses an interviewee; “he’s got a huge mediation practice – he’s a celeb on the Midlands circuit and rightly so. Mark knows his stuff, doesn’t suffer fools and I always recommend him as a mediator.” Another source says: “He has the technical skills to achieve what we want. He’s an accomplished lawyer but also has a very easy bedside manner. I’ve seen Mark defuse quite volatile situations in a way that probably distinguishes him from others.”(Chambers & Partners HNW, 2020)
A client commented “Well done Mark, a feather in your cap! You and your team have done us proud. This is only the beginning” and another client said “We would like to thank you very much for all the help you have given us in the past months. If in the future we require any guidance, we know you would help us.”
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
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