James Freeman leads the team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, which remains a 'real stalwart in the family law community', advising on the highest value and most complex cases, frequently with an international dimension. It has particular expertise in cases involving onshore and offshore trust structures, advising beneficiaries, settlors, trustees and other interested parties on complex trust matters in the context of family disputes. The team frequently works with the firm's other practices, such as its corporate department, to fully advise its clients, many of whom are successful business owners, on divorce cases. It has also carved out considerable niche expertise in areas such as the international movement of children, surrogacy and international adoption. Sarah Anticoni is a known name for her work on family mediations. Miranda Fisher deals with complex international financial disputes and the most difficult children cases. Sarah Higgins has a particular focus on complex financial applications involving family businesses and William Longrigg specialises in international divorce, financial relief and private law children cases.
Firms in the Spotlight Family
Hughes Fowler Carruthers
Hughes Fowler Carruthers was established in July 2001. The firm is led by Frances Hughes, who has been consistently rated as a leading individual in this publication over many years. All partners are internationally acclaimed for the exceptional standard of their work. The other partners are Pauline Fowler, Alex Carruthers, Mark Harper, Renato Labi, Caroline …View Profile...
Family in London
Other key lawyers:
‘All-round strength in the family team with a number of well-known partners. The team’s work is always of high quality and it has good clients. James Freeman is very bright, sensible and realistic. Always trying to find acceptable solutions and moving things forward in a constructive way‘
‘James Freeman is an excellent lawyer – thoughtful, measured and a superb strategist. His thoughtful, tactical and insightful approach means that he stays one step ahead of his opponents‘
‘The partners bring many years of experience and an unparalleled wealth of knowledge and are supported by outstanding assistants; together they create a formidable team. William Longrigg has superb judgement and always looks to find a pragmatic solution without rushing into litigation unless that is what is required. His expertise in international disputes is second to none‘
‘Miranda Fisher goes the extra mile and is very experienced in finance and international children work. James Freeman is authoritative and tactically superb. Josh Green is awesome – a future main player‘
‘William Longrigg is one of the most charming characters in family law. He is highly respected and hugely experienced‘
‘William Longrigg is a consummate family law ambassador and approaching elder statesman status. An astute mind and huge experience‘
‘The team genuinely and evidently cares about the outcome for the client and about the client’s welfare throughout the proceedings. Sarah Higgins is a natural communicator and a calm presence throughout a stressful period in the client’s life. She sees to the core of the matter‘
‘Erica Shelton is robust and firm, but does not inflame situations or draw them out unnecessarily. She is able to make a frightening and stressful time seem manageable. Her clients have complete confidence in her‘
Dawson Cornwell is a ‘firm of exceptionally dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable solicitors with an unparalleled case load of high-profile and complex international family law cases’. The team is noted for ‘its coverage of all areas of family law, from big-money divorce cases to international child abduction, surrogacy, and legal aid and care proceedings’. The team has recently been involved in many ground-breaking cases including three which reached the Court of Appeal and two which reached the Supreme Court. The team, which features the ‘super bright’ Kate Allen, has an outstanding children department and significant cross-border capabilities. Other strengths lie in advising on stranded spouse protection orders, surrogacy and parentage arrangements. Zoë Fleetwood is accustomed to dealing with very serious cases involving non-accidental injuries to children, sexual abuse, trafficking, jurisdiction disputes and placements overseas.
Other key lawyers:
‘Kate Allen is in a league of her own and is committed to achieving the best outcome for the client. She is exceptionally bright, very proactive and hands-on, and very creative in her thinking. Committed to avoiding court whenever possible. An excellent but tough opponent and an absolute pleasure to deal with both personally and professionally’
‘Zoë Fleetwood is an amazing solicitor. Her preparation is meticulous and she has a good common-sense approach to difficult issues, as well as managing client expectations which allows them to have realistic goals. Caroline Korah is one of the best and brightest associates around. She has a lovely manner with clients and is clearly destined to follow in the footsteps of the other partners in her team‘
‘Carolina Marin Pedreño has strong experience at the highest level of international cases. Her tactical judgement is excellent, and her international links and knowledge are impressive‘
‘Colin Rogerson is an expert in international surrogacy cases, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of law and practice in this field, and a meticulous approach to tactics. Zoë Fleetwood is senior and experienced, and has helped to shape the modern law on relocation‘
‘Russell Bywater has great judgement combined with a down-to-earth manner. He is canny but charming, a real gem. Lisette Dupré is very knowledgeable about jurisdiction issues in matrimonial finance cases. Colin Rogerson is well connected and well respected for his surrogacy work’
‘Jessica Reid is an excellent choice: measured, responsive, great on paper and in person. Amy Barrow is an extremely impressive associate. She has an enthusiasm for academic learning which serves her extremely well. She is destined to go a long way in the field‘
- Acted for the appellant, Mr Villiers, in the Supreme Court appeal considering whether the courts of England and Wales have the power to stay an application for maintenance pursuant to section 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 on the grounds of forum non conveniens when divorce proceedings are taking place in Scotland.
- Acted in the only cross-border children case to reach the UK Supreme Court in 2019, acting for the appellant mother.
- Acted for the intervener, Southall Black Sisters, in a case about the ability to make forced marriage protection orders in respect of a competent adult who opposes it.
Family Law in Partnership Ltd has been active advising on a significant number of high-value matters with an international dimension. The 'highly experienced and sensible' team is known for its strength across the full range of dispute resolution, from litigation to complex mediation, arbitration and collaborative work, and is praised for its ‘clear and peer-leading commitment to resolution of cases away from the court process where possible, whilst having huge experience in managing litigation’. Recent work has included advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements, substantial financial claims on divorce, private children law matters, and matters relating to same-sex relationships, such as civil partnership and relationship agreements. Gillian Bishop and David Allison are among the names to note in a team that is highlighted for its 'absolute strength in depth', in addition to Daniel Coombes, who has particular expertise in high-net-worth and international finance cases and complicated children cases. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP London family asset protection head Elizabeth Hicks joined as a director in October 2020; two associates including Alexie Bonavia followed her in the move.
Other key lawyers:
Gillian Bishop; David Allison; James Pirrie; Elizabeth Fletcher; Bradley Williams; Harriet Burge ; Daniel Coombes; Helen Greenfield; Nicole Hackett ; Nicole Phillips; Mariko Wilson; Pamela Collis; Elizabeth Hicks; Charlotte Symes
‘FLiP is the family law firm that other firms aspire to be. It has a modern, progressive way of working and a focus upon reaching an early amicable settlement wherever possible’
‘FLiP offers the complete service in mediation, arbitration, conciliation and litigation and has a skilled and specialised lawyer for each platform. David Allison is probably one of the most sane and sensible lawyers I know. He understands the gravity and complexity of complicated financial arrangements, which he is able to unravel without fuss or fanfare. He is efficient, modest and a pleasure to work with‘
‘David Allison has an exceptional knowledge and ability to see the wood for the trees. He always has his client’s interests at heart but calmly assesses each situation as and when it arises. His experience as a mediator is evident in his prioritising of the client’s interests over the process‘
‘Gillian Bishop remains a star lawyer. Harriet Burge is incredibly kind and understanding but also very professional and efficient. Elizabeth Fletcher and James Pirrie are truly outstanding. James is an exceptionally talented, forward-thinking and creative family lawyer, who is always promoting his clients’ interest with vigour. Overall, a top-class outfit‘
‘Significant knowledge and experience of the international aspects of the cases and contesting matters in different jurisdictions, and of assembling the right team to contest complex disputes. Bradley Williams displays all of the qualities referred to here and is a pleasure to work with – he is incredibly hardworking and adopts a sound tactical approach‘
‘Dan Coombes has the most impressive attention to detail I have ever seen in a solicitor. Absolutely meticulous in his preparation yet able to see the wood for the trees and provide coherent strategic advice right from the get-go. An absolute pleasure to work with‘
‘Helen Greenfield is no-nonsense, effective and a problem solver. She is direct and pragmatic, and never shies away from litigation if needed. Nicole Hackett has a pragmatic approach which is informed by years of experience and good judgement‘
‘Mariko Wilson is hugely impressive – a powerhouse of industry, enthusiasm and good humour, and a very shrewd litigator to boot. Definitely a rising star to watch. Pamela Collis is a wise and hugely experienced family law practitioner who strikes exactly the right balance of firmness and common sense‘
‘Liz Hicks is a force of nature, very bright and keen to motivate her team‘
‘Liz Hicks is a standout practitioner. She is the whole package, technically good, has warmth in abundance and is completely committed to her clients‘
‘Liz Hicks is one of the doyennes of family law. She is highly respected and a safe pair of hands‘
‘Elizabeth Hicks is a true star of her generation. She has the intelligence, talent and charm to attract clients.’
‘Alexie Bonavia is excellent. She has insight and compassion in spades and clients love her‘
‘I was very happy with the work done for me by Charlotte Symes. I chose Charlotte from personal recommendations and was not disappointed. I found her team efficient and effective, and we were able to deal with the matter without a court hearing. From wide experience of other legal practices in different settings, I would judge the team’s performance to be top quartile.’
Farrer & Co is 'one of the go-to firms for high-value, complex and international financial cases' involving substantial assets and complicated asset protection structures where there are a myriad of trust and tax issues. It acts for a range of ultra-high-net-worth families and international clients in cases that span multiple jurisdictions, and is also known for its heavyweight expertise in complex children matters. The team regularly advises on issues such as abduction, relocation and mirror orders, as well as obtaining safeguards in the event of temporary leave to remove. The department, which is praised for its 'strong team leadership at partner level that is supported by some excellent and up-and-coming associates', is led by William Massey, who has wide experience in money and children cases, with a particular emphasis on complex financial situations. Flora Harragin was promoted to the partnership and associate Alexander Woolley joined from Winckworth Sherwood LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘A powerhouse group of family solicitors at all levels under one roof, delivering the highest quality legal advice and service. The strength in depth at Farrers can be found very rarely across the division. Simon Bruce, William Massey, Claire Gordon, Sarah Hutchinson, Eliza Hebditch and Flora Harragin are all exceptional lawyers who care about the clients in a way that others lawyers can only be envious of‘
‘Farrers’ very strong team provides a Rolls-Royce service with the intellectual horsepower to match it. The team is discreet and judicious. William Massey and Claire Gordon are top family law practitioners, Sarah Hutchinson has a lovely manner with clients and very good instincts, and Flora Harragin is charming but tough – a great combination‘
‘This is the smartest firm in London. It’s a quality product from top to bottom. The partners and associates are all first rate. Its reputation is second to none. This is the go-to firm for divorce in London. Simon Bruce exudes calm confidence and his clients trust him for it. Caroline Holley’s judgement is second to none and her people skills are top notch‘
‘Claire Gordon is simply brilliant. She has a fine legal mind and works tirelessly for her clients, but is prepared to tell them where to settle at the appropriate moment. She is a powerhouse: she exudes reassuring confidence, and gets the job done with efficiency, skill, professionalism and kindness‘
‘Eliza Hebditch cares passionately about her clients. She works incredibly hard to get the best outcome possible – ideally by negotiation but she is not afraid of a fight if the case doesn’t settle. She is equally at home on children cases and big-money financial cases. A star‘
‘Sarah Hutchinson is an absolute star of the team and a pleasure to work with. Caroline Holley and Sarah Hutchinson are great new faces of Farrer and are very approachable‘
‘Eliza Hebditch is a cool head in a crisis. She is a brilliant lawyer. William Massey is one of the finest solicitors in the country. He knows the law inside out and he is held in the very highest regard by all in the profession‘
‘Freddie Tatham has great legal skills and a polished manner. He is breathtakingly clear – every word he says is spot on and easily understood. Rose Spencer Longhurst’s quiet and understated manner serves her clients well – she is very bright and combines her wealth of knowledge with emotional intelligence‘
- Continuing to act for the husband in a major case which has now resulted in two reported decisions – one at Court of Appeal level and one at High Court level.
- Acting for the trustees in relation to the wife’s claims against the husband beneficiary (whose notional share was valued at £106m) in a case that has seen a number of reported decisions, including AF v SF  EWHC 1224 (Fam).
- Acting for the wife in the first reported case of a second financial remedies final order being set aside on the basis of a second fraudulent non-disclosure.
Hughes Fowler Carruthers has acted in a very high number of key reported cases and remains a firm of choice for high-value cases (in excess of £1bn) and for pre and post-nuptial agreements, especially those that span multiple jurisdictions. It also has expertise in the legal issues surrounding same-sex relationships. The 'outstanding team' is led by the 'peerless' Frances Hughes, who has been highly active advising stars in the film, music, stage and art world on a variety of financial family law applications, usually involving complex tax issues and international elements. Hughes also advises on child abduction and other unusual children’s issues. Pauline Fowler is also highly respected, along with Mark Harper, Renato Labi and Alex Carruthers. Caroline Park is frequently engaged in the most complex, cross-jurisdictional divorce and financial remedy cases, as well as handling pre and post-nuptial agreements and contested children cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘Hughes Fowler Carruthers remains one of the strongest finance litigation teams in the country‘
‘There are no weak links. The firm is capable of dealing with every area of family law and offers an unrivalled all-round expertise. I cannot recommend the team more highly. Frances Hughes is in my view the best solicitor practising in this area of the law. She has been in numerous reported cases; she is also a trained mediator and this indicates that she can settle cases as well as contest them. What is remarkable about her is her ability to get to the heart of the problem‘
‘No other firm has two family law superstars: Frances Hughes and Mark Harper. Frances Hughes is the toughest divorce solicitor in the country. She gets the best cases and knows just how to handle them. Mark Harper has tremendous litigation experience. He has been handling huge cases for many, many years‘
‘Hughes, Fowler and Carruthers is a small firm, which makes it feel less intimidating than some of the larger firms. You get the sense that this firm cherry picks the best of the best. From the staff at the front desk to the junior solicitors to the partners, they are all on the top of their game. Absolutely brilliant’
‘Pauline Fowler is a brilliant solicitor. She was incredibly professional and knowledgeable, but was also empathic, thoughtful and very kind when navigating the complex and nuanced family dynamic at play in my case. I simply could not have got through that experience without her. Her insight is second to none and I could not recommend her and her team highly enough. Formidable yet personable‘
‘Caroline Park is outstanding – she very strong, a tough but fair opponent and very pragmatic‘
‘Frances Hughes is a fearless litigator who consistently achieves fantastic results in cases that are too close to call. Alex Carruthers is a tough negotiator who knows when to fight a case. Renato Labi has a first-rate legal mind. He is charming to his clients but tenacious with the opposition‘
‘Bryan Jones is a rising star. Having learned at the feet of Frances Hughes, he is now handling very big cases himself. Kate Brett is also excellent. Archie Best is a talented associate who works very well with Mark‘
- Acting in Potanin v Potanina  EWHC 2956 (Fam), a landmark, multi-billion pound case on the application of Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.
- Instructed by the Official Solicitor to act for the husband, who had been held to lack the relevant capacity to litigate, in the high-value case of AF v SF  EWHC 1224.
- Instructed by the parties’ son, against whom the mother is seeking orders for disclosure and the recovery of funds paid to him by his father, while the son is challenging the funding arrangements of the mother, who had obtained the largest reported award on any divorce in the English courts.
Mishcon de Reya LLP is frequently instructed on complex high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth cases, often with an international element involving tax and trust issues, substantial assets and partnerships. It is best known for its litigation prowess in matrimonial finance cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court and the Privy Council. The 'stellar' team is led by Barbara Reeves; 'from the trainees to the senior partners, everyone excels - the whole team exudes confidence and professionalism'. Reeves has acted in a number of leading cases and receives regular instructions from UHNW clients, particularly in the Far East, as well as handling financial provision cases for the children of unmarried parents. Sandra Davis is also highly recommended and is a keen advocate of the voices of children and young people throughout the divorce and parental separation process. Other names to note include Kate Clark and Claire Yorke.
Other key lawyers:
‘Barbara Reeves is a phenomenal strategist and litigator well ahead of her peers’
‘It is a phenomenal department. Barbara Reeves is clear sighted and a very tough but very polite opponent, well respected, sensible, intelligent and diligent‘
‘Barbara Reeves really is head and shoulders above her peers. A background in commercial law has given Barbara the ability to respond fast and efficiently no matter how much pressure is applied. She always sees right into the heart of a problem and has the rare capacity to understand how to manage individual needs in individual situations. Each client gets the bespoke package that they need‘
‘Sandra Davis is by far the best family law solicitor in London. She knows everyone and everything. She is quietly confident and a total rock for all her clients. She is an exceptional practitioner who goes above and beyond. She has endless drive and energy to get a good result, and has excellent judgment. She is extremely personable, astute and unflappable‘
‘Kate Clark is very impressive. She is very straight talking and accessible – you can pick up the phone with her and have a sensible discussion‘
‘Kate Clark is a first-rate lawyer who does not sugarcoat her advice. Claire Yorke has developed a rich and interesting practice by dint of hard work and ability. Emma Willing impresses with her hard work and dedication to her cases. She has extraordinary tact and patience with clients. Dan Beattie is a great lawyer. He gives realistic and sensible advice. His judgement is spot on‘
‘David Lister is brilliant. He has a winning sense of humour and a real spark which clients love. Claire Yorke outperforms all her peers. She has the confidence to handle the biggest cases against all the big players – she takes the opposition head on and invariably wins. She can turn a case around with one letter‘
‘James Rees has a delightful manner and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. He is always available and willing to help. Robert Hines is bright and wise beyond his years. He can really read a case. He identifies pitfalls and prevents his clients from falling into them, and has the ability to recognise strengths and weakness and play his cards just right’
Payne Hicks Beach is 'the go-to for high-value, complex matrimonial disputes', acting for a wide range of high-profile and very wealthy clients. The team 'gets the best cases and the best results': it regularly appears in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal and has developed considerable strength in diverse areas such as nuptial agreements, the treatment of pre-acquired and inherited wealth (in the context of financial remedies), and the international relocation of children. Under the leadership of Philip McGuirk and Rebecca Cockcroft, the department recently launched a fertility and surrogacy team, as well as adding to its ranks with the arrival of Nicholas Bennett from Farrer & Co. Other names to note in the 'top-class and standout department' are Ian Airey and the 'incomparable, super-energetic, robust and committed' Baroness Fiona Shackleton.
Other key lawyers:
‘The PHB team with Baroness Shackleton has the ability to secure and retain work from the most high-profile clients. The lawyers are able to offer clients not only the highest level of legal services but also a very down-to-earth sense of being cared for and in good hands. Not many others manage this in the same way. There is strong focus on team work so that whilst a number of individuals may be engaged in a case, there is a real sense of unity‘
‘Baroness Shackleton is one of the greatest family lawyers ever. She handles an incredible work load, has a very finely tuned sense of direction for each case and is a brilliant strategic thinker. She is very attentive to her team and fosters loyalty and support from them‘
‘A standout firm which rightly deserves its place as the go-to for high-value, complex matrimonial disputes. It is in a class of its own. Rebecca Cockcroft and Catherine Costley are both fantastic. Rebecca is leading the team brilliantly and brings a fresh, dynamic approach which clients love. Catherine is extremely well respected. Baroness Shackleton remains the star of the firm‘
‘The family team at PHB is geared towards finding solutions in all cases, but is particularly good at dealing with those which others might find intractable. It is a firm without weaknesses, attracting the very best clients, boasting a hugely talented team and consistently delivering an exceptional service‘
‘Fiona Brown and Catherine Costley are in a class of their own. Rebecca Cockcroft is now one of the leading lights. Matthew Booth is superb – he is charming, urbane and unflappable’
‘Philip McGuirk is a natural choice for the A-list client; he brings calm, focused brilliance to his cases. Simon Beccle is hugely experienced with a very loyal client base. Ian Airey is intelligent and authoritative. Emily Foy is immensely able‘
‘Payne Hicks Beach is a firm of great heritage which maintains the highest of standards’
‘Ben Parry-Smith attracts great confidence from clients. Nick Manners is a very smart and measured associate. He is a careful thinker and a very hard worker. He brings great strength to the cases he works on‘
Stephen Foster heads the sizeable practice at Stewarts Law LLP; he 'leads the team impeccably and is a great strategist - you want him on your side for the big-ticket divorces'. The team, which is 'bursting with top-flight litigators of every persuasion', is able to handle a large number of high-value cases due to the real strength and depth throughout its ranks. It has built up a wealth of experience in complex, high-value and often international work, with many of its cases involving assets in excess of £500m and several running into the billions. It has also been involved in several significant reported cases recently. The 'highly strategic' Helen Ward is another key member of the team, while the 'intelligent, experienced and impressive' Emma Hatley receives a lot of plaudits and Debbie Chism is also recommended. Associate Lewis Powers joined the team from Josiah-Lake Gardiner Solicitors in May 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘Helen Ward is the standout family lawyer of her generation. In any contested family situation she must be on your client’s side. I am increasingly impressed by Emma Hatley. She is an authoritative performer and is clearly Helen’s successor as the standout family lawyer of her generation. She has a great way of finding consensus’
‘In particular since Stephen Foster has been leading at Stewarts Law, I have noted only the most exceptional client service grounded in commercial common sense, whilst maintaining the human and personal angle high up the agenda. For someone who leads such a large and high-profile team, it is a little known fact that Stephen is often heavily involved at the coal face for his clients and this is a particular strength of him and the partner team‘
‘There is a team of highly skilled partners as leaders. Leadership is strong, and teamwork is excellent. The sharp focus of the minds of Sam Longworth, Emma Hatley and Toby Atkinson is refreshing, making it a joy to work with those individuals‘
‘Richard Hogwood is always on top of every detail – everything is considered and done before anyone has asked. A brilliant team player‘
‘Emma Hatley is hugely experienced, tough but calm‘
‘Emma Hatley is outstanding: she is pragmatic, goal oriented, focused, creative, constructive, intelligent and experienced. Richard Hogwood is calm, competent and constructive‘
‘Emma Hatley is just so elegant in the way she runs her cases, what points to put forward, and how to win a case. She does not score unnecessary points‘
‘Debbie Chism is a fabulous lawyer. She is hugely supportive of her clients and endlessly good humoured‘
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
- Acted for the wife, who received one of the highest recorded English divorce awards at first instance, having overcome the husband’s claim that she should be held to an Italian marital agreement in the leading case on severely restricting the application of the special contribution principle.
- Representing the wife in a multi-jurisdictional case with assets of $5bn held through a complex web of offshore corporate and trust structures, which involves a multitude of issues around the status of an agreement reached directly between the parties post-separation, worldwide enforcement and allegations of corporate fraud.
- Acting for a client who built up (along with his sibling) business assets running into billions of pounds, in a case involving complex issues of liquidity, trust and business structures and competing family interests.
Withers LLP has enormous experience in complex international cases thanks to the firm's 'global reach with excellent support from its private client platform'. With its worldwide footprint across Europe, the US and Asia, it is uniquely placed to advise on multi-jurisdictional cases from forum races to pre and post-nuptial agreements, as well as cases involving complex overseas trust and business structures and international child relocation matters. The 'exceptional' team continues to act in a host of reported and precedent-setting cases. 'Very good communicator' Suzanne Todd leads the team, which has 'true stars at every level' and 'bags of talent'. Notable names include Diana Parker, who is a 'top lawyer with a great intellect and strategic judgement'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Withers LLP remains to my mind the leading blue-chip firm in financial remedy work. Diana Parker remains the leading light in this team‘
‘Withers has a warm welcoming vibe. Everyone is smart, good at their role and respectful of colleagues. All are very bright and confident in their own abilities without being arrogant‘
‘Julian Lipson is a star who is at the top of his game, as are Diana Parker and Suzanne Todd. Suzanne has an additional string to her bow in her expertise in cases with an Italian aspect‘
‘Diana Parker is straight talking, very bright and defends her clients very effectively. Michael Gouriet goes the extra mile and really works hard to find a solution. He is very experienced in cohabitation cases and complex and multi-jurisdictional disputes’
‘Julian Lipson is one of the most efficient and charming family lawyers. He doesn’t take bad points, has good judgement and is very well respected in the industry. Suzanne Todd is no nonsense and hardworking. Kate Landells is very capable‘
‘Suzanne Todd has a razor-sharp legal mind and a non-confrontational, practical approach. It is clear that the rest of the team enjoys working with her. The Withers team is very professional, yet welcoming‘
‘Katharine Landalls has an exceptional ability to see the strategic big picture whilst retaining a critical eye for the detail. In my experience, she is highly adept at managing more challenging clients‘
‘Very capable and well-trained associates’
- Represented Mrs Christoforou in highly contested proceedings following the making of a final order following her divorce from her husband and, in particular, proceedings related to the removal of olive trees by her husband from a property in Cyprus which was ordered to be transferred to her.
Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP is a 'strong' boutique family firm that is known for acting for high-profile clients in the most difficult financial and private children law cases. Recently partners have been instructed in many cases featuring household names from the fields of politics, media and sports. It has particular strength in alternative dispute resolution and five of its partners are mediators. The team also includes a qualified financial arbitrator and six of its team are fellows of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. In addition, the practice is known for its involvement in European and Francophone cases, with William Healing in particular being well regarded for his work in this area. Tom Amlot has a thriving practice acting for international and other high-net-worth clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘A specialist and boutique family law firm. It is extremely organised and attracts high-quality work not through showy advertising or marketing strategies, but simply by being efficient and good at what it does‘
‘Magnus Mill is a specialist family lawyer who is also a top arbitrator, which ensures he is also looking towards an effective resolution of his client’s issues outside the formal court process‘
‘William Healing is an exceptional partner who really involves himself in cases. He is fluent in French and uses that to good advantage to attract foreign work. He also understands international and EU law to a high level and thinks deeply about the impact on his cases. What William Healing doesn’t know about Anglo-French family law issues isn’t worth knowing’
‘Tom Amlot combines charm and astute judgement. A gentleman of the profession who is a pleasure to work with. Katie Longmate is great with clients and able to provide clear and precise judgement. Sara Hannell and Magnus Mill are both superb‘
‘Sara Hannell is an exceptional lawyer. Her breadth of legal knowledge is second to none. She is an astute tactician who goes the extra mile to prepare and fight cases for her clients, achieving great results‘
‘Tom Amlot is an excellent lawyer who is great at dealing with international cases. He is both charming and tenacious‘
‘Katie Longmate is excellent. I have found Emma Harte to be an absolute delight to work with. She has sound judgement and a top-notch appreciation of the nuances of a case‘
‘Katie Longmate is an extremely effective and likeable family lawyer who listens carefully to her client’s instructions. She is then bright and tenacious enough to ensure the case is fought to success‘
Joanne Edwards leads the team at Forsters LLP, which offers clients the full spectrum of process options, covering mediation, litigation, private financial dispute resolution and arbitration. It has earned an excellent reputation for its work in complex financial cases, often involving multiple jurisdictions where there are often complicated trusts and other structures. In addition, it is frequently instructed by high-profile individuals in schedule 1 proceedings, and advises clients on relocating to England pre-marriage or during their marriage. The group also continues to develop its expertise in niche areas such as surrogacy, adoption, cohabitation and international child abduction. Other key members of the team include Rosie Schumm, Simon Blain and Matthew Brunsdon Tully.
Other key lawyers:
‘Forsters continues to go from strength to strength’
‘Joanne Edwards is indefatigable’
‘The team also has some excellent associates coming through, including Jamie Gaw and Dickon Ceadal’
‘It has high-quality lawyers who are doing superb work’
Freemans Solicitors is best known for its work in children’s law, advising on issues of parental separation, care proceedings and international work under the direction of Nina Hansen. Other key areas of work have included handling some of the most complex legal and factual cases relating to the serious non-accidental injury and death of children. Laura Coyle and Hilka Hollmann are also key members of the 'exceptionally strong' team. The financial team, headed by partner Mark Kosmin, is increasingly being recognised for its work with high-net-worth and vulnerable clients.
‘The team is truly dedicated to its clients and misses absolutely nothing in the preparation of the cases. Nothing passes this team by‘
‘It is simply superb. Nina Hansen is a truly excellent team head and lawyer. She is extremely experienced and is one of the few solicitors to be trusted by the UKSC, CoA and High Court to act as a solicitor-guardian in international child abduction cases. She is brilliant at developing trust with all of her clients, particularly the children who instruct her directly. She is a superb strategist’
‘It has a vast array of talent and an in-depth knowledge of everything from foreign adoption to child abduction. If I was in trouble I would want Laura Coyle at my side. She misses nothing. Her knowledge of the law is better than most judges and certainly most solicitors and barristers – she is fearsome’
‘Hilka Holmann is a top expert in international adoption and surrogacy cases. She has that uncanny knack of being able to see solutions to the most intractable problems facing her clients in this complex field. She never stops’
‘Hilka Hollmann and Nina Hansen are both hugely experienced and confidence-inspiring. Nina leads her team with considerable elan. Hilka is a brilliant tactician and a tenacious lawyer. She is robust, tenacious even, but not to the point of losing sight of what can be achieved by a collaborative approach. Laura Coyle is also fantastically able‘
‘ I trust Georgina Stavrou to have the client’s best interests at heart, and work in the most suitable way to get the necessary result. She is very personable and warm. Rebekah Gershuny is approachable and pragmatic, and keen to keep her clients out of court wherever possible‘
‘Mark Kosmin is knowledgeable, with a gentle yet firm manner which can be robust with clients when necessary’
Niche family practice Goodman Ray has a particularly strong reputation for children work but covers all facets of family law, with experience in both litigation and alternative dispute resolution. It has expertise in finances, private law children work and international cases, as well as matters relating to adoption, fertility, modern family structures, public law and domestic abuse. Other areas of strength include schedule 1 applications and finance cases where there are domestic or overseas assets in complex trust or corporate structures. Clients include high-net-worth individuals and those in the public eye. Peggy Ray, Trudi Featherstone and Jemma Dally are the names to note, along with respected practitioner Kevin Skinner.
‘A strong practice with a real focus on delivering high-quality legal advice with compassion. Trudi Featherstone is brilliant. She cares deeply about every client, and does her absolute best to steer them to the best outcome for them without the need for court proceedings where at all possible‘
‘Kevin Skinner is a brilliant children’s lawyer, particularly in international cases involving abduction and relocation. He has sound judgement. Clients simply love him because he is kind, advises in a straightforward way, and fights their corner’
‘Goodman Ray is one of our go-to firms for complicated legally aided work. We are particularly impressed by Tom Brownrigg, who also has a growing reputation as a mediator‘
‘Thomas Brownrigg is a strong legal presence. He is a powerhouse of legal knowledge and client management‘
‘Kevin Skinner is the standout performer for me. He is in the biggest cases, acting on really heavy cases involving issues like forced marriage, abduction and adoption. His client base is international and he is always in demand. I see him rising to the top‘
‘You want Emma Sherrington on your side – she is tenacious in fighting for her client’s interests and manages the most difficult cases within the firm. Peggy Ray is a leading light in the profession and hugely respected by everyone in family law, especially the judges‘
‘Jemma Dally goes above and beyond for her clients. I cannot praise her enough for all the hard work she put into my case and will be eternally grateful to her. Catriona Allan’s thorough, forensic and methodical approach to each and every case she works on ensures that no stone is left unturned‘
‘It has a strong mediation offering and is a go-to firm for complex children work with a number of recognised specialists‘
Catherine Bedford heads the well-established team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP, which includes Nicholas Westley and Mark Irving. The practice is recommended for its advice to high-net-worth clients with public profiles to protect, individuals from the business world, those with family wealth and clients whose wealth stems from their intellectual property. It regularly advises on pre and post-nuptial agreements, and is also recommended for its strength in complex and unusual children matters such as child abduction cases, and for its advice to same sex couples on both children and financial issues. Tom Farley-Hills left the firm to join Simons Muirhead Burton.
‘A stellar team that is getting stronger and stronger. There is a high standard throughout‘
‘Catherine Bedford is a superb family lawyer. Her client list is the envy of many. Her work rate is prodigious. She has sound judgement and always makes the right call. Her strategic overview is astute and first rate’
‘Catherine Bedford and her team have been exemplary, in every respect, through that time. Utterly professional and dedicated in their behaviour, wise in their advice and unflinchingly loyal to me as the client‘
‘Mark Irving is also one of the best lawyers I have worked with. Calm, clever and considered. You want him on your side. Every lawyer in this team is excellent‘
‘Catherine Bedford’s legal knowledge, judgement, sensitivity to the needs of the clients, industry and efficiency mean that she is among the top family law solicitors. Mark Irving and Lidia Cantele have also shown exceptional legal skills and judgement, all while working under great pressure’
‘In every sense, H&L represents the future of family law. Catherine Bedford is vastly experienced in family law and is responsible for driving the team forward in an energetic and collaborative way. She is a master tactician who is familiar with all the tricks of the trade and is never one to be caught out by the other side. Her advice is sensible and pragmatic, whilst she also knows how to fight a client’s corner hard when required’
‘What a team! It is flourishing under the leadership of Catherine Bedford, who is a force to be reckoned with. She brings with her a heady mix of ambition for her clients, an understanding of the necessity for well-placed pragmatism and a steely commitment to the cause’
‘Nick Westley is really easy to work with but he also rigorously pursues his clients’ best interests. Nick sees cases differently to most solicitors and can see what is likely to be achievable and can plot a route map for achieving the most difficult results. A brilliant lawyer and a tough negotiator but pragmatic and down to earth. Clients love him‘
Hunters Law LLP fields a 'super team with a wealth of experience', which acts largely for high-net-worth clients on the full range of issues from relationship inception to breakdown. The majority of its caseload relates to complex, high-value financial claims on divorce. Team head Henry Hood is particularly recommended for cases involving dynastic family assets, while Richard Kershaw frequently advises wives in private equity cases. Hetty Gleave has expertise in the art world and extensive finance and private law children practices, with a particular focus on child abduction and relocation. Both Jay Patel and newly promoted partner Amy Scollan are well regarded for their international work. Jo Carr-West is another key figure.
Other key lawyers:
‘A really excellent firm. Strength across the board in the family team and at all levels from senior partners to associates. Providing excellent value for money. Dedicated and committed and extremely supportive of its clients – providing sound and realistic advice with a proper eye on costs‘
‘All of the partners are extremely able, headed up by the king of rainmakers, the indomitable Henry Hood. The department now also has some of the best associates in London. It has such strength throughout‘
‘Henry Hood is extremely good, sensible and a very safe pair of hands – a class act who makes clients do the right thing‘
‘Henry Hood is urbane, charming and highly experienced. He keeps the temperature down in potentially acrimonious litigation. He is unflappable and committed to his clients, providing them with confidence, and gives sensible and pragmatic advice with a keen eye on costs‘
‘Jo Carr-West is very able and warm. She gives sensitive and sensible advice and has great client management skills. Hetty Gleave is extremely hardworking and fiercely committed to her clients. She gives excellent, balanced advice and is sensible and tough when it’s needed‘
‘Richard Kershaw is the most accomplished and hardworking solicitor. His analysis of the law is first rate, his client care unparalleled and the results he achieves for his clients way beyond what could reasonably be expected. Hetty Gleave and Jo Carr-West are also absolutely excellent‘
‘Amy Scollan is extremely bright and able and utterly committed to clients. She thinks outside the box and is excellent both on the detail and the wider picture. Nicole Derham is very smart, able and always cool under pressure‘
‘Jay Patel has a level-headed, calm approach but is determined. He is easy and pleasant to deal with, very approachable, always available for queries and efficient‘
The 'dream team' at Kingsley Napley LLP is recognised for representing ultra-high-net-worth and high-profile clients in highly contested and complex finance cases and children proceedings. It regularly acts for City professionals in negotiating incomes (including deferred bonuses and private equity investments) and issues such as variations to existing joint lives maintenance orders. In addition, it has extensive experience in cases where the main asset of the marriage is in a company structure and in cases involving third parties, trustees and interveners. 'Incredible team leader' Charlotte Bradley is recommended for her expertise in schedule 1 cases. Michael Rowlands, Jane Keir and Lauren Evans are also names to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Jane Keir and Charlotte Bradley are particularly impressive and the team boasts one of the strongest groups of associates in London, notably Connie Atkinson and Lauren Evans‘
‘A very strong family team taking on top-level cases, both children and finance related. Thorough, detailed preparation, excellent advice to clients, formidable representation in contested proceedings‘
‘Charlotte Bradley is an incredible team leader but also has a very busy case load. She has that wonderful ability to be both kind and empathetic to clients in distress but also retain objectivity and provide first-rate advice. Lauren Evans is one of the most impressive young lawyers I have met. I would recommend her on any complex case without reservation. Not only is she very clever but she gets everything done and is all over her cases‘
‘It has incredible partners but it also has some of the best assistants in family law. Jane Keir is a legend. She has the best judgement which, coupled with her people skills, puts her in a league of her own. She is a class act and has the rare combination of excellence and humility. Sital Fontenelle is one of the most energetic partners in family law, and her enthusiasm is infectious‘
‘Sital Fontenelle works hard to achieve the best results for her clients. She makes herself available 24/7. She is very dynamic, uses good judgement and is an excellent strategist‘
‘One of the team’s strengths lies in the fantastic camaraderie amongst the whole department that you do not always see at other top firms. You get the feeling that each lawyer gives their absolute all to one another just as they do for their clients. Sital Fontenelle in particular stands out for her tireless pursuit of doing right not only for her clients but for her team too‘
‘Cate Maguire displays a level of confidence and competence beyond her years. Connie Atkinson is a first-rate family lawyer: she has impressive intellect and exercises sound judgement on cases. She is careful, and that attention to detail shines through in her work’
‘Charlotte Bradley is always on top of her game. Abby Buckland is everything you want in a family lawyer. Super bright, excellent judgement and really willing to go the extra mile for her clients’
‘Will MacFarlane is a very approachable individual: he listens, understands and has the ability to cut through to challenge and question where needed. He leads from the front and has an in-depth knowledge of all the issues in hand, meaning he can guide his clients effectively and efficiently through the process’
‘Will MacFarlane is always two steps ahead of the latest legal developments and case strategy, while maintaining excellent client care and a highly polished legal service. He instils tremendous client confidence‘
- Acting for the wife in the case of RC v JC  EWHC 466 (Fam), succeeding in a rare claim for compensation for its client’s relationship generated disadvantage.
- Representing a high-profile high-net-worth individual in highly contested children proceedings involving a High Court appeal.
Levison Meltzer Pigott has a strong focus on cases with complex financial and international elements, often involving locating hidden assets, defending and attacking trust structures, and complicated jurisdictional disputes. The 'excellent' team is also recommended for its expertise in pre-nuptial agreements, advising some of the richest families in the world on protecting their wealth in the event of marriage breakdown. Team head Simon Pigott is experienced in both the financial and children-related aspects of divorce. Jeremy Levison is skilled in advising high-net-worth clients on complex financial settlements. Julian Ribet and Alistair Myles left to launch boutique firm Ribet Myles.
‘Simon Pigott stands out for his huge experience and measured approach. He is the archetypal lawyer you would want on your side.’
‘LMP has a brilliant team at both partner and associate level. It has senior partners who are amongst the most respected solicitors in family law, as well as up-and-coming partners who are likely to be the next leaders in their field’
‘A small and perfectly formed team of top-class legal experts able to deliver a tailored top-drawer service to each and every client. Small but mighty. ‘
‘Jeremy Levison puts clients at ease, and has immense knowledge and experience. Ben Stowe is bright, engaged and wise beyond his years‘
‘Alison Hayes is such a fighter and shows huge commitment to her clients. Kate Stovold is a joy to work with for her complete commitment and passion.’
‘Alison Hayes is in a class of her own. Her judgement is spot on and she has the rare quality of being able to deliver firm and sometimes difficult advice with a humble and human approach which results in clients listening to her even when the advice is not what they want to hear. She is fearless but couples that with humility which makes her a joy to work with‘
‘This law firm offers a boutique and personal feel coupled with extensive experience. This allows clients to feel like they have a tailored service from a small firm with the experience and knowledge of a larger firm, where they may not have a regular point of contact on their case‘
‘LMP stands out as a boutique firm offering high-quality advice without breaking the bank.
Miles & Partners LLP
Miles & Partners LLP fields a 'dynamic, knowledgeable and practical' team of specialists in family and relationship law, mental capacity and mental health law, housing issues and community care. Clients range from the most vulnerable through to the wealthiest in society. The family department is divided into a number of sub-teams, namely matrimonial, child care and child abduction; most of the lawyers are Law Society children and family panel members and Resolution-accredited specialists. Amanda Dench and Kate Hammond are among the names to note. The matrimonial team is led by Michelle Uppal, who is an accredited mediator and a Resolution specialist in advance financial provision and private children matters, as well as a collaborative lawyer.
‘Michelle Uppal is very collaborative, solutions focused, knowledgeable and knows what she is doing. She provides very focused, practical, highly skilled and technical advice’
‘A very strong and and knowledgeable family team that goes that extra mile for its clients. Michelle Uppal is forthright and robust with a no-nonsense approach. However, she is very approachable and resolves matters holistically and thinks outside the box‘
‘Amanda Dench is exceptionally pragmatic, wise, hardworking and empathetic. Amanda safely steers cases (and clients) towards the best outcomes, and is able to offer advice beyond black-letter law. Michelle Uppal is both efficient and effective in achieving successful outcomes. Clients appreciate her frank advice. She is very sharp on both strategy and the law‘
‘Kate Hammond and Gemma Hodder are both tenacious advocates for the children they represent and always provide sound legal advice. Gemma Hodder is an absolutely great solicitor and professional from start to end. She knows her stuff and is tenacious in getting a positive outcome for the children and young people she is representing. Ritu Sood is a real dynamo in children law’
‘Gemma Hodder is an outstanding solicitor. Clients love her and judges respect her. Gemma is a persuasive advocate; she knows the law, her case and her tribunal. She is also impressive outside court – a robust negotiator who is always on top of her brief. She manages a heavy case load of complex public law matters with apparent ease’
‘The practice has a personal touch. The lawyers respond very quickly and have a good understanding of the needs of the child. Fiona McKiernan works very hard and she always responds to messages and calls. She is very good at what she does and I have always felt that she is a voice for children and represents their needs well’
‘Gemma Hodder has an outstanding level of efficiency and work ethic. She is collaborative and is good at visualising and considering the long-term impact of each step in the proceedings for a client. Articulate in conference and also in court, she is an excellent solicitor‘
‘Fiona McKiernan has excellent attention to detail and a firm but pleasant manner to work with. She is persistent if certain points are in danger of being side-lined during proceedings‘
With Jane Craig and James Stewart at the helm, the team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is highly recommended for its expertise in complex and high-value financial cases, both nationally and internationally. It is experienced in advising on marital agreements and financial claims following an overseas divorce, as well as advising trustees, family offices and other third parties on financial remedy matters. Another area of expertise is the international relocation of children, including applications for the return of children under the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. In addition, its ‘modern families’ unit has seen an increase in instructions relating to surrogacy, legal issues surrounding assisted reproduction techniques and LGBTQ+ families. The team was strengthened by the arrival of Amanda Andrews from Winckworth Sherwood LLP in April 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘The family law team sets a class act to follow. The firm achieves quite successfully a corporate outlook whilst delivering an incredibly personal service‘
‘Anna Worwood goes from strength to strength and is a class operator. She brings a calm and astute perspective to cases; her clients love her and one can see why. She is measured and supportive and I believe that the client understands that she will always do everything that is right and possible as their lawyer and do it well’
‘Jane Craig always impresses: she has undoubted legal and tactical intelligence but also emotional intelligence.’
‘Linzi Bull is a legal superstar. She is at the cutting edge of interesting family law work, as her cases often involve complex jurisdictional issues (both in matrimonial finance and in private law children work). She is an expert in fertility and surrogacy matters’
‘Tammy Knox is able to develop a rapport with clients in a very easy manner. She is strategic in her legal planning, which has a positive outcome to her cases.’
‘Ed Floyd is one of the most impressive rising stars of the younger breed of family law practitioners. A real fighter and an excellent tactician‘
‘Matilda Kingham gets the work done in a quiet, efficient manner. Her memory recall is impressive. She is calm and totally dedicated to her client‘
Russell-Cooke LLP's 'very dedicated team of excellent lawyers' has expanded even further with the arrival of Miranda Green, the former head of Mundays LLP's family team, in March 2020 and two internal promotions to senior associate. Various members of the team are Law Society children's panel lawyers and Resolution-accredited specialists in areas including complex financial provisions, cohabitation claims, abduction and public and private children matters. The children team acts for a broad range of clients, from those with substantial wealth through to those who are entitled to legal aid, with team members undertaking a lot of their own advocacy. James Carroll, Kate Hamilton, Fiona Read and Sarah Richardson are also recommended.
‘It is a sought-after firm for cases of non-accidental injury, often where there is a high volume of complex medical evidence, and has a growing practice in “alternative parenting” disputes‘
‘Kate Hamilton is a lawyer with real integrity. She combines rock-solid advice with an efficient and dynamic manner. Thoroughly recommended’
‘Attention to detail, personal relationships with clients, balanced, sensible advice, strength when needed. James Carroll is firm but fair, extremely personable but a heavy hitter when needed, with natural flair and intelligence. Jemma Pollock is particularly attentive to clients’ needs, detailed and thorough, diligent, technically very able and particularly strong on children’s issues‘
‘Sarah Richardson was very strong and creative when faced with a difficult children’s case and a difficult parent to deal with. She is clearly very experienced, with great ideas on how to overcome adversity. She had great communication and time management, and gave clear instructions and assistance to the client. She was extremely supportive and caring in a very difficult situation’
‘Samantha Little deals with extremely complex cases and is always able to get to grips with very complex medical evidence quickly. She is also regularly sought after in difficult wardship proceedings which are heard in the High Court. She has a superb reputation for hard work and sensitivity which is well deserved‘
‘Sam Little is a smart, thoughtful, dedicated family lawyer. She worked pro bono for intended parents in an international surrogacy case and was tireless in her efforts on their behalf. Her in-depth knowledge of children law combined with her compassion and determination to help her clients make her stand out‘
‘Miranda Green is an excellent, hardworking family lawyer with very good judgement. Her attention to detail is superb and she keeps calm in difficult situations. Her fellow professionals like and respect her as she is a worthy adversary for anyone in the business. Miranda handles high-value, complex matrimonial finance cases with apparent ease‘
‘Hannah Field is passionate about her work – cool, calm on the outside but with absolutely steely determination to do the best for her clients‘
The International Family Law Group LLP is a specialist firm with an emphasis on a conciliatory approach to family matters, which is 'brilliant on international issues'. It is equally adept at advising on financial and on children’s matters relating to relationship breakdown. Clients include ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, among them professionals, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and media, entertainment and sports personalities. Ann Thomas and David Hodson OBE have a wealth of experience in this area. Helen Blackburn is a cross-border child law specialist and is regularly instructed by the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit in its capacity as the Central Authority in England and Wales to bring proceedings in relation to child abduction.
Other key lawyers:
‘IFLG was established by David Hodson and Ann Thomas, who have both remained among the very best family law solicitors for many years. They have built up a formidable team‘
‘IFLG provides clients with high-quality legal advice and assistance in respect of all areas of domestic and international family law. Emma Nash adopts a considered and pragmatic approach to family law. She has a careful and considered style of advocacy which is most effective‘
‘A highly specialist cross-border practice. A very hands-on, personable and client-focused team that is very easy to work with‘
‘IFLG now has a presence across all areas of family law. There are few London practices with the strength in depth which IFLG can offer. Helen Blackburn is one of the top children lawyers in London. She has an exceptionally strong practice across all areas of children’s law, particularly those cases with an international dimension’
‘David Hodson is very collaborative, solutions focused, knowledgeable and knows what he is doing‘
‘David Hodson is a legend in family law circles. He is calm, reassuring and generally right. There are few partners who deal with international financial work with his level of gravitas and knowledge. He is a stellar individual‘
‘The IFLG team combines an unparalleled knowledge of international family law with excellent client skills. The team provides a first-class service at a cost which is not excessive. Lucy Loizou, Lucy Greenwood, Helen Blackburn and Michael Allum are all outstanding‘
‘Lucy Greenwood is a first-class operator for divorce and finance cases. Helen Blackburn must be one of the leading children practitioners working in London and Michael Allum is proving to be talented and in demand. Stuart Clark is very strategic and thoughtful. A determined litigator‘
‘Lucy Loizou is thorough, determined, thoughtful and great with clients.’
I am working with Lucy Loizou on a long-running case which is complex and delicate. I have been very impressed with the way she has handled it. She has shown a combination of restraint and toughness which is exactly what the case has called for.’
‘James Netto is an all-round astonishingly good lawyer.’
‘James Netto is an absolute star. He has flair, intelligence, wisdom and solid determination. There is no available avenue that he will not explore in the pursuit of the best result for his client.’
‘James Netto is a real star individual, far above his apparent level of seniority. He is entirely dependable and runs cases at the highest level.’
‘Laura Flanagan is great to work with, knows her stuff and is really sensitive to client’s needs. She demonstrates excellent matter management and advises sensibly.’
‘Olive Gathoni has the respect of her clients and a good steer on how to get the right result for them.’
Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP handles a significant number of international and national relocation cases each year. The 'experienced and diverse' team is known for its skill in complex children matters, especially those involving parental alienation, substance abuse and violence, and team head Kim Beatson is noted for her work in this area. Sarah Hughes’ work predominantly focuses on complex financial cases with an international dimension and she is increasingly active in TOLATA matters. David Emmerson specialises in complicated finance and children cases, as well as cohabitation and pre-nuptial cases. Fiona Lyon joined the team from Simpson Millar LLP in May 2020. The department also has considerable strength in mediation.
Other key lawyers:
‘Kim Beatson is an asset to any case. She is pragmatic, experienced and calm. She has exactly the type of approach that a case needs if it requires a reduction in temperature. I rate her level-headedness highly‘
‘Anthony Gold is an extremely well-respected firm, known for a robust and effective approach to family litigation. The family team builds good relationships with clients and guides them through the process extremely well’
‘Kim Beatson is extremely experienced and Sarah Hughes is very likeable. Clients really appreciate her brilliant manner, yet stern approach to their cases’
‘David Emmerson excels in international family law work. Kim Beatson is very strong. She gets excellent results and always has an eye on a settled costs proportionate outcome‘
‘Sarah Hughes explains all the legal terminology, provides me with sound advice and outlines my options, thereby enabling me to feel in control of the process’
‘Fiona Lyon will no doubt flourish in the team as she has the same ethos as the other partners‘
‘It has high-pedigree family lawyers who are reliable and have a good reputation for sound advice. Kim Beatson and Caroline Bowden are highly regarded and in demand as two family law heavyweights’
‘Victoria Brown is a very talented solicitor. She builds excellent relationships with her clients, and has a thoughtful and detailed approach to her cases. Nazia Rashid is a fierce and capable solicitor. She is particularly good at financial remedy cases and is a recognised specialist in Islamic law‘
Bindmans LLP has expertise in complex children proceedings and international cases, particularly involving issues of inherent jurisdiction, child abduction and jurisdictional disputes, as well as forced marriage and genital mutilation cases. Significantly, it regularly advises local authorities on cross-border public law cases and is frequently asked to intervene in cases before the Supreme Court. The team has also carved out a niche in acting for foreign governments in complex international cases. The matrimonial team has been handling an increasing number of complicated divorce, financial remedy, TOLATA and private law children cases. Amy Rowe is 'an obvious star in the field of child abduction'. Olivia Piercy is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘The family team at Bindmans is very well known and highly respected. Many members conduct their own advocacy to a very high standard‘
‘The family team in Bindmans has an impressive grasp of, and specialisation in, complex international children cases. Its strength lies in its absolute focus on the details of its cases and its knowledge of the law in relation to those issues‘
‘Amy Rowe is incredibly talented and bright and works tirelessly with great knowledge and flair. She is never afraid of a challenge and will take a case all the way to the Supreme Court if there is a point of principle or an issue of the infringement of human rights‘
‘Amy Rowe is a leading expert in international children’s law. Her particular niche is acting for overseas public authorities where they need to be involved in English court disputes. She is extremely committed to her clients and invariably she succeeds in achieving her client’s objectives‘
‘Amy has been the active managing partner for some time and she leads her team with skill and rigour. It is clear to me that the more junior solicitors have learned from her to focus early on in a case on the details and possible outcomes of every part of the evidence and process. Amy has an unparalleled knowledge of the law‘
‘Amy’s approach means that nothing is missed and her clients’ positions are as protected as possible from the very beginning. Hannah Marshall has clearly learned from her and, although still fairly junior, adopts an approach well above her years of practice‘
‘Rosalind Fitzgerald advises clients with great care, attention and patience and a great deal of compassion‘
‘Olivia Piercy is great in the field of matrimonial finance, being both empathetic and very bright; she is as comfortable with a high-net-worth client as she is with a small money case‘
‘Alison Leivesley is professional, organised and committed to her clients.’
‘Maud Davis is an extremely experienced solicitor advocate‘
The Health Service Executive of Ireland
The Child and Family Agency of Ireland
- Acted for a father in child abduction proceedings in which there was a novel judgment made with respect to the disclosure of asylum records into abduction proceedings, with the Secretary of State for the Home Department intervening.
- Continuing to represent different bodies, including the Child and Family of Ireland and the Health Service Executive of Ireland, in a variety of complex cases involving requests for the transfer of children proceedings and orders concerning the placement of vulnerable adults.
- Representing the International Centre for Family Law, Policy and Practice in an application to intervene in a child abduction matter in the Supreme Court, in the case of NY (A Child) (AP) UKSC 2019/0145.
Boodle Hatfield LLP handles a variety of high-level instructions which frequently involve complex multi-jurisdictional issues. It acts for high–profile national and international clients with significant family businesses and various properties around the world, such as luxury assets and large art collections. In addition, it advises on a range of complicated cross-border children disputes, as well as handles cases relating to mental health issues and child abduction disputes. Other strengths lie in pre and post-nuptial agreements. James Ferguson leads the 'expert' team, which includes the 'outstanding' Emily Brand, in addition to Harriet Errington and Katie O’Callaghan, who were promoted to the partnership in May 2020.
‘This team has real ability with James Ferguson and Emily Brand. They are both excellent lawyers and provide first-rate client care. Emily Brand is highly intelligent, tenacious, excellent with clients and gets great results‘
‘Boodle Hatfield offers an expert team specialising in complex and high-net-worth matrimonial finance cases. From associate to partner, all members of the team are experts in their field. Although the team is small, the expertise is large. Client care is exceptional and the team fight hard to secure the best possible results for their clients‘
‘James Ferguson is a superb strategist – someone you would not want to play chess against’
‘Boodle Hatfield is a well-regarded, long-established firm that remains a go-to for family law. Emily Brand is an outstanding family lawyer, with enormous drive and insight‘
‘James Ferguson brings great authority to the team he heads. The very talented Harriet Errington and the incredibly smart Katie O’Callaghan fully deserve their recent elevation to partnership‘
‘Great client focus and real commitment to achieving outstanding results. Emily Brand shows utter dedication and charm. She will leave no stone unturned in advancing clients’ interests. Katie O’Callaghan and Harriet Errington offer pragmatic advice and support‘
‘Katie O’Callaghan combines an extraordinary eye for detail with an expansive memory. You can ask her anything about any case and she has the answer at her fingertips‘
‘The lawyers are amazing – hardworking, clever, thoughtful and competent. They are always there when I need and are understanding. I trust them, I listen to and respect their opinion and I know they are on my side and doing their best to look after me‘
Bross Bennett is renowned for its extensive experience in the full range of family issues, ranging from complex financial disputes to complicated children-related matters, and is 'characterised by an unyielding commitment to its clients'. The 'experienced, reliable and committed' team under the leadership of Sharon Bennett and Ruth Bross has a strong collaborative law ethos. Anna Wagstaff is another name to note for her skill in dealing with complex children-related disputes, including leave to remove cases and financial cases, frequently with an international dimension.
‘There is a great and very experienced team at Bross Bennett that produces excellent results for its clients whilst remaining sensible and pragmatic in approach. Sharon Bennett is one of the best. A joy to work with, brilliantly clever, with truly impeccable judgement‘
‘Sharon Bennett and Ruth Bross are both highly experienced, very well respected and their qualities can be in no doubt. They are both class acts’
‘I have never met a family lawyer who does not have the utmost respect for Sharon Bennett. Nothing gets past her in litigation and she exudes integrity and compassion. Ruth Bross fights fearlessly for her clients‘
‘The team is experienced, reliable and committed‘
‘Sharon Bennett is hugely experienced. Caroline Falkus thinks hard about what is best for her clients. Simon Lim is also very good‘
‘Simon Lim is sensible, easy to deal with and clearly has the trust and confidence of his clients. Sharon Bennett remains a pleasure to work with despite being a formidable opponent‘
‘Anna Wagstaff has a real balance between advocating for her client yet also keeping the focus on sorting things out, thanks to her firm but reasonable approach to working with other lawyers‘
‘From senior partner to trainee there is not a weak link in the chain. They are all committed, energetic and highly skilled lawyers. The approach is collaborative when necessary, but they fight hard when appropriate and to considerable effect. Adam Witkover inspires confidence in his clients and the court. Caroline Falkus is highly committed to her clients‘
Boutique firm Camilla Baldwin advises on all aspects of family law, covering complex financial and children matters. Clients are typically high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, mostly with international assets, and the firm regularly handles cases involving cross-jurisdictional issues. It also has a number of clients with assets held in complex trusts and company structures. 'Star' founding partner Camilla Baldwin and Luned Rees Williams are key contacts at the firm, which has seen some changes at a senior level: Emma Percy has departed, while Tracey Rodford recently moved to JMW Solicitors LLP.
‘Small niche team headed by Camilla Baldwin herself. Camilla Baldwin is a standout lawyer. She has remarkable understanding and empathy and cuts to the core of the client’s concerns. Her cases are invariably complex and she is very skilled at assembling the right team for the job in hand‘
‘Client care at Camilla Baldwin is the highest level I have ever seen. As a firm it really takes very good care of its clients, many of whom are bewildered to be involved in divorce at all. I know the clients are enormously appreciative of all that Camilla and her team do for them. The team is all very hands on and always exceptionally prepared’
‘Camilla is a star. She has immense experience and is brilliant with clients. She also employs excellent lieutenants. Camilla Baldwin manages oversight with impressive tranquillity’
‘The team is strong and compassionate. Camilla is backed by fantastic solicitors who take a fine-tooth comb to clients’ issues. If a client is after a top-flight, personal service, Camilla Baldwin is the choice. Shivi Rajput’s work is top-notch‘
‘The client care and attention to detail shown by the solicitors at this firm is first-rate. They work incredibly hard for their clients and provide an excellent, high-quality service. Camilla Baldwin is phenomenal – anyone getting divorced would want her in their corner. I have not come across any other solicitor who throws themselves so totally into their client’s case‘
‘I valued Camilla’s wealth and depth of knowledge and strategy and I valued Shivi’s patience in explaining the strategies and complex parts of law’
‘This firm is diverse and ambitious; the lawyers are friendly and engaging and fight for their clients’ rights. They go the extra mile and believe in ensuring fairness and good client service’
‘The firm provides wrap-around care. Camilla Baldwin has an outstanding presence. Luned Rees Williams stands out for her hard work and judgement’
- Acting for the homemaker wife of a Russian billionaire in negotiations for a financial settlement following a divorce which will take place in Russia by consent.
- Acting for the mother of two children who were subject to a special guardianship order application, in a case that had a very complicated family background and dynamic.
Clintons’ reputation for its work in the entertainment sector is reinforced by a family practice that has a particular talent for representing clients in the public eye, ranging from musicians and actors to sports and business people. As a result, it frequently handles highly complex matters; recently, the team represented a well-known musician in a case which involved the valuation of music-related income streams. Liz Vernon heads the team and is well regarded for her experience in high-value financial remedy cases. Sarah Bostock is another noted member of the team.
‘It is a boutique firm with a lot of clout. It combines a small, collegial team with an efficient and comprehensive offering which belies its size and competes with many of the larger London firms‘
‘The Clintons team has a well-deserved reputation for excellence, especially in the music and entertainment sector. It is able to deal confidentially and sensitively with the biggest and most complex high-value cases. Liz Vernon is deservedly regarded as one of the top divorce lawyers for high-profile clients in the entertainment sector and is able to deal with celebrities as well as less famous clients‘
‘What has impressed me most about Liz Vernon and Dom Christophers is their ability to give frank advice, work hard and gain their clients’ trust‘
‘Small but excellent family team. Liz Vernon is a tour de force. She has all the emotional and intellectual qualities needed to be a top family lawyer and is a pleasure to work with. She never loses sight of the objective and is extremely skilled at devising the right strategy for the case‘
‘Sarah Bostock is an unflappable lawyer and the personification of Resolution. Whilst she very much fights for her clients she does so with intellect and an impressive forensic eye. She is admired by peers in the profession, including various members of the judiciary, and is certainly an asset to Clintons‘
‘Dom Christophers is an excellent associate and certainly one to watch. He is hardworking and his meticulous attention to detail and flawless knowledge of his cases makes him a very able lawyer‘
‘Clintons provides its high-net-worth and high-profile clients with outstanding legal advice and assistance. Dan Chalmers is an excellent tactician. He provides clients with robust and clear advice of the highest calibre, with a view to achieving the best possible outcome for them. His personable nature engenders a sense of trust which, in turn, promotes a highly professional yet supportive working relationship‘
‘Dom Christophers is hugely technically capable and builds very strong client relationships thanks to his willingness to go the extra mile and empathise effectively while giving pragmatic commercial advice‘
- Advised the applicant husband in his divorce and the subsequent financial remedy claim from his wife, in a high-profile case which involved the valuation of music-related income streams.
Collyer Bristow LLP acts primarily for high-net-worth clients and works closely with the firm's tax and estate planning teams, as well as its commercial department, to fully advise wealthy individuals. The department is best known for its divorce and matrimonial finance work, advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements as well as private law children disputes with an international dimension. It regularly deals with international relocation cases and extremely complicated children disputes that skirt the border between private, public and criminal law issues. Toby Yerburgh heads the department.
‘Collyer Bristow takes a universally sensible, pragmatic approach to its cases. We particularly rate Michael Drake and Philippa Dolan‘
‘It is a small family team in a well-established and well-respected firm. Toby Yerburgh is extremely experienced and likeable. He is an old-fashioned litigator but willing to settle in the client’s interests‘
‘Toby Yerburgh leads a strong, empathetic and commercially minded team that impresses and keeps its clients happy with the overall service it provides‘
‘There are many larger family practices in the City but this one is as good as any and better than most. Toby has to be in the top rank of divorce lawyers’
‘Toby Yerburgh, Philippa Dolan, Michael Drake and associates Laura Burrows and Bethany Meyrick are all solution based, pragmatic and tactically astute. Cases are well managed from the outset, with a clear eye on the strategic trajectory of each case and on what evidence is needed to ensure a case can be successfully argued at trial, whilst always maintaining an emphasis on settlement at every stage’
‘Toby Yerburgh’s team is able to engage with also other professionals of the firm to solve complex situations‘
‘Toby Yerburgh and his team offer the whole range of family law services. They are client focused and personable. They will litigate but also look at settling‘
‘An excellent firm. The team has great depth and enormous experience. Phillipa Dolan is superb. Her eye is always on the ball and she delivers excellent value for money. Her clients are always amazed by the extra mile she is willing to travel to give them a great service. She knows the law inside out and never flags’
‘Tanya Roberts is pragmatic in her approach and always keen to find a way through the seemingly opaque.’
Mills & Reeve LLP has an excellent reputation for advising on national and international financial cases involving complex corporate structures and offshore trusts with assets between £20m and £2bn. In addition, it is recommended for complex private law children cases, often with an international dimension, and its focus on non-court dispute resolution where appropriate. The 'phenomenally hardworking' Joanna Grandfield leads the practice. Consultant Suzanne Kingston is particularly renowned for her expertise in complex financial matters (often with an international element) and principal associate Tim Whitney is recommended for his experience in business and finance cases and wealth protection matters, including advising on high-value nuptial agreements.
‘Jo Grandfield is phenomenally hardworking. She fights her clients’ corner very well but is also very sensible‘
‘Tim Whitney is hugely organised, very driven and very polite‘
‘Mills & Reeve has a very nice team in London who approach cases in a sensible, constructive way‘
- Acted on behalf of a hedge fund owner in a pre-nuptial agreement involving several jurisdictions – England and Wales, New York, Switzerland and Israel.
- Advising the husband, the managing partner of a private equity firm, in relation to finances and successfully reached an agreement.
- Advised on a complicated and litigious international private law children matter involving Hague Convention and wardship proceedings.
Boutique firm Newton Kearns LLP 'truly impresses' in all aspects of family dispute resolution, and is highly recommended for complex and high-value financial remedy claims. The team is also skilled in areas such as private law children matters and pre and post-nuptial agreements with an international dimension, frequently acting for people in the public eye. Paul Newton and Patrick Kearns co-head the team. Maggie Rae is adept in mediation and is a qualified arbitrator. The team has been further enhanced at a senior level with the promotion of Frances Petterson to the partnership and the addition of Victoria Frances, who joined the team from Turner Nicholson.
‘It is a highly efficient service run by excellent lawyers without the additional costs of a large firm. The team draws in top high-net-worth work and carries it out at a fraction of the cost of the larger firms. Patrick Kearns and Paul Newton provide excellent value on their fees for top-quality legal advice in the centre of London at partner level, but at the same price as senior associates in the bigger firms. They are well liked by the whole industry’
‘This firm has character. It is consciously different to the corporate suits and offers a personal touch. Patrick Kearns has a charming manner combined with top-notch client skills and a rigorous approach. Paul Newton is an entrepreneur in the guise of a lawyer; he is commercial in all his thinking and advice, which is appreciated by his clients’
‘A boutique law firm with a hugely talented and experienced team of family lawyers. It is forward thinking and dynamic. A firm for the now and for the future. Paul Newton is charm personified. He is a deal maker and a work generator. Patrick Kearns is delightful to work with – the quiet voice of reason‘
‘This boutique practice has a very good pedigree, but it is more accessible and affordable. You get excellent value for money on that basis. They are all great lawyers, very well practiced in litigating where necessary, but preferring to sort things out without litigating‘
‘Excellent and dynamic young founding partners in Patrick Kearns and Paul Newton, and great experience and gravitas in Maggie Rae. Patrick is superb – very bright, hardworking, driven and highly compassionate‘
‘Victoria Francis is an excellent lawyer. She is extremely intellectually able, unruffled and calm at all times. Her clients weather the most difficult hearings with her assistance and acumen’
‘Fran Petterson is full of intelligence and humour. She is unapologetic in her advice and gets what she promises’
‘The firm to watch. It began with great people and it keeps adding great people. The standout niche family law firm. No-nonsense brilliance’
- Advising a wife-to-be on a pre-nuptial agreement, with assets in the realm of £150m, where mirror agreements are required in two other jurisdictions.
- Advising a husband in complex and substantial (assets of several tens of millions of pounds) financial remedy proceedings.
Under the leadership of Bridget Thompson, the sizeable team at Osbornes operates from its offices in Camden and Hampstead and consists of highly experienced litigators and mediators. It continues to receive a growing number of instructions from high-net-worth individuals, frequently with cross-border components, and advises on a steady flow of complex cohabitation matters, often involving large property portfolios. Other strengths lie in private law children matters such as international adoption, surrogacy, fertility and other issues such as parental alienation and coercive control. Mark Freedman and Lisa Pepper are well regarded along with Joanne Wescott and David Leadercramer.
Other key lawyers:
‘Bridget Thompson combines her excellent legal knowledge with a clear, succinct and robust style of advice and advocacy. Her approach clearly inspires a high degree of client confidence in her’
‘Mark Freedman is a dynamic and highly experienced family lawyer who fights extremely hard for his clients and is always in their corner, thus ensuring their loyalty and confidence. In a trial you would always want him on your side. Claire Andrews is an associate to watch. Tenacious, diligent, professional and astute. She is very impressive‘
‘Mark Freedman is a very capable lawyer, renowned for not being a pushover and pushing his clients’ cases as much as he can, but will always talk sensibly about settlement. He is among the best – tenacious, good judgment and tactically aware‘
‘It offers a good range of choices for finance work. Joanne Wescott will go far’
‘It has a strong and experienced team of solicitors who don’t take bad points, work sensibly to get a settlement and who you can always pick up the phone and speak to. They are good lawyers and know the strengths and weaknesses of their clients’ cases. They don’t posture and always pursue their clients cases appropriately. Lisa Pepper is collaboratively trained and very sensible‘
‘Lisa Pepper was recommended to me as non-nonsense and able to help me with a difficult and confrontational divorce. She more than lived up to that – she was practical, collected and always available with a clear opinion and suggestions of how to move forwards. She also was open and helpful about costs and how to mitigate them‘
‘A great team comfortably able to take on big-money, complex cases. Well led, enthusiastic, and with great judgement from top to bottom. Jo Wescott is top notch and widely recognised as a rising star throughout the profession. She brings a winning combination of great judgement, an immense work ethic, and a relaxed and charming way with opponents and clients alike. Someone you want on your side’
‘Diana Bastow was absolutely dogged in getting the best result for me. She has a client-first approach, but wasn’t frightened to give direction when she felt I was going off piste’
Simons Muirhead Burton continues to add to its team; at a senior level, Tom Farley-Hills, who has a strong track record of handling complex family cases relating to both children and finance, joined the firm from Harbottle & Lewis LLP and is a 'good addition to the team'. Under the direction of Jane McDonagh, the group continues to act for foreign nationals in cases with an international dimension or where there are assets overseas. The team has niche expertise in Sharia, Iranian and Egyptian law (all of which McDonagh is well versed in) and in Jewish divorces (where both Lara Wulwik and Teena Dhanota-Jones have strong expertise).
‘My impression of the Simons Muirhead Burton family practice is that it has a modern and progressive perspective, coupled with an effective and yet still compassionate approach. I view the team as definitely on the up’
‘Jane McDonagh is the consummate legal professional. She is completely calm and considered in what can often be a highly charged emotional situation. She is always clear in her advice, and supportive when hard decisions need to be made. She is understanding, not only of the intricacies of the law, but also of the personal difficulties her clients face‘
‘Jane McDonagh was quickly able to get a clear overview of our situation and throughout she gave calm and consistent advice. She was always keen to hear our view and how we wished to proceed but we were guided throughout by her professional opinion. I always felt reassured having spoken to her‘
‘Tom Farley-Hills brings strength and experience to an already well-rounded team. Teena Dhanota-Jones is very experienced in her profession. She has great communication skills‘
‘The lawyers are always ahead of the game when it comes to the opposing party, which has been such a key strength. A very reliable firm, prompt with their responses and with the work. The lawyers are very, very thorough. I found Tessa Bray to be exceptional in the work that she carried out‘
‘I have only great thoughts and words for Rhiannon Guibert and Jane McDonagh. They completely understood how difficult my situation was and tried their best to achieve the desired outcome‘
‘Lara Wulwik was a pleasure to work with. She was able to provide detailed advice and handle matters on my behalf in a professional manner. She always acted with my best interests in mind, and worked closely with me to ensure my expectations were met‘
The family department at Sinclair Gibson LLP advises on all aspects of family law but it is best known for its focus on advising high-net-worth clients on complex financial remedy claims. It is also adept at advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements and is well regarded for its experience in private law children matters. Clients are predominantly wealthy and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and professionals, including a significant proportion who are neither UK resident nor UK domiciled. Team head Kathryn Peat advises on substantial financial remedy cases as well as children matters and is a qualified arbitrator in both children and finance matters. Associate Beth Mason is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘The department has real class and experience in both children and financial family law matters. It also has a very personal approach to its work‘
‘Kathryn Peat is one of the most experienced and level-headed solicitors currently in practice. Her clients love her because she tells them from the start what is going to happen and why and what they need to do to get what they want. She is shrewd and tenacious‘
‘Kathryn Peat is an outstanding lawyer who provides leadership and clarity to her team on the vital issues‘
‘Kathryn Peat has an incredible ability to drill down directly to the core issues, present the substantive matters, advise on actions and then advocate firmly in court. Beth Mason is also a brilliant lawyer whose advice and support I could unfailingly rely on‘
‘A delightful firm of top-quality solicitors with a personal, boutique feel. Kathryn Peat cares. She works hard, has great judgement and fights for her clients’ best interests‘
‘Kathryn Peat always has a commanding knowledge of the detail of her cases, which together with her outstanding judgement means that she is frequently on the front foot and able to get the better of her opposite number‘
‘Kathryn Peat’s team at Sinclair Gibson is unique in its empathy and understanding of the situation, and its reading of how to handle very complex issues. Kathryn Peat herself is beyond committed, available always, and takes on urgent issues regardless of her workload, and however unexpected‘
‘I was always treated as an individual and believed that my lawyer truly cared about me personally. I never felt like I was just another number or client‘
TV Edwards LLP
Emma Baillie and Hannah Perry have taken over as joint heads of the family practice at TV Edwards LLP. The family finance team has continued to attract high-value cases, while the children team is particularly well regarded for its public law work. It continues to be instructed in some of the most serious cases, including infant death, serious child sexual abuse, non-accidental injury and deprivation of liberty cases. All of the team's children panellists are members of the Association of Lawyers for Children, and it also includes two Resolution-accredited specialists, among others.
‘Every solicitor I have worked with has been excellent. A very high standard of service: prompt, efficient, friendly, excellent and clear legal advice, proactive, and takes a lead with other parties. Hannah Perry and Deborah Piccos are particularly exceptional and go the extra mile‘
‘Hannah Perry is super efficient. She is very quick to respond and fearless in her pursuit of her client’s case‘
‘Hannah Perry is a thorough professional who provides legal advice that enables you to give informed instructions‘
‘Hannah Perry and Deborah Piccos keep on top of cases, ensuring (where possible) that the timetable is kept to‘
‘TV Edwards is a multi-talented firm, with the private and public law teams standing out. The solicitors who I have worked with are personable, knowledgeable and extremely committed to ensuring that they obtain the best outcome for their clients – they balance realism and pragmatism with a dedication to their client’s case that I rarely see elsewhere‘
‘Forum Shah has an unsurpassed knowledge of international children law and is well respected by her peers and judges for the work she has done at such a young age’
‘This team has a heavyweight private and public law team. Emma Baillie and Charlotte Kay are excellent with high-net-worth complex private law as well as the crossover into child protection’
‘A family team of strength and depth and doing well to branch out from its Legal Aid reputation. It now has a solid private client team. Emma Baillie heads the family finance team and is an experienced family lawyer with fine attention to detail and has a firm tactical ability. Emma is always able to see the key facts and issues in a case‘
Vaitilingam Kay is 'now a serious contender in the market – very sensible and a great firm'; it frequently attracts high-value cases of over £500m and is also known for its considerable expertise in contentious Children Act work. In addition, it has a niche surrogacy practice headed by Anne Kay. The firm has been active in litigation in complex jurisdictional matters in the High Court; however, Kay and Joe Vaitilingam are both also meditators and proponents of alternative dispute resolution, and Vaitilingam is a trained arbitrator. Helen Wilby focuses on contentious children matters and Tom Duggins is experienced in wealth protection through nuptial and cohabitation agreements.
‘VK is the ultimate success story of the many boutique firms set up to build a new model of solicitor’s firm, with the aim of providing the same first-rate legal services that are offered by the major players, but with greater partner access and more controlled costs that can be achieved by those providers’
‘Joe Vaitilingam has a brilliant analytical mind and a willingness to go the extra mile in every case. Hugely admired by other lawyers and judges for his judgement and tactical approach, he can pick up the phone to virtually any family practitioner who all know and respect his advice. He wants to do the very best for each and every one of his clients and is willing to explore novel and creative ways to achieve a successful outcome in each case‘
‘Anne Kay’s clients go to her for her expert judgement and ability to discern what really matters from all the noise, as well as her ability to articulate tactical advice in clear, down-to-earth, practical terms. She is completely unflappable‘
‘A small but growing team at this niche firm. All have excellent pedigree from other firms where they previously worked and there are no weak links – it is a strong team. Helen Wilby and Tom Duggins are standout members. Not only do they have a full command of every detail of intricate matters on a case, but they retain the confidence of the client in very difficult circumstances when many would not manage it. Each case involves the need for many fine-balance judgement calls and each time they make the right decisions‘
‘Vaitilingham Kay is amongst the best specialists in the field of private children and family finance work. It excels in both areas, meaning it is an excellent firm for clients who are experiencing difficulties in several different aspects of their family breakdown. Helen Wilby is one of the best in the business. She gives absolutely sound advice‘
‘Tom Duggins is a brilliant litigator and a disarming negotiator, who brings tremendous energy and judgement to each of his cases‘
‘Sara Wychrij is a superb lawyer who combines the great technical ability and human empathy required in family practice. Kathryn Cassells is already establishing a brilliant reputation in the field for her thorough analysis and legal expertise. No detail of any case escapes her. She is particularly good at assessing wider case strategy where there are inter-related financial and children issues. She is also kind and compassionate and makes every client feel fully supported‘
‘Not only is Darren Hark’s preparation of material immaculate but he understands the nuances of the case‘
Vardags has extensive coverage throughout the country, with offices in London, Manchester, Cambridge and Winchester, and 'not only has a formidable reputation but also the firepower to back it up'. The team specialises in complex and often international litigation, catering to a predominantly high-net-worth client base, and Ayesha Vardag is well known for her advice on divorce cases involving multimillion-pound assets. The children’s department continues to go from strength to strength, acting in complex matters involving urgent applications to the courts and the threat of abduction, as well as cases involving foreign jurisdictions. Georgina Hamblin, Lois Rogers, Katherine Res Pritchard and Simon McKirgan are also highly recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Georgina Hamblin’s clients love her because not only is she so talented but also so approachable and reassuring. She will always go the extra mile to get the best outcome she possibly can for her clients‘
‘Simon McKirgan’s sheer determination to get the very best outcome left me with no doubts or concerns during the entire process. I felt comfortable in his team’s company and able to ask questions when not entirely sure of their relevance’
‘It handles the country’s most complex (international) financial remedy work and houses some of family law’s most able practitioners. Simon McKirgan works all hours to get results for his clients. He is also a master of the detail’
‘Ayesha Vardag knows everything that happens in the firm. She is a superb rainmaker who remains hands on when required’
‘Lois Rogers is often referred to as the nicest solicitor in family law (and she is). But she is an exceptionally talented family lawyer who, when required, deploys her legal armoury with devastating force‘
‘Lois Rogers and Sophie Groves are outstanding in their own right but are also team players working well together in meetings. Both have immense legal knowledge, and Lois has immense financial knowledge too. They are both also immensely good listeners and compassionate and supportive’
‘It has some excellent lawyers. Katherine Res Pritchard is a very impressive family lawyer who handles the complex children cases the firm holds. She copes very well with the pressure that comes with the job and is always calm and measured. Her advice is spot on – she has great judgement‘
‘Vardags provided me with the highest quality legal representation. Its professionalism and expertise were outstanding and its commitment unwavering. It provided absolutely sound legal advice and managed to secure a very favourable outcome‘
Charmaine Hast leads the team at Wedlake Bell LLP, which is best known for its advice on complex pre-nuptial agreements where there are sometimes assets offshore or in complex entities all worth hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of pounds. In addition, Hast is a dual-qualified South African lawyer. Senior associate Trisha Siddique specialises in Sharia law and high-value, complex divorce cases. Conrad Adam is another key member of the team with particular expertise in pre and post-nuptial agreements. He is also an experienced mediator and a trained collaborative family lawyer.
‘The family law department at Wedlake Bell conducts some of the biggest and most complex of financial family law cases. It has a wealth of experience and is led by one of the family law’s greatest tacticians, Charmaine Hast’
‘Charmaine Hast is exceptionally well known and highly regarded as a doyen of family law and relationship breakdown. Natasha Kurth is a brilliant associate‘
‘Wedlake Bell is a great firm to deal with – the team is robust in negotiations but never acts disproportionately. The lawyers always focus on their clients and they are cost effective‘
‘A very commercial firm of solicitors with high-net-worth clients. Provides an excellent, bespoke service, feisty when necessary, smooth when appropriate. Supported by a strong team of business and commercial lawyers‘
‘Conrad Adam is tough yet constructive. He always tries to find solutions rather than create problems. A very classy solicitor‘
‘A top London firm with high-profile clients and strength in big money and international cases. Conrad Adam is an excellent all-round lawyer who prepares his cases well. He is great with clients and not afraid to litigate where necessary’
‘Charmaine Hast is a high-profile lawyer with a big presence on the international scene. She brings in excellent work and has a real feel for tactics in big-money cases‘
‘Trisha Siddique is a fantastic solicitor: insightful, astute and very smart. She is an independent thinker who focuses on the client’s needs and gets great results efficiently and briskly. A go-to person for pre-nuptial agreements and tricky negotiations. Conrad Adam has a great, reassuring bedside manner born of years of experience at the top flight of family law. He is commercial and realistic‘
Mrs D F
Axiom DWFM has a specific focus on high-net-worth ancillary relief cases where the assets are in the UK or overseas, as well as advising on private law children applications. Other areas of strength include matters involving pre-nuptial agreements, divorce and separation, same-sex and unmarried partners, and jurisdictional issues. It is also adept at acting in cases relating to locating hidden assets and protecting or attacking trust structures. Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui leads the practice and is 'absolutely outstanding, with judgement that is second to none'.
‘Axio DWFM has been involved in some of the highest value and highest profile matrimonial litigation in recent years. Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is a real star. Having acted on both sides, she knows every trick in the book and is extremely good in trust busting litigation‘
‘Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is the lawyer you are glad is on your team and not the other side. She is realistic and human, but she knows how it all works in practice. An absolute standout attorney.’
‘Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui continues to go beyond the call of duty for her clients. She is down to earth, naturally understands people and has the capacity to put you at ease. She invariably remains calm and in control in even the most demanding of situations and is flawlessly prepared at all times. Sofia has an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and gives attention to details‘
‘I value Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui for her professionalism and dedication to giving excellent service. Sofia has excellent client skills and a sound grasp of complex legal issues‘
‘This firm has a unique approach to evidence gathering, going to great lengths both internationally and at home to ensure that the best evidence is there to achieve a win for the client. Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is a lawyer like no other. She personally travels the world to gather the best evidence for a client’s case‘
‘The team is fantastic. Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is spectacular and goes the extra mile each time. She is highly capable, results orientated and creative when needing to finding solutions. She is always very determined to do the very best by her client and takes it upon herself to be personally involved and always available, which makes a huge difference. Rukhma Sohail and Rebecca Gunningham are skilled solicitors who complement Sofia’s effective leadership‘
‘Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui and Rukhma Sohail gave me a continued feeling that everything was in hand and that I really had no need to worry. Their professional skills were very apparent early on in my case, but the continued personal reassurance and incredible competence shown was above and beyond any experience with other solicitors‘
‘Rukhma Sohail has proven to be exemplary in every way, keeping me well informed throughout‘
- Acted in Children Act proceedings and successfully obtained a live with order, internal relocation and the preferred school.
- Acting for an overseas trust and protecting assets so that the English court does not have the power to make orders over these assets.
- Successfully acted for the husband against the wife’s claims for £300m.
Burges Salmon LLP is best known for its considerable experience in high-value and complex financial settlements on relationship breakdown and divorce, frequently with an international dimension. It regularly advises on asset protection issues such as pre and post-nuptial agreements. Practice head Sarah Hoskinson is adept at dealing with international divorce and asset protection cases. Director Richard Handel, who is permanently based in the London office, 'strengthened' the team in 2019 when he joined from Withers LLP. Consultant Alison Hawes is another name to note.
‘The team at Burges Salmon has gone from strength to strength in London over the last few years and has become a major player on the London scene. It has an impressive client base and benefits hugely from having private client expertise within the firm. Sarah Hoskinson is a truly impressive individual. She applies her incredible intellect and analytical mind to her cases with impressive results‘
‘Sarah Hoskinson is technically brilliant and works tirelessly for her clients. Mary Gaskins is also a great person to work with; she has a focus on being pragmatic and reaching a resolution where possible‘
‘Burges Salmon is a real force to be reckoned with. In the last few years, the family team has gone from being a regional powerhouse to a force to be reckoned with in the central London market. It has work of the very highest calibre and conducts that work in an extremely sensible and user-friendly manner‘
‘Richard Handel is making a mark and is a delight to deal with. He has excellent client-handling skills and takes a reasonable and pragmatic approach to negotiations but is a tough opponent when he has to be. He has the respect of his peers and a solid reputation within the family law world‘
‘Richard Handel is a great addition. I think he will be one to watch in London‘
‘Richard Handel brings experience of big-money and international work. As a firm with a more regional orientation, this kind of experience and ability will make it virtually unique and perfectly placed to conduct the highest level work. Richard Handel is a solicitor of exceptional quality. He has a complete command of procedure and technical skills most barristers would envy‘
‘Sarah Hoskinson has almost single-handedly taken the family team into the central London market and made a name for herself and her team in what is on any view a very competitive field. Sarah is a particularly bright, no-nonsense lawyer who is a sensible but tough opponent. Sarah is supported by the very able Richard Handel and the superb Mary Gaskins. Alison Hawes is an extremely able and experienced practitioner‘
‘The family team has a strong client base across Bristol and London. Its solicitors are constructive and take a practical approach to their cases. Richard Handel is an experienced and constructive solicitor. He works hard to achieve the best outcomes for his clients but is approachable and pragmatic to work with’
Burgess Mee Family Law specialises exclusively in family law: its work comprises divorce and civil partnership dissolutions, financial remedy cases and private children disputes such as leave to remove applications. Other areas of expertise include nuptial and cohabitation agreements as well as disputes between cohabiting couples. The team is increasingly involved in cases with an international dimension and frequently acts in high-value matters. Department heads Antonia Mee and Peter Burgess are highly respected. David Lillywhite and Henrietta Thomas are also recommended.
‘Magic Circle level of advice at affordable prices. Peter Burgess is excellent and pragmatic. Antonia Mee is really person centred and is warm, clear and approachable. Her straight talking means clients feel safe and know exactly where they are at all times‘
‘Peter Burgess and Antonia Mee have built an incredibly strong team over the years, which has seen the firm going from strength to strength. They offer an extremely professional service which can compete with anything offered by the larger City firms but also retain the more personal approach‘
‘Pete and Antonia are at the helm of a growing practice and giving other firms a run for their money with their competitive rates. Peter Burgess is exceptionally bright, direct, and very nice. Antonia Mee is firm, very hardworking and doesn’t shy away from a battle‘
‘Burgess Mee has a growing reputation as an excellent family firm punching well above its weight. Its lawyers exhibit a wide range of skills to suit all clients. Peter Burgess’ huge intellect, combined with his experience and knowledge of the law, makes him a superb and rounded lawyer‘
‘Burgess Mee is a high-quality, growing boutique family law firm. Antonia Mee is very experienced and sees the person not just the legal problem. She is very astute and knowledgeable‘
‘A niche firm with excellent partners and great recruitment, which is growing from strength to strength. David Lillywhite is a shining beacon of a clear legal mind, calm determination and clarity of advice given at every stage – a pleasure to work with‘
‘David Lillywhite is a top-rate solicitor with the patience of a saint’
‘Henrietta Thomas is an excellent, well-rounded lawyer. Robert Micklem is very reassuring and concise in his explanation of the law and legal process‘
‘Natalie Sutherland has the ability to see the facts of a case and we were incredibly impressed that she was able to see aspects of our case that we were blind to – being in the middle of it’
‘Natalie Sutherland immersed herself in our case and she knew it inside and out. She worked tirelessly to ensure that we had the opportunity to get the best outcome that was possible’
‘Natalie Sutherland is rigorous, responsive and very accessible. I have known her go well beyond her working day in order to provide me with timely advice.’
‘Natalie Sutherland is passionate about helping her clients and works tirelessly to ensure the best outcome. She is diligent, knowledgeable and always goes the extra mile’
Natalie Sutherland is forthright without being aggressive, sympathetic without being overly involved and, all-in-all, an outstanding solicitor’
Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates
Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates has particular skill in representing parties in care proceedings where the parents or other significant adults (sometimes children) are struggling to manage mental health problems. It frequently accepts instructions from children’s guardians. David Marcus, Sabrina McKay and Abbie Huxley are members of the Law Society children law accreditation scheme. The team advises on issues such as domestic violence, paternity disputes, cohabitation agreements and financial relief matters.
‘The team is very thorough and gives clients realistic advice. The solicitors I work with are well prepared and dedicated to their clients‘
‘Burke Niazi is one of the most approachable firms. The solicitors are dedicated, hardworking and meticulous. They provide excellent client care‘
‘This is a firm that has the interests of its clients constantly at the forefront of its minds. The lawyers will each and every one go the extra mile to assist their clients. There is a real sense of empathy with their clients, mixed with strong and realistic advice‘
‘Abbie Huxley, Sabina Mackay and Lina Chauhan are all incredibly professional and capable lawyers. They work hard and are not afraid to go against the majority when ensuring that their clients’ instructions are advanced‘
‘Lina Chauhan’s presence allows the firm to offer highly specialised advice in family law cases involving radicalisation. This puts the firm in a unique position, providing as it does one of only a handful of solicitors who are experienced in this highly complex area. Clients can trust her implicitly’
‘Lina Chauhan is thoroughly engaged with the case and supportive of the client. She does not let things slip and ensures that all professional efforts within and without the firm are bent towards achieving the best ends for her clients‘
‘Sabrina McKay builds very effective and nurturing relationships with clients and binds the team of lawyers and clients together to work optimally in the interests of the clients‘
‘Abbie Huxley and Sabrina McKay are standout practitioners due to the sheer hard work that they put into their clients’ cases. It’s a really approachable team with interesting cases which are always well prepared‘
Hanne & Co has a large family department that is split into separate public and private family teams. All members of the department have several accreditations, including with the Law Society Children's Panel and Family Law Advanced Panel and with Resolution. In addition, several practitioners in the public family department are members of the Association of Lawyers for Children. The practice regularly advises on complex financial matters, difficult care proceedings and cross-jurisdictional disputes. Many of its clients are international and are in the public eye. Susan Harlow and Lorna Cservenka are the names to note. Grainne Fahy left the firm to join BLM in July 2019.
‘The team at Hanne & Co has been superb in every aspect. Its compassion and legal acumen gave me the confidence to undertake my legal challenges. The team’s communication skills and availability were both important factors‘
‘The child care solicitors are organised, their knowledge is extensive and they are able to undertake their own advocacy, and undertake tasks in timely manner‘
‘Susan Harlow’s integrity and passion were pivotal to a good working relationship. Her calm and clear advice and support were key to me feeling able to proceed in the matter‘
‘Caroline Little, Lorna Cservenka and Rokeya Dangor are all highly competent and I received sound legal advice. They were approachable and available when needed. Lorna Cervenka was always hugely committed to the case and willing to go the extra mile for the clients‘
‘Samantha Cook is efficient, empathetic, friendly and provides excellent legal advice. She is often the legal representative tying all the loose ends together and rallying the other parties to meet deadlines and come to an agreement‘
‘Able to manage complicated litigation but also affordable – a rare mix for London. Liz Francis is calm and detailed, and manages clients well‘
‘Rokeya Dangor is a particularly well-organised, well-prepared and sensible advocate. When she is acting in a case the tribunal knows that she is entirely trustworthy and reliable. Her cases are well managed, and she has realistic expectations for her clients’
‘James Dunn is an exceptional solicitor who has and continues to go over and beyond expectations. His client care and attention to detail is superb. He is a brilliant, intuitive and compassionate lawyer‘
- Acting for children who witnessed the murder of their mother by their father/step-father.
- Acting in a financial remedy case involving litigation in three jurisdictions (including a large claim against the husband’s overseas company by a company in a second jurisdiction and the wife’s receipt of a very significant inheritance in a third jurisdiction).
- Representing the wife in two cases in the Central Family Court on her husband’s applications for leave to remove their children to the US permanently and financial remedies.
Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors' family department now acts only for privately paying clients and has a growing reputation for handling complex private cases, often involving international assets and jurisdictional issues. It has also seen a significant increase in the number of senior professional clients seeking advice on a myriad of issues, ranging from divorce to children to co-habitation and the breakdown of relationships. The team is led by Jacqueline Major and also includes qualified mediator Vanessa Friend.
‘HJA is a terrific firm; it offers a blend of availability and experience. The firm has all the benefits of a high-street type practice with a very hands-on approach by the partners and a lack of pomposity with the wide-ranging experience of a City firm‘
‘It is a strong team‘
‘Jacqueline Major is at the top of her game. She never gives up and achieves incredible results for her clients. Her attention to detail and photographic memory is incredible‘
‘What makes Jacqueline Major stand out is how easily accessible she is, either directly or through her competent and friendly assistants. In addition to this, her knowledge of her job and professionalism is of a very high standard. Last but not least, Jacqueline has a natural ability to put her clients at ease by exuding empathy and warmth’
‘Beneath the veneer of Jacqueline’s cheerfulness is a razor-sharp legal mind that is proactively working for the best interests of her client‘
‘The lawyers provide an excellent level of service to their clients without losing sight of proportionality. Bharti Shah is highly experienced and very good‘
‘The lawyers are completely committed to their clients. This is at the forefront of their ethos. They are highly experienced in their field.‘
‘Both Vanessa Friend and Bharti Shah provide excellent client care and handle the intricate preparation needed’
Howard Kennedy LLP acts for a variety of high-net-worth clients, such as entrepreneurs, City workers, and sports and media personalities. The team advises on the full range of family law matters, with particular strength in nuptial agreements; it continues to be busy advising on a number of high-value pre and post-nuptial agreements, including those involving assets of up to £100m where there is an international element. Other strengths include advising on surrogacy matters and alternative family structures. Lois Langton leads the team, which also includes Alan Kaufman, who is a collaborative lawyer and mediator who specialises in complex family law disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Ince has a dedicated team that advises on divorce and the separation of cohabitees, as well as finance and children issues as they arise during relationship breakdown. Under the leadership of John Burrell, the team is skilled in advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements which frequently involve international trust interests and international wealth. Other strengths include advising on private law children matters such as the international relocation of children.
‘The highly experienced John Burrell is always cool, calm and collected and has given me excellent advice for many years. He is a font of knowledge and reassurance‘
‘This team is really excelling. It is attracting high-quality work, particularly international cases. Its link-up with the commercial law offering of Ince gives it a valuable position in the market for attracting clients from commerce and commercial law‘
‘David Ruck has demonstrated himself to be at the top of his game time and time again. He is a highly skilled practitioner and has at all times been a pleasure to work both alongside and against’
‘Yael Selig is diligent and tenacious‘
Irwin Mitchell has particular strength in international cases and alternative dispute resolution, as well as modern families matters. National team head Ros Bever has a particular specialism in complex high and ultra-high-net-worth cases, often involving trust assets and international issues. The highly experienced Toby Hales leads the London team on a day-to-day basis and is particularly known for his advocacy skills at all levels of court. The team also continues to attract complex work in the finance and private law children arena. Jenna Lucas has been promoted to the partnership.
‘Irwin Mitchell is one of the top all-round firms in the country and, as such, has access to expertise on virtually every area of law which touches on a matrimonial practice. This can be enormously useful in more difficult cases. Cases are always polished and well prepared. It is one of the few firms with a truly national reach’
‘A very experienced team of out-of-the-box thinkers who excel when the going gets tough and manage cases very professionally. Toby Hales is calm, grounded, extremely knowledgeable and articulate, and can get the message across in a very sharp and yet delicate way‘
‘Ros Bever is a natural leader who manages an impressive caseload alongside various management roles in the firm. She is a very talented lawyer and gives absolutely everything in every single case. I wish she would tell me how she fits it all in!‘
‘The private client team at Irwin Mitchell is first class. It is a strong team that consistently achieves excellent results for clients. The lawyers are a thoroughly nice bunch of people who are a joy to work with‘
‘Although great litigators, the lawyers also work hard with a view to limiting tensions if possible to ensure sensible agreements can be reached. The team has strength in depth and remains accessible. Jenna Lucas is a pleasure to work with‘
‘Jenna Lucas is a standout solicitor. She is tactically excellent, justifiably confident in her own abilities and extremely hardworking. She is always completely on top of her cases and misses nothing. Clients love her’
‘Deborah Levy is vastly experienced and her judgement is impeccable. Clients trust her and know she will get results’
‘Deborah Levy is very collaborative, solutions focused, knowledgeable and knows what she is doing‘
Ketley Miller Joels Ltd is a niche high-net-worth family practice in Central London, which is experienced in complex financial cases involving multiple jurisdictions and complicated financial structures, as well as acquired or inherited assets. It also has considerable expertise in Children Act cases, TOLATA applications, schedule 1 matters and declaration of marital status cases. Clayton Miller is the key contact. The team added consultant Margaret Kelly to its ranks from Josiah-Lake Gardiner Solicitors in October 2019, but saw the departure of Philip Cooper to join JMW Solicitors LLP in June 2020.
‘Central London firm without Central London prices. I know that the lawyers will do a good job for a reasonable price. Clayton Miller is a good technical lawyer who can read a situation perfectly and knows where there is a deal to be done‘
‘A small firm with excellent client relations and a particular expertise in international family law cases. Very strong links with practice in Australia and knowledge of Australian law and procedure. Clayton Miller and Margaret Kelly are outstanding for client-sensitivity and the ability to keep pace with complex legal developments both in England and Wales and worldwide’
‘The team offers a bespoke service to clients. My experience shows it is working very hard to give realistic advice to clients from the outset. Sohinni Sanghvi is enthusiastic and very hardworking. She is personable but not afraid to give realistic advice to clients from the outset if required. She is fantastic to work with, ensuring all parts of the client’s case, no matter how tricky, are attended to‘
‘Ketley Miller Joels is a dedicated niche practice that specialises in all areas of family law, including prenuptial agreements, finances and child law. Clayton Miller and Mary Ketley are expert practitioners and are both very highly regarded‘
‘Dedicated boutique firm providing great value for money. Clayton Miller is an outstanding lawyer. He worked for many years in Australia and this has given him amazing international contacts. He has a laid-back approach which is much loved by clients. Margaret Kelly has a great bedside manner. Her clients adore her’
‘Clayton Miller takes a practical and expert approach to his cases and always has in mind the most cost-effective outcome for his client. This is certainly different to many central London family law firms and I respect him highly for that. Margaret Kelly is a fantastic addition to the firm given her many years’ experience as a lawyer, as a judge and as a mediator. The firm can offer the full service to clients which must appeal to many’
‘A great, upbeat and enthusiastic set of litigators, with a solid grasp of the commercial realities of a case. Clayton Miller is very sound, with a good grip of the internal dynamics of a case balanced with a strong dose of realism and practicality‘
‘Clayton Miller is an extremely bright, experienced, thoughtful solicitor with a real eye for detail and a wonderful bedside manner. Commercially savvy’
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP has a small but full-service family team that predominantly attracts instructions from high-profile and high or ultra- high-net-worth individuals, such as business people, celebrities and royalty, who are either resident but non-domiciled or non-resident and domiciled in the UK. The firm is well versed in advising these clients on cases involving assets located across a number of jurisdictions and in complex corporate and trust structures. Under the leadership of Michael Pulford, the practice has niche expertise in Russian, Ukrainian and Middle Eastern family work. Senior associate Sarah Ingram is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Michael Pulford is a standout star – he has real in-depth knowledge of the field and great tactical awareness‘
‘Michael Pulford is an impressive individual‘
RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP is adept at advising middle income professionals and business people on high-net-worth financial disputes on divorce, and frequently also acts for self-employed creatives and entrepreneurs. It works with the tax and private client offering to assist clients with all issues that affect relationship breakdown. Through department head Caroline Penfold, the team is skilled in advising on jurisdictional issues, as well as issues surrounding offshore trusts and other matters such as complex pre and post-nuptial agreements and all aspects of private law children work.
‘Caroline Penfold has a well-established reputation in London as a very experienced matrimonial finance solicitor. She has many years of experience and is extremely well respected by her peers, counsel and the judiciary. She exercises very sound judgement, is highly intuitive, and understands the subtle nuances of a case‘
‘Radcliffes LeBrasseur is a very accomplished outfit, with a strong team, delivering a first-rate service. Caroline Penfold is hugely experienced and brings real insight to all her cases’
‘Christopher Butler is a personable, vastly experienced solicitor with a deservedly strong reputation‘
‘Christopher Butler is an experienced practitioner and part-time judge, which give him a real understanding of the issues and the realities‘
‘Robert Emmett has great attention to detail and a sharp mind‘
‘Lucy Bridger has confidence and gravitas beyond her years, is hardworking, and very bright. She has dealt with some very difficult cases on her own, which other less able and confident lawyers would have struggled with‘
‘Christopher Butler leaves no stone unturned in advancing his client’s case’
‘Carina Smith has grown a reputation for herself as a steady, very intelligent, and well-rounded lawyer. Carina specialises in matrimonial finance, often with an international element. She will consider a case from all angles, and is a real problem solver. She is a tenacious lawyer and will go the extra mile for her clients‘
Mr. Rupert Martin
- Acted for Mr Rupert Martin in relation to High Court financial proceedings which proceeded to the Court of Appeal.
Raymond Tooth heads the team at Sears Tooth and advises on a myriad of complex and high-net-worth financial disputes, often involving people in the public eye. There have been some changes to the team at a senior level: Susan Apthorp moved to Keystone Law, while Natasha Slabas was promoted to the partnership. Slabas’ practice encompasses a wide variety of children and financial remedy work, including cases involving permanent leave to remove and schedule 2 matters, as well as the enforcement of foreign judgments.
Other key lawyers:
‘Raymond Tooth’s dedication and commitment to a case is absolutely extraordinary’
‘Raymond’s many years of experience means that he gives clients a more holistic range of alternatives and his judgement is exemplary‘
‘Raymond’s direct style and succinct communication means that decisions can be taken more quickly and ultimately time and costs are saved‘
‘Ray Tooth clearly has a presence (both in and out of London) that makes him a formidable force‘
‘Raymond has serious gravitas and while he is known for his no-nonsense approach, he is kind and immensely caring to his clients‘
‘Raymond Tooth is the most experienced litigator in the business. He lives up to his legend‘
‘The practice has the benefit of a close-knit team. It has a long experience of high-profile and complex cases which give its clients considerable value in assessing their options‘
‘As a client, you feel looked after and even when you find yourself up against the odds, Raymond Tooth’s humour and experience put you at ease‘
- Advised on an abduction/inherent jurisdiction matter where the mother breached the order by retaining the children unlawfully in Ukraine.
Seddons is recommended for its advice on complex financial disputes on divorce and between cohabiting couples, often involving cross-jurisdictional issues. Strengths lie in advising on financial injunctions and the financial provision for children born outside of marriage, as well as pre and post-nuptial agreements. Under the leadership of Deborah Jeff, the team also excels in a broad range of children issues, from child arrangements to paternity testing. Neil Russell and Victoria Sterritt are also recommended.
‘The team provides all-round high-quality advice to clients across all areas of family law. The team has a depth of knowledge and experience and goes the extra mile to ensure the client achieves the result they are looking for‘
‘The matrimonial team has grown in stature over the last few years and the firm is able to provide an all-round service to complement the team‘
‘Deborah Jeff is excellent – she is clear in her advice (even when what she is saying is difficult for her client to hear), and always aims for the best, most realistic outcome. She’s also a tough negotiator, who you’d want on your side‘
‘Neil Russell has a burgeoning and increasingly high-profile celebrity practice, with a relaxed manner that puts clients at ease. He instils total confidence‘
‘Neil Russell has become one of the go-to people in the matrimonial world and is now regularly instructed by top industrialists and politicians. They know they can rely upon his business acumen and common sense to guide them through the most complex of cases‘
‘The Seddon’s team is small but perfectly formed and able to give well-tailored advice and service to its clients. Victoria Sterritt is a pragmatic, forensic and highly capable lawyer, with fantastic client care skills. She deftly deals with the most difficult clients with great sensitivity, care and good humour‘
‘Victoria Sterritt is a very good solicitor. She has a brilliant way of making the client feel relaxed and confident that every aspect of their case is being addressed. Victoria is a tough opponent to be on the other side from because she develops a strategy from the very beginning‘
‘A tailored approach to the family cases. Victoria Sterritt is superb. She has a grounded and approachable client manner which inspires confidence. She is tenacious and has strong legal acumen‘
Boris Johnson MP
- Advising Boris Johnson MP in connection with divorce and financial settlement.
The team at Winckworth Sherwood LLP is led by the highly recommended Katie Spooner, who leads on complex matrimonial and financial remedy cases, often involving children and cross-jurisdictional matters. Her client base is increasingly made up of highly successful executives, high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs. The department advises on highly complex Children Act proceedings, as well as nuptial agreements and financial remedy proceedings. Amanda Andrews moved to Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP and associate Alexander Woolley to Farrer & Co, but the team has strong associates in Anna-Laura Lock and Selena Arbe-Barnes.
‘Katie Spooner is now at the helm and steering the ship with aplomb. She is one to watch – she is ambitious, hardworking and fights for her clients‘
‘Katie Spooner took a very sensible and rational approach, trying to find pragmatic solutions to resolve matters for our clients. She provided exceptional support and was calm, measured, candid, and tough in equal measure‘
‘Katie Spooner is an excellent lawyer, with superb people skills, very much suited to being head of department. Under her watch the team is likely to go places‘
‘A close-working team with deep specialisms, particularly in finance and private law children matters. Katie Spooner is great – down to earth, straightforward and ever the tactician when it comes to running a case. She holds her own with ease in negotiations’
‘Anna-Laura Lock in the family team stands out as a first-rate associate. She is cool, calm, and collected under pressure, has excellent client care skills, and fantastic attention to detail‘
‘There are some exceptional associates in this team, in particular Anna-Laura Lock and Selena Arbe-Barnes. The team is down to earth, can compete with the big players and has reduced costs because of its south of the river location. Anna-Laura Lock really looks after her clients. She is very approachable and genuine‘
‘A top London firm with an excellent reputation for conducting litigation in a firm but appropriate manner. Some excellent young associates who will be big names in the future. Anna-Laura Locke is exceptionally bright, unbelievably diligent and fantastic with clients. Selena Arbe-Barnes is a rising star. She is very clever and adds enormous value to a case‘
‘Selena Arbe-Barnes is a rising star – she brings a great deal of maturity and intelligence to her cases and is superb with clients. I would not hesitate in referring cases to her as she is reassuring, clever and very committed to her clients‘
A City Law Firm Ltd
An established specialist firm, A City Law Firm Ltd frequently handles surrogacy, domestic and international parental orders. It has a particular specialism in LGBTQ+ community issues and routinely advises on surrogacy and fertility law matters, disputes that arise regarding transgender parents and children’s birth certificates, and contact orders on separation. Founding partner Karen Holden is well regarded.
‘A City Law Firm is well known for its outstanding work in the field of surrogacy and fertility law as well as the work it does to further equality in the LGBTQ+ community‘
‘Karen Holden is very accessible, extremely rigorous and communicates with passion and integrity‘
‘Absolute commitment to providing accurate and timely advice. Communication is a significant strength in terms of clarity, strategy and responsiveness‘
‘The highly effective interpersonal skills of the professionals at A City Law Firm stand out, providing both reassurance and confidence through challenging circumstances.
Patrick & James Killalea
- Advised a transgender parent who went to the High Court to fight for his right to be noted on his child’s birth certificate as the father not as the mother since he had already transitioned.
- Advised on a case relating to intended parents applying for a parental order after a successful surrogacy arrangement overseas, who have separated. The case involved a challenge to the current statutory interpretation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 to expand the definition of an enduring family relationship being one home.
- Advised on a case whereby the intended parents involved in a surrogacy arrangement in the UK suffered relationship breakdown with their surrogate mother and her husband.
Bishop & Sewell LLP handles the full range of private family work, from complex nuptial agreements to financial claims on divorce where there are complicated trust, business and international aspects. It also advises on schedule 1 claims and continues to successfully develop its ‘forming families’ specialism, which includes surrogacy and fertility law work. The team under the leadership of Louise Barretto has developed considerable expertise in advising on financial and children matters where there is a party exhibiting narcissistic traits.
‘First-rate family law department. It has a real strength in dealing with complex international surrogacy cases‘
‘Philip Rutter is bright, insightful and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. He is a pleasure to work with. He will fight his client’s corner to achieve a fair outcome, and he will not take stupid points. His focus is always on finding a solution‘
‘Philip Rutter is bright, hardworking, thorough and quick to respond to any queries in a succinct and focused way‘
‘Philip Rutter is an excellent family lawyer. Clients who instruct him certainly strike gold – he is not only knowledgeable but he has a no-nonsense and pragmatic approach to cases. He cuts through the often unnecessary arguments to find solutions for his clients’
‘David Hodgson’s professionalism in his work continued to impress me as he was very knowledgeable in the field, very organised and has always responded promptly to my replies‘
‘David Hodgson was really hardworking‘
‘David Hodgson provides a good degree of emotional support and good management of the client’s expectations‘
‘Victoria Maxwell is exceptional. She is a natural in dealing with complex international surrogacy cases. I often forget that she is only a few years’ PQE, as she has the experience and knowledge of partner, without being over-confident‘
Under the leadership of Philip Morton, the team at DMH Stallard LLP specialises in the resolution of complex financial issues that arise on divorce and separation, and also has a wide range of experience in private law children cases and cross-border disputes. In addition, the group handles emergency applications to the High Court and advises on issues such as pre and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. Siobhan Lomasney is now at Fletcher Day, while Samantha Jago joined the team from rhw Solicitors. The firm recently completed a merger with Brookman Solicitors, a deal which saw Henry Brookman, Talitha Brookman and Aziz Malik join the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has a broad range of capabilities and backgrounds, which appeal to a wide variety of clients. Overall, it is a driven team of individuals with a clear focus on achieving a good outcome for its clients while handling its clients’ needs with sensitivity and care’
‘Phil Morton continues to provide consistently high levels of representation‘
‘A delightful firm to work with. Philip Morton is a sharp and skilled solicitor with extremely good humour to match‘
‘The team has excellent strength in depth. It is led by the exceptionally talented and easy-going Phil Morton‘
‘Very supportive to work with. Philip Morton, Pippa Marshall and Kirsty Kelleher are all excellent’
‘Philip Morton is outstanding. He pulls the team together and gets the best out of them. He balances risks and returns deliberately and effectively‘
‘Philip Morton stands out for his high levels of care and attention. He is clearly passionate about assisting his clients and driven to ensure they are looked after, not just in his dealings with them but also after a settlement has been reached. He has a very thorough approach‘
‘Phil Morton has a commercial and strategic approach, working two steps ahead to head off the challenge that will be made by his opponent in a couple of months’ time‘
‘Outstanding quality. Always professional, available and able to respond quickly to emergency situations. The lawyers have always appeared to communicate well as a team and with their clients’
‘The team has extensive experience of complicated financial remedy cases, many with an international element. The lawyers fight their clients’ corners robustly, but are very focused on the need to try and resolve matters by consent wherever possible‘
‘Henry Brookman is an exceptionally experienced divorce lawyer and is often instructed in the most difficult cases and never gives up on his clients. He is forever spotting new angles to old problems. Sarah Gupta has built up considerable expertise‘
‘Talitha Brookman is an excellent lawyer with a very good tactical brain‘
‘Talitha Brookman has gone from strength to strength and is frequently instructed in big money cases and those involving complex matters of an inter-jurisdictional nature‘
‘Aziz Malik is incisive, good humoured and engaging to work with. Clients have praised his robust approach with difficult opponents when required. Aziz never loses sight of the big picture and he will not sacrifice the opportunity to advise on a pragmatic solution if it is in the client’s best interests‘
‘Aziz Malik makes sure that every angle and every tactical outcome has been considered. His intellect is impressive, but he delivers it in such a way as to make clients feel at ease and confident in the most trying of litigation circumstances‘
- Acting for the beneficiary of an offshore trust fund, where the spouse claimed that the trust was a matrimonial asset and therefore to be divided between the parties.
- Acting for a husband who was subject to an order for payment of high levels of maintenance.
- Acting for a wife in circumstances where the husband is the owner director of a company.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors has a broad range of experience and handles all aspects of family law. Key specialisms include representing the victims of domestic violence and assisting clients with securing a financial settlement following the breakdown of a marriage. The team also handles matters such as special guardianship orders, the distribution of business assets and the international movement of children, as well as protecting clients in emergency situations in cases involving non-accidental injury, sexual assault, grooming or forced marriages.
‘All clients get the same client service whether they are on legal aid or whether they are privately funding the litigation‘
‘Its child abduction expertise is absolutely top rate. The lawyers are careful, sensible and absolutely behind their client. Their expertise and experience ensure a top-quality service for what is usually publicly funded work‘
‘Adeeba Naseem and her team acted quickly and went beyond what was expected by working late hours to ensure they achieved my objectives. Adeeba was determined and has worked very hard to win every legal battle. She is very knowledgeable and has changed the lives of me and my children, and has achieved for me what I never thought would be possible‘
‘Stavri Petrou and Ravi Mahey were outstanding. Stavri was very knowledgeable, efficient, compassionate and very professional, always kept in touch and kept me updated‘
‘Helen Newman is very tenacious and thorough, as well as being very knowledgeable in the field of international child abduction. She reacts very quickly to developments in a case‘
‘Adeeba Naseem is excellent and a specialist when it comes to international abduction cases. She dominates every case she is in and is loved by her clients. Priyal Patel knows every detail of her cases and is an extremely able litigator‘
‘Ravi Kaur Mahey always goes over and beyond her duties. She works out of hours and ensures that she completes what is required of her for her client and for the case. She responds promptly to all enquiries‘
‘Laila Bhunnoo is an experienced advocate – she understands the role of the children’s guardian and the collaborative approach required when representing children‘
- Instructed to represent a mother in an application for a female genital mutilation protection order issued by Hertfordshire County Court.
- Represented the intervenor in a complex eight-party High Court case.
With Teresa Cullen at the helm, the team at Fladgate LLP has increasingly been instructed on complex and often contentious matters involving children and on high-value financial claims with cross-border components. It clients range from Hollywood actors and UK television stars to eminent physicians and surgeons, CEOs and a stuntman with film and television credits. Cullen is a collaborative lawyer and mediator. Senior associate Anna Wakeling often acts for high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and is adept at handling associated financial disputes and jurisdictional questions.
‘Teresa Cullen leads a small private client family team with focus and vigour. There is tenacity and realism at every stage. The work is wide ranging. Teresa Cullen shows an unflappable calm for each client, however troublesome or demanding. Her gentle humour assists in moving matters forward‘
‘The team runs like a well-oiled machine with each member knowing what the other is doing, providing for a knowledgeable, helpful and highly effective service. Couple this with its friendly approach, and every client I have referred has always spoken highly of this team‘
‘Teresa’s client care is flawless and she goes the extra mile for all of them‘
‘Teresa Cullen and her team are very personable and constructive and have great expertise in this field. Teresa is always wanting to look for a resolution and is keen to be as creative as possible in order to achieve this. She is a pleasure to work with‘
‘The family practice possesses good experience, maturity and knowledge, but above all else very good personal skills in dealing with clients, and demonstrates the highest levels of professionalism’
‘Teresa Cullen is an exceptional lawyer. She works tirelessly for her clients and puts together a group of trusted professional connections from different spheres to assist with the various challenges that are presented to them’
‘Teresa Cullen is empathetic, highly intelligent and always sees the client as an individual with a unique point of view and approach’
‘There is a great team ethos. Teresa Cullen is very pragmatic and solution focused. Ronnie Mortimer is both helpful and very bright but also able to connect with clients’
Grayfords is experienced in all aspects of divorce and separation, including pre and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements and parenting agreements. Under the direction of Sheata Karim, the team has secured successful outcomes in a significant number of complex and acrimonious child arrangement disputes. It also has considerable experience of assisting clients in abusive or harassing situations. The 'superb' Neil Graham is highly recommended. Megan Bennie moved to The International Family Law Group LLP in March 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘Neil Graham is one of the brightest and most able family law solicitors currently practising. He is extremely able and provides first-rate client care. His knowledge of family law (especially financial remedy work) is breath-taking’
‘A stellar international financial remedy practice. Neil Graham genuinely cares about his clients, has an amazing bedside manner, and will go the extra mile to get the best result for his client, whether through tough negotiation or litigation’
‘Neil Graham is an excellent solicitor with admirable client skills and a fine appreciation of legal complexities‘
‘Neil Graham in particular knows each client’s case inside out and is tactically very astute‘
‘Bespoke and efficient service. Good value for money. Committed individuals’
‘Neil Graham is superb. He has great attention to detail, an excellent rapport with clients, and is able to give unwelcome advice where required. He takes a pragmatic approach to moving a case forward‘
‘Grayfords is a strong team that knows its stuff. The lawyers are highly approachable and care about their clients‘
‘This is a niche specialist family law team, superbly led by Sheata Karim. The lawyers have all the technical know-how combined with huge experience and, in my view, good judgement. Whilst they take a pragmatic approach to sensible settlement terms, they will resist, through the court process if necessary, any unfairness and unjust situations that arise‘
ITN Solicitors has been instructed in a number of high-profile radicalisation cases recently, as well as having particular expertise in public law children matters. The group is also regularly instructed to represent individuals in private law children disputes. The team is adept at advising on matters involving domestic abuse and forced marriages, as well as financial remedies, divorce and the dissolution of civil partnerships, and cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements. The team is led by Mitali Zakaria.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very thorough, knowledgeable and has empathy with clients. Mitali Zakaria always fights to the last – she is a good person to have with you rather than against you, and is very knowledgeable‘
‘ITN Solicitors has developed an increasing presence over recent years and has been at the very forefront of High Court and Court of Appeal work concerning the issue of radicalisation’
‘The team has a national reach and reputation for radicalisation work, extending its profile beyond its traditional children work into a burgeoning private law and financial presence‘
‘Somia Siddiq is an excellent lawyer, entirely committed to delivering results for her clients’
‘Somia is extremely strong technically and never leaves a stone unturned‘
‘ITN Solicitors also represents legal aid clients and has a strong criminal and civil team. Its wide and diverse expertise means it is able to assist all clients across more than one area, not just those with a big budget‘
‘Mitali Zakaria goes out of her way to assist her clients, often working outside office hours, including over the weekend’
‘Mitali is kind and sympathetic yet able to give robust advice‘
Josiah-Lake Gardiner Solicitors is a strong niche practice that advises on the full range of family law work. It acts for business owners, high-net-worth individuals and those in the media and the arts. Clients are mainly based in London and the Home Counties. Rebecca Gardiner and David Josiah-Lake are well regarded. There have been several changes to the team: Margaret Kelly recently moved to Ketley Miller Joels Ltd, Stacey De Souza is now at Hughes Fowler Carruthers and Lewis Powers moved to Stewarts Law LLP, while Neil McNab joined the firm from Sheridans.
Other key lawyers:
‘As a small practice JL-G is extremely nimble and personal, yet there is an abundance of larger-firm expertise and capabilities. I have no hesitation recommending the firm to my wealth management clients‘
‘This is a niche firm with a very strong client-facing ethos. Any client that walks through the doors will be supported on the journey from beginning to end. David Josiah-Lake has a tremendous touch and a feel for the right answer. He has unbounded energy and a determination to achieve the right outcome. He will litigate where necessary but his preferred approach is the right negotiated settlement’
‘David Josiah Lake is a go-to person for cohabitee disputes and schedule 1 applications‘
‘Rebecca Gardiner is a dedicated lawyer who genuinely fights for her clients and is smart and tenacious. Rebecca is a pleasure to work with. She is fully committed to her clients and will fight their corner without reservation, whilst keeping a clear focus on sensible negotiations in pursuit of settlement‘
‘Rebecca Gardiner is the best at her game. The right balance of emotional intelligence, IQ, firmness and sensitivity’
‘David Josiah-Lake is exceptional in being able to steer clients on a course that has the best chance of them achieving an affordable outcome in line with their priorities and values. He neither runs from a fight nor fuels it. He exudes confidence and competence and is aided by an exceptional memory. He is a man of integrity, wisdom and drive‘
‘Rebecca Gardiner is an extremely experienced family finance solicitor. She fights hard for her clients, but ensures at all times that they understand the potential outcomes‘
‘It is a boutique firm and is completely dedicated to its clients. The lawyers are commercial and excellent litigators. Rebecca Gardiner is fiercely intelligent and afraid of no one‘
Keystone Law acts for and against professionals, entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals and those in the public eye, and frequently advises parties with several billion pounds' worth of assets; recent cases include acting against one of people mentioned in the top ten of the Sunday Times Rich List. Its cases frequently have an international dimension, involving foreign nationals or offshore assets. There have been a number of senior additions to the group, including Susan Apthorp from Sears Tooth. Names to note include Zoë Bloom and Caroline Kelly.
Other key lawyers:
‘Keystone Law has assembled a team of some of the best and most experienced family law solicitors around, which enables the firm to provide a high level of service in a wide range of cases’
‘The advantage of Keystone Law is that clients can pick the individual solicitor whom they wish to instruct. The firm attracts good-quality matrimonial finance work, often taking on much bigger firms in the sector‘
‘Caroline Kelly is very bright. Claire O’Flinn is very organised and concise‘
‘Claire O’Flinn really adds value to her cases and is hugely capable’
‘The team is nimble and professional. Richard Collins is a conscientious and strategic solicitor who was able to keep the process going forward despite many obstacles from external factors. I personally found his calm, even nature in the wake of conflict a source of stability as we worked through the financial negotiations‘
‘It has some excellent lawyers – most notably Zoë Bloom‘
‘Zoë Bloom has an open, intelligent and challenging style that thinks well ahead of the other side and allows you to feel comfortable that matters are very well in hand. She is a great communicator and will always push you to consider other options so that you are ahead of the game and can make fully informed decisions about next steps or outcomes‘
‘Zoë Bloom is a real fighter who is always one step ahead of the opposition. She foresees and addresses problems even before the client has spotted them. Her attention to detail is impeccable and her client care is exceptional. She is a genuine asset to a litigation team’
‘Hannah Cornish is hands-on and very capable. She is great to deal with: she is committed to her client’s cause but objective and reasonable‘
‘Hannah Cornish is wise beyond her years, an astute tactician and a great lawyer‘
‘Hannah Cornish is a very realistic, pragmatic and sensible lawyer‘
- Acting for an ultra-high-net-worth individual whose matrimonial assets are worth in excess of £20-30m, in a case which spans the jurisdictions of England, Spain, Monaco, Austria and Italy with assets held, it is believed, in each jurisdiction.
- Represented a mother in alleged child abduction proceedings involving the removal of a child from Mexico to England.
- Resolved divorce and financial matters by negotiating directly with solicitors on the other side in an attempt to keep the parties’ personal affairs entirely confidential, given their high-profile, public personas.
Miles Preston & Co advises on a broad range of family matters, from arrangements for children through to divorce and relationship breakdown issues. It is also adept at advising on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Julia Stanczyk and Harriett Wait are among the names to note.
Royds Withy King
Royds Withy King has considerable experience of advising wealthy clients on divorce and separation cases involving complicated business structures, trusts and overseas assets with cross-jurisdictional issues. It also has a strong practice in private law children proceedings, handling all aspects of abduction and relocation cases. In addition, the group has developed specialist expertise in complex cases involving cryptocurrency and other crypto assets.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team’s strengths and key capabilities are in solving very complicated financial situations on divorce. The lawyers are extremely good at dealing with cases which involve significant amount of assets overseas which have different taxation systems’
‘Patrick Hart is a vastly experienced divorce lawyer and one of the country’s leading solicitors in representing HNW spouses. He is a superb leader and excellent tactician. His clients adore him‘
‘Patrick Hart is very experienced. He has an aura and intelligence – he adopts a very logical approach. He is also very compassionate and tried extremely hard to protect me’
‘Patrick Hart and Hannah Butcher were both incredibly personable and friendly. They were able to succinctly and sensitively give me the facts and advise on my next course of action without fail‘
‘Emma McMorrow goes the extra mile for all of her clients, and brings sound legal judgement and thorough case analysis to all of her cases. She is equally good in money and children work‘
‘John Newberry has sound knowledge and judgement with an eye for detail. He has a real understanding of client requirements and how to provide a professional and individual service. Hannah Butcher has a remarkable ability to process information and provide sound advice to clients at short notice; she is one to watch’
- Acting for the former partner of a Premiership footballer in financial claims relating to their child.
- Representing a high-profile film director in TOLATA proceedings regarding the division of properties following the breakdown of his relationship with a famous actress.
- Successfully defending a husband against claims from his wife in respect of his interest in US trusts which held assets exceeding $200m.
Russells Solicitors' family team has built up a reputation for its discreet advice, acting for a large number of celebrities, primarily in the music business but also in sports, film, TV and the media. It also acts for a client base of wealthy individuals in the financial services sector. The team under the leadership of Carol Ellinas is skilled at settling family matters through collaborative law and at using the quasi-collaborative law process when advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements.
With Andrea Plum at the helm, the team at Sheridans has a wealth of experience in all aspects of private family law. It routinely acts for high-net-worth and high-profile individuals such as actors, sports stars and elite athletes, and there is often a significant international dimension to its work. Plum is a Resolution-accredited specialist in complex financial and property matters and financial arrangements for children. Neil McNab recently left the firm to join Josiah-Lake Gardiner Solicitors.
Stowe Family Law LLP has a large specialist team of family lawyers. Phoebe Turner is the managing partner of the firm's Victoria office; she specialises in all aspects of divorce and ancillary financial matters and in cases with complicated jurisdictional issues. She advises a broad spectrum of international clients. Gavin Scott, who is the managing partner of the London office, is a mediator and has a particular focus on complex and high-asset financial matters. Graham Coy recently left the firm to join Wilsons.
‘Phoebe Turner is the star of the London practice. She gives clients honest, straightforward and simple advice’
‘Phoebe Turner is a slick operator‘
‘Gavin Scott always deals with issues promptly and efficiently, copes well under pressure and gives great confidence to his lay clients. Gavin has a very good analytical approach to the facts and the figures, and consequently saves his clients much time and costs‘
‘Gavin Scott is hardworking and always available night and day. He provides sensible and realistic advice to clients’
‘Alice Wightman is amazing – she is really helpful, tells me exactly what is going on, and helps me in the best way she can. She is truthful, which is important as sometimes the truth isn’t what I want to hear but what I need to know‘
‘Sarah Jane Lenihan is particularly impressive – she does high-quality work and is very efficient and accessible‘
‘The team has a range of skilled practitioners who give their all to their individual clients. Sarah Jane Lenihan is a robust representative. She always fights her client’s corner‘
‘Sarah Jane Lenihan is someone you would definitely want on your side. Experience, diligence, warmth and personality all in one package‘
Wilson Solicitors LLP has specialists in all areas of family and matrimonial law, including divorce and financial orders as well as private law children matters and domestic abuse cases. Other strengths lie in international adoption, child abduction, forced marriages and surrogacy cases. The team deals with both modest income cases and high-net-worth matters. Aysen Soyer and Patricia Beckett are notable names; Amna Khaliq is another key practitioner and receives regular referrals directly from the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit.
‘Aysen Soyer is the most empowering and warm solicitor I’ve ever met. She treated my case with utmost professionalism, but always seemed aware of and empathetic towards the fact that I had engaged her to help with a painful family matter‘
‘Patricia Beckett treated me as an individual and paid particular attention to all details’
‘Wilson Solicitors offers great service, and is very knowledgeable, professional and has a very warm and welcoming environment. The staff are all amazing and very friendly, which really makes the firm unique. Amna Khaliq was absolutely amazing‘
‘Wilsons’ family department is led by the formidable Aysen Soyer, who is excellent at providing a seamless service with robust advice and guidance but with sensitivity and dedication. She is calm and professional under pressure and always provides a sharp analysis of the situation with a no-fuss approach‘
‘The team are very efficient and reply promptly. They are compassionate, knowledgeable and clear. Aysen Soyer has been brilliant’
‘A resourceful, hardworking, well-structured and organised team. Ayşen Soyer has a genuine interest in and passion for her clients’ matters. She is also a highly effective leader and has an incredibly approachable, warm manner‘
‘I am always impressed by their preparedness, eagerness to be of assistance and dedication to their clients’
‘Patricia Beckett is a wonderful, thoughtful and determined solicitor. Highly recommended’
- Represented the father in the Court of Appeal in protracted non-accidental care proceedings of a six-week-old baby, with the appeal relating to no findings being made at first instance in A county Council v A Mother & Ors  EWHC 3282 (Fam).
- Represented the mother in Re H (Abduction: Retention in Non-Contracting State)  EWCA Civ 672, a child abduction matter relating to an appeal of a return order, to test whether removals must be to contracting states and retentions must be in contracting states to be within the scope of the Hague Convention.
- Representing a multi-millionaire father from Israel in MB v TB (Art 13 Alleged Risk of Oppressive Litigation)  EWHC 1019 (Fam) via the ICACU under the Child Abduction Act, pursuant to Article 12 of the Hague Convention, in relation to litigation conduct as a defence.
Allard Bailey Family Law
Allard Bailey Family Law advises on all areas of family law, with a particular emphasis on complex financial proceedings where there are cross-jurisdictional issues, company assets and trusts structures. It is also skilled at advising on children law cases such as international relocation, child abduction and contact disputes, as well as surrogacy and adoption matters. The group is also recommended for its advice on LGBT family issues under the leadership of Louise Allard and Sabrina Bailey.
Other key lawyers:
‘Allard Bailey was very efficient, transparent and supportive and clearly knew the ins and outs of the legal procedure. I felt that I was in very capable hands and was very pleased I had employed the team‘
‘A specialist and boutique family law firm. The lawyers are extremely organised and attract high-quality work not through showy advertising or marketing strategies, but simply by being efficient and good at what they do’
‘Louise Allard dealt with my case. At all times she was very clear on my position and my options, explained things in everyday language, and was sympathetic and supportive’
‘Louise Allard fights hard for all her clients but she is also realistic in her approach. Her client manner is second to none. She is able to quickly grasp the key issues in a case and suggest a sensible solution‘
‘Louise Allard is clearly highly experienced and knowledgeable in the field of family law. Louise has a great ability to understand her clients’ individual needs‘
‘Sabina Bailey is technically very sound. She excels in listening, which is a much underrated skill, and is always sympathetic to clients. These set her above her peers in the industry‘
‘Louise Poulton was able to remove a layer of stress by providing an outstanding service. Everything was completed very promptly with exceptional detail‘
‘Excellent firm. Good judgement. Amazing client care. Louise Poulton is a class act’
- Acted for a managing director in the successful conclusion of the dissolution of a civil partnership and high-value financial remedy proceedings following an acrimonious separation and subsequent litigation.
- Acted for a company director in the successful conclusion of financial remedy proceedings at a first directions appointment in a divorce involving high-value shareholdings in multiple companies, valuable property holdings and a considerable pension fund.
- Acting for a wife in relation to divorce proceedings, financial remedy issues and child contact issues in a complex case where there has been domestic abuse, alcoholism and mismanagement of family finances.
BDB Pitmans continues to undertake high-quality and high-value financial remedy work with an international dimension. David Thompson handles all areas of family law, with a particular emphasis on complex financial issues. He has significant experience in cross-border financial matters and has acted in several leave to remove children cases. In addition, he is an experienced mediator who handles a large number of difficult children and financial issues. Matthew Heyworth heads up the team. Lisa Bolgar Smith departed for Streathers.
Other key lawyers:
Flora Grossman heads the team at Blake Morgan LLP and is a Resolution-accredited specialist in high-net-worth cases. The team attracts instructions from clients in the world of sport and film, as well as professionals and business owners. In addition, the department often handles Children Act matters. Grossman is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, and is well placed to advise on a variety of children law matters, from child arrangements through to removal from jurisdiction cases. Senior solicitor Amy Fullerton is also well regarded.
Other key lawyers:
‘An astute legal team with a personal touch. Flora Grossman and Amy Fullerton work together as a formidable team‘
‘Flora is a fantastic, all-round practitioner with a particular specialism in complex trusts and children work. She has a calm and meticulous approach to her work, nothing phases her, and she is utterly committed to her clients‘
‘Flora is the coolest of cool heads, measured and calm and no doubt a huge support for clients navigating the choppy waters of financial remedy cases‘
‘Flora Grossman is a hugely impressive solicitor – she attracts top-notch clients, has a really engaging manner and is utterly unflappable‘
Curzon Green Solicitors
Curzon Green Solicitors has established a strong reputation for dealing with the financial implications of divorce for mid to high-net-worth individuals. It regularly deals with cases involving multimillion-pound assets and valuable pension rights. In addition, the team is known for its work on child arrangements applications and is also developing its practice in the area of family privacy, particularly in cases involving revenge porn. Jeff Thomas and Robert Green are the main contacts.
Other key lawyers:
‘I found Jeff Thomas’ straightforward, no-nonsense approach refreshing and very helpful in managing my expectations as I progressed through an acrimonious divorce process. He has been extremely helpful in providing a down-to-earth and simple explanations of the whole process‘
‘Jeff Thomas is excellent – highly experienced with a wide knowledge base. One of the most approachable and client-centred solicitors I have worked with. Quality work at very competitive prices‘
‘Kelly-Ann Welsh is compassionate, well organised, efficient and professional‘
‘Its strengths are the tremendous expertise which different members of the team have and their skills in applying this to the client’s problems. Kelly-Ann Welsh stands out for her exceptional handling of divorce matters‘
- Acting for a wife who is a Chinese national in divorce and financial proceedings involving assets of over £2.5m, relating to a marriage of five years, but which was the second time the parties were married.
- Acting for a wife in complex financial proceedings involving two businesses and an extensive property portfolio.
- Acting for the wife in divorce proceedings where the husband did not follow the pre-action protocol and petitioned on the wife’s unreasonable behaviour.
Mark Harrop heads the London offering at Family Law Partners, and advises on all aspects of family and relationship breakdown, with a particular focus on divorce and financial issues. In addition, he has considerable experience of cases involving mental health issues and accusations of controlling or abusive behaviour. The practice has an emphasis on dispute resolution, with five mediators nationally, eight collaborative lawyers and an arbitrator. Emily Pain joined the team as a consultant from Stowe Family Law LLP.
‘Family Law Partners is a small, boutique practice which can respond flexibly to its clients’ demands. It is very up to date with technology and has been able to respond to the demands of remote hearings during the Covid pandemic‘
‘A firm that broke the boundaries of modern and flexible working practices before Covid made us all do it. The focus on non-court dispute resolution is a real positive‘
‘Mark Harrop is brilliant – he just gets on with it. Mark is, in my opinion, a first-class lawyer, possessing a razor-sharp intellect, an impressive grasp of detail, tactical astuteness and an excellent manner with clients. He is also extremely hardworking and has an unfailingly professional approach‘
‘This is a firm that goes the extra ten miles for clients and is committed to ensuring that they have the best of advice long before applications are issued. The lawyers are tactically astute and never make a dud application‘
‘Family Law Partners is very forward thinking – it is leading the industry in the use of technology for family law. Kate Elliott is very level headed. Any client would be overjoyed to have her in their corner. Rachel Nicholl is extremely hardworking and passionate about her clients. She will always go the extra mile’
‘Emily Pain is great. She knows family law back to front, and has a wonderful way with clients. She is conscientious, hardworking, diligent and super bright. She is great on strategy and goes above and beyond for her clients, in her quest to get the best result‘
‘Mark Harrop is a considered, bright individual. He gives clients quiet confidence in his outstanding abilities to resolve their case. Kate Elliott is one of the brightest, most enthusiastic, persuasive and personable lawyers out there‘
‘They are strong in ADR and mediation. The lawyers are sensible and do not take unreasonable positions. Mark Harrop is very fair. He is someone you can pick up the phone to and resolve things and cut through the animosity of a case‘
Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors
Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors advises on the full range of family law matters, including divorce and financial remedies for high to low-asset cases, as well as children issues, domestic abuse cases, and pre-nuptial and separation agreements. Team head Sarah Beskine is on the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit panel and is a Resolution-accredited specialist in financial remedy, international child abduction and domestic abuse matters. Martin Wolfenden is another key figure in the practice.
‘The family practice at Hopkin Murray Beskine is hugely knowledgeable and extremely skilled. It combines a knowledge of the law with sensible, practical advice to provide reassuring assistance on what can often be very emotional issues relating to domestic violence and the protection of children‘
‘The firm has a strong focus on mediation and collaborative law. The team has a breadth and depth of experience, and offers great service at realistic fee levels. Sarah Beskine is a great all-rounder, who is at home in court or in mediation and collaborative work, as well as international child abduction work‘
‘Sarah Beskine has been excellent. She helped and guided me through the divorce process with sensitivity and efficiency‘
‘Sarah combines her knowledge of family law and its practice with common-sense advice which really helps and makes a difference‘
‘Sarah Beskine and Avneet Panesar are experienced and dedicated international family lawyers who are extremely conscientious in the representation of their clients‘
‘I have worked with Avneet Panesar and I had great experience with her. She is fair-minded, generous, dedicated to her work and goes the extra mile for her clients’
‘Martin Wolfenden is a professional who will go an extra mile to reach the best possible outcome for his clients. Martin takes time to listen, creates a caring and supportive environment, and gives clear and thorough advice‘
‘Martin Wolfenden is an excellent family solicitor – he always puts clients first. He offers clear advice, he is knowledgeable and pragmatic, he understands the intricacies of the process, and above all he is focused on finding solutions‘
Philcox Gray & Co
Philcox Gray & Co's team is adept at handling cases at the highest levels. Beverley King has extensive experience of representing children and other parties in public and private Children Act proceedings. Lucy Verity is a Resolution-trained mediator, a Resolution-accredited specialist and a member of the Law Society Children's Panel, with many years of experience of acting for parents and children in complex cases. Sephona Isaacs Polson is experienced in cases involving matters such as adoption and all areas of relationship breakdown, including divorce and financial proceedings.
‘The team at Philcox Gray is a stellar bunch of lawyers. The lawyers involve themselves in their cases with commitment and passion and go the extra mile for their clients. They do not shy away from complex or difficult matters. Their client care is excellent‘
‘Beverley King and Denise Hoilette are standout individuals. They are thorough, approachable and professional. Very impressive‘
‘Beverley King is an expert in the representation of children, particularly as young adults who instruct her separately from their guardian. She shows them unfailing support and understanding and helps them to grow and be able to move on with their lives after the conclusion of proceedings‘
‘Lucy Verity is hugely intelligent, dogged in her pursuit of the right outcome for her clients, a very clear and strategic thinker, and demonstrates all-round excellence‘
‘A forward-thinking team with outstanding client care skills and support. Organised, efficient and always willing to assist. Lucy Verity is incredibly organised and helpful. Joanna Walker shows a real sensitivity towards clients while remaining professional’
‘It is a good local London firm and is committed to providing mainly publicly funded clients with an excellent service. Lucy Verity is an inspiring head of department. She is very committed and hardworking‘
‘Denise Hoilette is a strong and impressive solicitor who will fight for her clients whilst giving realistic advice. Giuseppe de Sica’s work ethic is impressive and his attention to case detail is impeccable‘
‘Joanna Walker’s commitment and dedication to justice and representation of those who are vulnerable and marginalised sets her apart. She is clearly a very bright and talented lawyer who is going to be a standout star in her career‘
- Acted for a troubled young child in care proceedings which required the court’s powers of secure accommodation orders, deprivation of liberty orders, the Court of Protection powers and support under the Mental Health Act.
- Acted for the mother throughout proceedings which have included three separate fact findings and one appeal.
- Acted for the children in a case where the mother was charged with and later convicted of murdering one of the children’s fathers, which involved questions of whether the youngest child should be told about the conviction and whether contact with the mother should be promoted in the future.
Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals, property entrepreneurs, company directors, City executives and celebrities, and has seen an increase in clients from the Middle East, Turkey and Russia. The department specialises in complex divorce proceedings and has particular experience in financial relief matters. It is also expanding its practice to include advising on surrogacy and adoption. John O’Callaghan leads the team.
‘It is the attention to detail that separates Ronald Fletcher Baker from others. There has never been an occasion in working with the family department where I’ve had to re-address a point raised, chase up on missed messages or have a clear idea of what to focus on both in the lead up to proceedings and the times in between‘
‘A niche family practice within a wider criminal team. Very specialist and able to give a good hands-on service to the client for very good value, given that it is a London firm. Bik Wong and Daniel Martinez are both very good and provide an excellent service to their clients‘
‘I am consistently impressed with the high standard, speed and exceptional quality of all work undertaken by Bik Wong‘
‘Bik is a conscientious lawyer, and always puts her clients first’
‘Bik was responsive, empathetic and above all a consummate professional. I do not believe my outcome would have been possible without all of her guile‘
‘The team at RFB has been truly excellent. I have used its service for my very complex family legal issues over many years and I have found the team knowledgeable and approachable‘
‘Very considerate and helpful handling of my separation and divorce‘
‘Adam Bowes is an approachable solicitor who always has his client’s best interests at heart. His clients feel listened to and receive good and practical advice from him‘
- Advised on a highly contested Children Act matter with an enflamed history.
- Advising on a complex financial relief matter, covering assets in three jurisdictions to include two businesses and multiple properties.
- Advising on the dissolution of a relatively short marriage, in which the assets were over £5m, the majority of which were based in Japan and China.
Slater and Gordon assists a variety of clients, ranging from mid to high-net-worth individuals, and frequently acts in cases with an international dimension. Through its offices nationally the team handles a variety of complex financial matters, with particular expertise in police and military pensions. It is increasingly instructed on Sharia law matters, as well as surrogacy and alternative family matters. Other areas of strength include schedule 1 and TOLOTA matters and nuptial agreements.
‘The solicitors at Slater and Gordon really do put their clients at the heart of their efforts. They offer a superb service to their clients, take their cases very seriously and give them excellent advice’
‘A brilliant team, with passionate lawyers who are all hardworking, committed and available.
‘Sarah Bunn is very bright and diligent and not afraid to test and explore the advice given, which makes the process much more meaningful. Sarah is very responsive and produces high-quality work at short notice‘
‘Venisha Shah is very experienced and a superb all-round lawyer’
Stevens & Bolton LLP covers the full range of family work, from high-value and complex financial proceedings and nuptial agreements through to contested children proceedings. It advises members of the medical profession, bankers, property developers, business owners and other lawyers, as well as wealthy individuals and families, some of whom have featured in the Sunday Times Rich List. It often handles cases with an international element. Nicola Harries heads the team.
‘The exceptionally talented Nicola Harries is dedicated to her clients’ causes, always ready to get in the trenches and absorb whatever workload a case dictates’
‘A very experienced team that is able to handle complex cases. The firm has a high-quality approach to its clients which is impressive‘
‘Very capable and well-respected lawyers – both in what they know and how they go about their business. They are solution focused but prepared to advance clients’ causes both in negotiations and in court‘
‘Strength and depth in family law. Sensible and pragmatic advice. Very cost effective. Grace Parker-White is a talented person who is excellent with clients and very settlement focused, whilst fighting her client’s corner where necessary‘
‘Sean Hilton is an extremely skilled tactician, whilst being wonderful with clients. He builds exceptionally good relationships with his clients, who always feel very supported throughout their proceedings‘
‘Attention to detail, quality of instructions and calibre of cases are hallmarks of S&B’
‘Nicola Harries and Grace Parker-White are experienced, capable, tough when they need to be but approachable. They are lawyers who will reach settlement away from the doors of the court‘
‘Sean Hilton provides brilliant, sophisticated and robust advice. He gives the best client support I have experienced – going the extra mile is an understatement‘
Thomson Snell & Passmore
Thomson Snell & Passmore regularly deals with high-net-worth financial cases and has also recently handled several complicated Children Act matters. The head of the team is Joanna Pratt, who is adept at advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements, as well as all aspects of divorce, judicial separation and the dissolution of civil partnerships. The team also includes collaborative lawyers and two Resolution-trained mediators. Other names to note are Kirstie Law and Desmond O’Donnell.
‘Joanna Pratt’s client skills are excellent, as is her knowledge of the law. Her intellect is second to none, her attention to detail never fails the client and her hard work and sensitivity always ensures that everything is done on time, proportionately and at the highest quality whilst still providing care for the client‘
‘Joanna Pratt is fantastic – she has an unusually good eye for detail and she is tough and sensible with clients‘
‘Thomson Snell & Passmore has a strong team with no weak links‘
‘This is an exceptional firm’
‘A superb family law team. A go-to for highly competent, expert family advice‘
‘A hugely dedicated and talented team, operating as a well-oiled machine to deliver first-class representation and advice to clients. Sarah Keily and Des O’Donnell are always an absolute pleasure to work with and very, very good with clients‘
‘Helen Waite is sensible, manages clients’ expectations and is extremely competent‘
‘Anna Woodhoo is an exemplary associate and unquestionably a partner in waiting. She is extremely competent, with an amazing eye for detail, fabulously efficient and a superb tactician. You want her on your side representing you. Nothing fazes Anna – she takes everything in her stride‘
The team at Venters Solicitors is led by matrimonial and child care specialist Andrea Dawkins, who is skilled in advising on divorce and the financial aspects of relationship breakdown. Other areas of expertise include advising on domestic violence cases, schedule 1 claims and cohabitation agreements, as well as public law child care work. Dawkins frequently represents children through their guardians as well as adults in care proceedings. She also has experience in advising on alternative family matters and conducts a lot of her own advocacy.
‘The team worked tirelessly for a mother in public law proceedings. They offered a gold-standard service which laid the solid foundation for presenting the client’s case successfully and achieving a great result’