The Legal 500

South West

United Kingdom > South West > Private client > Family


Burges Salmon LLP has a comprehensive practice across financial settlements, pre-nuptial agreements, asset protection and estate planning. The ‘very experienced and client-focusedCatherine Hallam heads the practice. Sarah Woodsford is recommended for her handling of complex international cases, and was recently promoted to partner.

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘excellent for all aspects of divorce’. Team head Gareth Schofield is currently acting in a complex divorce involving multiple jurisdictions. Daniel Eames also has international expertise, and ‘his knowledge of European legislation is second to none’.

Specialist family law firm Hartnell Chanot & Partners fields a 31-strong team ‘committed to providing an excellent service to clients’. Its expertise spans financial settlements following separation, for which team head Caroline Ryan is recommended, and childcare proceedings. It also has a niche grandparent access practice, led by Stephen Sowden.

Stephens Scown LLP’s family team handles divorces for high-net-worth individuals, advises on pre-nuptial agreements, and is singled out for its childcare work, ‘with a primary focus on the child being evident’. Liz Allen, Michael Lowry and Jo Stone are all recommended.

Ashfords LLP handles a wide range of divorce and childcare matters. Rachel Daniells is acting for a husband in divorce and Children Act proceedings involving shareholdings in Germany and alcohol abuse.

The merger between Harrison Clark LLP and Rickerbys LLP has resulted in a sizeable family team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Carolyn Green is praised for her ‘efficacy and clarity of purpose’, and Barbara Jordan ‘will do all that she is able to secure a good result for clients’.

Valued for her ‘emotional intelligence, mettle and gift for making complicated concepts sound simple’, Alison Hawes has been instrumental in building up Irwin Mitchell’s practice in the region. She assists high-net-worth individuals in relation to pre-nuptial agreements and relationship breakdowns.

Michelmores LLP’s Zoe Porter is ‘an astute lawyer who looks after her clients very well’. The ‘highly experiencedSimon Thomas regularly acts in complex ancillary relief cases.

Stone King LLP’s family team handles the full range of matrimonial work, and has particular experience in ADR mechanisms; team head John Brownrigg is a trained mediator noted for his ability to instil confidence in clients.

At TLT LLP, head of family David Woodward is ‘one of the most experienced practitioners in the area’. He is a qualified mediator and specialises in complex financial matters. David Wheeler is highly rated for his international child abduction expertise.

Thrings LLP handles a full range of matrimonial matters and Children Act proceedings. Team head Matthew Kellow has ‘exemplary client-facing skills’.

Collaborative practitioner Tracy Lambert leads Tozers LLP’s family team and has built up the firm’s high-net-worth matrimonial practice. Tony Wood leads its specialist publicly funded practice from Newton Abbot.

Wilsons is ‘an outstanding firm in matrimonial finance’. Practice head Christopher Nisbetprovides exceptional client service as well as pertinent, pragmatic and cost-aware advice’.

Withy King LLP’s four-partner family team includes a number of trained mediators and collaborative lawyers. Team head Richard Ellis and Katherine Moody are highly recommended for their expertise in children law.

The ‘extremely efficient and helpful’ Elizabeth Saunders leads BPE Solicitors LLP’s family team, and acts in high-value divorces.

Martin Davis, a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, heads the family team at Battens Solicitors Limited.

Crosse & Crosse fields a dedicated family law team with specialists in areas such as relationship and finance, children, and domestic abuse.

Everys has particular strength in child protection and guardianship matters.

Foot Anstey’s Mark Chanter is a specialist in family finance work. The team saw the departure of two partners.

Victoria Daniell heads the family department at Gregg Latchams LLP, and specialises in matrimonial finance.

Laceys handles all aspects of matrimonial disputes, with collaborative lawyer Jonathan Talbott leading the department.

Lester Aldridge LLP’s Jane Porter ‘heads a very efficient and knowledgeable team’ that offers a broad service covering cohabitation disputes, financial remedies, Children Act proceedings, and pre-nuptial agreements. John Randle left to join Darbys Solicitors LLP.

Mogers Solicitors LLP’s family team recently settled complex divorce proceedings involving failures to disclose assets and injunction proceedings.

Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors fields a team of four solicitors handling divorce and ancillary relief matters, care proceedings and pre-nuptial agreements.

At niche firm Natalie Gamble Associates, Natalie Gamble has ‘an understanding of fertility law that is second to none’.

Maggie Roberts heads Pardoes’ family practice, having joined from Foot Anstey.

Parker Bullen LLP has particular expertise in working with armed forces personnel on family matters.

At Porter Dodson, Richard Baker is a well-regarded collaborative lawyer, and Louisa Ghevaert has a niche fertility law practice.

David Stokes heads a five-solicitor family team at Stokes Partners LLP.

Stones Solicitors LLP specialises in children matters, ranging from adoption, contact and emigration issues to care proceedings.

Trethowans LLP’s family team is recommended for its ‘cost-effective advice’ and case management skills.

Willans LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals in separation-led financial and childcare issues. James Grigg is highly regarded.

Wolferstans’ team includes mediators experienced in a range of children-related issues.

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Legal Developments in South West for Family

  • 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

Legal Developments in the UK

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  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

Press Releases in the UK

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