James Freeman leads a ‘fantastic team’ at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP that has ‘sensible partners who won't litigate for the sake of it but, when called upon to do so, will deliver at the highest standard’. It acts for many international clients and frequently acts for high-profile non-UK residents with complex cross-border assets and is adept at handling difficult jurisdictional disputes. Miranda Fisher deals with complicated international financial disputes and difficult children cases. William Longrigg specialises in international divorce, financial relief and private law children cases. Sarah Higgins advises on all areas of family law with a particular focus on complex financial applications where there are family businesses. Sarah Anticoni has a particular emphasis on mediating on complex financial claims on divorce together with advising on the future arrangements for children involving international HNW clients. ‘Overall, it is a strong and well-resourced team with some very capable individuals’ that is praised for its ‘meticulous preparation and well-focused client care’.
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:
Miranda Fisher; William Longrigg; James Riby; Sarah Higgins; Sarah Jane Boon; Joshua Green; Jamie Kennaugh; Emily Borrowdale
‘William Longrigg and Jamie Kennaugh are excellent, as are Joshua Green and Emily Borrowdale’.
‘A fairly large team who are meticulous and incredibly thorough right from the junior associates up to the senior partners. The papers are always immaculate and everyone is always all over the detail’.
‘Sarah Jane Boon is extremely bright and very able. She always puts her clients first and fights for them tenaciously. James Riby is as cool as a cucumber and is very easy to talk to and bounce ideas off.’.
‘CRS has operated for many years in the top echelon of London family law firms. They have continued to maintain and deserve a very high reputation. They have a number of very experienced partners who are backed up by an excellent stable of Associates. They have great strength is all areas of family law’.
‘Sarah Anticoni has particular strength in all kinds of alternative dispute resolution. William Longrigg and James Riby are both immensely experienced and reliable. The whole team has particular strength and experience in the international aspects of family law’.
‘A great team with strength and depth. Really pragmatic solutions for clients.’
‘James Freeman – an enormous brain with buckets of common sense and a pragmatic approach. A man you want on your team fighting your corner.’
‘James Freeman is a thoughtful and hardworking partner whose client care skills are well-honed and who thinks deeply and carefully about ways to ensure the best outcome for his clients. Emily Borrowdale is a bright and hardworking assistant who took up involvement in the case at short notice, quickly assimilated the significant volume of paperwork, and was then able to successfully manage the later part of the proceedings as they progressed toward trial’.
Dawson Cornwell has a ‘strong and broad team and is able to put the boots on the ground in a case very quickly, deploying a wide array of talents to meet any different issues that are thrown up’. The team has a ‘stellar’ reputation for its children work and is described as ‘leading in the field of international children work’. It also ‘has expertise in all area of family law’. Russell Bywater heads the matrimonial department while Carolina Marin Pedreño leads the children department. There have been a number of significant additions to the team at a senior level. Amy Rowe joined from Bindmans LLP and Simon Bruce recently joined the team from Farrer & Co. Both have a ‘solid background and great reputations’ and should be ‘excellent additions’ to the team. It was also pleased to add Sarah Jane Lenihan to its ranks from Stowe Family Law LLP who has been described as a ‘legal force of nature’. It remains ‘one of the best boutique family law firms’ in London.
Russell Bywater; Carolina Marin Pedreño
Other key lawyers:
Amy Rowe; Simon Bruce; Jessica Reid; Amy Barrow; Forum Shah; Charlotte Conner; Sarah Jane Lenihan; Aysel Akhundova; Floriane Laruelle; Olivia Longrigg; Kate Brett; Felicia Munde; Anna Shadbolt; Sulema Jahangir; Charlotte Image-Flower; Lina Khanom
‘Dawson Cornwell have a reputation for being leaders in the field of child abduction and rightly so; they have a team of experienced and knowledgeable lawyers who provide a top quality service to clients’.
‘Jessica Reid – an outstanding member of the team! Her ability to genuinely care for her clients and her sense of empathy is what makes her stand out. She has the ability to be measured and give clarity in emotional situations. She is highly professional and knowledgeable. You can feel safe with Jessica knowing that you are being represented by one of the best there is’.
‘Excellent impartial advice that was realistic, not not just what I wanted to hear. Charlotte Conner was supportive, caring and went above and beyond every time’.
‘Russell Bywater rightly deserves his reputation as one of London’s leading family lawyers . Russell stood by me with calm, ethics and good humour. His deep expertise shines through in all aspects: -Strategic and critical thinking skills – Russell plays the long game, almost like he is a chess master, with each move not always being obvious, but building up to a crescendo. He is a master of the technical details’.
‘‘Carolina Marin Pedreno is a highly dedicated lawyer who was my solicitor for a child abduction issue. She is hardworking, professional, tactical, strategic and aims to resolve matters in a non-confrontational way. Carolina even took my messages while on vacation and her advise was always spot on. Her team is excellent’.
‘Amy Barrow is incredibly diligent and her attention to detail is very, very high. She marshals the issues in the case well and guides the client through the case, focusing the case on where the client’s case is strongest. I rate her very highly’.
‘Forum Shah is a fantastic children’s lawyer. She has vast experience representing children and young people in complex proceedings within the private, public and international arena’.
Mrs Nafisa Hasan
Mr G – the Father
SW – the Mother
VM – the Mother
Teenage twin girls
YP – young person aged 18
V – the Mother
- Represented Mr G in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the complex interplay of asylum legislation within international child abduction matters. By its decision the UKSC affirmed the importance of progressing and determining applications under the 1980 Hague Convention as expeditiously as possible and invited Parliament to pass further legislation to ensure that delays were kept to a minimum where a respondent to, or subject child of, an application under the 1980 H C had made an asylum application. Reported as G v G  UKSC 9
- Represented Mrs Nafisa Hasan in a case which was highly complex in terms of financial disclosure with difficulty in establishing valuations due to assets being held in different jurisdictions and the need for third party disclosure orders. This reported case will make new law, upon appeal to the Supreme Court, on the issue of whether a Part III application can survive the death of the respondent. Reported as Hasan v Ul-Hasan (Deceased) & Anor (Rev 1)  EWHC 1791 (Fam)
- Represented Mr Azarmi-Movafagh in a case heard in the Court of Appeal and turned on 2 tricky points: costs awards through the back door and gender bias in awards for economically weaker male spouses. The principled approach taken will protect parties who are forced to incur legal costs they cannot afford, in ensuring their essential needs remain protected. This case was widely commented upon in the national press. Reported as Azarmi-Movafagh v Bassiri-Dezfouli  EWCA Civ 1184
Family Law in Partnership Ltd is a ‘a unique firm. It can do it all – mediation, litigation, arbitration. It is genuinely diverse, a broad church. It’s one of the best firms in the business’. It offers the full range of out of court options by way of its collaborative practice, mediation work, arbitration expertise and private FDRs . A significant proportion of its work has an international dimension and high-value matrimonial finance issues. The focus of David Allison ’s practice is on complex financial claims on divorce. Daniel Coombes deals with difficult financial claims on divorce and complex children cases. Elizabeth Hicks ’ practice is focused on cases involving major cross-jurisdictional issues of family, matrimonial and trusts law. James Pirrie advises on difficult financial remedy cases and private children law matters. Pamela Collis and Bradley Williams are both well regarded. Overall, the team is praised for its ‘settlement focused’ approach ‘but is prepared to fight its client’s corner if required. Technologically innovative. Streets ahead of its competitors’ .
Other key lawyers:
David Allison; James Pirrie; Elizabeth Hicks; Helen Greenfield; Pamela Collis; Daniel Coombes; Bradley Williams; Elizabeth Fletcher; Mariko Wilson; Selena Arbe Barnes; Grace Lawrence; Nicole Phillips; Kara Swift; Charlotte Symes; Vanessa Sampaio; Rebecca Alexander; Hannah Greene; Harriet Burge
‘James Pirrie is an exceptional person – legally and personally lovely to work with. Charlotte Symes impressed me with her ability to deal with tricky legal points in a few international cases we’ve had recently’.
‘The team work and collegiate approach to cases is outstanding at this firm. Working with David Allison, Helen Greenfield, Nicole Phillips, Kara Swift is a masterclass in how family law should be done. They are forward thinking, highly creative and committed to fixing family problems in a pragmatic and empathic way. I would send a family member to this firm they are that good’.
‘Elizabeth Hicks – very experienced, excellent rapport with clients. Vanessa Sampaio – good attention to detail, good judgment’.
‘David Allison is exceptional. He is hugely respected, and liked, by his peers. He is kind and empathetic and is able to undermine the most aggressive of opponents with a totally different approach to family law. Helen Greenfield is everyone’s favourite. She is a real individual and attracts clients who are themselves unique. She is overwhelming likeable which gives her an edge on many of her opponents’.
‘Pamela Collis (partner) Grace Lawrence (associate). Both are extremely competent, knowledgeable and empathetic. They have given excellent service to our mutual client’.
‘Family Law in Partnership is a forward-thinking firm with a strong tradition of championing collaboration and the use of ADR to reduce conflict in family law cases.’
‘Daniel Coombes has amazing attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned in his efforts to get the best outcome for his client. Elizabeth Fletcher is valued by her clients for her patience, care and understanding and her superlative judgment which means that they receive sensible and realistic advice at all stages of their case’.
‘ Bradley Williams – knowledge in depth on family law matters – good tactical awareness – practical approach – hardworking and dedicated to clients’.
Farrer & Co‘s ‘vast history of providing impeccable service is apparent in all that it does and everyone it employs’. The ‘urbane, clever and astute’ William Massey heads the department that has an excellent reputation for its high-value and complex work that involves substantial assets, foreign jurisdictions, complicated asset structures as well as trust and tax issues. It has a sophisticated client base including UHNW families and international clients. Claire Gordon regularly works on cases where the assets involved are £200m or more. Sarah Hutchinson is hugely respected for her work on both financial and children matters. In addition Caroline Holley is well-known for her expertise in international cases. There have been changes to the team at a senior level – Simon Bruce is now at Dawson Cornwell while Edward Floyd joined the team from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP. Frederick Tatham was recently promoted to the partnership. ‘Farrer’s reputation as one of the leading firms in London is well-deserved. It has the resources and personnel to deal with the biggest and most complex of cases, whether involving litigation or not.’
Other key lawyers:
Claire Gordon; Sarah Hutchinson; Edward Floyd; Flora Harragin; Caroline Holley; Alex Woolley; Frederick Tatham; Suzanna Eames; John Davies; Amy Radnor; Kelly Merris
‘Simply an amazing team. Farrer is a full service private client firm and the family department is second to none. Undoubtedly one of the very best firms in London. I cannot speak highly enough about them. They are all team players and they play the game to their clients’ very best advantage’.
‘Sarah Hutchinson and Alex Woolley are both excellent, and clearly a great team. Their attention to detail and thoroughness is next to none, constantly reassuring with great eQ skills. They prepared me well and were very understanding of my preferences. Their experience with similar cases gave me confidence in their ability to execute and win. Great people and easy to get along with’.
‘Claire Gordon is an immensely impressive solicitor. She has an excellent command of the law (particularly in respect of international matters), has reliable instincts and a strong strategic vision. Ed Floyd is a strong addition to the Family team. He’s a good lawyer. Suzanna Eames is a star of the future – and already deservedly successful in her own right.’
‘William Massey is an amazing head of department. He is one of the very finest divorce lawyers in London. Caroline Holley is simply brilliant. She guides her clients through the stormy waters of divorce and takes them to a safe port of good settlement or victory in court. She can second guess the outcome of any case – she is always right. Her clients adore her’.
‘John Davies is an up and coming senior associate who is clearly a partner in the making. He drafts killer letters which literally win cases. Edward Floyd is a first rate solcitor and a man you want on your side. His case and client management skills are fabulous. Frederick Tatham has recently been appointed partner and he deserved it. He is a highly polished member of the team. His strategic thinking is magnificent’.
‘Will Massey combines his huge experience with a soothing bedside manner that gives clients total confidence. Flora Harrigan would be a star of the future were she not a star of the present! Caroline Holley is dogged but unfailingly thoughtful. Claire Gordon can command the room with her intelligence and calm’.
‘Farrers balances the gravitas, respect and experience derived from its enviable long history as a firm and leading department (literally for centuries)with a modern and dynamic approach. Its complimentary, tax private client and trusts expertise makes it a one stop shop for complex financial matters and always able to call on just the right expertise no matter how esoteric the financial issue or structure. They have a universally strong partnership but are also keen promoters of the younger members, and the partners are based on merit not time served’.
‘Ed Floyd, was a very canny recent recruitment from Pennington Manches. He is a details and technical demon, with a a very strong financial and black letter law brain. No point no matter how esoteric or buried in the papers escapes him. Clare Gordon is a star. Utterly charming and universally liked in the profession (no mean feat) she has a core of steel and combines a humane yet ruthlessly tactical approach’
The beneficiaries of the X Settlement
- Acted for Mrs Goddard-Watts in relation to her long-running case. Her financial remedy claims were restored for the second time, and a further fresh determination of her claims took place which resulted in a further award being made. The most recent judgment has been reported as Goddard-Watts v Goddard Watts  EWHC 711. This has been an extremely complex matter, involving difficult and unprecedented legal issues.
- Advised the beneficiaries of a family trust who intervened in hard fought High Court divorce proceedings between their parents in order to protect the substantial trust interests. As can be seen from the judgment (WX v HX (Treatment of matrimonial and non-matrimonial property)  EWHC 241), the team was successful in protecting its clients’ trust interests.
- It is acting for the mother in unusual Children Act proceedings involving the alienation of two young children from their primary carer mother by their father. At the final hearing in January 2022 the court ordered a transfer of residence to its client. However, prior to the final hearing taking place, the father abducted the children to Australia, and it is now involved in Hague Abduction proceedings in order to secure their return. The judgment has been reported as Re A and B (Child Arrangements: Parental Alienation)  EWFC B11.
Frances Hughes heads a stellar team at Hughes Fowler Carruthers that continues to be involved in a very high number of reported cases. It remains a firm of choice for the huge money cases (in excess of £1bn) and frequently advises on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements with major cross-jurisdictional aspects. Other core areas of expertise include advising on same sex relationships and children matters such as gender issues, autism, child mental health issues, developmental delay, parental alienation and relocation/abduction. Pauline Fowler receives a vast array of instructions from the internationally wealthy. Alex Carruthers continues to act for the ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a wide range of matters. Mark Harper is another prominent member of the department. Renato Labi is frequently involved in numerous high-value and complex international litigation matters while Archie Best was recently promoted to the partnership.
Other key lawyers:
Pauline Fowler; Alex Carruthers; Mark Harper; Renato Labi; Caroline Park; Kate Brett; Archie Best
- In Potanin v Potanina  EWCA Civ 702 the firm is acting in this landmark, multi-billion pound case on the application of Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.
- In Akhmedova v Akhmedov & Ors  EWHC 2257 (Fam) the wife obtained the largest reported award on any divorce in the English courts and her efforts to enforce the judgement have been widely covered in the press. The firm has been instructed by the parties’ son, against whom his mother is seeking orders for disclosure and to recover funds paid to him by his father. The son is challenging the funding arrangements of the wife.
- In Crowther v Crowther & Ors  EWFC 88 the firm had obtained a freezing order which was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The final judgment in the case was reported in October 2021. The client received 90% of the capital.
Mishcon de Reya LLP is a ‘hotbed of talent‘ that is led by Barbara Reeves who has been described as ‘one of the wisest and shrewdest senior family law solicitors in London’. Reeves has significant experience in cases with an element of non-disclosure and enforcement issues. Praised as a ‘stellar offering that delivers a top-drawer service’ it is routinely instructed by high-profile and very wealthy clients and has successfully litigated complex and high-value cases at all levels of tribunal including some precedent setting cases in the Supreme Court and Privy Council. Sandra Davis (‘the unsurpassed queen bee of family law’) is a keen advocate for the voices of children and young people throughout the divorce and separation process. Kate Clark leads the firm’s group specialising in children cases involving parental alienation. Antonia Felix covers all aspects of family law (including surrogacy and adoption). Claire Yorke is another important member of the team that is ‘quite simply the very best in London from top to bottom’.
Other key lawyers:
Sandra Davis; Kate Clark; Claire Yorke; Clare Radcliffe; Melissa Lesson; Antonia Felix; Robert Hines; Alex Brereton; Sarah Infante; James Rees
‘Mishcon de Reya is one of the oldest and most respected family teams in London. It is the cream of the cream, and High Net Worth clients particularly benefit from access to expertise from other private client departments, including wealth management, tax, property and inheritance advice. Their client care is unrivalled, and their relationships with the clients are lifelong’.
‘Barbara Reeves is an inspiring lawyer. She is brilliant. In equal measure, her clients love her and her opponents respect her. Sandra Davis remains the top divorce lawyer in London with good reason. She has a capacity for strategic thought unmatched by any of her rivals and brings her enormous kindness and good humour into all situations however fraught. Kate Clark is the go to partner for complex financial remedy cases. She understands figures just as well as she comprehends her clients’ feelings. She is dynamic. Antonia Felix is calm and collected. She has a fantastic client manner, making everyone of her clients feel the centre of her attention.’
‘Claire Yorke is brilliant. She is a total joy to work with. She is supportive of her clients and fights tenaciously for them all. She literally wins cases with her brilliant letter writing. She is incisive, clever and fun. Robert Hines flies above his contemporaries. He combines wisdom beyond his years with a charming manner. He oozes charm and always has the right answers. His clients all trust his judgement implicitly and so they should. James Rees is on the road to greatness. His performance is second to none. He brings his whole being to a case and invests his energy for his clients’ good and they love him for it. He is a class act’.
‘Up there with the best of the best, they are brilliantly resourced and have a very able team with access to knowledge bases in all areas. There appears to be no question that they cannot answer with expertise. Claire Yorke is just brilliant. She has excellent client management skills and can marshal even the most complex international cases with a sense of calm and confidence’.
‘Clare Radcliffe is a true one to watch. Her client care skills are second to none, even with the most tricky clients, and she is able to give advice and reassurance even when dealing with tricky subject matters. She has a maturity beyond her years and is a star of the future. Kate Clark is no nonsense and superb‘.
‘Forward thinking firm that does international high net worth work of the highest calibre. Modern in approach and supported by highly competent colleagues expert in tax, trusts and media law. Melissa Lesson is a classy solicitor. Trilingual, sophisticated, with an experienced and astute approach to financial cases. Gives great advice and exudes, and generates confidence in her clients’.
‘Antonia Felix is a brilliant new partner. Clever, efficient, committed, she comes up with creative but realistic solutions and has the respect of solicitors, barristers and judges. A reassuringly competent presence.’
‘Kate Clark – Partner. Kate is so very, very talented. She is a brilliant lawyer and great with clients. She is one of my favourite lawyers to work with. She does a fantastic job and the lay clients love her for it. Robert Hines – Managing Associate. Rob is an exceptionally good lawyer. He has a huge brain and thus with a more technical case he is very on top of any technical issues and always on top of the detail. It makes for a formidable combination‘.
Payne Hicks Beach LLP is a’ top notch firm that does A list work for the most influential, successful and high profile clients’ that is co-led by Philip McGuirk (who 'brings gravitas and intelligence to every case that leaves clients utterly reassured') and Rebecca Cockcroft ('polished, excellent and professional'). Baroness Fiona Shackleton receives many plaudits and ‘has earned the reputation that she has obtained: shrewd, strategic and an inspiration, nothing fazes her’. The department is 'outstanding’ and garners praise for its specialist advice on the full spectrum of complex family law issues often with an international dimension for high-profile individuals, entrepreneurs, UHNWs and others including members of international Royalty. It is frequently instructed in cases that go to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. There are several ‘stand-out stars’ in the team. Simon Beccle has a busy practice and much of his work has an international dimension. Victoria Hingston was recently promoted to the partnership. Overall it is a ‘class act with a team of great lawyers who know exactly how to run the big, difficult litigation but never lose sight of what the client wants’.
Philip McGuirk; Rebecca Cockcroft
Other key lawyers:
Baroness Fiona Shackleton; Simon Beccle; Ben Parry-Smith; Victoria Hingston; Matthew Booth; Nick Manners; Katie Parkes; Sarah Williams; Camellia Buckmaster; Catherine Costley; Joshua Moger; Luke Scarratt
‘The PHB family team has exceptional experience of the most complex international family law disputes. Very few other firms have this level of experience. Hand-in-hand with this the firm delivers a very personal service, giving clients the assurance that both their case and their welfare are being cared for with utmost attention.’.
‘Baroness Shackleton is the stand-out partner in this field. Her depth of experience is hard to match. The personal quality of the care she gives to her clients is, in my experience, unmatched. Fiona’s instincts for the finer points of a case are extraordinary; she uses this insight to assemble the expert team for the job and leads that team from the front and inspirationally’.
‘Baroness Shackleton is remarkable for her ability to cut through nonsense and see what is really going on. Ben Parry-Smith is sensible yet tenacious. Sarah Williams is patient beyond belief, Katie Parkes and Camellia Buckmaster are incredibly bright, efficient lawyers and they are all well supported by excellent paralegals and other support staff. Catherine Costley is a superb lawyer and champion for her client. They are a great bunch’.
‘PHB has an unparalleled reputation in the field of family law. I have experience of their modern families practice, which is excellent. Sarah Williams is a stand-out individual in my view. She has an outstanding knowledge of modern families and fertility law issues. She is a member of the ‘Modern Families Pod’, to which only those with expertise and significant experience of these issues are invited. I am a member of the pod, and can support Sarah’s wide-ranging experience in this area. Joshua Moger is one to watch. He’s ambitious, hardworking and full of ideas‘.
‘Ben Parry Smith is the new Baroness Shackleton: urbane, exudes confidence, a sophisticated approach to the knottiest of problems. Baroness Shackleton is unique. The most intuitive solicitor in London with the most impressive rolodex. Nick Manners is stand out. Managing hugely complicated and high profile cases with ease. He is also a pleasure to deal with which enables a conciliatory approach when possible’.
‘Catherine Costley, hardworking and able. Matthew Booth, thorough and sensitive. Philip McGuirk, experienced and intelligent. They are first-class’.
‘Ben Parry-Smith – a partner whose star is in the ascendant, clients love him and he gets on well with the other side, which often takes the heat out of a case. Simon Beccle- immensely supportive of clients and always accessible. Victoria Hingston – new partner and absolutely the future of the firm. When Baroness Shackleton retires, Victoria is her natural successor. Ben Parry-Smith – similarly a start of the new generation of lawyers at PHB. Luke Scarratt – young and keen and one to watch’.
‘Philip McGuirk is a shrewd and thoughtful planner of cases.. Rebecca Cockcroft thinks tactically about her cases from day one. Clients have the reassurance of knowing where their case is going from almost the first meeting, and she has the unerring good judgment to get them to the planned conclusion with the minimum of stress’.
Collardeau-Fuchs v Fuchs  EWFC 6
Al M October 2021 judgments:
The Foreign Act of State Judgment  EWHC 2883;
The Non-Molestation Judgment  EWHC 3305 ;
The Legal Services Order  EWHC 303
Court of Appeal Foreign Act of State Judgment  EWCA Civ 129
Re Al M – Approved judgment  EWHC 915
The Immunities Judgment  EWHC 660
The Fact Finding Judgment – Hacking  EWHC 1162
The Court of Appeal Immunities (permission to appeal) Judgment  EWCA Civ 890
The Lives With judgment  EWHC 1577
The Court of Appeal Fact Finding (permission to appeal) Judgment  EWCA Civ 900
The Court of Appeal Fact Finding Judgment  EWCA Civ 1216
Potanina v Potanin  EWCA Civ 702
AS v CS  EWFC 34
CA v DR  EWFC 21
WX v HX & NX and LX  EWHC 241
FRB v DCA [No 4]  EWHC 116
Stephen Foster ‘ably’ leads the team at Stewarts Law LLP that has a ‘phenomenal number of excellent partners and associates’. Foster is adept at handling some of the department’s biggest and most complex cases and is often instructed by self-made entrepreneurs. Praised for its ‘great spread of individuals all of whom are excellent. They have set the benchmark for quality in the family law arena -truly outstanding’ – the bulk of its cases run well into the £100s of millions. A large percentage of its cases involve assets in excess of £500m and several run into the £billions. Debbie Chism and Emma Hatley are both ‘superb’. Chism is held in high esteem for her renowned matrimonial finance practice. Hatley specialises in complex family cases for high-net-worth individuals, usually with an international dimension. Richard Hogwood is praised for his work on cases involving intricate trust and tax issues as well as pre-and post-nuptial agreements. Helen Ward is a highly-respected member of the department too.
Other key lawyers:
Helen Ward; Debbie Chism; Emma Hatley; Richard Hogwood; Sam Longworth; Carly Kinch; Lewis Powers; Matthew Humphries; Toby Atkinson; Harriet Kerchiss
‘The best team doing family work in London. Bar none. By some margin. Their partners are the leading lights of the field, and as importantly (perhaps even more so) their senior associates and associates are uniformly superb, which is unsurprising as they have been trained by the best. No other firm has the resources and willingness to make each case feel like it is their only case, and everything is done as required, if not before’.
‘Emma Hatley and Debbie Chism are the future (and close to the present) leaders in them market. They each combine acute tactical awareness with an ability to make even the most irascible or fragile client feel at ease. Both are fine lawyers and usually know the answer before anyone else. Sam Longworth is following hot on their heels, and is unusually creative and innovative in his approach to legal problems, unafraid to try the unpopular or ground breaking, every angle is stress tested to breaking point, before the right course is chosen’.
‘Matt Humphreys is the gentlemen of the outfit, hiding a steely taste of hard fought litigation (if necessary). Hugely thoughtful both about the law but also the client’s personal and emotional requirements. Carly Kinch quietly goes about being superb, with no ego she devotes herself tirelessly (and with a ridiculous work effort) to her clients. An utter delight to be instructed by, there is nothing about a case she does not hold in her head and has not already thought about. Her unconventional rise from paralegal to partner speaks volumes, it was based on talent’.
‘Probably the best family law team in London! Not a weak link in the chain. Consistently 5 star service. Impossible and unfair to pick out individuals as they are all so good. However Stephen Foster needs special mention not just for building this team but also for running his own very big and successful case load so well. He is an extremely clever lawyer and thinks deeply about his cases and the best strategy to achieve maximum and optimum outcome. Toby Atkinson is also an excellent lawyer and gives 110% commitment to his clients going way beyond what is ordinarily expected’.
‘Debbie and Emma are both collaborative lawyers and excel at it – while they are more well known for litigation, they both have the necessary skill set and aptitude to make them excellent collaborative family lawyers. Richard Hogwood is personable and very bright. Stephen brings everyone together and runs a very tight ship while allowing people to develop their own skills and personalities’.
‘Simply the best! Stand out excellence from top to toe – cutting edge service, knowledge, skills. Debbie Chism – a superstar – has it all. Toby Atkinson – unparalleled client care across the whole of the family law market. Richard Hogwood – fast, incredibly on the ball – superb. Matthew Humphries – absolutely thorough, knowledgeable. Harriet Kerchiss – outstanding senior associate. Lewis Powers – wise beyond his years – a star of the future’.
‘This is undoubtedly the premier family law team in the country. The best expertise, the best depth of talent, at the best service available. Matthew Humphries – outstanding in client care, strategy and litigation judgment’.
‘Stephen Foster is the stand out leader of the group who combines a worldly wisdom with a down to earth practical advice. Richard Hogwood is a true intellect with an exceptional bedside manner. He reassures and calms even the most difficult clients’.
JC v PC  EWHC 2305 (Fam)
Cathcart v Owens  EWFC 86
Withers LLP is the ‘Rolls Royce firm for dealing with UHNW clients’ with its ‘exceptional service levels – you know you are getting a first-class service with Withers. Super efficient’. It is led Suzanne Todd who is an’ outstanding lawyer who can fluidly manage complicated divorces across multiple jurisdictions’. Diana Parker is another key practitioner who is a ‘true strategist and a super star’. Its strong international offering and ‘global reach‘ mean that it is well-placed to handle complex and multi-jurisdictional cases. It continues to be active in landmark cases that set precedents. Claire Blakemore is also well-regarded for her work on complex financial claims as well as high conflict children disputes. Julian Lipson has the ‘perfect combination of legal knowledge and compassion‘. Brett Frankle; Michael Gouriet and Katharine Landells are all seasoned practitioners - clients say that ‘all the partners are exemplary in the quality they offer. An unrivalled level of expertise and experience – they have been involved in a vast number of the most difficult and ground breaking cases in the field’.
Other key lawyers:
Diana Parker; Claire Blakemore; Brett Frankle; Michael Gouriet; Katharine Landells; Laura Winterbottom; Adele Pledger; Julian Lipson; Jennifer Dickson; Paulina Sandler; Oliver Guest; Sarfraz Ali; Alex Breedon
‘It is a beautifully run team with seamless coordination. The customer service is flawless and the billing is clear and itemised. Katherine has a first class intellect and mindset; with a bright dynamic and sense of humour. She deciphers and navigates the fast-shifting, unpredictable complexities of divorce as they unfold. A lighthouse for stormy times’.
‘Brett Frankle. Totally outstanding. Never known a solicitor to be so super efficient and prompt. He doesn’t take any nonsense but manages to maintain a fair view on things without making the client feel pressured into anything. He is firm but fair. Amazingly knowledgeable. And above all, compassionate with a great understanding of the clients’ needs. I would recommend him to anyone’.
‘I would particularly mark out Adele Pledger, who is as clever as she is charming. Highly efficient, strategically skilled and a great solicitor to have fighting your case. Julian Lipson is one of the top solicitors in this field. He is exceptional in every respect; highly intelligent, very understanding of the emotional nuances and excellent at strategy. Also extremely sensible and well liked’.
‘Suzanne Todd. An outstanding solicitor who has a refreshingly honest and humane approach. Highly intelligent she is able effortlessly to simplify the most complex of cases. With years of experience she can hone in on the optimal outcome for clients. Popular with and highly regarded by her peers, her reputation is an enormous asset to clients: clients start one up in any negotiations’.
‘All the team is very good but I would pick out Claire Blakemore. In my view she is one of the best family lawyers in London. She is very intelligent and thoughtful and in my experience always brings something new to the case. I value her insights and input hugely. Julian Lipson and Michael Gouriet are 2 of the best family lawyers in London. Michael Gouriet is an incredible all rounder, with perfect judgment – loved by his clients and respected by all the top family law firms and lawyers’.
‘Withers provides a complete service for wealthy individuals with family law issues. My particular experience of the team is in cases involving international issues. I have found them to be innovative, dedicated and knowledgeable. Particularly, though, they are always focused on achieving the best possible outcome and are able to advise in relation to various different means by which the best outcome can be obtained, including by avoiding litigation where appropriate.’
‘Withers is a leading law firm with a strong global presence. It is valued in the industry for its high calibre of service and its expertise in complex legal disputes with particular experience representing high net worth individuals and international clients. Its client service is second to none. Jennifer Dickson is a rising star who specialises in legal issues arising from relationship breakdown. She is valued for her pragmatic and sensitive approach to her clients. She gives focussed, no-nonsense advice but is not afraid to fight tenaciously for her clients. In an outstanding firm, she is one to watch’.
‘Julian Lipson and Diana Parker have set the bar very high over many years in terms of the standards they bring to their work. The result of that is that the more junior partners and associates, trained by them and working with them on big cases, develop skills and expertise that their peers in other law firms simply do not have’.
Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP ’ is one of the most well-established family boutiques in central London. It has a stellar reputation for high-end family work’. It has an excellent reputation for protecting its clients in the public eye and has one of the leading Anglo-French practices for family law cases. All of its partners are collaboratively trained and several are practising mediators. It is well placed to handle significant international work as four of its partners are fellows of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. Tom Amlot is highly regarded for his work on high-value complex asset cases. Sara Hannell has also got a substantial HNW international case load. Emma Harte is well-regarded for her high-value litigation expertise. William Healing is well-known for his large European and international practice that focuses on cases with a French component.
Other key lawyers:
Tom Amlot; William Healing; Katie Longmate; Sara Hannell; Magnus Mill; Emma Harte
‘This boutique firm has managed to keep the very high standards it has always maintained by recruiting carefully and not over-expanding. The quality of its lawyers from the top to the bottom is outstanding. They are particularly strong in cases with an international element’.
‘Sara Hannell is an outstanding all round family lawyer equally at home with financial work or children work. She is phenomenally bright and brings a real intellectual rigour to any case strategy. She has wonderful client skills, able to bring great empathy as well as being able to give clear and realistic advice. An absolute star’.
‘AFP is one of the best firms for high profile divorces. They have great strength in depth with some of the best partners and associates. Sara Hannell is an outstanding solicitor in every respect. She is enormously bright, ferociously determined and displays great empathy towards her clients. She works tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome’.
‘Tom Amlott is a fantastic solicitor who deploys a winning combination of great charm, fabulous legal knowledge and tactical nous to craft the best solutions for his clients‘.
‘They are very client focussed and specialist firm with a ’boutique’ feel. I have always found them to be very professional and, above all, they think critically and deeply about the issues in a case. William Healing – highly analytical and intellectual. A master of cross jurisdiction work and the complex law that applies. Katie Longmate – Polished, professional and really hardworking.’
‘An excellent collection of partners with considerable experience. Magnus Mill never breaks sweat under the greatest pressure. Tom Amlott pursues his client’s cause with creativity and intelligence. William Healing has an irrepressible conviction in his own clients that pays dividends’.
‘Katie Longmate is the go-to partner at AFP. She is extremely diligent and forward thinking, and her clients love her’.
‘I worked with and would highly recommend Emma Harte, who always impresses with her excellent judgment. Her calm and likeable personality should not be mistaken for softness, and a steely temperament underpins this most capable lawyer’.
Bindmans LLP fields a ‘hardworking and really responsive team’ with particular strength in children law ( both public and private) spanning children law disputes, abduction, relocation and medical treatment cases. It is also frequently instructed to represent children in proceedings. Its family and matrimonial team attracts a wide range of complex divorce, financial remedy and TOLATA work. The group has considerable strength in complicated international and jurisdictional disputes and represents a wide range of clients, including high profile, high-net-worth individuals and families. Heads of department are now Alison Leivesley (a ‘real class act’ who is ‘extremely knowledgeable’) and Olivia Piercy ( who is ‘experienced and hardworking’). Maud Davis is vastly experienced in representing children in complex care cases. Its former head of department, Amy Rowe, is now at Dawson Cornwell. Melissa Arnold was recently promoted to the partnership.
Alison Leivesley; Olivia Piercy
Other key lawyers:
Maud Davis; Melissa Arnold; Maeve Lucey; Hannah Marshall; Megan Rothman; Marianna Michaelides
‘I have primarily worked with Melissa Arnold and Maeve Lucey. I have worked on a number of long-running and difficult cases with Melissa. As counsel, I value her ability to combine no-nonsense practical advice with excellent client care. She has excellent instincts, but is also keen to discuss ideas.’
‘Hannah Marshall impressed me with her hard work and dedication to an unusual application for a client. She was also well versed in the difficult legal considerations’.
‘Megan Rothman is an up and coming young solicitor. She provides excellent client care and manages her cases to a very high standard. Alison Leivesley is a partner who provides a steady hand on the tiller. She is authoritative, supportive and client focused’.
‘Alison Leivesley is superb in her sensitive approach. Tactically she covers all bases, scrutinises all possibilities so is always well prepared. Excellent legal knowledge. Megan Rothman is someone to watch. She has an excellent grasp of public law and excellent client care skills with difficult and vulnerable clients’.
‘Alison Leivesley has an experienced, hands-on approach to the work of her department, and a knowledge which extends to expertise in highly specialised fields such as international CoP cases. Olivia Piercy is a very experienced, established international children’s practitioner of considerable and quick intellect and ability coupled with a charismatic, friendly but incisive manner‘.
‘Hannah Marshall is experienced, bright, expert, resourceful and highly effective in her conduct of international children and CoP work, with a very substantial track record of success in high-level, difficult cases, giving her real authority in what she does- with a substantial record of successful leading cases to her credit‘.
‘Marianna Michaelides has considerable experience and expertise further strengthening the team. Maud Davis – is an associate within Bindmans – she is fair, articulate and well prepared as an advocate – committed to child care work and has an extremely even approach to the work and will research and follow up on advice provided. She is skilled at working with children’s guardians’.
‘Alison Lievesley is as experienced as they come, combining excellent technical knowledge with clear case strategy and outstanding client skills. Her reputation goes before her and stands out as a real star of the field. Well known for her mentoring and training of others, she is a natural leader. Marianna Michaelides is excellent, showing experience and wisdom beyond her years. She manages her cases exceptionally well, and has particular skill with international child law cases’.
The team at Forsters LLP is ‘incredibly well respected – and for good reason. The team does everything with real class’. It is led by Joanne Edwards who is a ‘dynamo’ and has a ‘good stable of associates’. It is continuing to see an increased flow of complex cross-jurisdictional work in nuptial agreements; child arrangements and financial cases (which often have complicated trusts and financial structures). Rosie Schumm is frequently instructed in complex litigation for families with substantial wealth across multiple jurisdictions. Simon Blain has a particular strength in difficult financial cases often involving trusts, family business and assets in more than one jurisdiction. There have been changes to the team – Matthew Brunsdon Tully is now at Wedlake Bell LLP while senior associate Guy Mawson joined the team from Harbottle & Lewis LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Rosie Schumm; Dickon Ceadel; Amanda Sandys; Simon Blain; Timothy Evans; Anna Ferster; Guy Mawson
‘An outstandingly strong Family Team which has gone from strength to strength in recent years. They have recruited very well. They combine well with the renowned private client team’.
‘Jo Edwards partner and team leader. She is known nationwide as a leader in Family Law at the cutting edge of family law reform, she combines this work with a heavyweight practice in highly complex high net worth divorce cases’.
‘Rosie Schumm is a fantastic partner. She has an enviable strategic oversight. She ensures her clients feel comfortable and confident. Tim Evans has an incredible eye for detail’.
‘A very talented group of lawyers who go the extra mile for its clients. Able to deal with the most complex high value family cases. Joanne Edwards, Rosie Schumm, Dickon Ceadel and Anna Ferster are all excellent and focussed on delivering great client service at a fair price’.
‘The team has great strength and depth – and has recently recruited the excellent Guy Mawson. The team is excellent at marketing and Jo Edwards regularly provides commentary on family law issues that appears in the national press. Guy Mawson is very good with clients and has impeccable judgment. Rosie Schumm fights her clients’ corner very robustly indeed. Dickon Ceadel is very personable easy to work with’.
‘Despite being such a long-established firm with much association with ‘old money’ the family team at Forsters is notable for being forward thinking and often pioneering in its approach to family law. Having the support of a strong private client and commercial team means that the family team does excel at complex cases, especially those involving large landed estate and the drafting of nuptial agreements’.
‘Jo Edwards is simply one of the best family lawyers in the country’.
‘Jo Edwards leads the team with a quiet authority and is an excellent leader’.
Freemans Solicitors ‘ is one of the few firms which practises both private and public law at a high level. It uses the breadth of knowledge of its partners and associates to ensure that its clients receive expert advice on all aspects of child law, particularly in cases with complex allegations’. The team is led by the highly regarded Nina Hansen who is an established name for international children cases and has considerable ‘experience in the UKSC and the Court of Justice of the European Union which ‘exemplifies her ability to handle the most testing and complex work’. The ‘client focused’ Hilka Hollmann is another key figure. Laura Coyle has a solid international practice covering Hague Convention matters, wardship and child arrangements ( such as relocation). Georgina Stavrou was recently promoted to the partnership.
Other key lawyers:
Laura Coyle; Hilka Hollmann; Mark Kosmin; Georgina Stavrou; Sophie Lambert; Claire Leslie; Angela Kwokori
‘Excellent children practitioners particularly in the public law field. They have a very strong team. Nina Hansen – highly experienced and very human solicitor with good judgment’.
‘I would like to emphasise that Mark Kosmin is obviously a very considerably talented solicitor. Obviously he has competitors who are certainly as good and well known as him but he is up there as one of the market leaders. I would recommend anyone to take their case to him. I particularly valued his thoroughness, calmness under fire and skill in dealing with a difficult client’.
‘Freemans has strength in depth across all areas of family law. Rather than becoming a niche practice, they have maintained a presence across all areas of family law, and offer experience at all levels. Nina Hansen is the doyen of international family lawyers. She has the ear of judges and is hugely respected. Mark Kosmin and Gina Stavrou (finance) are both stand out junior partners’.
‘Freemans is an excellent niche firm specialising in children cases. Nina Hansen is an outstanding solicitor. She is one of the best for dealing with international children cases. One of the first choice solicitors for representing children. She is enormously empathetic and inspires great confidence in her clients’.
‘Hilka Hollmann is a leading solicitor in the field of child law. She has particular expertise in complex cases with allegations of serious abuse and is experienced in representing high profile clients in cases where a very high degree of sensitivity and confidentiality is required. Her judgement is sound, her commitment and work ethic are exemplary and she has a wonderful ability to put her clients at ease’.
‘I have recently worked with Georgina Stavrou who has a detailed knowledge and experience of all areas of family law. In particular Georgina’s great strength is grappling with the key issues in a case and providing the client with straightforward advice’.
‘Hilka Holman is a standout solicitor. She has patience and tenacity as well as supreme client and case judgment . She is a one woman wonder. The solicitor we would want on our side if we were in need’.
‘Laura Coyle is a high-profile practitioner with a firm foundation in public law children’s cases, but also with tremendous experience in international work at the highest level. She has established a strikingly good reputation in particular as a ‘go-to’ representative for older children who (for whatever reason) are not represented by a CAFCASS lawyer in the most difficult types of international work. In this regard, she continues to appear in landmark cases. Her tactical judgment is acute, and she is a formidable opponent’.
Goodman Ray has an ‘exceptional reputation’ with its ‘wonderful team. All hardworking, committed and dedicated to their clients. Real fighters, determined to ensure the best outcome for their clients. Varied and excellent skills and superb lawyers’. It particularly excels in international children work and is regularly appointed by the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit, in both Hague return and BIIa cases. It is adept at dealing with cases such as child abduction and forced marriages. Jemma Dally is a Resolution accredited specialist in adoption. Janet Broadley is a Resolution accredited specialist in child abduction and private children law. Seven members of the group are on the Law Society Children Panel allowing representation of children within public law proceedings. Other names to note include Kevin Skinner who has considerable expertise in international custody disputes, child abduction, matrimonial and care proceedings. Trudi Featherstone specialises in the financial aspects of divorce and separation.
Peggy Ray; Trudi Featherstone; Jemma Daly; Kevin Skinner; Thomas Brownrigg
Other key lawyers:
Ann Thompson; Catriona Allan; Emma Sherrington; Janet Broadley; Elizabeth Jaques
‘Kevin Skinner is highly experienced with litigation – so can be relied on to take decisions about how to run a case including all the practicalities involved with appeals and applications. His knowledge of the law and judgments of the merits is also so sure that it is a pleasure to work with him. This is not a statement I would offer for many of my instructing solicitors’.
‘Goodman Ray is probably the best firm for international children cases in the current market. Janet Broadley is an outstanding children lawyer. Her knowledge of the law is exceptional. Her level of dedication to her clients’ cases is second to none. She is hugely tenacious and also a great person to work with. She has enormous experience of representing children and rightly lauded as probably the best solicitor specialising in this highly sensitive area’.
‘Ann Thompson is an excellent children’s lawyer who is very experienced in this field. Tom Brownrigg is a star in the making. He has a fantastic knowledge of the law coupled with excellent client handling skills and good judgement. I’d trust him on any finance or children case however complicated’.
‘Catriona Allan is exceptionally knowledgeable in all aspects of Child Law. She always goes the extra mile for clients in ensuring they have every opportunity to achieve a favourable outcome. She leaves no stone unturned in preparation of cases and prepares very persuasive pleadings, statements and other documents’.
‘Ann Thompson is excellent – excellent communicator with clients, particularly adept at dealing with vulnerable or challenging clients. Peggy Ray is extremely experienced, thorough and one of the best in the business’
‘Peggy Ray has a powerful and acute intellect, and grapples imaginatively, with maturity of judgment, and (where appropriate) forcefully with difficult and challenging cases. She is a legendary class act. Janet Broadley is a very well-established specialist in international cases, and in particular in Hague Convention child abduction, with experience of very high level work including in the UKSC and the CJEU. Her legal knowledge and tactical skill are overlaid by an open, sensitive approach ideally suits her to the representation of older children, and she is one of the few ‘go-to’ practitioners who excel at this role’.
‘Emma Sherrington and Ann Thompson are practitioners who also operate effectively at the highest level in children’s cases, including those with an international aspect, and I have worked in cases in which their effectiveness was well-demonstrated‘.
‘Thomas Brownrigg and Trudi Featherstone are particularly strong in financial remedy work. They offer their clients sensible and straightforward advice. They are both extremely experienced practitioners who offer a first class service’.
SOUTHALL BLACK SISTERS
FAMILY RIGHTS GROUP
Harbottle & Lewis LLP is praised for its ‘impeccable communication’ and for ’providing attentive client care, robust and realistic advice’ and for having ‘partners and associates who are committed to fighting their client’s corner at every stage. They are particularly able to advise and support high profile clients with requirements for confidentiality and discretion’. Practice head is Catherine Bedford who has ‘rapidly become one of the biggest hitters in matrimonial finance work’. The skilled team represents HNW clients with public profiles to protect as well as UNHW individuals from the business world or with dynastic/ family wealth. It frequently advises on cases with significant cross-jurisdictional elements and continues to act in complex and unusual children matters too. Mark Irving receives many plaudits along with the ‘exceptionally clever’ Nicholas Westley .
Other key lawyers:
Mark Irving; Lidia Cantele; Nicholas Westley; Becky Storer; Eleanor Haidon; Alex Ward; ; Helena Middleton; Polly Broad; Daisy Minns Shearer; Emma Williams
‘Nicholas Westley was my main point of contact for the duration of my divorce, which went on for 3 years. Nick was personable, knowledgeable, empathetic and always there if I needed him. I had complete confidence in his advice over the years and felt completely at ease every step of the way. Becky Storer: Becky was excellent’.
‘I am enormously impressed by Harbottle’s professional devotion to its clients, going the extra mile out of office hours and over the weekend. They present commandingly in Court and are always thoroughly prepared and collaborative in their approach to reaching the best outcome for their clients and thus the subject child or children. I have worked closely with Catherine Bedford, Mark Irving and Becky Storer but from partners to legal executives Harbottles exude consummate professionalism and mastery of their cases’.
‘I had a pleasant collaboration with Harbottle & Lewis’ family practice team, Mark Irving and Eleanor Haidon, in a cross-border deal. I am impressed by the legal service provided by Mark Irving and Eleanor Haidon. They can always think through all the possibilities, as well as provided the pros & cons of each approach and their recommended advice accordingly. Whenever we had any questions for the arrangement, both Mark and Eleanor could respond very quickly’.
‘The family team is extremely prominent and has strength in depth and excellence at all levels, from partner to associate. The team acts for a diverse cross-section of clients, from well-known celebrities to those in finance or from wealthy backgrounds. They are able to tailor their approach sensitively to the needs of the specific client and give realistic advice where required’.
‘Catherine Bedford is a standout leader to the team, and a wonderful lawyer in her own right. She is able to combine many years of experience, which give her an insight and understanding into the dynamics of divorce cases, with a boundless energy, drive and determination which makes her committed to finding the right outcome for her clients. There are a number of up and coming stars in the team, including: * Mark Irving * Lidia Cantele *Eleanor Haidon * Helena Middleton * Polly Broad’.
‘Catherine Bedford is the obvious stand out partner. She has led the team from strength to strength. Her client list is remarkable. She is now involved in most of the high profile cases in London. She is a ‘tour de force’ in the family law world and her clients think very highly of her as she offers them such a good service. Mark Irving is also exceptional – clever, strategic and with great judgement’.
‘Catherine Bedford is at the absolute pinnacle of her powers. She is is tour de force. Her clients trust her implicitly and adore her. Mark Irving is the Cool Hand Luke of the team. He never puts a foot wrong. He can think through any problem and find the most elegant solution. Daisy Minns Shearer is the real deal. She is a rising star and she can step up and step in whenever she is needed and what ever she is needed for. She goes above and beyond to make it happen for the client’.
‘Mark Irving is a superb lawyer. He has excellent legal knowledge, has phenomenal attention to detail and is a calm and measured presence in the most conflicted of cases. Catherine Bedford (partner). She was quite superb in every way. She selected a necessarily very large team of the highest calibre, and led that team spectacularly. She is at all times calm, even under the most extreme pressure that I’ve seen in any litigation; she is on top of every little detail, while retaining an incredibly impressive strategic approach; she is highly intelligent, an excellent lawyer and is breathtakingly hardworking, and leads by example’.
Hunters Law LLP has an ‘excellent team with high calibre clients’ that is led by Henry Hood. It acts for large HNW clients on the full range of issues that arise from relationship inception through to breakdown. The majority of its caseload comprises complex high value financial claims on divorce and it regularly advises on wealth protection through nuptial agreements. It is also skilled at handling challenging private law children work with a particular focus on relocation. Richard Kershaw and Jo Carr-West are other key members of the team. At a senior level there have been changes as Jay Patel is now at Lawrence Stephens solicitors while Mark Stiebel joined the team.
Other key lawyers:
Richard Kershaw; Jo Carr-West;Polly Atkins; Eri Horrocks; Amy Scollan; Nicole Derham; Mark Stiebel
‘They have one of the best family departments in the country which is populated by some of the most able practitioners and led by the celebrity family lawyer, Henry Hood. Their client care is second to none and their legal ability is first rate. Richard Kershaw, Henry Hood, Jo Carr-West’.
‘Classy, sophisticated and thoughtful, the firm exudes confidence borne of generations of experience at the top end of financial relief work. Richard Kershaw is a gentleman and a scholar with a high level of emotional intelligence, a cracking eye for a case and a charming and reassuring manner: he puts clients at ease with his unflappable air’.
‘Niche mature team. Richard Kershaw – very experienced. He is fantastic with. nervous clients with a wonderful calm and reassuring manner. They trust him completely’.
‘A small family law team punching well above its weight, with top class lawyers throughout. The firm has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with a real rise in profile so that the team is now clearly amongst the best in the family law sector for both money and private law children’.
‘Henry Hood is the award-winning senior partner, whose commanding presence is a reflection of his enormous experience and depth of knowledge. His ability with clients is exceptional, and he always offers a clear case strategy’.
‘Jo Carr-West is truly outstanding, with the ideal combination of humanity and detailed technical knowledge. Her client skills are exceptional, and her ability to manage the most difficult of cases is second to none. Associates Polly Atkins and Eri Horrocks are ones to watch for the future, their stars definitely on the rise’.
‘You have an exceptionally talented team of professionals who deliver outstanding results who are not afraid to take on the most challenging of cases who get the balance right. Amy Scollan and Polly Atkins were at all times incredibly professional attentive and responsive and I always felt they went above and beyond expectations to help me navigate a particularly tricky divorce. They provided me with expert counsel moral support and rational advice’.
‘Jo Carr-West is an exceptional person. From the first meeting I knew I was in safe hands. The paperwork produced was very professionally and clearly written. Her style of letter writing was as I expected, always dignified. She completely understood me and this was proven when choosing a Barrister that suited me. I totally trusted her’.
Kingsley Napley LLP ‘has a powerhouse family law team – the strength in depth of the team is unrivalled in any family law team working in London. The highest quality legal advice and representation is offered without any loss to individual client care’. Practice head Charlotte Bradley is ‘absolutely top of the tree- family law partners in London don’t come better than her’. Its partners and associates have a broad range of expertise in finance as well as children work. It is recognised for its representation of clients in highly contested and complex finance proceedings for UNHW/HNW and high profile clients. It has also extensive experience in cases involving complex farming and landed families and a significant proportion of its work has a cross-jurisdictional dimension. Other strengths include advising on international cases involving children issues such as relocation and surrogacy cases. Jane Keir plays a pivotal role in the department too and Lauren Evans was recently promoted to the partnership.
Other key lawyers:
Jane Keir; Sital Fontenelle; Rachel Freeman; Lauren Evans; Will Macfarlane; Olivia Stiles; Stacey Nevin; Connie Atkinson; Sarah Dodds; Alexandra Bishop; Charlotte Stringer; Connie Atkinson: Claire Wood; Cate Maguire; Abby Buckland
‘What makes the Family team stand out at Kingsley Napley is without a doubt its ethos and its mission to always hold children’s wellbeing at the centre of its work. In my experiences with KN, I’ve always found they bring genuine heart and humanity to their work, driven to change the culture around divorce. Charlotte Bradley: a wonderful leader, Charlotte brings that empathic, caring, relational thread throughout her team, which then naturally weaves its way to all client-facing work’.
‘Kingsley Napley is an incredibly well resourced, well respected firm. They are a go-to for heavily contentious high net worth work. The team works seamlessly to achieve the best possible outcomes for clients. They have a strong international presence and are commercially astute. Rachel Freeman: has the unique ability to look at the heart of a case and grasp exactly what a client needs to resolve it. She is a dual French/English speaker which makes her first choice for Anglo-French work’.
‘Charlotte Bradley – excellent with clients and has great empathy. Will Macfarlane – very good judgment and attention to detail. Olivia Stiles – exceptionally able and one to watch for the future. Stacey Nevin – exceptionally able and one to watch for the future’.
‘Connie Atkinson – Equally strong on children and money and one of the best lawyers of her generation. Sital Fontenelle – an absolute star – she is a brilliant litigator, if she is running your team you know you will be heading for success. She’s fearless and she inspires that in other people she works with. Will Macfarlane – clients love him. He cares so much about every part of their lives and lives and breathes their cases until they are in a strong position again’.
‘Jane Keir: class incarnate, bright and smart. Ideal for HNWI cases. Charlotte Bradley : same expertise and she brings warmth and support’.
‘Connie Atkinson: she is bright and has sound judgement, and a commitment to her cases, whilst also taking a reasonable and collaborative approach to her cases. She knows when to settle. Claire Wood: real knowledge and understanding of Anglo-French cases: one of the go-to solicitors for these kinds of cases. I would recommend her in any case involving a French element‘.
‘Jane Keir is an extremely accomplished lawyer in this field with experience of complex matters spanning the globe and knowledge of what needs to be done to best assist her client. Sital Fontenelle is a vivacious, charismatic and purposeful lawyer with wonderful energy and determination. She is a force in this field.’
‘Lauren Evans, brand new partner, is not only brilliant but in my experience already “experienced” beyond her years. I first encountered her as an assistant in a case back in 2015 and was very impressed by her command of the subject and also her client-care skills. I am confident Lauren will go very far and am pleased for KN that they have recognised this already‘.
Levison Meltzer Pigott fields an ‘exceptional team’ with the ‘simply phenomenal’ Simon Pigott at the helm who works on the ‘hardest of cases and trickiest of clients with skill’. The team is ‘considered heavyweights in the financial remedies arena’ as the ‘wisdom and experience’ of Pigott; Alison Hayes and Jeremy Levison are ‘unmatched’. It covers all areas of family law from divorce and separation to paternity disputes and co-habitation. There is a strong emphasis on work where there are complex financial and international aspects and it frequently works on cases involving hidden assets, defending and attacking trust structures and on cases with jurisdictional disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Jeremy Levison; Kate Stovold; Benjamin Stowe; Alison Hayes
‘A small but perfectly formed niche boutique team specialising in family law. In Simon Pigott and Jeremy Levison the firm has 2 of the most experienced, respected and well liked family solicitors in London. They provide the firm with leadership and example and still attract a range of very high profile and interesting cases’.
‘A relatively small team commands huge respect in the sector and an excellent standard of work. Alison Hayes has seen it all, strategises excellently and Kate Stovold works extremely hard for her clients and rightly gains their trust’.
‘Excellent specialist family law firm. Jeremy Levison remains one of the biggest names in the industry with decades of experience. He has a knack for predicting outcomes and has the strategic prowess of a chess grandmaster’.
‘Ben Stowe is a star amongst the new generation of family law partners in London. Calm under pressure, extremely empathetic, with excellent judgment, he is going places and is one to watch in our industry‘.
‘Excellent team, every member is extremely on top of figures and papers, thorough, work well together. Kate Stovold – excellent partner, pleasure to work with, exceptionally thorough, strong and clear advice, excellent client manager, papers are always in top order and counsel is thoroughly briefed, great commercial sense and judgment’.
‘LMP knows how to run a good case; they are aggressive and protective of their clients when necessary, whilst also offering sensible and balanced advice. They know how to successfully litigate and get the very best outcome for their client. Ben Stowe is a star – smart, ambitious, committed and talented. I would want him representing me.’
‘Kate Stovold, a relatively new partner is surely a future star. I have been so impressed with her over the last few years and really believe she has the full skill set. Her client handling is perfect. Her letter writing is the best – perfectly pitched and phrased. Her judgement calls are spot on’.
‘LMP delivers a stellar service and is particularly good at taking on ‘high risk’ clients- i.e. those with a difficult case to run or for whom funding is often tied up in the assets they are seeking to gain. I can’t speak highly enough of the talents of new partners Ben Stowe and Kate Stovold’.
Miles & Partners LLP
Miles & Partners LLP receives particular praise for its ‘extremely child-centred’ approach and for being ‘outstanding in public law children’. The group handles a broad spectrum of matters from children proceedings involving child abduction, forced marriages and genital mutilation to pre-nuptial agreements and complicated TOLATA. It is co-led by the ‘very hardworking’ Michelle Uppal; Amanda Dench ( who has a ‘fountain of knowledge') and Kate Hammond who has ‘the rare ability to explain complex legal information to children in a manner that is clear yet not patronising’. Overall the team receives plaudits for being ‘simply excellent at what it does. All of the team puts their ‘all’ into achieving great outcomes for clients’.
Michelle Uppal; Kate Hammond; Amanda Dench
Other key lawyers:
Harriet Brame; Mary Richardson; Gemma Hodder; Lorraine Green; Katie Coles; Linda Pope: Ritu Sood
‘Kate Hammond is an excellent lawyer – she delivers for her clients, is well-liked by colleagues and is a mentor for juniors. She has worked on a number of reported and high-profile cases in recent years but takes this in her stride and treats every case in the same way. Harriet Brame is an outstanding junior solicitor. M&P juniors have responsibility that their peers do not. Harriet’s clients respect her and are incredibly grateful for her hard work’.
‘I have worked with Amanda Dench, Mary Richardson. I have been impressed by their professionalism, ability to work under pressure, knowledge and understanding of the law and the issues. I think that Mary Richardson in particular is an outstanding lawyer. Her client care skills were impressive and her hard work made the case that I did with her move smoothly, with a great outcome for our client. Amanda Dench is clearly a leader in international child abduction and children law and her wealth of experience and approach to the work is reflected in her team’.
‘Gemma Hodder is outstanding, respected by her clients, opponents and judges. Amanda Dench – extraordinary client commitment. Mary Richardson – a rising star in public law care proceedings. Exceptionally talented. Loves cases with complex medical/scientific issues. Explores every avenue on behalf of her clients. One KC said she had drafted the ‘best client statement he had ever read’.
‘Lorraine Green is another stand out for me. I worked with her on a case for a young person who had significant mental health difficulties, but we challenged the care plan of where she should live. Lorraine helped me establish a rapport with the client, and she was very helpful in reassuring the young person who was clearly anxious about proceedings. Lorraine is also very pleasant as an ‘opponent”.
‘Michelle Uppal provides a sensible and pragmatic approach to her work. highly committed and effective legal aid family practice with very experienced lawyers’.
‘Extremely attentive practice providing top notch advice and sincere care for clients well-being in all aspects. Takes the time to understand the full context, research and present realistic options with recommendations as necessary. Available when needed not just 9 to 5′.
‘Michelle Uppal – exceptional (both partner perspective and day-to-day case management) Katie Coles – exceptional (memory for, and attention to detail)’.
‘Large team brimming full of talent. Diverse and supportive of each other. Creative in their thinking and always seeking to improve in every aspect of their practice area. Kate Hammond – a committed lawyer and able lawyer with unmatched maturity and client care skills. Michelle Uppal- the go to for a private law children act case. Suitably robust in litigation but with an eager eye to resolving matters properly and without delay’.
Mills & Reeve LLP ‘has a collection of some of the country's finest family lawyers. Its reputation countrywide is superb and justifiably so’. Joanna Grandfield leads the London family team while Zoë Fleetwood heads the national children team. The practice receives plaudits for its experience across the full range of family issues from advising on cases where there are complex business and trusts structures with an international component to advising on international wealth protection and highly conflicted children proceedings. The nimble team is also adept at handling high-profile individuals as well as advising on property disputes between unmarried couples. Suzanne Kingston is highly regarded. Another key member of the London offering is principal associate Tim Whitney who undertakes all kinds of family work and is an FMC accredited all issues mediator.
Joanna Grandfield; Zoe Fleetwood
Other key lawyers:
Tim Whitney; Amy Starnes; Suzanne Kingston
‘The Mills & Reeve team is superb. It is very well organised, efficient, client-focussed, compassionate and sensible people who are a pleasure to work with. They have always provided an excellent service to clients in cases I have done with them. They are well supported in the administration and it is useful to have colleagues in other areas of law who can provide a full service for the clients’ needs’.
‘I have been very impressed with Joanna Grandfield for her determination and pragmatism. I have also enjoyed working with Tim Whitney and Amy Starnes and Suzanne Kingston and I think that Zoe Fleetwood was a strong addition to the team recently. There are many top quality individuals at M&R – too many to name them all’.
‘Mills & Reeve has one of the leading and most innovative family law teams around – many would say it is the very best and a clear leader in the field, with an emphasis on alternative dispute resolution, and with exceptional solicitors and mediators and an all-round approachable and extremely effective negotiation and litigation style. They achieve outstanding results for their clients whilst remaining very down to earth and pragmatic’.
‘I am instructed regularly by Zoe Fleetwood, partner and head of the children department and it is always a privilege and a joy to work with her. Zoe has every quality you could wish for in a family lawyer. She is hugely intelligent, knows the law inside out, is jaw droppingly efficient and always on top of a very busy work load, crystal clear in her communications, strong and determined in her negotiations and in court, warm, empathic and supportive, creative, imaginative and energetic’.
‘Jo Grandfield is a former barrister. It shows: she can do the job of barrister and solicitor and is excellent at both. She’s tough and commercial and a force to be reckoned with’.
‘Suzanne Kingston is known as a mediator but is also a first rate litigator and brings to her cases a wealth of experience and savviness. She knows exactly which points to fight and win and which not to. She is also very experienced in complex cases and very able in assembling the team of experts needed’.
‘Zoe Fleetwood is a stand out partner and a seasoned and committed children law practitioner. Jo Grandfield is superb. She is fiercely bright but incredibly constructive. She will always pick up the phone to resolve issues and is genuinely committed to finding a good way through conflict. She is a joy to work with’.
‘Tim Whitney is an outstanding mediator. He grapples with very difficult cases, provides a calm environment and invariable leads clients to settlement.’.
BT v CU  EWFC – BT v CU  EWFC 87 (01 November 2021)
Re Z (Schedule 1: Legal Costs Funding Order; Interim Financial Provision)
 EWFC 80 – Re Z (No 2) (Schedule 1: Further Legal Costs Funding Order;
Re H-N and Others (children) judgment
A, B and Bourn Hall Clinic  EWHC 1750 (Fam) (25 March 2021)
KMM v NAM (Jurisidiction)  EWHC 2300 (Fam) (13 August 2021)
London NHS Trust v CD & Ors (Withdrawal of Life Sustaining Treatment)  EWCOP 727 (24 March 2021)
Re Z (Schedule 1: Legal Costs Funding Order; Interim Financial Provision)  EWFC 80 –
Re Z (No 2) (Schedule 1: Further Legal Costs Funding Order; Further Interim Financial Provision)  EWFC 72 (Mr Justice Cobb) 16 August 2021
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP fields an ‘exceptionally strong team of family lawyers’. The ‘indomitable’ James Stewart and the ‘highly experienced’ Anna Worwood co-head the department that offers the ‘highest level of client care and prepares cases immaculately’. The group frequently acts in some of the most significant international cases that come before the English courts with a particular focus on the USA and the Middle East. It has considerable expertise in Part 111 claims and it has a ‘modern families’ unit that is headed by Linzi Bull – this unit focuses on issues such as surrogacy and the legal issues arising from artificial reproductive technologies. Edward Floyd is now at Farrer & Co while the ‘impressive’ Tammy Knox has been promoted to the partnership. Among the other key members of the team are Jane Craig; Amanda Andrews and Rebecca Carlyon .
Anna Worwood; James Stewart
Other key lawyers:
Jane Craig; Amanda Andrews ; Rebecca Carlyon; Elizabeth Carson; Tammy Knox; Linzi Bull; Lucy Clark
‘This firm has strength and depth in a competitive field. They are well established as market leaders and provide a quality service backed up by experience. Anna Worwood has the combination of empathy, efficiency, intelligence and good sense which marks her out as a leader in her field. Tammy Knox is one to watch, as a newly appointed partner’.
‘An excellent team which attracts the very highest quality work. All members of the team are able and approachable. Jane Craig- a grande dame of matrimonial finance work. She is very highly regarded and rightly so. She has an unrivalled breadth of experience and her clients love her’.
‘The family team is the magic circle team to go to across the country. Linzi Bull – Linzi is fantastic to work with. She finds solutions in the most complex cases. Clients adore her for the way she explains legal strategy in the most clearest format. She is always going above and beyond what is required to get the right result. She is particularly good with cases involving complex human rights issues. Tammy Knox – a newly appointed partner. She has a piercing intellect and is able to cut thought complicated cases‘.
‘One of the largest and best family law teams in London that is going from strength to strength. When one is instructed by PMC one knows the quality of the work will be first rate. This is a team with very high standards from top to bottom’.
‘All the team is excellent but the following are stand out – Anna Worwood – the new head of department. This promotion is so deserved. She is a class act who mixes emotional and academic intelligence perfectly. She is caring and sensitive when needed but also robust and strong when appropriate. She gives her clients 110%. James Stewart – is a real specialist in international cases and one of London’s leading lawyers who is involved in many of the most important cases. A delight to work with. Lucy Clark – an excellent senior associate who knows her cases inside out and has a photographic memory which is so useful in a complex case with vast amounts of documents’.
‘Penningtons Manches Cooper has particular expertise in private law disputes with international issues, including jurisdiction, leave to remove and international child abduction. Anna Worwood wrote the book on leave to remove, and is tactically excellent. Tammy Knox has recently been promoted to partner. She has a background in complex care and international child abduction which provides an excellent grounding in the most difficult private law disputes.’
‘Tammy Knox and Anna Worwood are outstanding partners in the London office. The firm provide nationwide coverage over a number of offices’.
‘Service from Amanda Andrews in the Family Law team was fantastic. Helpful, responsive, creative, thorough and all done in a friendly and personable style. Amanda Andrews is excellent and far more authoritative and empathetic than others I have used in this field’.
Russell-Cooke LLP ‘has strength in depth and is able to provide a Rolls Royce service at lower than Rolls Royce prices’. It has a broad practice covering family law agreements such as pre- and post-nuptial, cohabitation and separation agreements as well as a thriving international children practice that frequently covers Hague and non-Hague parental child abduction and other cases such as leave to remove. Its international finance practice garners praise too. James Carroll, Kate Hamilton , Fiona Read and Sarah Richardson are among the highly regarded members of the team that provides ‘outstanding support to clients as well as realistic advice’. Samantha Little is well-regarded too for her handling of all aspects of children law. It was pleased to add Jade Quirke to its ranks from NGA Law who has particular expertise in surrogacy, adoption and fertility law.
James Carroll; Kate Hamilton; Camilla Thornton; Fiona Read ; Hannah Minty ; Hannah Field; Miranda Green; Samantha Little; Sarah Richardson
Other key lawyers:
Jemma Pollock; Jade Quirke; James Sandiford; Sarah Inchley
‘Samantha Little is a stand out solicitor within family law as a whole. She 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’.
‘Sarah Richardson is a delight to work with; there is nothing she does not know about public law children work. One of the most experienced solicitors in her field. Jade Quirke has an impressive niche practice in surrogacy, complex adoption and difficult modern family parenting issues. She impresses as being very capable , she is extremely tenacious as well as highly efficient‘.
‘The person I have worked closely with recently is Hannah Minty, whom I regard very highly. She has very good judgment, great client skills and is altogether a pleasure to work with’.
‘The sheer excellence and experience of the Russell-Cooke family team is worth having on your side. The team works well together to cover each other’s cases so that no client ever feels unsupported. Miranda Green is a brilliant and experienced family solicitor who I would pick every time. She knows the law and writes brilliant letters. She is solution-focused and confident’.
‘A full service family dept with some outstanding people. Fiona Read – assured, sensible and a safe pair of hands for legal work or mediation. Also James Carroll is exceptionally talented’.
‘There is depth in the RC offering and they have a great next generation in development. Fiona Read, James Carroll, Sam Little , Jemma Pollock, Camilla Thornton. They are properly focused on the family’s future (rather than their own!) see children as a central part of their work (not all family lawyers seem to) and are experienced in non-court dispute resolution processes‘.
‘Sam Little is one of the top two or three children solicitors in the jurisdiction (and probably leads that group) and there are top tier mediators on the team too. Hannah Field is calm and friendly with clients which puts them at ease. She is solution focused and grasps the challenges quickly’.
‘James Carroll is a power house. He handles complex family law cases in all processes from mediation through to litigation and he is a star every time. Kate Hamilton is brilliant. Always constructive and solution focused’.
The International Family Law Group LLP has an’ excellent team that is able to deal with the complexities of international assets and cross-border disputes’. It has a superb reputation for its work with international families and families living in England and Wales in the areas of relationship breakdown and children matters. Under the leadership of Ann Thomas (who heads the children team) and Lucy Loizou (managing partner and head of the finance & forum team) it acts for a diverse range of clients from wealthy individuals, professionals, entrepreneurs, CEOs, media, entertainment and sports personalities. Stuart Clark is now at Rayden Solicitors. Helen Blackburn and David Hodson OBE KC(Hons) MCIArb are among the other well-known members of the practice that is lauded for its ability to ‘deal with complex cases with justified confidence, achieving great results through complete dedication to their clients’ best interests by using their top flight expertise’.
Ann Thomas; Lucy Loizou
‘A formidable team with unsurpassed knowledge of international family law. If you have a jurisdiction battle, you want someone from this team on your side’.
‘Michael Allum is 2nd to none! He would make himself available during weekends or late evenings. Michael Allum was an outstanding advocate for me at what was probably the most difficult time in my life. He was kind, thoughtful and understanding as well as being thoroughly professional and knowledgeable and he got me through the divorce and settlement process as smoothly as I could ever have imagined’.
‘I valued Lucy Greenwood’s unwavering support and patience – she understood that I was in a very complex situation dealing with laws in three countries, family matters and financial matters. She was extremely communicative and responsive and always provided excellent answers to my questions.’
‘Lucy Loizou is incredibly knowledgeable in her field. I have felt completely secure in her capable hands. She is down to earth, no nonsense, plain talking and yet super friendly. From our first phone call, she immediately understood the situation and has explained the process to me step by step. She is incredibly patient with me yet fierce and determined in my defence. The perfect combination. Lucy has made the painful process as painless as it could have been’.
’‘Helen Blackburn is one of the most experienced international children lawyers around. Her practice is almost exclusively High Court and Court of Appeal based. She has an excellent knowledge of her subject area which she combines with great judgement and an impressive client skill. She is the most meticulous solicitor I have come across. She inspires confidence in her clients and counsel alike with her calm, confident manner. She is undoubtedly one of the sharpest knives in the drawer!’
‘James Netto is a star solicitor. He has grown from an excellent junior, one of the faces of the Law Society’s advertising campaign to being an established practitioner. He has excellent judgement and unparalleled flair in representing young clients in complex disputes. James is a fighter and will not shy away from tackling the most difficult cases’.
‘David Hodson – What he doesn’t know about International Family work isn’t worth knowing. Ann Thomas – Brilliant client skills and a delight to work with. Lucy Greenwood – A brilliant strategist who chooses her legal team very carefully. Lucy Loizou – Leads the team superbly! Michael Allum – One of the best legal minds in the business. He will be a star in the family law world for many years to come! Helen Blackburn – Whether instructed by her or in a case against her, you will absolutely need to bring your ‘A’ game!’
‘IFLG has established a stellar reputation since it was established – the ultimate niche family law practice. The team has great strength both on the financial side and the children side of family law and an unrivalled grasp of the international dimensions. David Hodson continues in the top league of London family lawyers’.
Vardags‘ reputation is one of big money and hard fights. What that conceals is the diligence and care that the team takes with every single one of its cases.’ The firm has extensive coverage throughout the country through its various offices and specialises in complex, challenging, high profile and international litigation for its predominantly wealthy client base. The ‘very bright‘ Ayesha Vardag is well known. The ‘very impressive‘ Georgina Hamblin heads the team that is among the ‘crème de la crème and provides a Rolls Royce service. The client care and attention to detail is second to none’. The ‘first-rate children lawyer’ Katherine Res Pritchard has been described as the ‘doyenne of the future’. Simon McKirgan is skilled at handling high-net-worth divorces and separation that often involve complex jurisdictional issues as well as other issues such as private children proceedings. The team provides ‘very much a high-end personal service‘.
Other key lawyers:
Ayesha Vardag; Simon McKirgan; Katherine Res Pritchard; Caroline Korah; Claire Clarke; Lois Rogers; Antonia Barker; Emma Gill; Aisling O’Reilly; Megan Griffin; Sophie Groves; Rebecca Pierce
‘They are extremely professional, trustworthy and helpful, at very stressful times in their clients lives. All their advice is also very well informed and their clients are really at the centre of what they do. In my personal experience they are absolutely TOP quality and anyone can rest assured that they are in the best possible hands for their family matters‘.
‘I have worked extensively with Ms Caroline Korah, who assisted me throughout all my relocation application case last year and I cannot praise her enough. Her knowledge around all matters about children is amazing and she never gives wrong advice. Caroline is extremely knowledgeable but what makes her standout is how intelligent she is and how quickly she can understand all the important points (positive and negative) in any case’.
‘Georgina Hamblin was exceptional, both as a professional and also, going above and beyond her duty of care. She was always available and very quick to respond to any questions raised. She made me feel as though I was part of the Vardag family, not just a client, which really helped with my day to day mental health and gave me the strength I needed at an extremely stressful time in my life’.
‘Lois Rogers – Stand-out director. Lois is truly excellent. She is a great lawyer, hard worker, totally on top of the detail, with a strong sense of case strategy. Lois gives sensible and realistic advice. Antonia Barker – real star of the future’.
‘Georgina Hamblin: she has already made a name for herself as a talented ‘go-to’ matrimonial solicitor for the ultra-high net worth divorcee. She will clearly take over from the grand dames who are about to retire and become one of the big beats of family law. She is brilliant. Simon McKirgan: he has one of the best legal minds in family law. His attention to detail is second to none, he is also highly personable and gives excellent advice’.
‘Simon McKirgan is someone to have fighting your corner: he has good strategic instincts, is tenacious and asks the right questions. Lois Rogers is a first-rate solicitor. She is strategic, empathetic and dedicated’.
‘Ayesha is a force of nature who combines exceptional ability as a rainmaker with very good judgment. Simon McKirgan is outstanding, with an unparalleled grasp of detail, good client skills and good judgment. Georgina Hamblin, Emma Gill and Lois Rogers are all excellent. They are backed up by an outstanding team of Associates’.
‘Katherine Res Pritchard is the head of the children team. She has excellent judgement and gives her clients superb advice. Despite the high tensions in such cases she is always calm and serene and skilfully guides her clients to the best outcome. A pleasure to work with. Claire Clarke is an exceptionally poised lawyer. She is an unflappable presence even in the most contentious cases. She is able to think strategically well for each of her clients while also offering them high degree of support in emotionally charged situations’.
- In MG v GM (MPS LSPO) (Rev1)  EWFC 8: represented the wife in this ultra-high net worth divorce with over £100m of complex, matrimonial assets held in several highly valuable Special Purchase Acquisition Company vehicles run and invested in by the husband. The case also involved complex children matters and he team comprehensively won on both fronts.
- In CA v DR (Schedule 1 Children Act 1989: Pension Claim)  EWFC 21: it represented the mother in her application under Schedule 1 (Children Act 1989) in financial and internal relocation proceedings against the father, worth in excess of £200m. The team ran an argument on a novel point of law regarding the ability to include pension provision in the “carer’s allowance” element of the budget.
Kim Beatson leads the team at Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP that ‘works very efficiently with all members being of the highest calibre’. Beatson has a significant children practice and also frequently advises on nuptial agreements for Court of Protection clients and those who are receiving substantial medical claims awards. David Emmerson is another skilled practitioner who receives plaudits for his ability to ‘deploy skills at the highest level in order to resolve cases without heightening tension’ and regularly helps clients who are in the public eye.
Other key lawyers:
David Emmerson; Caroline Bowden; Sarah Hughes; Fiona Lyon; Nazia Rashid; Victoria Brown; Ruth Oyelakin
‘Absolutely top-drawer. A department with depth & breadth and superb leadership. Steeped in solution focussed DR practice with hugely talented practitioners committed to reducing conflict. Frequently called upon for media and other commentary.’
‘David Emmerson and Kim Beatson – highly experienced and respected both within and beyond London. Committed to finding solutions away from the court but decisive when required. Caroline Bowden – without doubt one of the most capable mediators in the country’.
‘The formidable Kim Beatson and David Emmerson are the backbone of the team. Between them their experience, negotiating skill set and knowledge is quite frankly breath- taking. Sarah Hughes, Nazia Rashid, Ruth Oyelakin, Fiona Lyon – provide excellent support and admirable client focused service.’
‘It is a conscientious team, with depth of expertise being able to provide a full service to family law clients. Victoria Brown – a diligent and impressive junior solicitor with bags of potential – she will go far in her career. She is thorough in her preparation, instinctive in her analysis, robust in her negotiations, and caring towards her clients’.
‘Experienced team of family lawyers. Nazia Rashid is a fantastic lawyer who always goes that extra mile to help. Fiona Lyon is extremely approachable and fights her clients’ corner is a sensible and proactive manner’.
‘The team is rightly known for its commitment to its clients whilst working collaboratively with the opposition. They recognise that agreement and mediation works better than battle. I work with Kim Beatson, Nazia Rashid, David Emmerson and other more junior members. All are outstanding in their field’.
‘Anthony Gold’s family team is outstanding and deserves the reputation and accolades it has. The partners are a good combination between statesmen like Kim Beatson and David Emmerson with their unsurpassed years of experience and the new innovators , Fiona Lyon and Nazia Rashid. The team is always clever, efficient and fair. Judgement is sound and they are always promote good family relationships in the way they communicate. This is a firm I recommend regularly’.
‘Kim Beatson – incredibly good at what she does. Focused on what is needed but always looking to enhance family relationships for better outcomes. Very intuitive and fair. David Emmerson – full of charm but genuine care for clients. He takes a constructive and collaborative based approach and comes up with good solutions’.
Boodle Hatfield LLP is ‘simply brilliant. It delivers an extremely high quality of service for its clients and truly is a firm that adds value to its cases. It is a close team that works well together and there’s real strength and depth in the department’. The group receives many high-level instructions which often span multiple jurisdictions and have substantial tax-based, emotional and reputational challenges as well as valuable assets. It is known for its work with a wide range of high-profile clients with significant family businesses as well as for its cross-border children work. The team also garners praise for its work on large pre-nuptial agreements. Head of department James Ferguson ‘approaches all cases with real wisdom’. Emily Brand has particular expertise in advising on disputes involving children on the autism spectrum.
Other key lawyers:
Emily Brand; Harriet Errington; Katie O’Callaghan; Alexandra Hirst; Katie Male; Genevieve Smith
‘The Family team at Boodle Hatfield is amongst the best in the industry and now challenging the biggest firms. It is a ’boutique’ firm but has the resources of a much larger firm. The senior partner James Ferguson has created a fantastic team and atmosphere – friendly but also business-like, astute and hardworking. They come highly recommended’.
‘Emily Brand – a standout partner. Highly empathetic, knowledgeable and skilful. Alexandra Hirth – excellent associate with an amazing grasp of the details of cases, tactical awareness and knowledge of the law. Harriet Errington – also a standout partner’.
‘A lovely, close-knit small team who works well together and is committed to doing the very best for its clients. Emily Brand puts clients at ease straight away and takes a pragmatic approach to her cases. Her instinct is spot-on and she always sees 10 steps ahead’.
‘Katie O’Callaghan is very smart, sensible and is not afraid to say what she thinks and get to the meat of cases straight away. Harriet Errington is wonderfully empathetic to her clients and is also able to put her clients at ease whilst also being a savvy litigator, always trying to do the very best for her clients’.
‘The family team is small but extremely capable and is more than a match for its magic circle competitors. It attracts a significant number of complex and high net worth cases which the team is able to tackle with ease. James Ferguson- a wealth of experience and very good at devising strategies to secure success’.
‘Emily Brand- very supportive of clients. Her tenacity is disguised by her beguiling sense of humour which clients love. Katie Male and Katie O’Callaghan- both more junior members of the team; but both are extremely capable and integral to the team’s success‘.
‘Emily Brand. First-rate legal mind, personable and fearless. An all-round winner!’
‘They have sensible partners who won’t litigate for the sake of it but, when called upon to do so, will deliver at the highest standard. James Ferguson and Alex Hirst are a fantastic team’.
Bross Bennett is a ‘niche practice that is very highly regarded in the sector. The team is very client-focused and, as a result, has a loyal clientele with much work being referred through personal recommendations’. It is led by Sharon Bennett and Ruth Bross and is well-known for its ability to deal with a full range of family issues from complex financial disputes and nuptial agreements to difficult problems over children and co-habitation agreements. Anna Wagstaff has extensive experience in dealing with complex children disputes, including relocation to other jurisdictions, and financial cases, often with an international dimension. It was pleased to recently add Jamie Gaw to its ranks from Forsters LLP .
Sharon Bennett; Ruth Bross
Other key lawyers:
Simon Lim; Jamie Gaw; Vicky Briam; Anna Wagstaff; Caroline Falkus; Adam Witkover
‘Sharon Bennett has been outstanding. She listens. She has been honest and open throughout and firm when she needed to be, but adaptable and sympathetic when necessary. I never doubted, from day 1, that she would do her best for me in very difficult circumstances’.
‘I have received exceptional service from Vicky Briam. Vicky supported me from the start of my separation and throughout family court litigation. She is very skilled, supportive and pragmatic with her advice and I was extremely glad to have her on my side during this incredibly stressful and upsetting time. She is concise with the facts and her written correspondence is impeccable. I was always impressed with how she was able to position my arguments in a very pointed way. I’m very grateful for her commitment to my case’.
‘Anna Wagstaff – brilliantly composed and measured, and really able to help advise me through a very long and protracted child arrangements dispute. Guided me really well through the challenging moments; I’m not sure emotionally I would have come out as relatively intact as I have without her. Although there were a number of challenges thrown in my direction, I felt that we couldn’t have dealt with matters any more efficiently – and, as far as was possible, avoided incurring unnecessary cost’.
‘Jamie Gaw was professional, bright, always thought ahead, pre-empted issues that may arise. She was calm and yet tough in presenting concepts and the direction ahead’.
‘Sharon Bennett- an outstanding individual with enormous experience. Immediately identifies what needs to be done…and does it. Very supportive of her clients and an absolute pleasure to work with’.
‘Sharon Bennett is a complete superstar: she is wise, clever, empathetic, and tough. She understands what a client needs and how to get the best result for them. She is an absolute pleasure to work with. Caroline Falkus is wonderful – she goes the extra mile for clients and is a robust and effective negotiator. Likewise, Ruth Bross is highly effective. She really cares about her cases and always strives to reach the best possible outcome, whilst never losing sight of the bigger picture. Vicky Briam is fantastic. Very smart and astute. Handles her cases brilliantly.’
‘Ruth Bross fights tirelessly for her clients, and she is very perceptive‘.
‘This is the model of the vibrant and dynamic boutique practices which have blossomed over the last decade or so. It is hardly surprising that Bross Bennett attracts a regular stream of high-profile clients. Adam Witkover has recently completed work on a long and difficult divorce involving members of a high profile Middle Eastern royal family. He demonstrates a cool and calm head and a real ability reassure his clients in even the most difficult and hard-fought cases’.
Burges Salmon LLP has ‘approachable but highly technical and cerebral specialist matrimonial lawyers who are not scared of wading into legal thickets’. The ‘truly excellent‘ Sarah Hoskinson heads the department that includes newly-promoted partner Richard Handel. Its work is focused on complex financial settlements on relationship breakdown and on divorce and it regularly deals with very high-value cases nationally and internationally. The practice has particular expertise in asset protection issues including pre-and post-nuptial agreements and on complex international marital agreements.
Other key lawyers:
Richard Handel; Alison Hawes; Hebe Thorne; Hannah Petherick
‘Neatly straddling the West Country and Central London gives them unusual geographical reach for clients and also a broader cross-section of work, from City financiers to agricultural families. Very few other teams offer these aspects, and certainly not with such abilities’.
‘Sarah Hoskinson – delightful, driven, not afraid of conflict if required but always looking for an elegant solution that avoids it. Richard Handel- up and coming new partner’.
‘A top-class firm with extended links in the West Country. A wide client base of varied high net worth private clients. Sarah Hoskinson. A formidable lawyer with huge expertise in pension work’.
‘The Burges Salmon family team is going from strength to strength. Headed by the brilliant Sarah Hoskinson the team handles some really complex cases and does so well. Sarah Hoskinson is utterly brilliant. She is incredibly bright and her knowledge of pensions on divorce is amazing. Sarah handles UHNW cases with confidence and charm. Sarah is a fierce opponent but never unnecessarily aggressive. A real star of her generation’.
‘The family team is dynamic and able to draw on the resources of its private client and corporate departments when necessary. Richard Handel is calm, confident and a skilled negotiator. He is an excellent addition to the senior team’.
‘Burges Salmon is a firm with a strong presence both in London and regionally. One of the (many) things it does well is to combine its expertise from members of the team based in the provinces and London. The individuals are particularly strong’.
‘It is a partner-led practice. Sarah Hoskinson and Richard Handel are two of the best partners in the business, with a real understanding of international work. They are functioning on the same level as experienced counsel. Hebe Thorne is a talented associate at the firm and certainly ‘one to watch’ in future’.
‘Burges Salmon’s family department is a stellar team. In recent years, it has gone from being the biggest player in the Bristol market to being a key player in the highly competitive London market too. Sarah Hoskinson leads the team and does so in an exemplary manner – Sarah has taken the team’s profile in London to what it is now. Richard Handel is superb, and is a key figure both now and for the future’.
The team at Burgess Mee Family Law ‘ is efficient, attentive, and driven to secure the best results in as calm a manner as possible for its clients’ under the excellent leadership of Antonia Mee and Peter Burgess. The ‘young, dynamic and switched on’ team covers high-value and complex financial work as well as having a strong children practice. Through Natalie Sutherland it has extended its specialisms to domestic and international surrogacy and fertility law. Significantly, it has three mediators too. David Lillywhite practices as a collaborative lawyer as well as a litigator and is another known name in the department.
Antonia Mee; Peter Burgess
Other key lawyers:
Natalie Sutherland; David Lillywhite; Kirsty Morris
‘Natalie Sutherland is a calm and experienced practical solicitor who has a proactive problem solving attitude rather some cost building firms in the market place who can exacerbate issues unnecessarily’.
‘Antonia Mee has all the qualities of a great family lawyer. She is empathetic yet frank, explaining the best route forward with great clarity. I never had any doubt that I was in the safest and most capable of hands. Her calm, unruffled nature is reassuring. She makes every effort to make herself available when urgency is required and has great agility, adapting to changes in circumstance with efficiency and ease. I would recommend her wholeheartedly, and without any hesitation’.
‘Natalie Sutherland is a stand-out individual. She has excellent knowledge of the law surrounding modern families and fertility issues. She started a ‘Modern Families Pod’, which involves a number of barristers and solicitors (from various chambers and firms), who have expertise in this area. As a member of the pod myself, I can vouch for Natalie’s knowledge and tenacity in this complex area.’
‘Peter Burgess is exceptionally calm under fire, pragmatic and commercial in his approach and extremely empathetic making him exceptionally good at supporting his clients’.
‘Antonia Mee is a powerhouse. She is totally unafraid of the opposition but equally happy to guide her clients to a pragmatic and commercial consensual outcome with the other side’.
‘Whilst they may sit just below the magic circle firms, they provide a very high quality of service. David Lillywhite works tirelessly for his clients and has the patience of a saint’.
‘In Burgess Mee, Peter and Antonia and their team have carved out an impressive practice. They have grown organically and recruited exceptionally well. The firm offers real strength in depth across all areas and is fast becoming a market leading practice. Peter Burgess knows everyone and is a tactically astute and client friendly partner. Antonia Mee is fast becoming a go to lawyer in London’
‘Burgess Mee is a very modern, dynamic team. They are fantastic to work with – always engaged, energetic and client focussed. Antonia Mee and Kirsty Morris are both stand out lawyers. Calm, assured and knowledgeable – they are experienced, impressive family lawyers. David Lillywhite – great judgment and incredibly intelligent but also able to make appropriate demands of counsel without overwhelming them. A rare gem’.
Camilla Baldwin is a boutique Mayfair-based family law firm that covers all aspects of family law across complex financial and children matters. Its clients are typically high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals from all walks of life mostly with international assets. A significant proportion of its cases have cross-jurisdictional issues and a number of its clients have assets in complicated trusts and/company structures. Camilla Baldwin is the firm’s founding partner and frequently advises wealthy clients from foreign jurisdictions and advises on parallel divorce and financial proceedings in England and many other jurisdictions.
Other key lawyers:
Luned Rees Williams; Molly Snowe; Chloe Cannon
‘The team at Camilla Baldwins is very helpful & caring, putting you at ease, explaining things clearly & always replying quickly to questions & queries. Camilla has always gone that extra mile, making the whole process more understandable & giving me confidence to proceed & be successful’.
‘Camilla Baldwin has an exceptional legal mind and is great with clients’.
‘The team attracts and manages very high value cases with aplomb. Camilla Baldwin and Luned Williams are fantastic’.
‘It is a strong well lead niche matrimonial practice serving top end clients. Camilla has a reputation for getting good results for her clients. And is a pleasure to deal with. Someone you want on your side’.
‘Camilla Baldwin is a very bright lawyer. She is flexible and committed to her clients, very responsive, and her tactical skills are outstanding’.
‘The whole team functions very well as a unit. It is a relatively small team and so tackle each case as a whole. Its particular strength is its tactical thinking – they plan next steps before litigation has even begun and anticipate every move. Its undoubted strength is the attention to detail. Each client is the centre of attention while the case is going on. They attack each case with inexhaustible enthusiasm’.
‘Molly and Chloe, the two juniors in the team, are astonishing. They know every case back to front and they litigate in a way that belies their level of experience. Camilla is absolutely brilliant, she leads her team with care and enthusiasm. Her clients are her number one focus and the attention and skill she provides them is second to none.’.
‘Camilla Baldwin – she is an expert in her area of law and very well respected indeed. High net worth and ultra high net worth clients can trust that she will handle their case with skill and care. Molly Snow – she is a rising star!’.
- Acting for a billionaire Swiss businessman in his divorce from his homemaker wife in circumstances where the wife was challenging their prenuptial agreement and there were significant international assets and cross-jurisdictional issues.
- Acting for the mother in Schedule 1 proceedings, where the father was a successful millionaire business owner of a sports betting platform company, whereby the parties had engaged in an extramarital affair which had broken down after the birth of their child.
- Advising an ultra-high-net-worth individual in relation to restructuring and protecting her worldwide wealth, in anticipation of her marriage to another ultra-high-net-worth individual, in circumstances where the client did not want to enter into a prenuptial agreement.
Clintons adopts a ‘truly client focused attitude and provides bespoke and modern solutions for its clients’. The firm’s reputation in the entertainment sector is reinforced by its family practice that has a particular talent for representing clients in the public eye such as musicians, sportspeople and actors. Head of team is Liz Vernon who is an ‘impressive operator’ and is known for her work on high-value and complex financial remedy cases as well as disputes relating to children. Daniel Chalmers has recently been promoted to the partnership.
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Chalmers; Dom Christophers
‘Clintons has a small well oiled family team that does a fantastic job for its clients. Liz Vernon is very tenacious and reads the case well. She has excellent instincts honed over a brilliant career. Dom Christophers runs a very tight operation and has an excellent bed side manner with the clients. His correspondence and his ability to drill down into the actual issues in the case is superb‘.
‘Clintons is a dynamic team. The family department is topflight. The team takes a fresh approach but is backed by a wealth of experience. Liz Vernon is an absolute star in the field of big money financial remedies’.
‘A really solid team with excellent administration and client care. Liz Vernon is a very charismatic, charming and effective solicitor, and under her leadership the team performs exceptionally. Dom Christophers is also an individual I would single out as being exceptionally talented, with an ability and acumen far ahead of his actual years. Really impressive’.
‘One of the foremost family departments in London. They specialise in all areas of family work and, although primarily known for their divorce work, they have particular expertise in adoption and surrogacy. Liz Vernon is one of the most outstanding family lawyers in London. She has bags of experience and it shows. She is able to win over clients and the opposition with her charming sense of humour. It is great fun to work with her and you can see all her clients enjoy working with her. Dom Christophers gets under the skin of cases and gives a first class service to all his clients‘.
‘The family team at Clintons has such depth of experience in representing the high net worth and celebrity clients that nothing seems to phase them. The team is innovative, really dynamic and really good fun to work with. Dan Chalmers: so accessible, but so very dynamic. Recently, deservedly, awarded partnership. A star of the future’.
‘Liz Vernon: Liz’s vast experience in high-profile cases shines in everything she does‘.
‘Dan Chalmers has recently become Partner and he is very well regarded for both finance and children work. Dom Christophers is excellent: he is highly responsive to both clients and counsel and clearly gives realistic and sensible advice. He can be direct when required with clients and always listens with care. His client management skills are exceptional’.
‘Liz Vernon is a delight to work with. She knows her cases inside out and has a natural and instinctive spot on judgement which allows her to call cases in the right way and make the right calls. She is completely committed to ensuring her clients get the right result and so deservedly has a very loyal following. Dom Christopher is an associate in the team and although junior is rapidly learning under Liz’s expert guidance and will no doubt have a promising future’.
‘Skilled and highly personable at Newton Kearns LLP - these are the young guns showing the old guard how it is done. Incredibly knowledgeable and insightful in all matters relating to family law, this team has really made a name for itself'. Led by Paul Newton (who is ‘in equal measure personable and pragmatic’) and Patrick Kearns (‘astute and solution focused’) this boutique family law firm advises on an array of complex and high-value financial disputes as well as issues relating to the provision of financial support for children. It is also recommended for its work on substantial pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Maggie Rae represents high-net-worth and high-profile clients. It is a ‘class act’.
Paul Newton; Patrick Kearns
Other key lawyers:
Maggie Rae; Frances Petterson; Victoria Francis; Ali Granville
‘Paul Newton – great lawyer but also an incredibly kind person who cares deeply about his clients. Patrick Kearns – fearless litigator and uncannily good judgment. Ali Granville – new but a rising star. Able to cope with complex and difficult material with skill well beyond her years’.
‘I really enjoy working with Newton Kearns. They have a fantastic team full of talent. They litigate very sensibly, dealing with a range of high profile cases extremely professionally. Patrick Kearns is a real joy to work with. He is extremely charismatic and has a great rapport with clients who implicitly trust his judgement. He litigates sensibly and gets fantastic results for the client. Maggie Rae – Consultant. Maggie is a family law legend‘.
‘This boutique family law firm has a small but perfectly formed team of lawyers who treat every client as if they are the only one. Equally strong on money and children. They are experienced litigators when proceedings are required, but they will always try to reduce conflict and obtain an amicable resolution whenever that is possible, and are brilliant at finding the path in a case that enables such an outcome. Clients love them’.
‘Paul Newton – gets superb results for clients, and brings a lot of wisdom to strategy. He knows how to settle well but he isn’t afraid to fight when it is needed. Patrick Kearns – just brilliant – total star of the future. He has superb judgment, excellent at anticipating what might happen so by the time it does you are in the best possible position. Clients love him, they know they are in the best possible hands‘.
‘Frances Petterson – equally strong on money and children and brings great knowledge and skill to her case prep. She’s a very effective litigator, but she won’t drive a case in that direction if she can find another way. Victoria Francis – clients love her. She gives superb advice early on and she never puts a foot wrong when decisions need to be made’.
‘A class act. One of the most talented, ambitious young law firms in family law. Patrick Kearns can do the job of solicitor and barrister. He sees the end result and ensures that cases go along the track he believes they should follow. He is one of the best negotiators at the family bar’.
‘Paul Newton has brilliant judgment. He gets on with clients and opponents and achieves excellent results. Maggie Rae needs no introduction. She commands a level of respect reserved only for people with her wisdom in this area. Frances Petterson is exceptional. She works tirelessly for her clients. She isn’t afraid of anyone. She is a force to be reckoned with’.
‘A dream team of family lawyers make up this well respected boutique. Paul Newton is a brilliant lawyer. Committed but always pragmatic and gives commercial balanced advice. Charming to work with and against!. Paul Newton is first class – he is the person I would use if I needed a family lawyer. He is fantastic with people, kind and clever, a joy to work with. Patrick Kearns is also fantastic – great mind and cooperative approach’.
With Mark Freedman and Bridget Thompson at the helm, Osbornes ‘is an excellent firm for both children and financial cases’. It has a superb reputation for its work in all areas of family law from pre and post nuptial agreements to unravelling complicated trusts and advising on other complex cross-border issues. It is adept too at handling international child protection issues. Through Naomi Angell it has considerable strength in adoption, surrogacy and fertility issues. It is a ‘very large team with a number of standout lawyers where clients get a full service whether private client or on the legal aid side’. Claire Andrews has recently been promoted to the partnership.
Bridget Thompson; Mark Freedman
Other key lawyers:
Lisa Pepper; Joanne Wescott; Diana Bastow; Claire Andrews; Simone McGrath; Naomi Angell; Andrew Watson; Jessica Moore; Tom Trim; David Leadercrammer
‘Osbornes offers an excellent family law service spanning the wide range of disputes that may arise, in relation both to children and finances. The team has members of all levels of experience and seniority who are all eminently approachable and down to earth, committed, hardworking and who support their clients in a very effective, pragmatic way’.
‘Simone MacGrath has a fantastic children’s practice. She is one of the very best solicitors for dealing with international children cases. A first port of call in especially complex matters’.
‘Mark Freedman is a very good family lawyer who has a broad practice specialising in both children and financial cases. He gives excellent advice and knows how to achieve good results for his clients‘.
‘Osbornes offers a unique service of high quality advice and representation across a wide range of areas of law. Their family department is very strong, from adoption (what Naomi Angell doesn’t know abut adoption is not worth knowing) to child abduction and matrimonial finance, this is a very strong team. Naomi Angell is a stand out individual who is well regarded as to the go-to lawyer in her field’.
‘Andrew Watson is respected and tenacious in matrimonial finance. You would want him on your team. Jess Moore is one to watch. She is junior but has an understanding of law, and client skills which suggest much more experience’.
‘Jo Wescott represents the best of family law. Sensitive and caring with clients, tough yet effective in dealing with opponents, and showing fantastic judgment at all times. Considered a rising star in the past, she has fulfilled her potential. Absolutely fantastic and somebody you definitely want on your side. Bridget Thompson: Bridget brings a wealth of experience to her work so that I know that she will have covered all aspects of a case comprehensively and sensibly; again, I find it easy to work in a collective spirit with her’.
‘Bridget Thompson is a firebrand. She has her clients’ back. She is dogged and fierce. Mark Freedman has a great reputation in financial remedies and private law. His instincts are great and he knows his clients and that really delivers benefits for them‘.
‘Lisa Pepper is fantastic with people and generates calm in her meetings to help clients give of their best’.
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All four of the partners at Simons Muirhead Burton have a focus on the resolution of complex financial disputes arising from separation or divorce, nuptial agreements and private law children matters. It is ably led byJane McDonagh who is a Fellow of the IAFL. Much of the work undertaken by the firm has an offshore or multi-jurisdictional dimension and the team works with many HNW individuals including some successful entrepreneurs and individuals in the entertainment and media industries. Tom Farley-Hills specialises in divorce, financial claims on divorce as well as financial claims on behalf of children and on property claims. It receives plaudits for its ‘compassionate and efficient approach’.
Other key lawyers:
Tom Farley-Hills; Tessa Bray; Rhiannon Guibert; Michael Radnor
‘The team work and communicate seamlessly behind the scenes always presenting clear information and options while progressing through the divorce process. Quick, efficient, knowledgeable and personable’.
‘I had a very personal service and I was always very confident that I was in safe hands. My divorce was settled effortlessly and Tessa was key to making sure the friendly relationship I have with my ex wife was maintained. Strong support between partners and associates. Good team ethos. Tessa Bray – sound judgment, good with clients and easy to work with’.
‘A diverse and talented team of family lawyers with a wealth of international experience and a great deal of expertise for clients in the media world. They are a vibrant and energetic group who are totally committed to achieving the best possible result for their clients’.
‘Jane McDonagh is a class act. She acts for many clients who work in the media and creative industries and has a real feel for those businesses and the issues which arise. She is shrewd and her gentle manner belies a steely approach to negotiation which brings great results for her clients. I could not recommend her more for complex financial work’.
‘First rate team who get excellent, high value work. They organise and prepare the case extremely well, and are very ready to put in the effort on the most complex disputes. Jane McDonagh – First rate litigator, beloved by clients and counsel alike. Fine strategic and tactical thinker, gives very sound advice on both outcome and process to achieve the best result’.
‘They standout by their profound knowledge and ability to handle international projects, involving two or more jurisdictions at the same time. All lawyers from Simons Muirhead & Burton LLP are excellent communicators and professional’.
‘Jane McDonagh – very solid and sensible advice, the true leader, highly expertized and recommended. Tom Farley Hills is a phenomenal lawyer. Sound judgment, commercial nous and very approachable’.
‘SMB is an excellent, confident, and classy outfit. They are slightly under the radar which in ways gives them the edge over their competitors. Jane McDonagh has done a truly excellent job in leading the team and building it to the size it is today. Tessa Bray is stand-out brilliant – tough but fair and a joy to deal with. Tom Farley-Hills is excellent’.
Kathryn Peat leads the team at Sinclair Gibson LLP that has an ‘excellent commercial awareness, is dynamic and achieves impressive results’. It is particularly well-known for its work with very wealthy clients on complex financial remedy claims and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. A significant proportion of its clients are neither UK resident nor UK domiciled so there is often a substantial multi-jurisdictional dimension to its work. Peat also advises on various children matters such as leave to remove/relocation cases for her international clients. ‘One of the greats’ James Copson has recently joined the team from Withers LLP.
Other key lawyers:
James Copson; Xanthy Papageorgiou; Beth Mason
‘The firm is professional , compassionate and understanding of all the problems one is having to deal with in times of pressure and stress. You are completely confident in their legal advice and feel safe in their hands . No problem is either too large or too small and is dealt with swiftly in a practical manner. Every one I have met and dealt with at Sinclair Gibson is of the highest calibre’.
‘I have received outstanding service from Kathryn Peat who handles frustrating difficult scenarios on my behalf immediately . She is forward thinking, proactive and has an anticipatory perception of what may lay ahead‘ .
‘Kathryn Peat to me is such a professional lady. I’ve known her for years. She always comes back to me come rain or shine, returns my emails, gives me the best advice and truly is a shining star with anything you present with her. She’s so quick on her feet. And quite frankly with other firms I’ve dealt with I never feel that they have my full attention.’
‘Giving total confidence during very difficult negotiations. Katherine was both supportive and authoritative. Excellent lawyer!’.
‘Kathryn Peat is a family law legend. She writes the best letters in the business which get real results: normally the other side caving in and agreeing with her. She generates a great professional relationship with her clients whom she defends to the hilt and fights all the way. But she always gives realistic and sober advice: i.e. the perfect combination’.
‘Xanthy Papageorgiou – really hardworking, and great rapport with clients’.
‘Fabulous family department in a niche private client boutique. They have a great location and even greater lawyers. First rate firm for family matters. Kathryn Peat is a doyenne of family law. She has more experience dealing with high net worth divorcees than any other family solicitor. She has a fantastically clear head and lovely manner. Her clients love her and her opponents respect her’.
‘Beth Mason is a brilliant senior associate. She runs her cases with the capability of a partner with years of experience. She is a star to watch‘.
With Anne Kay and Joe Vaitilingam at the helm at Vaitilingam Kay it ‘provides a ‘City’ firm knowledge and capability but without the eye watering fees. It is responsive and excellent in how its deals with clients’. It has a varied and busy case load from acting in some of the most complex and unusual private children work and surrogacy cases to working on a full range of financial remedy matters from ‘big money’ to more ‘middle money’ cases. It is a ‘strong, well-established and respected boutique family firm with high quality young partners and able associates’.
Anne Kay; Joe Vaitilingam
Other key lawyers:
Helen Wilby; Tom Duggins; Kathryn Cassells; Sara Wychrij
‘Undoubtedly the best boutique law firm in the business. The four partners are all simply the bees knees. They are a team who find solutions to every problem, settle where necessary and fight hard when needed. I can’t recommend them highly enough’.
‘Joe Vaitilingham is one of a kind. He’s good humoured, brilliantly strategic and can dig any client out of any hole, however big. He will stop at nothing to get the best result for his clients. Anne Kay is measured and clever. You want her on your side not your spouse’s side’.
‘Helen Wilby is a great solicitor. She understands her client’s needs and meets them every time. Darren Hark is an upcoming associate. You want him on your case. He has total control of the paperwork and makes life a breeze for partners and barristers‘.
‘Superb boutique family law firm of the highest calibre with a depth of experience in all family law matters, including the highest value and most complex, without ever compromising on bespoke client care. They are widely respected by other family lawyers’.
‘Joe Vaitilingam – one of the most deeply respected family lawyers in London. He is a great technical lawyer but never loses sight of the human element. Anne Kay – brilliant insight in what is going on under the surface in a case, always a step ahead. Kathryn Cassells – clients love her for her attention to detail and unwavering passion to get the best results for them. Tom Duggins – skilful and insightful litigator, very well respected by opponents’.
‘This is a small firm but packed with skill, intelligence and compassion. I hugely admire the team that has been built up in recent years and enjoy working with them very much. They are very focussed on doing what is right for the client – they don’t shy away from a fight but they think very carefully about whether that is the best course of action for the client’.
‘Anne Kay is supremely sensible and pragmatic as well as compassionate. Helen Wilby is like a machine – so clever and efficient. Both are fiercely protective of their client’s best interests but will help them see the wood for the tree’.
‘ Kathryn Cassells and Sarah Wychrij are very accomplished associates and a pleasure to work with’.
Charmaine Hast heads the department at Wedlake Bell LLP that is frequently involved in a significant number of international matters and complex nuptial agreements where there are substantial assets and offshore entities. Hast has particular expertise in trusts and pension issues and is adept at handling matters as diverse as co-habitation and nuptial agreements as well as abductions and children issues. Trisha Siddique is now at Family Law Partners while Mathew Brunsdon-Tully joined the group from Forsters LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Brunsdon-Tully; Natasha Kurth
‘The people involved in Wedlake Bell LLP Family were outstanding. Led by Charmaine Hast an expert practitioner of Family law a professional that will go the extra mile for their client giving sound advice and guiding you personally through the legal system every step of the way. Charmaine Hast stood out as a dedicated, tenacious advocate for her client’.
‘I was treated with understanding and care by the team from the offset. I am sure this is the quality that makes them unique. They listened to what I had to say and they understood the outcome that I wanted to achieve. Then they put it all into practice’.
‘I worked with Charmaine Hast, I valued her depth of knowledge of family law and empathy. She also had a great sense of humour and was kind and driven to get me the best settlement possible, which I really appreciated. Charmaine was totally engaged in working for me. Charmaine made the extremely challenging journey less frightening with her wisdom, knowledge and deep empathy’.
‘International experience Tough litigators. Excellent client care skills. Charmaine Hast , Natasha Kurth’.
Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates
Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates has ‘an experienced and dedicated team of child care practitioners. I have always found them to be realistic in the advice that they give to their clients, yet tenacious in advocating their positions’ and it is well-led by David Marcus. The focus of the practice continues to be in helping vulnerable clients. It has a particular skill in representing parties in care proceedings where the parents and other significant adults (and sometimes and increasingly frequently the children) are struggling to manage mental health problems.
Other key lawyers:
Lina Chauhan; Eram Rashid Khan; Anna Stinton; Abbie Huxley
‘Burke Niazi is a very well established legal aid firm which also handles some private family and immigration matters. The family team has a huge depth of experience on which it is able to draw, and is very much focused on providing support as well as good advice to clients to get them through very difficult personal issues. The family team has a lot of experience of complex children matters in particular and it gets excellent results for its clients’.
‘David Marcus is hands down the best solicitor I have worked with throughout my professional career. He is incredibly patient and a true advocate for his clients. He is exceptionally empathetic and furiously hardworking. He always has time for the client and the client has never been left confused or anxious that something will not get done’.
‘Lina Chauhan is a tenacious and talented lawyer who leaves no stone unturned to get the right result for her clients. She is a real fighter and is a joy to work with. She is able to make her advice to clients easy to understand and they listen to her. She is on top of every detail and is completely dedicated to her cases. She often runs the most difficult cases and turns them around’.
‘Whilst I think the firm has a very strong family team, the stand-out player from my perspective is Eram Rashid Khan. She is an outstanding lawyer. Her dedication to her cases is evident in the care she takes both preparing and presenting cases. She has a comprehensive understanding of the law and appreciates its subtleties. She has an excellent attention to detail and works hard to ensure the best result for her clients. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her’.
‘David Marcus – very experienced practitioner with an excellent grasp of the law and rules and regulations. Eram Rashid Khan- experienced child care practitioner who has an easily accessible and collaborative working style’.
‘Lina Chauhan when above and beyond with my case even calling after working hours with updates on my case this I would not of got with anyone else’.
‘Abbie Huxley. Abbie simply gives 101 percent to every case and every client. Abbie has a brilliant legal mind alongside excellent empathy skills’.
‘I am mainly familiar with the child protection specialists. David Marcus is outstanding, balancing attention to detail with sound strategy and a holistic approach to his client’s best interests. Others who I would single out in the team are Abbie Huxley, Lina Chauhan, Anna Stinton and Eram Rashid Khan all of whom evidence the ethos described above’.
Toby Yerburgh leads a ‘friendly and professional’ team at Collyer Bristow LLP that works primarily for high-net-worth clients. The main focus of the team is on matrimonial finance work (including pre- and post-nuptial advice) and private law children disputes. Many of its cases have an international dimension. Tanya Roberts is well-regarded for her work on international relocation cases and complicated children disputes. Philppa Dolan and Michael Drake are among the other key members of the department.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Drake; Tanya Roberts; Philippa Dolan; Bethany Wood; Laura Burrows
‘Philippa Dolan is possibly the most empathetic lawyer one could wish for in fact I would say she is possibly the most empathetic human one could meet. This is backed up by intellect and years of practice, Philippa exercises respect and integrity at all times. Having a balanced viewpoint is essential in the trauma of divorce and I am grateful for having such support. At the worst of times it is good to have the best of humanity’.
‘Philippa Dolan is my solicitor and I can’t ask for a better person to deal with my case: unbelievable supportive, honest, a personalised approach but with strength and power if needed’.
‘Toby Yerborough gave good advice and had very good knowledge of the law. He didn’t just keep referring to barristers’.
‘Tanya Roberts has a particular expertise in difficult children cases, both domestic and international including leave to remove and child abduction. She is very good at instilling confidence in her clients and is patient, thorough and resolute. She is determined to champion her clients’ interests whilst being pragmatic and commercial in her approach. She is very popular with clients’.
‘Tanya Roberts is one of the most experienced and expert children lawyers practising now. She has immense strategic expertise and deep experience in the most difficult and complex children work. She works enormously hard for her clients and her judgment is spot on.’
‘I have worked with a number of the family law team at Collyer Bristow over the years – Toby Yerburgh, Michael Drake, Philippa Dolan, Laura Burrows and Buffy Wood and have found them all to be, without exception, professional, hardworking, commercially minded and pragmatic in their approach to cases.’
‘Toby Yerburgh is a first rate tactician, who keeps a very calm head even in the most difficult and torrid of cases. His years of experience in big money cases shows in his strategic decision making and his ability to hold his nerve when negotiations are on a knife edge’.
‘Michael Drake is a first rate lawyer of the old school, providing client care that is second to none. He has an effortless charm and an ability to put his clients at ease, even in the midst of highly contentious proceedings. His years of experience in financial remedy work have given him excellent judgment. He knows when to fight and when to sensibly seek a negotiated settlement. He has wisdom in spades and inspires the utmost confidence in clients. A class act’.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors ‘ ‘greatest advantage is its enormous size and quality of solicitors as well as its diversity of experience across the firm’. It handles all aspects of family law, with particular specialism in representing victims of domestic violence, handling complex divorce matters and securing financial settlement following the breakdown of a marriage. Other strengths include handling Islamic law cases and complex cross-border matters. The lawyers are ‘friendly professionals who take the time to understand your case’.
Adeeba Naseem; Alia Lewis; Emine Mehmet; Forida Hakim; Kathy Walker; Laila Bhunnoo; Ravi Kaur Mahey; Sophie Fretten; Vanket Appalakondiah
Other key lawyers:
Helen Newman; Michelle Lubelle; Priya Patel; Stavri Petrou; Emma Hamilton
‘Emine Mehmet has made me feel comfortable and welcome, with being a transgender women this is very important to me. Duncan Lewis really cares about its clients and does anything in its power to make sure you are up-to-date and understanding with everything going on’.
‘I have worked extensively with Helen Newman on a wide range of international child abduction cases. Helen is a delight to work for—her technical knowledge of the area is second to none, her case preparation is absolutely meticulous, and she is one of a rare breed of solicitors who is able to fight like a tiger when it is time to do so but also to facilitate a pragmatic settlement when the times require’.
‘The team is very communicative, quick in response and clear with its instructions. Its biggest strength is the structure of the teams with outstanding management/directors for example Adeeba Naseeem’.
‘Alia Lewis provides excellent legal advice. She is organised and helpful and responds promptly to queries’.
‘DLewis has a highly diverse ethnic team. All are highly competent and approach client management in a very client focused way. All my instructing solicitors are highly personable and highly professional’.
‘Sophie Fretten is an absolute pleasure to work with. She is savvy, approachable and fights tooth and nail for her clients. Sophie combines her vast experience with a commitment to her clients to provide first class customer service’.
‘I have worked with Ravi Mahey and found her to be insightful, supportive and professional. Ravi is always attentive and is a fantastic representative for children. Being on the Children’s Panel, Ravi is a leader when it comes to child care case work and I am delighted to have worked with her. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to other Children’s Guardians’.
‘Laila Bhunnoo is focused and very able in relation to working with children’s guardians – which is my role – recently we had an unusual case involving care proceedings alongside a parental order – this was complex to navigate – understanding the process use of counsel pro bono but in the end managing to secure legal aid funding for the parental order – was complex – it took positive communication between myself and Ms Bhunnoo to resolve this – with a positive outcome’.
- Instructed to represent a Mother in an application for a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO) issued by Hertfordshire County Court.
- Represented the Mother of a young child who came to the UK herself as a child asylum-seeker from Bosnia in a child abduction case.
Susan Harlow and Elizabeth Francis co-head an excellent team at Hanne & Co that is equally as adept at handling challenging care proceedings as advising on private financial proceedings and cross-jurisdictional disputes. It is skilled at covering diverse issues such as the recognition of foreign marriages and divorces; financial cases, ToLATA and Schedule 1 cases as well as issues relating to domestic violence, abduction and complex Children Act cases. Elinor Feeny was promoted to the partnership and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in financial matters and domestic abuse.
Susan Harlow; Liz Francis
Other key lawyers:
Elinor Feeny; Anna Gowen; Caroline Little; Rokeya Dangor; Maisie Lockyer; Hazel Kent; James Dunn
‘Liz Francis was outstanding. She gave firm legal guidance yet allowed me to have my say. She made a very stressful time in my life as comfortable as possible and was always very quick to react and prepare the necessary paperwork. She was extremely efficient in all matters’.
‘Elinor Feeny – she is brilliant, and also she is excellent communicator, and has a very high level of emotional intelligence. She has a profound understanding of my needs and makes sure they are met. She is very easy to collaborate with.’
‘Anna Gowen – a powerhouse and no nonsense lawyer. Experienced, dynamic and a safe pair of hands’.
‘I have worked with Caroline Little for over 20 years. She is effective, a fierce champion for children and a highly experienced collaborative family lawyer – a pleasure to work with.’
‘Rokeya Dangor is diligent in her work; knowledgeable about family law but is also very empathetic and understanding regarding welfare issues relating to children. I have had a number of very complex cases and she has always been able to keep abreast of the issues and give me legal advice accordingly. She is easy to talk to and listens when providing instructions’.
‘A team of absolutely superb family lawyers who go the extra mile for their clients. Susan Harlow is a thoughtful and measured family lawyer with years of experience. Elizabeth Francis has a reassuring command of the issues in every case and thinks outside the box for her clients‘.
‘Hanne & Co has an exceptional team who work closely together and support one another. They regularly assist one another and appear to work in a genuinely collegiate atmosphere’.
‘Elinor Feeny – an absolutely exceptional solicitor who holds a quiet confidence but won’t avoid being clear and firm with clients. Level headed and calm, she brings a lot of certainty to even the most difficult cases. She is an absolute delight to work with and exceptionally prepared. Susan Harlow is organised, sensible and direct. She provides firm and clear advice for every client’.
Hodge Jones & Allen acts for a variety of clients from professionals and entrepreneurs to celebrities and homemakers. It covers the full range of matters from cohabitation and nuptial agreements through to adoption and surrogacy. Under the leadership of Jacqueline Major ( who is a qualified mediator) other key areas of focus include advising on divorce, separation and child arrangement disputes as well as domestic abuse of all kinds. Bharti Shah is a collaborative lawyer who also represents a wide range of clients.
‘Sarah Harding is excellent and Jacqueline Major has a great eye for detail and great ‘bedside manner’ with clients.’
‘The firm has a thoroughly good strong family practice with up and coming family lawyers. They are not only clever and technically able but also take on board the needs and the dynamics of the family. Although based outside central London they offer outstanding quality and can match any central London firm’.
‘Vanessa Friend – an excellent negotiator with good judgement. Really solid and good to have on the “other side”. Sarah Harding – considerate and careful; thinks ahead’.
‘The whole team is extremely professional in its approach. All the members of the team that have dealt with my case a various stages have always been up to speed with all the salient points. Explains aspects of the work in lay man’s terms’.
‘Sarah Harding is simply amazing. She works tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for her client. She brings calm level headed approach to the most highly emotional discussions. There are no surprises with Sarah. She explains her approach in a crystal clear way and sticks to it’.
- Acting for a client, D.N, based in the Middle East in respect of a variation of maintenance. The team supported the client through a remote Arbitration to achieve a great result.
- Acting for the 4th respondent, L.M, in a complicated set of proceedings for enforcement with assets excess of £40,000,000 and trusts in the BVI. There have been 20 hearings and the case will now be heard in the Court of Appeal.
Lois Langton leads a first-class team at Howard Kennedy LLP that excels in representing high-net-worth clients such as entrepreneurs, City workers as well as sports and media personalities. It advises on the full range of family matters. Langton is recommended for her complex financial remedy work in particular. Nina Lake has strong expertise in matrimonial and child-related disputes. Alan Kaufman is a collaborative lawyer and mediator too.
Other key lawyers:
Nina Lake; Alan Kaufman; Emma Green; Jazmin Brown; Jessica Rush
‘Everyone on this team is enormously personable, kind with clients but extremely tenacious. They are excellent lawyers with a deeply human touch. They are a breath of fresh air’.
‘Lois Langton – a tour de force. Unflappable, the one you want in your corner.
‘Jazmin Brown – a gentler touch but equally forceful. She is an iron fist in a velvet glove. Extremely good with huge amounts of information. Jessie Smith – supremely organised, excellent judgment. She is ferociously bright with a creative flair. A force to be reckoned with. Emma Green – knows everything‘.
‘Hands on, highly communicative and straight talking.’
‘Lois Langton is simply brilliant at communicating with her clients and always provides clear advice.’
‘I am incredibly impressed by Lois Langton who leads the team at Howard Kennedy. She has built a very competent and conscientious team who really work well together. They have excellent work and provide a fabulous service to clients’.
‘Lois Langton is not only a fabulous lawyer but also a great team leader. She has earned a brilliant reputation as a tenacious litigator and has become the go to family lawyer for footballers and football agents. She is always able to identify the issues in the case and to be able to communicate clearly and concisely the next steps to the client’.
‘Lois Langton is an absolute star’.
Ince under the leadership of John Burrell frequently deals with financial issues and child arrangements that arise following a relationship breakdown. Burrell is a qualified mediator and collaborative lawyer. David Ruck regularly advises on significant financial matters on family breakdown, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and private children law -many of the cases have an international dimension. Consultant Yael Selig is particularly recommended for her work on pre- and post-nuptial agreements in addition to co-habitation agreements.
Other key lawyers:
David Ruck; Yael Selig; Eleanor Bing
‘David Ruck is top of his game. I am sure clients love him as he gives out such confidence that you would feel you were in the best of hands. If I was getting divorced I would go to him!’.
‘David Ruck is the stand out partner. He is technically spot on but has a suave personality that you just want him as your lawyer’.
‘I have been working for Ince on a tricky Appeal. They have been assiduous in being on call for the client and getting advice from me on intricate points as they arise. They have managed the client’s expectations and super efficient in preparation for the hearing, both in terms of timely bundles and in meeting the requirements of the practice direction’.
‘I have been working with Yael Selig and Eleanor Bing. Yael is excellent in her handling of the client and in preparation for the hearing. Every practical requirement is met on time and efficiently. The client likes her and responds to her. She is first rate. Eleanor is very natural in her behaviour. Funny relaxed and at ease with both the client and with me, as KC. She is extremely efficient and focused on providing everyone with everything that they need in order to best present the case’.
‘John Burrell is a senior statesman of Family Law. He brings decades of experience to bear on his cases and tenaciously advances his client’s interest. Eleanor Bing. Extremely bright senior associate who is completely on top of the detail of each case’.
‘A team able to provide all around client care for even the most demanding clients’.
‘Yael Selig – friendly and robust but practical – an asset’.
‘Ince has a breadth and depth of commercial knowledge which is a vital adjunct to its family department. I have also worked effectively in the past with Yael Selig’.
Toby Hales at Irwin Mitchell covers all aspects of family law and is known for conducting complex national and international children cases. Hales has been involved in several cases recently in the High Court involving the international abduction and movement of children. There have been changes to the practice at senior level. Clare Filler and Fran Hipperson have joined the team from B P Collins LLP while Jenna Lucas is no longer at the firm. The team continues to focus on international and expatriate work often working on wealth protection matters.
Other key lawyers:
Clare Filer; Fran Hipperson
‘A very highly regarded firm in its field which attracts cases of the highest calibre.’
‘Irwin Mitchell uses its vast machinery and resourcing to deliver a highly personalised and always top quality service to clients.’
‘I can only comment on new recruits Fran Hipperson and Claire Filer. They are both excellent lawyers with a good eye for detail. They are very client friendly and try to resolve any issues without increasing the animosity’.
‘Toby Hales is a terrific lawyer and much underrated.’
‘Toby- clever, understated and settlement minded’.
Ketley Miller Joels Ltd is a boutique practice that is ‘handling complicated cases well’ with Clayton Miller at the helm. The experienced team works with wealthy clients on all areas of family law. It has particular experience in complex financial cases involving multiple jurisdictions, complicated financial structures and valuations, pre-acquired/inherited assets and post separation accrual. The group is also skilled at handling a variety of children cases such as child relocation and abduction.
Other key lawyers:
Margaret Kelly-Edwards; Rachel Roberts; Ahsan Mian; Laura Brown
‘Boutique firm that delivers bespoke creative solutions for a wide range of clients. A versatile and nimble approach to cases allows the firm to come up with great outcomes for their clients. Clayton Miller is an experienced, compassionate yet resolute individual with great client care skills. He achieves excellent outcomes for clients. Rachel Roberts is an accomplished associate: rigorous in her approach, extraordinarily hardworking with a laser focus on the case’.
‘KMJ is a first class boutique firm providing value for money in a competitive market. The firm has a very strong presence in the market. It is a full service family firm providing excellent representation in all aspects of relationship breakdown’.
‘Clayton Miller is an old hand in the family law world. He exudes confidence. His clients love him for his steady approach and super friendly manner. Margaret Kelly-Edwards is a an excellent solicitor who understands the dynamics of family breakdown and really helps guide her clients through the terrible stresses and pitfalls of divorce. At her side, is Ahsan Mian, a fantastic associate, always willing to go the extra mile for his clients or demanding barristers! He is very calm under fire and a real asset for KMJ’.
‘Niche family law firm with experienced and dedicated staff. Clayton Miller is a very good partner who is able to work with a variety of clients. Rachel Roberts is conscientious and very good with clients’.
‘A team specialising in complex big money divorce cases that is able to compete with bigger firms. Clayton Miller stands out for his commercial acumen. Always willing to go the extra mile for clients’.
‘This is a small but perfectly formed Team. Clients love the personal and bespoke service and the Mayfair location. You get much more for your money compared to a big firm’.
‘Clayton Miller is the stand out partner. He is astute, very personable and I refer a lot of work to him such as pre nups and conflict work. He is a pleasure to work with on the other side’.
‘KMJ has a small, well-honed team, with real expertise in family law, and yet offering competitive prices’.
Susan Apthorp and Carolyn Bottomley are among the key names at Keystone Law, which is praised for being ’uniquely responsive, combining excellent legal knowledge with the very human touch’. There have been some key changes to the team – Sarah Thompson joined from Slater and Gordon. Zoe Bloom and Hannah Budd have left to set up their own practice BloomBudd LLP. The practice continues to advise high-profile and celebrity clients having ‘excellent experienced senior lawyers‘ who operate ‘at more cost effective rates than the big firms because it operates smartly with lower overheads’.
Other key lawyers:
Susan Apthorp; Carolyn Bottomley; Claire O’Flinn; Rachel Lemon; Richard Collins; Richard Abrahams; Isobel Mundy; Charlotte Cuevas; Sarah Thompson; Hannah Cornish; Terrence Trainor
‘Claire O’Flinn is amazing. She led the group like Steven Gerard led Liverpool. Sharp as a razor and on top of everything as well as being extemely approachable and understanding’.
‘I have worked very closely with Rachel Lemon over the last year engaged in financial remedy cases involving off-shore, complex corporate structures. Her empathy shines through and puts clients at ease. She is always looking for the most cost effective solutions but willing to press hard in court to get the client the best possible outcome.’
‘I have worked with Richard Collins for a number of years and he is a first rate solicitor. He is an outstanding litigator with the exceptional ability to predict outcomes at an early stage. He is hugely responsive working all hours (however unfashionable that has become). His charge rate reflects very well against the top flight niche family firms and the service he provides is equivalent to or beyond some of the most well known names in the financial remedy field’.
‘Rachel Lemon is a wonderful solicitor to work with. She is thorough, engaging and easy to work with and for. She demonstrates real empathy with the clients and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure the client gets a 24/7 service’.
‘Richard Abrahams and Claire O’Flinn are both brilliant. Richard is a rising star – young and energetic and a huge hit with clients, who love his approachable, straight talking style’.
‘Super firm, great team with client care as top priority! Rachel Lemon – a real stand out. Super sensible, amazing client handling and will fight the fight when need be. A real pleasure to work with too’.
‘Hannah Cornish. Exceptional service, professional at all times, efficient and reliable. Hannah assisted with my divorce and with her guidance I had a very positive outcome. Hannah’s negotiating skills are phenomenal bearing in mind the opposite side were very tricky to deal with‘.
‘Charlotte Cuevas is truly excellent. Charlotte gives clear, strategic, commercial advice to her clients, seeking to achieve the best outcome possible for them. She settles many of her cases, but fights fearlessly in court when necessary. Isobel Mundy is an experienced family solicitor, who deals with all aspects of family law. She gives sensible, pragmatic advice to her clients and seeks to find sensible solutions as quickly and painlessly as possible‘.
Russells combines ‘deep scale professionalism with superb customer service’ under the leadership of Carol Ellinas who is described as ‘one of the top lawyers in this field’. It acts for many celebrities (particularly in the media industry and arts sector) as well as other well- known figures such as sportspeople and TV presenters. Alongside its celebrity client base, it also works for numerous wealthy individuals who are working in the financial services sector. The group covers the full range of family matters from nuptial and cohabitation agreements to issues concerning children. It was pleased to recently add Louise Barretto to its ranks from Bishop & Sewell LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Louise Barretto; Lucy Hoare; Andrew Miles
‘It has a strong background in entertainment law and clients – this gives the firm a very individual and client focused approach to its cases. It has a strong recruitment policy. Carol Elinas – very experienced and superb client handling skills. Lucy Hoare – former young solicitor of the year – hardworking and practical. Andrew Miles – a bright and committed upcoming solicitor’.
‘The Team is unrivalled when it comes to its breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. Whatever the case, it has the right solicitor to meet the client’s needs’.
‘The people at Russells are superb legal professionals. They are dedicated, tenacious as well skilled in achieving pragmatic and amicable results wherever possible. Lucy Hoare, is an exceptional solicitor. She knows her cases from the bottom up and has the intellectual and tactical nous that clients love’.
‘From a customer experience standpoint (mine), this was certainly the most – dare I say – ‘enjoyable’ Family Law process I’ve ever experienced, witnessed or envisioned. The process from my view was, at every step, measured, emotionally-neutral, competent, and professional. I feel that the fees were kept sensible and the dialogue was kept focused to stay on track with respect to both process and billings.’
‘With respect to my experience with Carol Ellinas specifically, it would be hard to envision a more ideal outcome’.
‘Great at communicating and getting back to you. Both Carol and Lucy were entirely focused on the matter at hand when we were interacting’.
‘The firm has an excellent arrangement at all levels. The partners in the firm have expertise in various fields and they have access to barristers who can take legal matters a stage further. The solicitor that I dealt with was Lucy Hoare and she in turn communicated with Carol Ellinas, a partner in the law firm. The advice and recommendations were always excellent and typically it was a quick response’.
‘The team seems to take great care in giving you the best advice possible. To be honest the team is small and they all have my utmost respect. My immediate solicitor Andrew Miles was incredibly impressive with how he handled my case and the partner Carol Ellinas who overlooked everything helped in every way possible’.
- Continued to act during 2021 for the long-term partner of a UHNW individual in this complex Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 matter involving significant international aspects, which has been widely reported already: BSA v NVT  EWHC 2906 (Fam) and BSA v NVT  EWHC 2202 (Fam)
- Acting for the wife, an academia in a matrimonial/financial matter involving a jurisdiction race between the UK and China reported as J v J  EWFC 43.
Ursula Danagher leads an agile team at RWK Goodman that receives plaudits for its ‘personal service’ and its ‘attention to detail’. It is reputed for its work with UNHW and HNW individuals on divorce and separation in cases where there are often complex business structures, trusts, overseas assets and cross-jurisdictional issues. It is adept too at advising on Schedule 1 cases and in complex private children law proceedings. Joanna Toloczko is also well-regarded for her considerable experience in both financial and children matters and is an accredited mediator. At senior associate level Natalie Lemonides is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Natalie Lemonides; Sherry Georgaki; Derek Parsons
‘Excellent legal and practical analysis, straightforward and no nonsense advice. A good balance of partner access and oversight, with juniors undertaking less technical aspects. A very good team indeed, who deliver results’.
‘Ursula Danagher leads the team. She was understanding, practical, commercial and offered excellent strategic advice. Natalie Lemonides (Senior Associate) supported Ursuala, but in her own right provided excellent advice and assistance’.
‘Ursula Danagher is a consummate professional who has enormous experience in the matrimonial field with a great reputation to match. I have worked with her for a long time and am always impressed by the quality of both client and instructions, will take the firm onto bigger and better things undoubtedly. Natalie Lemonides has worked with Ursula for some time now and provides a perfect foil to her. Natalie is a brilliant networker, has a real feel for the role she has within the market and attracts numerous clients to the firm – real star of the future’.
‘A small but effective team with a good reputation in its sector. Ursula Danagher- very experienced and very supportive of clients. She gives realistic advice but is more than ready to fight if necessary’.
‘RWK Goodman is equally as adept at dealing with mid-asset cases as well as the HNW clients that most of its caseload is. Down to earth and uber professional is what sets RWK aside from the competition’.
‘Ursula Danagher – A family law powerhouse! Simply one of the best in the business! Natalie Lemonides – Amazing at making the clients feel at rest during one of the most stressful times of their life, whilst achieving fantastic results Sherry Georgaki – The glue that holds everything together.’
‘Derek Parsons is a very experienced, very senior (more than 30 years) Solicitor with a well-demonstrated specialist expertise in international childrens work of all kinds. His track record includes numerous landmark cases, including in the fields of international enforcement and child abduction, reflecting an established excellence in this complex field’.
‘I have worked with Joanna Toloczko on several occasions. She has a sensible pragmatic style and is easy to collaborate with. Her legal knowledge is sound and she comes across as very capable’.
The ‘highly specialised and dedicated team’ at Seddons offers’ sensible, unwavering support to its clients based on sound legal advice’. Neil Russell heads the department that advises on issues as diverse as complex financial disputes often with cross-jurisdictional issues to the full array of children matters. It is also adept at handling financial injunctions and pre- and post-nuptial agreements as well as cohabitation agreements. Victoria Sterritt is another key partner who enjoys a varied workload in relation to all areas of relationship breakdown and child arrangements.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Sterritt; Victoria Spencer; Rebecca Hick; Ffion Greenfield
‘My solicitor, Victoria Sterritt, demonstrated that she really cared for what happened in my case. And at times went over and beyond to help. For example talking to me on a weekend’.
‘It provides a magic circle type service whilst charging modest fees. Neil Russell is becoming a “go to” solicitor in the area of family law in London’.
‘A small but experienced, friendly and effective team. Neil Russell heads the team. His experience, charm and empathy shines through and it is clear how he relaxes and reassures his clients whilst always fighting their corner with ability and determination. The associate Victoria Spencer who frequently works with Neil is also known to me and impresses with her easy manner and hard work‘.
‘The family team is small put perfectly formed with a young and dynamic team. Victoria Sterrit is a very accomplished litigator, who has a great manner with clients, is strategic, diligent and great to work with’.
‘Seddons provides a first rate service for their clients. They are thorough and meticulous but also friendly, approachable and understanding of the difficulties that face clients within family law proceedings. Any potential client would be supported throughout the process whilst simultaneously being provided with first rate legal advice. Victoria Sterritt is empathetic and approachable whilst also ensuring that her advice is top notch. She is pragmatic yet also prepared to fight her corner for her clients’.
‘Victoria Sterritt – partner. One of the best there is. Client handing is absolutely brilliant. Clients trust her, warm to her and she is at their disposal 24/7 it seems (she’s never ‘off duty’!). Fantastic lawyer, fiercely bright and a real fighter when needs to be whilst offering sensible and practical advice in the background. A star’.
‘Strong partners and associates working closely together. Excellent knowledge base. Victoria Steritt – a dream to work with. Professional, organised and thoroughly well-prepared. Does a very good job of client management. Is not afraid to tell a client the truth and to give them robust advice. Similarly, she will fight strongly to achieve a client’s aims. Displays impressive judgment and reading of people and situation’.
‘Victoria Spencer – Clear-headed, organised and hardworking. Rebecca Hick – helpful, organised, calm under pressure. Has a bright future. Ffion is a very capable senior associate’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
- Representing Prime Minister Boris Johnson in respect of his divorce and financial remedy and negotiating a settlement.
TV Edwards LLP
The ‘responsive’ team at TV Edwards LLP is led by Emma Baillie and Hannah Perry. The ‘very child centred’ practice is particularly strong in the field of public law children matters but also covers financial remedy cases too. The department has 12 Law Society children law accredited specialists and excels in cases involving difficult issues such as non-accidental injury, fabricated illnesses and sexual abuse. The team is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor too and by other senior commercial executives, other lawyers and some prominent politicians.
Emma Baillie; Hannah Perry
Other key lawyers:
Anest Mathias; Deborah Piccos; Claire Longland; Jenny Newton; Martin Wray
‘TV Edwards has an excellent reputation within the field of family law. Anest Mathias is an individual who stands out to me. She has a brilliant grasp of fertility and surrogacy law related issues. She is a member of the Modern Families Pod, to which only those individuals who have expertise in this field are invited to join. I am a member of the pod, and Anest has been a dedicated and enthusiastic member since its inception’.
‘The current team is upholding the legacy of quality at TVE. A firm with a solid reputation and fee-earners who are carrying the brand. Deborah Piccos, Claire Longland and Hannah Perry. All work to a high standard and are excellent in their manner with clients’.
‘They are very experienced in public law children cases and conduct them skilfully, thoughtfully and with imagination. Excellent client care. Jenny Newton is outstanding. She is hardworking and passionate and always goes the extra mile for her clients’.
‘TV Edwards as a firm is just extremely competent. It would not be an underestimate to say the solicitors strain every sinew for their clients. From the point of view of a barrister, the instructions are always on time, in the proper format and no request for further instructions/information goes unheeded and because TV Edwards is such a good firm, it makes you raise your game too, which can only be a good thing.’.
‘TV Edwards are an affordable law firm with expertise in many areas. The family department is excellent. Anest Mathias is a stand out lawyer at TV Edwards. She has been involved in many leading fertility law judgments and is very well respected in the field. She gives considered and measured advice and robustly fights her client’s corner. I regularly refer work to Anest’.
‘Deborah Piccos is an exceptional advocate. She knows the law and holds her own against barristers. She is particularly skilled at representing children directly.’
‘Hannah Perry – she is the joint head of the family team and is an absolute star. She is an asset to any team and shows strength in leadership as well as compassion. She is completely on top of the current law and its application. Her leadership extends beyond her team and into the profession generally as the Co-Chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children – that role has been a vital point of communication for the profession during the pandemic and she has executed the role with dedication and excellence’.
‘Anest Mathias – Has cared and fought for the right answer since day one. Has had my back. I trust her absolutely, and she’s entertained my persistent challenges, questioning, also delivering straight messages when they were needed. Emma Baillie – Straight talking, proactive and fought hard for the right outcome.
The team at Weightmans LLP draws in high-net-worth and high profile work under the direction of Caroline Penfold, who led the practice at RadcliffesLeBrasseur prior to the recent merger of the two firms. Penfold advises on all aspects of private family law from pre-and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements to complex financial and property cases involving substantial assets in an international context. Other primary areas of focus include advising on disputes over children, domestic violence and emergency injunctions. It is a ‘partner-led family practice that more than holds its own reputation wise. It is a top-notch alternative to the big City firms’.
Other key lawyers:
Carina Smith; Lucy Raho Jeavons; Christopher Butler; Robert Emmett
‘Working with the team you get fabulous service and continuity – they remember everything and forget nothing. Carina Smith is excellent, compassionate and capable. She provides excellent advice’.
‘Caroline Penfold was in charge of my divorce. She provided me with an invaluable service and she is not pushing me to do things that I don’t feel comfortable yet she did give me very good advice on how to proceed forward and why she would do it’.
‘Caroline Penfold – has (or sends to me) the most unusual and difficult cases and deals with them calmly and realistically, whilst fighting her client’s corner tenaciously.’
‘A niche family law firm who pay great attention to their clients and fight their corners every step of the way. Carina Smith is a highly intelligent family solicitor who pays great attention to detail and to the lay client. Lucy Raho Jeavons is a conscientious and caring solicitor who leaves no stone unturned. Caroline Penfold has a wealth of experience and expertise and supports the junior staff very well’.
‘Very experienced. Christopher Butler exudes judgment and wisdom’.
‘A relatively small but highly impressive family law team, which continues to make strides in the London family law market. Caroline Penfold – hugely experienced, a complete pleasure to work with. Christopher Butler – a very sound, knowledgeable family law solicitor. Robert Emmett – an exceptional family lawyer who consistently delivers an impeccable service’.
‘The family team provides a truly excellent services to its clients, and is much more reasonably priced than its competitors. The whole team functions extremely well together, and in particular the partners have breadth and depth of experience, with very finely tuned sense of the best route to take in litigation’.
‘I have worked closely with Carina Smith and Robert Emmett on a number of matters. They are both high quality lawyers, hugely competent, insightful and very client focused. They are committed to their clients, ensuring that their cases are immaculately prepared and the clients are carefully and sensibly advised at every stage of the process. I have found them to be accessible, and very happy to work in partnership with counsel’.
Aysen Soyer leads a ‘professional team’ at Wilson Solicitors LLP that ‘provides a Rolls Royce service for clients on a budget’. It has a large team that covers the main areas of divorce and financial settlements, private children law and domestic abuse but also other more niche areas such as forced marriages and surrogacy. It is regularly instructed through the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU) in complex international matters involving the Hague Convention concerning child abduction. Patricia Beckett has a broad practice and is adept at representing clients who have severe mental health or profound learning difficulties.
Other key lawyers:
Patricia Beckett; Amna Khaliq; Felicity Jones; Baljit Bains; Sophia Poliviou; Juanita Kareer
‘This is a jewel of a firm with outstanding lawyers who are entirely committed to their work’.
‘I have dealt mainly with Amna Khaliq who makes me feel as if my problems are her problems. She is always available when needed and offers total guidance for all steps of the way. I know that with Amna supporting me, the case has the best chance of success’.
‘Patricia is the gold standard when it comes to family matters. Patricia not only has a wealth of knowledge in this area, she is dedicated and works in a way that makes me feel that she has all the time in the world for my case, and that she truly cares. She is proactive in managing my case, responsive and always on hand with advice’.
‘Patricia Beckett is amazing! She operates on ethical lines, is extremely knowledgeable, reassuring, realistic. Patricia Beckett was so thorough, persistent, fair and transparent. The best solicitor ever’.
‘Juanita Kareer has a keen eye for detail and Felicity Jones is tenacious in progressing all elements of her client’s matters’.
‘Aysen Soyer and Patricia Beckett are both excellent, the clients have the same service whether they are legally aided or paying privately. They are both particularly good with the most challenging of clients’.
‘Patricia Beckett is wonderful – she is excellent at what she does, and quickly instils confidence in clients. Her approachable and down-to-earth approach means that she cuts straight to the chase, quickly identifying and tackling issues in the case, no matter how difficult’.
‘Although the team generally is good, Baljit Bains and Sophia Poliviou are exceptional. Baljit is a ferocious advocate for her clients whether undertaking the advocacy herself or instructing counsel on her behalf. She expects nothing short of excellence from those undertaking her cases, but is so charming and good humoured that I always want to go above and beyond the call of duty on her cases for her. Sophia is very much of the same type and a pleasure to work with’.
The agile team at Winckworth Sherwood LLP has particular strength in highly complex Children Act proceedings as well as advising on nuptial agreements and financial remedy proceedings. Head of department Katie Spooner regularly leads on a variety of complicated matrimonial and financial remedy cases which often have cross-jurisdictional elements and complicated children law issues. It was pleased to add Sarah Ingram to its ranks from Pinsent Masons LLP who has extensive experience of advising companies and trustees in the context of family proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Ingram; Hannah Gumbrill-Ward
‘Strong team, great junior solicitors with good judgment, dedicated to client service, clear advice. Hannah Gumbrill-Ward – excellent solicitor, wonderful manner with clients, firm and clear advice, very on top of papers and figures.’
‘The firm is fortunate to have recruited Sarah Ingram. She is dynamic, competent and wise’.
‘Very high quality work but more economical as south of the river’.
‘As a firm they are looking to grow and improve their family department and have recently headhunted Sarah Ingram from Pinsent Masons. Sarah is a major catch for them. She is a star and is pretty determined, so I am sure that we are going to see a leap forward for the team’.
‘Sarah Ingram is excellent. She attracts good work and offers her clients a stellar service. She is dedicated, efficient and motivated. The clients like her and respond to her. She will surely now drive the team forward to achieve the success to which she is accustomed’.
‘The close relationship the WS family team has with its private client team, which is one of the best in London, makes this one of the best firms for dealing with complex nuptial agreements’.
‘Katie Spooner is a clear rising star in family law. Her easy charm makes clients love her, while she provides clear and no-nonsense advice and representation’.
Allard Bailey Family Law
The ‘attentive and responsive team’ at Allard Bailey Family Law ‘undertakes a high volume of HNW work – which is testament to its expertise’. The team of ‘very experienced female solicitors who combine expertise with kindness’ is co-led by Sabrina Bailey and Louise Allard. It is regularly instructed on high-value financial cases with an international element and with complex tax, trusts and business assets as well as on difficult children cases. It has been expanding at partner level with the promotions of Louise Poulton and Jennifer Granby to the partnership and the addition of Siobhan Lomasney from Fletcher Day.
Sabrina Bailey; Louise Allard
Other key lawyers:
Louise Poulton; Siobhan Lomasney; Jennifer Granby
‘Louise Allard is a stellar individual, her work is at a high level and she is hugely proactive and effective on behalf of her clients. She is fantastic to work with, very collaborative and insightful with great knowledge of the law as well as how to strategise effectively’.
‘Louise Poulton is one to watch, her command of her cases is impressive, she is diligent, hugely supportive and caring in respect of her clients and very easy to work with. Her grasp of the nuances in a particular case are excellent and instinctive, The way she prepares cases makes it very easy to come in as counsel and do a great job. She is fantastic to work with’.
‘I have mainly worked with Jennifer Granby. Jennifer is pragmatic and sensible, whilst also being approachable and client-friendly. Very easy to work with and has a very good grasp of the issues and of the best way in which to present her clients’ arguments’.
‘Sabrina Bailey, Louise Allard and Siobhan Lomasney are exceptional lawyers‘.
‘Siobhan Lomasney I have worked with and is very astute and commercially aware of her case and also has breadth of experience’.
‘Sabrina Bailey was very approachable and personable. She wanted to make the process as seamless and worry free as much as possible. She was very objective, but supportive at the same time. All her support team was aware of the communication and which position my case was at any time, hence their client information is well shared in her absence. All partners she had appointed to represent me were exceptional and fully prepared’.
‘Louise Allard is an exceptional family solicitor who offers practical advice to client in difficult situations. She is tactical, approachable and robust’.
‘Louise Allard: Louise is a skilful negotiator and is able to pick up details quickly. She is hugely professional and thorough. Jennifer Granby: Jennifer is a highly dedicated solicitor. She has good legal knowledge and understanding‘.
- Achieving an extremely favourable outcome for an UHNWI, who is the director of a publicly listed company, in complex divorce and financial proceedings involving high-value shares, complex holdings and assets in multiple jurisdictions.
- Advising a vulnerable wife who was the victim of emotional abuse, suffering from anxiety and depression, and was being railroaded into accepting a financial settlement of 14% of the marital pot. Coaching and empowering her through the mediation process, so that she was able to negotiate 50% of the pot and a share of proceeds from the future sale of the husband’s business.
- Representing a Father in a sensitive child law case where the Mother was planning to relocate and change the child’s school without the Father’s agreement. Several applications were issued and robust representation during proceedings resulted in a favourable outcome, increasing contact for the Father with an equal shared care arrangement and an order that the child can reside no more than 20 miles from the current school.
Catherine Longshaw recently joined the firm and now leads the department at Axiom DWFM that focuses on high-net-worth ancillary relief matters relating to UK and worldwide assets and private law children applications. Longshaw is experienced in all areas of family law but has particular knowledge of dealing with matters such as coercive and narcissistic behaviour. The former head of department Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is now at Level.
Other key lawyers:
Manisha Raja; Tatjana Williamson
‘Manisha Raja is an excellent lawyer. Her knowledge and analytical skills are second to none. She adopts a calm but forensic approach that is always appreciated by her clients’
‘The team at Axiom is firm, diligent and extremely dedicated to achieving high results’.
‘I have had an excellent experience with this Law Firm. All processes were explained to me in detail and and all issues were responded to in a timely manner. The solicitor in my case was Manisha Raja and she was very understanding to my situation and what I wanted to achieve. She gave a very fair balanced view and helped me in more ways than I could have wanted’.
‘I can honestly say Manisha Raja went above and beyond her duty as a professional. She was very understanding and listened to all my concerns and objectives attentively. She replies to calls, emails and instant messages in a timely manner (within 24 hours etc.) She showed a sincere interest in my situation and offered solutions to the many problems I was facing’.
‘Manisha Raja was my main contact at the firm who was extremely professional and courteous. Manisha was understanding and took time to listen to my concerns and explained the process and options that were available to me in a simple and effective way’.
‘Tatjana Williamson was the one who handled my case and she is excellent, very friendly and very knowledgeable on the work she’s done for me’.
‘Manisha pays attention to detail and concerns with care, careful consideration and supportive responses. She has enabled me to feel I am being looked after in an appropriate manner’.
‘I genuinely feel that my case is treated with compassion and that my solicitor wants the best for me. Manisha has given me the confidence to forge ahead when everything could be so daunting ,she has broken everything down into bite sized pieces so that I don’t become overwhelmed’.
David Hodgson and Philip Rutter now co-head the department at Bishop & Sewell LLP that offers the full range of private family law work from cohabitation agreements to financial claims on behalf of children and advising on divorces where there are complex business, trust and/ international aspects. Through Victoria Maxwell the group also garners praise for its niche specialism in surrogacy and fertility cases. There have been changes to the team at a senior level- Catherine Longshaw is now at Axiom DWFM and Louise Barretto is at Russells Solicitors .
David Hodgson; Philip Rutter
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm provides a supreme and excellent standard of service. Its solicitors are of a top calibre – but at the same time they are not as expensive as other firms. They feel like a top city firm but in more of an approachable manner and for less cost. Philip Rutter. Balanced, seasoned legal professional, excellent advice, follow up’.
‘Specifically Philip Rutter’s legal knowledge is peerless. He is pragmatic and sensible and knows everything and I do not say that to be flippant. He knows everything there is to know about family law. He is an excellent lawyer and the type any client would want on his side’.
‘Victoria Maxwell is a great family lawyer. Very friendly manners, available on short notice, super responsive. She has developed an excellent knowledge of all issues regarding surrogacy (including the recognition of foreign surrogacy into the UK)’.
‘Victoria Maxwell. I have worked with Victoria on a number of complex surrogacy cases. She is a first-class lawyer who has rightly acquired a reputation as one of the go to lawyers for surrogacy cases. She continually punches above her weight and has the knowledge, wisdom and experience of a partner’.
‘Philip Rutter – a very good lawyer, also personable and loved by clients, never flustered, and always thinking long-term’.
‘Bishop and Sewell is small enough to know its clients extremely well but large enough to offer the top expertise in family law. The team is strong and they collaborate very well including using lawyers from other areas of the firm where required’.
‘David Hodgson is extremely bright and able and delivers excellent results for his clients. He will settle cases where appropriate but is not afraid to litigate if required. He will always protect his clients’ interests and has his eye always on the bigger picture which serves his clients well’.
‘Incredible customer care and legal expertise. Victoria incredibly knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with’.
DMH Stallard LLP is ‘really well-respected and for good reason’. Philip Morton heads the department that is well placed to advise on a whole host of issues from pre/post nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements to TOLATA and Children Act 1989 Schedule 1 cases. It often acts on higher-value financial proceedings where there are complex corporate or trust assets. The practice was pleased to also add Natasha Slabas to its ranks from Sears Tooth.
Other key lawyers:
Talitha Brookman; Kevin Danagher; Henry Brookman; Natasha Slabas
‘What was apparent from the beginning was that Talitha really listened, took note on the complications that this case could bring forward and was able to word a detailed synopsis of the case when confirming by letter received after our first free consultation conversation. She came across as professional, to the point and was really able to cut through the chase’.
‘Kevin Danagher was empathic, knowledgeable, committed and had a great way of strategising with me which made the biggest difference. I wish marriages didn’t have to end, but all I can say is that if they do you need a good lawyer who has empathy, knowledge and time. Kevin had all of this and worked extremely hard to ensure that I had a good relationship with him and his team’.
‘Henry Brookman – oversaw my case and showed real empathy throughout. His experience shone through when it came to making appropriate decisions at key times’.
‘Phil Morton is excellent. He recognises the economic realities and will do deals where appropriate and fight where appropriate’.
‘Philip Morton leads an excellent team of associates. He has a steady flow of local and international clients, is completely committed to his clients going the extra mile to ensure that their interests are protected, and is calm, kind, and able to get along with anyone’.
‘Natasha Slabas is a star: clever, punchy, astute. She has terrific judgement and is really good with the client.’
‘Philip Morton is an excellent lawyer. His family law knowledge is unrivalled, but he remains accessible and always happy to help.’
‘Philip Morton is just fantastic. He is relaxed and personable and a real problem solver. I respect him enormously and have referred many a client his way and they have always been impressed by his sense of calm amid the stresses of the family process’.
L and M, the First and Second Respondents
Insolve Plus Limited
- Represents the Applicant husband in a financial application. The Husband is a French national and his wife is an American national and a founder and CEO of an e-finance company. Sensitive and complex matter involving multiple assets including the potential sale of the wife’s business for $225,000,000, as well as other significant assets held in Bitcoin/crypto currencies which are yet to be determined in full.
- Advised a wealthy Hedge Fund owner and manager on the contents of a pre-nuptial agreement as part of his Estate Planning. The team prepared, negotiated and signed the final pre-nuptial agreement valued at £60,000,000, protecting the client’s pre-marital wealth from any future divorce whilst ensuring the “Wife” has a reasonable and fair outcome.
- Acts for the mother in private Children Act 1989 proceedings issued by the father. Matter is extremely sensitive and involves allegations of historic domestic abuse, coercive controlling behaviour, attempted rape, as well as other incidents directly witnessed by child (who is of Moroccon/British decent).
Family Law Partners has a ‘well-merited reputation for its client focus and a country-wide profile with offices in a variety of locations’. In London Farhana Shahzady garners praise for leading a ‘well organised and structured team that has a great team dynamic’. It offers the full range of family solutions and fields a large team of DR-trained lawyers. The group was pleased to add a number of key practitioners to its ranks- Trisha Siddique joined from Wedlake Bell; Emilie Helm from Payne Hicks Beach LLP; Hannah Viet from Rayden Solicitors while Rachel Nicholl was promoted to a director. Mark Harrop left the firm in summer 2022.
Farhana Shahzady; Robert Williams
Other key lawyers:
Trisha Siddique; Emilie Helm; Rosa Schofield; Kate Elliott; Hannah Viet; Rachel Nicholl
‘Trisha Siddique is fantastic at communicating clearly and promptly with her clients and is strategically savvy. Sensitive around child matters and tough when it comes to finances, Trisha’s support and advice was invaluable to me in my divorce. Her aim was to settle out of court and she suggested I focus on building as amicable a relationship as possible with my ex, to be able to co-parent effectively. She is child-centred. I have recommended her to several of my friends!’.
Farhana Shahzady and Rosa are an excellent powerhouse team. They provide seamless support to their clients and all are integrally aware of each aspect of the case which is reassuring for counsel and clients. Mark has so much experience and judgment that the strategy and case preparation is of the highest standard and perfectly pitched to give the client the best prospect in court’.
‘Farhana Shahzady:- exceptionally hardworking she goes the extra mile for her clients. She is passionate about the people and causes she works for’.
‘This firm is a breath of fresh air – not stuffy, very helpful, friendly but also excellent lawyers. Trisha Siddique has recently moved to them at a very senior level. Trisha has bags of experience and her money practice is all ‘big money’ cases from her experience gained at a leading City firm. She is the ‘weight’ that the firm needed to draw in those big clients and she is doing just that because clients know just how capable, hardworking and tenacious she is’.
‘Farhana Shahzady – very driven, she pursues her clients’ cases fearlessly and with real determination. Rosa Schofield – very personable and calm – a good recruit to the team’.
‘Robert Williams – I have been before him as an arbitrator in a very complex case, where the parties were difficult and the papers voluminous. He was very calm and measured and very well prepared making the 5-day hearing smooth and relaxed. A details man. Very good value for money. Hannah Viet- An up and coming practitioner who has an exceptional knowledge of the law and is pragmatic and sensible in achieving the best for her clients’.
With Teresa Cullen at the helm, the team at Fladgate LLP is skilled at advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown including any financial implications and arrangements for the children. It is noted for its ability to handle matters with sophisticated offshore trusts, luxury assets and art assets and forms a core part of the firm’s broader offering in the high-net-worth space. Hetty Gleave is highly regarded too for her extensive practice in complex and high-value financial remedy cases as well as for her expertise in difficult cases involving children and domestic abuse.
Other key lawyers:
Hetty Gleave; Ronnie Mortimer
‘Very competent and constructive and easy to work with. Teresa Cullen and her senior associate, Ronnie Mortimer’.
‘Nice people intelligent lawyers – family team under the radar somewhat but quality of work very good. Hetty is great to work with collaboratively, intelligent, thoughtful, keen to find a solution’.
‘The team at Fladgate is small but perfectly formed. Some real talent there. And understated with it.’
‘Hetty Gleave is a highly respected and experienced family lawyer. Poised and considered in everything she does, she brings a calm and experienced approach to even the most fraught cases. An excellent family lawyer.’
‘Hetty Gleave is a solid performer. Pleasant to deal with and smart’.
ITN Solicitors offers a ‘personalised service’ through its ‘strong and dedicated team’ that is led by Mitali Zakaria. It is regularly instructed to represent individuals in disputes about who a child and/or children should live or spend time with as well as other key parental responsibility issues. In addition it is frequently instructed to represent parents in public law care proceedings. The group is skilled at dealing with particularly sensitive cases dealing with issues such as radicalisation, child sexual abuse and non-accidental injuries to children.
Other key lawyers:
Somia Siddiq; Priyanka Chakravarty Power; Alexandra Wilks
‘The family team at ITN is well-established and has a particular expertise in difficult children law matters. They are particularly skilled at representing parents and children in the public law arena and have the advantage of being able to draw on the knowledge from their criminal and immigration teams to provide clients with excellent tactical advice in cases where there is an overlap of family and criminal matters’.
‘As the head of the family and children team, Mitali Zakaria combines great professionalism and experience with a hands on and empathetic approach to lay clients and problem solving. She is well organised, diligent and always on top of cases-in particular in relation to complex public law children proceedings which require a thorough working knowledge of case law and practice and procedure’.
‘Mital Zakaria is an outstanding head of team and an absolute stand out performer. Mitali is a leader, a fabulous lawyer, and brilliant with clients. She is used heavily by guardians in public law work and has a national reputation for her work on public law cases arising from concerns relating to alleged extremism/radicalisation’.
‘Somia Siddiq is a highly talented and intelligent lawyer who is really skilled at developing a rapport with vulnerable clients to enable her to provide them with support and sound advice. She works around the clock and gets great results for her clients in the most difficult cases. She has been involved in a number of cases involving the deprivation of liberty of young people recently and really knows her way around the law in this developing area’.
‘Priyanka Power is a highly committed junior lawyer dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for her client . Priyanka’s hard work and dedication to achieving excellent outcomes for her clients is combined with an impressive depth of knowledge and extensive experience in the field of family law. Priyanka works tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes for her clients’.
‘This tight knit team has Mitali Zakaria – a highly experienced, successful and impressive lawyer who possesses a vast intellect and laser like strategic ability to get straight to the nub of highly complex and nuanced issues to achieve excellent outcomes for clients. Mitali’s strength is in identifying a tactical pathway to achieve the clients goals and never compromising on her powerful intellect and respectful and dignified attitude to all cases , clients, colleagues and the courts’.
‘Mitali Zakaria is a force to be reckoned with. Alex Wilks is doing some complicated and interesting cases’.
‘Mitalia Zaharia leads an impressive team at ITN solicitors that encompasses care, private children and financial remedies cases. The team has strength in numbers, where every member of the team produces high quality, client-centred work that more often than not, means their clients get the outcome in the cases they seek – an usual thing in family law!’.
B-M (Children: Findings of Fact)  EWCA Civ 1371
H-N and Others (Children) (Domestic Abuse: Finding of fact hearings)  EWCA 448
- In M (Children: Findings of Fact)  EWCA Civ 1371 the team advised and represented the mother in the Court of Appeal as a joint Appellant in respect of appealing specific findings made against the mother in the Finding of Fact decision in care proceedings.
- In H-N and Others (Children) (Domestic Abuse: Finding of fact hearings)  EWCA 448 it is representing the Association of ALC to make a third party intervention in conjoined appeals concerning issues such as a failure by the court to implement PD12J of the FPR 2020 and PD3AA and other matters.
JMW Solicitors LLP has a strong international offering and has a steady work flow from the Middle East and Gulf region. Michael Rowlands who is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers is adept at advising wealthy clients, professionals and expatriates from around the world on a variety of issues. Philip Cooper has extensive experience in nuptial agreements and regularly advises HNW married and unmarried couples on family companies, offshore funds, trusts and property issues following the breakdown of relationships.
Other key lawyers:
Philip Cooper; Tracey Rodford; Patrick Hart; Jonathan Day; Sohinni Sanghvi
‘Michael Rowlands leads this team and under him it is becoming stronger and stronger and growing’.
‘Michael Rowlands is extremely loyal to his clients and goes the extra mile. He fights for their corner and does everything he can to get the best outcome for them. Tracey Rodford is also a very good lawyer with a growing practice and reputation’.
‘Michael Rowlands (head of family). Huge work ethic, great with clients, has built the team from scratch. Always busy with good quality cases. Clients love him, opponents hate being against him. Absolutely stand-out good’.
‘Patrick Hart – super manner with clients, attracts good quality work. Jonathan Day – personable, intelligent and hardworking. Will go far‘.
‘JMW’s London office is going from strength to strength. Its particular strength is individuals, led by its partner Michael Rowlands and with Patrick Hart – who were both established at other London firms before setting up JMW’s London office. They have added to this experience the weight of a national firm’.
‘Michael Rowlands is one of the best litigators in the business, and a champion for the client’.
‘Their strength in depth is unique. Whether it’s children or finance, JMW has amazing solicitors to match any client’s needs and expectations’.
‘Tracey Rodford – Incredible client care and an extremely tough negotiator. Philip Cooper – One of the sharpest legal minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with! Sohinni Sanghvi – one to watch for the future.’
The nimble team at Sheridans is led by Andrea Plum and handles all aspects of private family law matters. It frequently represents well-known people including actors, sports stars and elite athletes as well as other wealthy clients who are company directors and other professionals. Plum has particular expertise in advising clients involved in complex and high-value matrimonial finance matters often with an international dimension. Priya Palanivel has joined the firm as a partner.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provides a very personal and joined up experience across their different practice areas. Andrea Plum is extremely insightful and experienced and always tries to find the reasoned solution without giving an inch to the other side’.
‘Nothing is too much hassle and everything is done promptly. Experienced, thoughtful and professional’.
‘Sheridans has had my back over a rather difficult divorce. Andrea Plum has been amazing and held her cool in rather tricky interactions with the other party. She responds quickly and cuts through the distracting issues focusing only on what’s relevant which has been enormously helpful to me’.
‘Strong, focused and clear thinking. Throughout Andrea Plum was direct and straight talking. She was never afraid to deliver the tough responses and outline action that had to be taken’.
‘It is a very hardworking firm with some really talented partners leading the team. Andrea Plum in particular is a lawyer who very carefully considers all aspects before giving advice and who goes above and beyond for her clients’.
‘Andrea Plum has a lovely manner with clients and is incredibly knowledgeable’.
A City Law Firm Ltd
A City Law Firm Ltd has a notable focus on LGBTQ+ and surrogacy matters; key names including founding partner Karen Holden, who has a track record of work on equality, discrimination and surrogacy litigation. She works alongside senior consultant solicitor Janette Johnston and director Laura Jennings, who recently joined the firm.
Janette Johnson; Karen Holden; Laura Jennings
- Advised a client that signed a pre-nuptial agreement under duress and lost her home and assets; this involved a dispute over the children and finances including several pieces of art and overseas business assets.
- Advised a surrogate appealing parental order. Two intended parents won their battle for parental rights and custody of their surrogate child, but the surrogate continued to seek further child arrangement orders.
- Advised a transgender parent on their dispute over their child’s right to transition or at least change clothes/name at school.
Flora Grossman at Blake Morgan LLP attracts some high-profile clients from the world of sport and film as well as high-net-worth professional clients (such as business owners and those in the banking sector). The department also acts on Children Act matters from child arrangements through to dealing with removal from the jurisdiction cases. Grossman regularly advises on pre-nuptials, separation and cohabitation agreements.
‘Outstanding and bespoke client care. Flora Grossman is very good. No stone is left unturned’.
‘Very organised, professional, excellent lawyers. Flora Grossman is superb, excellent client care skills. thorough and diligent, knows her cases backwards. excellent legal knowledge’.
‘The family team at Blake Morgan is comprised of personable individuals who have a solid grasp of the law. There is a wonderful mixture of personalities there which means there is a lawyer for everyone. They pride themselves on their client service and are always looking to find the most efficient way to reach a resolution for clients and strongly advocate for alternative dispute resolution options where appropriate’.
‘Blake Morgan is a full service firm and therefore the family team benefits from having a large pool of resources in the form of other excellent lawyers in complimentary fields to assist where necessary’.
‘Flora Grossman is the stand out lawyer in the team; I have recommended her to friends and there is no greater endorsement than that. Flora has an excellent manner with clients, she is a calming influence and always manages to put them at ease, she is empathetic to their situation whilst also guiding them through their situation by offering sound legal advice’.
‘Flora is a practical lawyer who endeavours to drive matters forward and bring cases to a swift conclusion. Flora is vastly experienced in both financial remedy and children matters which enables her to offer an all round service to clients who need it when separating from their partner’.
‘Flora Grossman is the star of the Blake Morgan family team. She makes Blake Morgan stand out’.
‘Flora is outstanding since she is dispute resolution, focused, but is also a sharp litigator which makes her the perfect family lawyer. I’ve had many cases with her and feel she is fair minded but resolute in her approach. She is very professional to deal with’.
Bortoft Bell receives plaudits for providing ‘very commercially pragmatic’ advice under the able leadership of Arron Bortoft; Charlie Bell and Catherine Thomas. The group has a particular focus on high-net-worth and complex financial proceedings which often have an international or trust element.
Arron Bortoft; Charlie Bell; Catherine Thomas
‘Arron and Charlie have recently established this boutique specialist practice. They are both absolutely committed to their clients, come with huge passion for their work but also have the wisdom to have a realistic view of outcome and manage expectations. They give realistic advice – sensitively or robustly as suits the individual clients’.
‘Really exceptional client care. Arron Bortoft has a painstaking attention to detail’.
‘Highly experienced niche practice. Arron Bortoft thorough and tenacious. Clients know he will fight their corner hard. Charlie Bell – a great lawyer, detailed and technical’.
‘Arron Bortoft; committed to his client’s cause’.
‘Charlie is a highly competent family lawyer with superb attention to detail. Charlie Bell – totally focused on the clients matter and gives clients full attention. Confident delving into the nitty gritty and detail on the most complicated cases’.
‘The firm is exceptional in the client care it offers. Each and every client receives expert advice in response to an exhaustively careful analysis of all the possible options that may best ensure the client receives the outcome they want’.
‘Charlie Bell: Razor sharp and dynamic in his legal analysis of any case. Formidable intellect and knowledge of the legal system and its operation. Arron Bortoft: A powerhouse of a lawyer. He uses his extensive experience to ensure each case is approached with no tactical error’.
‘Charlie Bell – outstanding lawyer. Not afraid to give practical advice while remaining very on top of the law. A very helpful, kind lawyer’.
Clyde & Co
Practice head Grainne Fahy at Clyde & Co is a ‘very experienced family lawyer. There is simply no issue that is too difficult for her’. Colin Rogerson works on international children cases with a niche practice in the law relating to surrogacy, fertility and family formation. Yasmin Khan-Gunns has a broad practice working on complex financial matters on divorce as well as highly litigated leave to remove children act proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
Colin Rogerson; Yasmin Khan-Gunns
‘Despite being a small team, the family team is perfectly formed. With the addition of Colin Rogerson, its offering is even better. Yasmin Khan-Gunns is an excellent junior solicitor with a very bright future ahead of her. She is enterprising, incredibly hardworking and generous of her time as she provides so much free content to lay people on her Instagram page. I wish she worked for me!’.
‘Grainne is an outstanding lawyer and a great head of department. Grainne is tough but empathetic and knows her stuff. She and Yasmin make a great team and work together on a wide range of interesting cases’.
‘The Family Team is an excellent combination of highly experienced solicitors who share the ethos of delivering exceptional services to clients. Colin Rogerson is simply the ‘go to’ solicitor for surrogacy work. He is an expert. Colin knows the practice and procedure of surrogacy like the back of his hands. While this is a cliche what he does not know about surrogacy law is not worth knowing. He has helped shape surrogacy law’.
‘Colin Rogerson is the country’s leading surrogacy lawyer, with an international reputation in the field. He is a phenomenal solicitor’.
‘Extremely personable and hardworking team, goes the extra mile for the client. Grainne Fahy and Yasmin Gunns are excellent, keen eye for detail’.
‘Grainne – cool, calm under pressure and well respected in the industry. She is a fountain of knowledge, which clients warm to when instructing her on complex and sensitive matters’.
‘Yasmin – experienced beyond her years. Has used social media to her advantage to not only garner interest in this area, but has also allowed her to secure significant work for the team. Her all star status has been evidenced by the numerous awards that she has recently received. One for the future’.
‘Grainne Fahy must be singled out for her attention to detail and reassurance and determination, that gave me a will to fight on and eventually prevail and this came at a time when I believed all was lost’.
Fatima Mohammed Hussain (intervenor in Attorney General & Akhter, Khan and others .
H v the UK
- Representing the Applicant Wife and Mother in a vast array of applications under the Children Act, Matrimonial Causes Act and Family Law Act, with proceeding taking place in the High Court, the Central Family Court and the Financial Remedies Unit of the Central Family Court.
- Representing the Applicant Wife, a former lawyer and partner in a well-known London law firm, in divorce, financial remedy and maintenance pending suit proceedings.
- Currently acting pro bono on behalf of the child, H, in an application to the European Court of Human Rights against the United Kingdom. H was born through a domestic surrogacy arrangement and an application is brought on behalf of H challenging the inability under UK law to register a consenting biological intended father on the birth certificate following a surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate is married.
Curzon Green Solicitors
Curzon Green Solicitors is praised for its ‘thorough case preparation and client care. A reliable firm to have on your side’ under the joint leadership of Jeff Thomas and Rob Green. It frequently deals with the financial implications of divorce for mid to high-net-worth clients, and regularly deals with cases involving tangible multi-million-pound assets and valuable pension rights. The department also has extensive expertise in advising cohabitees.
Jeff Thomas; Rob Green
Other key lawyers:
Kelly-Ann Welsh; Umar Mirza
‘The team guided me through the process very clearly explaining things to me as often as needed. They chased the other party when deadlines came up and passed. At no point did I ever have to chase my solicitor. I dealt mainly with Kelly-Ann Welsh who never failed to explain things in layman’s terms. She would also answer my queries and questions quickly’.
‘Our experience within the Family Law Team has been exceptional. Kelly-Ann is the most superb family solicitor, she is incredibly responsive and informative with excellent legal knowledge. Curzon Green Solicitors is lucky to have her. As a company it provides a service that is professional, efficient, and good value for money. We would not hesitate to recommend Curzon Green to anyone’.
‘Umar was genuinely interested and actively providing me with information about my case and best and worst case scenario he was always two steps ahead with options to give me and making things simple to understand in normal common language’.
‘I am a client of Jeff Thomas. He has been guiding me through a difficult divorce. He has always offered consistent advice and I have complete confidence in him. He is very well organised and I have never had to wait for a reply to any questions, often replying the same day’.
‘The best solicitors -very friendly, kind, welcoming and above all professional service. Rob Green and Jeff Thomas the best great guys and professionals’.
‘Jeff Thomas: Jeff is a delight to work with. His dedication to his clients is obvious, but he is still able to provide solid, competent and objective advice’.
‘Kelly-Ann Walsh – she is utterly committed to each of her clients. Kelly-Ann undertakes a range of financial remedy work and has an impressive eye for detail. The clients are always advised well in advance and prepared for the hearings prior to counsel’s involvement with the case. Kelly-Ann is a pleasure to work with’.
‘Umar Mirza is a kind and reliable lawyer to have on your side. He is sensitive to the needs of any client and ensures that documentation is meticulously prepared’.
- Acting for a wife in long running financial proceeding – there are numerous disclosure issues. The proceedings are complicated by parallel sets of of proceedings in another country.
- Acting for the wife in divorce and financial relief proceedings where the husband failed to follow the pre-action protocol and petitioned on the wife’s unreasonable behaviour.
- Acting for the wife in complex financial proceedings involving 6 businesses and an extensive property portfolio. The case resolved with the wife receiving at least 94% (and potentially 100%) of the matrimonial assets.
The team at Fletcher Day is known for its ‘excellent client care skills and providing an exceptional service. This firm is first-rate’. Shameela Ahmed is among the names to note; she has extensive experience in multi-value and complex financial claims as well as private disputes over children. The team overall is ‘made up of true family law experts who are collaborative and innovative in their approach’.
Other key lawyers:
Shameela Ahmed; Caroline Ford; Alex Anastasiou; Julius Brookman
‘The firm works with complex and often highly litigious cases. What is unique about the firm is that they are very good at bringing swift and amicable settlements to what was a high conflict case for the good of the client’.
‘Shameela Ahmed is bright, approachable but direct and always on top of her cases. A real leading light in the industry’.
‘Caroline Ford – a family practitioner as skilled and as comfortable with high net worth finance work as children and domestic abuse. Caroline fits all types of clients. Her preparation of cases is efficient and thorough and her clients are always well advised and prepared’.
‘Shameela Ahmed is tenacious but professional. She clearly has her clients’ best interests at heart. She also has a good eye for detail and she is meticulous in her preparation’.
‘Alex Anastasiou is interesting having engaged in civil as well as family litigation so he is as comfortable with the CPR as the FPR- which is not as common as one would wish’.
‘Julius Brookman is an absolutely charming, hardworking and really committed solicitor. He gets behind his clients, think laterally and achieves great results. Super bright, really an academic, he nevertheless grounds his abilities in the real world, so the client gets the best of both pragmatic practicality and genius level analysis of their case. I can’t recommend him highly enough.’
Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors
Practice head Sarah Beskine at Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors is a Resolution specialist in financial remedy, international child abduction and domestic abuse. It covers a broad spectrum of issues from divorce and financial remedy for high and low asset cases to children issues, domestic abuse and mediation. The practice also frequently advises on pre-nuptial and separation agreements. Martin Wolfenden is on the Law Society Family Panel and is an experienced specialist in financial remedy matters.
Other key lawyers:
Martin Wolfenden; Christina Theodorou
‘A well organised team with strength in depth delivering client focused solutions. Martin Wolfenden – an incredibly hardworking and committed individual whose grasp of the detail of a case is truly impressive enabling him to drive the best results for his clients’.
‘They work together very successfully to provide a high quality service at a reasonable cost. The firm has very experienced solicitors who are able to lead a strong team. Sarah Beskine is exceptional – hugely experienced. She consistently provides thoughtful and considered instructions. I enjoy the truly collaborative approach’.
‘I have worked with Martin Wolfenden on several cases. He is always pleasant to deal with and offers a sensible and collaborative way of dealing with cases which often helps to achieve a good result for both sides. Correspondence is always designed to move matters forwards constructively’.
‘I worked with Sarah Beskine and she was truly amazing – very clear advice on what could be achieved, what I as a client needed to do and what a reasonable outcome would look like. Sarah was quick and to the point with all of our communication, she gave practical real world advice and managed me well!’.
‘Worked with solicitor Martin Wolfenden. Very good communicator and he responded to queries very quickly- often on his official day off from work. I felt that he really tried to secure the best outcomes for me during the divorce process’.
‘Christina Theodorou has dealt with my case from the beginning and I have nothing but praise for her as she has advised me and kept me updated on all stages throughout the divorce, she has always got my best interests at heart’.
’Christina Theodorou is deeply experienced, direct, clear, earthy and compassionate in her approach. She has been available immediately for every call and e-mails are answered swiftly. At each step I knew Christina had every base covered in my divorce case’.
‘I have worked alongside Sarah Beskine for many years. She is wise and kind and always gets on with the task in a purposeful but considerate way. Her experience has depth and breadth as well as all of the advantages of being linked to a diverse and vibrant north London community. She works to be helpful and to find a ‘non-combative’ way forward. I love working with her and with the whole firm where her leadership is evident’.
Juliette Peters and Jessica May at Peters May offer a ‘hands on and empathetic partner led service’ to its clients. The firm specialises in high-net-worth divorce cases and prenuptial agreements involving complicated financial arrangements, offshore trusts and assets. It is also adept at handling private cases involving child arrangements and other matters such as Schedule 1 applications.
Other key lawyers:
Juliette Peters; Jessica May
‘A fabulously effective duo of family specialists. Great value for money. Huge commitment to clients. The Eponymous Peters and May has worked immensely hard to bring this firm to the forefront of family law boutiques focussed on the Big Money cases. Their in depth knowledge of the law is matched by their great bedside manner. They really care for their clients and deliver a great service’.
‘Experienced dynamic team. Always willing to go the extra mile and think outside the box. Juliette Peters. Have worked with her and referred international cases to her. She is very knowledgeable and responds swiftly. That on itself is a huge bonus. She sees the wood for the trees and gets to the main issues swiftly – in a calm and capable manner’.
‘Both Juliette Peters and Jessica May are incredibly bright and their combined experience is invaluable. It seems you always get the benefit of both of them no matter who is the principal on your case which is very reassuring’.
‘Jessica May – she has a clear view of how best to resolve a case and works hard together with her client to get there. She doesn’t push unwinnable points but takes those that really make a difference, prepares well and gets the case over the line. Both she and Juliette are extremely supportive of their clients whilst also giving sensible and clear advice’.
‘Jessica May is dedicated , unfussy, impressive and knows her law better than most’.
‘Juliette Peters is the consummate family lawyer. She has the compassion to make her clients believe in her and the steel to get them what they rightfully deserve’.
‘Both partners are exceptionally experienced with a wealth of success in all aspects of family law. Very personable individuals. Can do approach. Thought provoking . Supported by an excellent back house team. Prepared to work long hours and at weekends if required. Fixed price fee structure. Respected in London. Great access to Barristers’.
‘Juliette Peters has an immense amount of commercial nous and gives sensible and pragmatic advice. Jessica May is a perceptive and forward-thinking lawyer who strives to get the very best for her clients’.
Philcox Gray & Co
Philcox Gray & Co is regularly involved in complex cross-border disputes involving abduction and relocation in addition to the deprivation of liberty of minors. It is also regularly involved in complex care cases including cases with non-accidental injuries, alleged radicalisation as well as “relinquished baby” cases. Beverley King; Sephona Issacs Polson and Lucy Verity are among the names to note.
Beverley King; Sephona Isaacs-Polson; Lucy Verity
Other key lawyers:
‘Philcox Gray is a leading and exceptional family law firm with a deep and proven commitment to ensuring excellent representation for people from a wide variety of backgrounds, of all races and faiths and all socio-economic backgrounds throughout the family proceedings they are involved in’.
‘Lucy Verity – sensible, displays impeccable judgment. Excellent client-care skills’.
‘Beverley King is outstanding. She acts with meticulous care and attention to detail in the most sensitive of cases, representing vulnerable children and parents effectively and with unswerving commitment. She is incredibly bright, works extremely hard and nothing misses her attention’
‘ Lucy Verity who is brilliant – a real force of nature – organised, knowledgeable, very shrewd and always very well prepared for every eventuality. Lucy has her eye on the bigger picture and gives realistic advice and urges other avenues to be explored such as mediation, instead of a court battle wherever possible’.
‘Salvatore Quatrocchi, brings such energy and imagination to his cases. He is a rising star in the firm and is already handling very sensitive and complex care cases superbly wel’.
‘Special mention for Sephona Isaacs-Polson and Lucy Verity. They are both resolute in their determination to secure the best outcome for the clients. They should also be mentioned for relentless client loyalty, even in the face of robust opposition from other parties’ to their client’s case’.
‘Beverley King; Lucy Verity – BOTH ARE very committed to their role working with guardians – Lucy in particular is efficient and readily available – Beverley has a gentle but firm approach and both are extremely experienced in representing Guardians and parents and providing’
‘The firm is dedicated to its clients and goes the extra mile for its clients. Sephona Polson in particular is outstanding, both in communicating and providing full brief for hearing in a good time frame’.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Michael Pulford leads the practice at Pinsent Masons LLP that acts predominantly for high-profile and wealthy international individuals (including executives, celebrities and royalty) who have substantial assets often located across a number of jurisdictions. It specialises in jurisdictional disputes and has considerable strength in offshore trusts and where there are companies involved in the family proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
‘Pinsent Masons offers clients the benefits of the infrastructure of a full-service top drawer City firm. This helps the firm to work differently. Michael Pulford is a good litigator and a shrewd tactician’.
‘Hardworking, efficient, commercially astute. Michael Pulford, Grace MacDonald’.
Ribet Myles is a ‘new niche firm, but has already developed a strong reputation for excellence. It delivers magic circle service at exceptional value’. At the helm are Julian Ribet, Alistair Myles and Laura Geraghty who advise on all aspects of family law particularly for wealthy clients. There is frequently a complex international element to its work dealing with issues such as trusts, internationally held assets or matters relating to the international relocation of children.
Julian Ribet; Alistair Myles; Laura Geraghty
Other key lawyers:
‘Julian Ribet – a partner who is driving the firm forward. He is savvy at using counsel and gives sensible advice. Knows when to litigate and when to settle‘.
‘Al Myles and Julian Ribet have started something really special. They are a young and dynamic firm, focused on giving great advice whilst running a modern firm which also takes good care of its team, to the benefit of employees and clients alike’.
‘Al Myles – my go to recommendation. He is clever, organised and innovative. Always knows the answer. Julian Ribet – a real fighter in the ring. Not afraid of anyone. Sorcha Gray – just brilliant, years beyond her PQE level. She is organised, manages her time brilliantly and has excellent judgment‘.
‘All three partners are stand-out individuals: Julian Ribet, Alistair Myles & Laura Geragthy and all three deserve specific recognition and mention. All three are used to dealing with complex high net worth cases including cross-jurisdictional cases involving non-disclosure and offshore trusts’.
‘Julian Ribet in particular is absolutely committed to his client’s cause, always accessible to his clients and counsel, discrete, a master strategist, and someone who is unafraid of fighting his client’s corner as and when necessary whilst always keeping an eye on trying to achieve pragmatic and commercial consensual outcomes for his clients’.
‘This agile firm has got off to a flying start. It has strong leadership, competitive billing and – already – a reputation of which to be proud. Julian Ribet is an impressive family lawyer. He is strategic and is afraid neither to fight nor to settle a case. He is well-connected and wise’.
‘Julian Ribet has fantastic strategic oversight. Alistair Myles is pragmatic and a real pleasure to work with. Laura Geraghty is brilliant with clients’.
‘The 3 partners – Julian Ribet, Alistair Miles and Laura Geraghty all had a good reputation previously and continue to. They have experience of complex children and financial cases’.
Clients of Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP include high-profile personnel, high-net-worth individuals such as property entrepreneurs, professionals from the IT and media industries, company directors as well as City executives. There have been changes to the team. Adam Bowes has been promoted to the partnership. Gorkem Ozsoy joined the firm from Slater and Gordon and is now a partner. Bik Wong has left the department to join Austin Kemp. John O’Callaghan is also recommended.
John O’Callaghan; Adam Bowes; Gorkem Ozsoy
‘Gorkem is an excellent lawyer and has extremely good judgment. He has a stellar knowledge of family law, is incredibly hardworking and cares a lot about his clients. He is an extremely dependable lawyer’.
‘Very knowledgeable and friendly team. Diligence, attention to detail and honesty’.
‘The team at Ronald Fletcher Baker is approachable, cohesive and sound legally. Its strength is that it has the ability to act for a diverse range of clients with equal aplomp. Gorkem Ozsoy is accessible to all of his clients and is firm but compassionate in giving advice. He does not sell clients unattainable dreams and has a calm professional manner’.
‘Ronald Fletcher Baker always goes the extra mile – the team focusses on giving the best service to every client at competitive rates. They are organised, sensible and effective’.
‘Adam Bowes is sensible, intelligent and passionate about every client’s case. He manages matters with an expert eye and makes sure that everything is in order, leaving no stone unturned. He always goes the extra mile for each and every client to ensure that they get the very best service they deserve’.
’Adam Bowes is very approachable, he listens and makes people feel at ease. He is very good at managing peoples’ expectations even if it is not what they want to hear, such information is delivered in a very palatable manner’.
‘I had the pleasure of liaising with Gorkem Ozsoy on family matters and can say Gorkem is an outstanding family lawyer and has built a niche within family law practice with his knowledge on diverse cultural issues. Gorkem is passionate about his role, his professionalism towards the industry and clients and the good he provides through his role is focused on helping clients with complex legal issues’.
‘Exceptionally organised and professional team who is always up to date with most recent case laws and practices. The fees are fair for the quality of work they provide. Adam Bowes is an outstanding, proactive professional and friendly Solicitor who is always hands on with the case he is dealing with. Adam makes sure that he puts his clients’ best interest above the firm’s’.
Stevens & Bolton LLP
Nicola Harries (who is a trained Resolution collaborative lawyer) heads the department at Stevens & Bolton LLP that recently promoted Grace Parker-White to the partnership. Predominantly it is known for its complex financial work and advice on prenuptial agreements, but it also covers private children proceedings (including domestic and international leave to remove cases). It has been busy too acting on cases with a significant international element .
Other key lawyers:
‘Strong regional team with excellent clients given the firm’s strong private client and corporate offering. Nicola Harries – very experienced, calm, constructive and solution-driven’.
‘Grace Parker-White – very sensible and easy to deal with’.
‘A great team – particularly Nicola Harries and Grace Parker-White. Nicola Harries is a calm, astute family lawyer. Grace Parker-White is approachable and professional’.
‘Highly respected firm which continues to consolidate its position as one of the market leaders in Guildford/Surrey and which benefits from strength in every dept. In Family Nicola Harries & Grace Parker-White are the stand out practitioners; hugely experienced, solution focussed and sensible to deal with’.
‘Nicola Harries & Grace Parker-White – solution focussed, delightful to deal with and very capable. Both are a very capable and safe pair of hands and are respected by clients & fellow practitioners alike’.
At Stowe Family Law LLP the ‘consummate professional’ Phoebe Turner leads the team that has a ‘a good reputation and attracts some very good work, including some complex high-net-worth cases’. It also handles other matters that involve parental alienation; narcissism and coercive control. Gavin Scott is another key member of the team who has deep expertise in complex financial disputes and is also known for his experience in Children Act matters and nuptial agreements. Sarah Jane Lenihan is now at Dawson Cornwell.
Other key lawyers:
Estella Newbold-Brown; Gavin Scott; Ciara Pugh; Phoebe Hill; Alice Wightman
‘Estella Newbold Brown – Senior Associate. Estella has really flourished since joining Stowe. She is a safe pair of hands and has a good bedside manner’.
‘Gavin Scott- absolutely charming and very supportive of his clients who are very loyal to him. Able to deal easily with the most complex of cases’.
‘Each Stowe office has a great energy and drive to achieve the best for their clients. Their range and size can be a huge benefit due to being able to pull in people from other offices with niche interests/experience such as language skills, international experience etc.’.
‘Ciara Pugh is a complete joy to work with. Her briefs are concise and she has almost always gone above and beyond to get the full context for her clients. What is most enjoyable is just how efficient she is. There’s never anything too small and she accepts the limitations that inevitably come with some hearings. I have to do markedly less client expectation management because Ciara hasn’t promised them the moon on a stick, unlike many others of her level of experience’.
‘I mostly receive instructions from Stowe in London. The team there, led by Phoebe Turner, is cohesive, warm and welcoming. They are diligent, communicative and responsive. The individual lawyers collaborate well with the barristers they instruct’.
‘Phoebe Hill is excellent. She works with care and concern, guiding her clients through their most difficult times and making sure their interests are properly represented. Gavin Scott, a partner, is brilliant. He makes the client feel well listened to, treats them all with importance, and makes sure that they are properly advised, even when that advice will be hard to swallow. It is always delivered with diplomacy. Likewise, Estella Newbold-Brown is wonderful. She is lively, exuberant, empathetic, and an absolute delight to work with.’
‘The teams at Stowe Family Law are approachable, professional and have good relationships with top sets in London and other circuits. I only have excellent things to say about their teams, and would happily recommend (and actively do) Stowe to clients who ask for firms to instruct.’
‘The team is approachable, friendly and efficient. We have a candid relationship with the team members which is always appreciated when any tricky situations arise, that can happen in Family Law!’.
Thomson Snell & Passmore
Joanna Pratt leads a stable and established team at Thomson Snell & Passmore that has four qualified collaborative lawyers and two Resolution trained mediators. It continues to deal with some very high net worth financial cases and with a number of complicated Children Act matters. There is also often an international dimension to the cases it works on. Kirstie Law and Desmond O’Donnell are among the other key senior members of the team.
Other key lawyers:
Desmond O’Donnell; Kirstie Law; Helen Waite; Sarah Keily
‘Desmond O’Donnell is a superstar- extremely committed to his clients , great communication and preparation of cases’.
‘The TSP has great breadth with a range of talented and impressive partners. I often make personal referrals to them as I know they look after their clients and will deliver a fantastic service, whilst billing reasonably for their great work’.
‘Joanna Pratt is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. She is tenacious in looking after clients and knows her cases inside out. She is one of the most thorough lawyers I have encountered. Helen Waite and Sarah Keily are loved by their clients – they are empathetic, straight talking and sensible. They are also very detailed in their preparation and fantastic to work for.’.
‘Friendly approachable practice offering exceptional support to clients.Helen Waite: exceptionally skilled in dealing with clients in extreme distress where there is a time pressure to advise and assist. Calm and clear in her thinking at all times’.
‘Kirstie Law: passionate and supportive of her clients to the end. Clear at communication and will go the extra mile.’
‘Thomson Snell Passmore is excellent at negotiating settlements in complicated proceedings. Kirstie Law is fantastic – she can spot the right solution at the outset’.
At Venters Solicitors June Venters KC, who is a Resolution Accredited specialist, deals with the most serious and complex children family law cases. In addition she is a family mediator and an arbitrator. Andrea Dawkins is a matrimonial and child care lawyer who practices in divorce and finance as well as other areas such as domestic violence, Schedule 1 claims and cohabitation disputes.
June Venters KC; Andrea Dawkins
‘Articulate, understanding, and boldness to confront issues. Each one of the solicitors that dealt with me were maybe beyond professional’.