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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Private client > Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals
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B P Collins LLP is β€˜a leading family firm within the region’ and β€˜has the expertise and depth of experience to deal with cases where the assets are significant and the issues are complicated’. The group specialises in all types of financial disputes, and is increasingly advising on prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Practice head Sue Andrews, who handles complex financial remedy matters, is β€˜an exceptional lawyer and a formidable opponent’, who β€˜inspires confidence and builds trust through her advice and insights’. Other key names include Claire Filer, β€˜a reliable and dependable solicitor who can comfortably advise on very complex finance cases’, and Fran Hipperson, who has strong expertise in Children Act cases, and matters involving inherited assets, third party interests and businesses.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)’s β€˜dedicated team of specialist family lawyers’ provides β€˜an efficient service to its clients, always acting in their best interests and being appropriately assertive’. The group handles high-value divorce work and has significant childcare expertise, regularly advising on private law cases and acrimonious disputes involving the Children Act. Other areas of expertise include matrimonial property issues, Court of Protection matters and cross-border financial cases. Practice head Amanda Melton is β€˜a great communicator’ and β€˜has an excellent instinct for what the judge will do’, and senior solicitor Vicky Preece is recommended for complex childcare and adoption cases.

Family law specialist Rayden Solicitors provides β€˜an outstanding service with clear communication every step of the way’, and β€˜has a very healthy attitude towards alternative dispute resolution, making genuine attempts to progress matters by way of ADR if possible’. The group acts for medium to high net-worth individuals, advising on the full breadth of divorce matters, financial disputes and Children Act proceedings. Well-regarded figure Katherine Rayden heads the practice, and is β€˜excellent in dealing with complex financial disputes with an international element’. Julian Bremner is growing his focus on high-value arbitrations as part of the firm’s new alternative dispute resolution practice, and Paula Butterworth specialises in obtaining injunctions under the Family Law Act 1996. Also recommended are Emily Watson and recently promoted Priya Palanivel.

SA Law LLP has β€˜an excellent reputation in the area of family law’, and the team is β€˜professional, knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of its clients’. The practice is noted for its expertise in complex and sensitive child-related cases, and also handles financial matters, international relocation and civil partnership breakdowns. The β€˜phenomenal’ Marilyn Bell heads the practice, advising on high net-worth financial cases, multi-party childcare matters, domestic violence and public children law matters. β€˜Rising star’ Kiran Beeharry is β€˜very good with finance-related cases, particularly those involving companies and pensions’, and Ruth Abrams focuses on matters with an international element.

Blaser Mills provides β€˜a thoroughly professional service’, advising on the full range of family, divorce and childcare matters, and has significant expertise in high-value financial matters. The practice is co-headed by Jolene Hutchison, who β€˜provides sound, realistic advice at the earliest juncture’ and whose β€˜tenacity and experience is always evident in her handling of financial remedy and private children law cases’. Denise Herman, who is the other leading practitioner, specialises in public law care proceedings, acting for parents and children in sensitive cases involving non-accidental injuries, neglect and fabricated illness.

The β€˜talented team’ at Debenhams Ottaway provides β€˜sound, solution-focused advice’, acting for high net-worth individuals in complex financial cases and divorce proceedings. The practice also advises on cases involving the children of separating couples, and has significant cross-border expertise. Department head Helen Young is β€˜an impressive solicitor with a good focus on effective case strategy’, and senior associate Richard Gilbert β€˜argues his corner with a logical and reasoned approach’, and β€˜has a calm and reassuring manner which immediately puts his clients at ease’. Belinda Strange, who advises London-based clients on complex family issues, is also noted.

Hawkins Family Law is β€˜an excellent family firm which goes the extra mile for its clients’, and the team is praised for its β€˜well-honed communication skills and insightful advice’. Key areas of focus include high-value financial matters and divorce cases, and the recent arrival of Stacey St Clair has brought significant cross-border, international relocation and child abduction expertise to the group. Practice head Jo Hawkins is β€˜an immensely good judge of character’ and β€˜litigates firmly but fairly’. The other key figure is Loraine Davenport, who focuses on high net-worth ancillary relief.

Collins Solicitors advises clients on all divorce and separation disputes, including ancillary relief cases and matters for high net-worth individuals, and the practice is also strong in Children Act work. Key figures include managing partner Paul McGinley, who advises on public and private children matters, divorce, finance and domestic violence injunctions; and Will Collins, whose expertise includes personal injury and family law.

Garside & Hoy’s β€˜knowledgeable and goal-driven’ group provides β€˜excellent response times and good value for money’. The team has notable expertise in financial settlements, particularly where foreign assets and jurisdiction issues are involved, and highlights included acting for a client in multi-jurisdictional divorce and financial proceedings involving Iran and the UK. The β€˜highly experienced’ Bernadette Hoy heads the practice and is β€˜meticulous, pragmatic and determined’; she has β€˜an extensive network of contacts within the legal profession’ and β€˜a great ability to turn challenging situations around in a relatively short space of time’.

Longmores Solicitors LLP is β€˜a highly competent regional firm’ which provides β€˜proactive and proportionate advice’, and the team’s β€˜wealth of experience allows them to achieve terrific outcomes for their clients’. The practice focuses on mid to high-value financial cases, private children matters and nuptial agreements, and also regularly advises on cohabitee disputes. Team head Anna Baptist β€˜leaves no stone unturned’ and β€˜balances diligence with keeping a close eye on the proportionality of any course of action’. Tracey Dargan is the other key practitioner, and is β€˜a proactive lawyer who goes above and beyond to deliver the right advice to clients facing personal challenges’.

Machins Solicitors LLP’s β€˜professional, knowledgeable and experienced’ team β€˜provides an excellent service to all of its clients’, and is β€˜very easy to work with’. The practice is noted for its expertise in child-related cases, handling applications for special guardianship orders, international adoption and high-cost cases involving non-accidental injuries, among other matters. Practice head Liz Oldham has β€˜an outstanding demeanour and level of professionalism at court’; Martin Oldham represents parents and children in both public and private law cases; and Sarah Batha is recommended for complex matters involving non-accidental injury and sexual abuse, along with foreign adoption proceedings.

Nockolds Solicitors’ β€˜competent and reliable’ team advises high net-worth clients based in London on financial matters, often with an international element, and also acts for bankers and directors in family issues involving business arrangements. The team also assists with the transfer of assets abroad, and provides mediation services in cases involving children. Key figure Lynn Cowley has notable expertise in dealing with property and assets based in Spain, and also advises on cohabitation and pensions issues. Peter Dodd is β€˜a solution-oriented mediator’, who has β€˜a practical, lateral-thinking approach’ and handles high net-worth divorces, child-related issues and inheritance-related disputes. Zen Thompson is recommended for divorce proceedings, civil partnership issues, cohabitee rights and financial matters arising from relationship breakdown.

Pictons Solicitors LLP has a strong reputation in financial matters arising from divorce and separation, and is experienced in dealing with family trusts, business valuations and foreign assets. Additionally, the team advises on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and has solid expertise in children’s issues. Qualified family mediator Siobhan Rooney is the main practitioner, representing clients in local courts and advising on separation issues. Other key individuals include managing partner Sukh Saini, who focuses on financial matters, and Amy Chesterfield, who specialises in divorce and dissolution, transfer of tenancy and pension assets.

The β€˜responsive and knowledgeable’ group at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is praised for its β€˜empathetic and professional’ approach, and for β€˜providing a high standard of technical advice’. The practice specialises in high-value financial cases, advising on the valuation of international property, inherited assets, farms and pre- and post-marital agreements. Clients include a mix of company directors, business owners, solicitors and medical professionals, among others. Key figure Jane Charlton β€˜pays great attention to detail’ and is β€˜timely, responsive and well-prepared, and has a lot of gravitas when settling complex matters’.

The β€˜strong family department’ at Slater and Gordon β€˜always goes the extra mile’ and β€˜identifies the key issues at an early stage, adopting a solution-focused approach to achieving the clients’ aims’. The firm acts for clients in mediation, collaborative law forums, arbitration and financial dispute resolution hearings to resolve the full range of disputes including divorce proceedings, civil partnership dissolutions and financial settlements, and also has a strong record in child-related matters. Hannah Cornish β€˜works incredibly hard for her clients, deftly navigating difficult opponents’; her specialisms include international issues and contested relocation matters. Former group head Caroline Watson joined Shoosmiths in September 2017.

Sumner & Tabor Solicitors’ team is β€˜very responsive’ and β€˜determined to meet the needs of its clients’. The practice primarily advises high net-worth individuals, its client base including a mix of bankers, business owners and entrepreneurs, and it regularly utilises mediation, arbitration and collaborative law to settle complex financial remedy cases. The team is headed by β€˜expert leader’ Kathryn Ainsworth, who is β€˜forward-thinking and really has her finger on the pulse of each case’. β€˜Excellent mediator’ and β€˜collaborative practitioner’ Richard Phillips, who joined from IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) in 2016, brings significant dispute resolution and family law expertise to the department.

Taylor Walton LLP’s team deals with the full range of family-related disputes, including those related to family trusts, cohabitee issues, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and contact and residence issues in relation to children. Practice head Aileen Hartnett specialises in high net-worth divorce proceedings and collaborative work; Ben Twitchen advises on separation and children matters; and Natalie Hughes is recommended for issues involving a cross-border element.

Tees Law is β€˜a well-known and highly regarded practice in the region’ and provides β€˜an excellent service to a consistently high standard’. Key areas of specialism include financial matters involving estate planning and farming land, financial remedy proceedings involving property, and matters involving overseas assets. Practice head Sally Powell β€˜provides sensible, hands-on advice’ and β€˜always achieves the best result for clients while keeping the other party closely in mind’. β€˜Commercially aware lawyer’ David Redfern, who stands out for his β€˜patience and excellent judgement’, is also noted.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Woodfines LLP β€˜builds trusted relationships with its clients’ and β€˜can guide them through difficult and painful legal areas with compassion and professionalism’. Department head John Egan undertakes the full range of matrimonial work including private children’s law, Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 applications and financial remedy matters; John Leadbeater advises on divorce proceedings, high net-worth family finance cases and childcare issues; and Sonia Topiwala is recommended for forced marriage and High Court jurisdiction matters.

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Legal Developments in South East for Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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