Brabners LLP continues to draw superb praise from a range of clients, with an employment offering that spans Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Manchester. The ‘talented’ team competently handles complex divorce and financial remedy cases, often managing a plethora of foreign and business assets as well as trusts and pensions. Overseas work remains a cornerstone of the practice and the team have an impressive track record liaising with foreign bodies to instruct tracing agents to explore wealth in different jurisdictions. The considerable expertise and experience of regional head Helen Marriott ensures the team is routinely sought by clients seeking counsel on both pre and post-nuptial agreements as well as complicated private children work. Joanne Radcliff fronts the Manchester office and specialises in high-value divorce work, boasting a client list featuring sport and media personalities. Cara Nuttall, who joined from Simpson Millar LLP at the start of 2023, has further bolstered the capabilities of the team, with notable proficiency in child abduction and relocation work, as well as being regarded as an expert in surrogacy law. Richard Rigg is also active on matters, with a particular niche in private child matters involving psychological and substance abuse.
Family in North West
Helen Marriott; Joanne Radcliff
Other key lawyers:
Cara Nuttal; Richard Rigg
‘Cara Nuttal, Richard Rigg and Joanne Radcliff are exceptional. The firm offers the most solid representation in the North as far I can see from my work with other firms in that region. The firm offers the best financial remedies advice and private children act dispute representation. They are attentive to detail, very passionate and crucially objective, so they advise thoroughly and sensibly.’
‘Richard Rigg is more junior solicitor. I think around 10 years in. He is so dedicated, so capable and competent. He is far wiser than his years and really invests himself into his cases. It is a delight to work with him because he is so caring.’
‘Brabners work in a collaborative approach with Counsel. It is a team approach. I am often instructed at the outset or even pre-proceedings, and I am part of the litigation team and take part in the strategic decision-making of the proceedings. Unlike other firms, Brabners want to ensure Counsel is involved as a strategic partner in the litigation and not simply a court advocate.’
Already a preeminent name in the divorce and financial remedy sphere, Hall Brown Family Law has strengthened its capabilities over the past 12 months through a concentrated focus on its expanding children’s practice, with an evident uptick in Schedule 1 Children Act and Hague Convention cases. Alongside this work, the team continual to act on complex family matters, including high-net worth divorce proceedings involving trusts, business structures and multi-jurisdictional assets, as well as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. James Brown and Sam Hall ‘are leading names’ in the market, helming the group’s most complicated cases and between them handling a regional portfolio of high-profile sport and media clients. Andrew Newbury‘s practice concentrates on families and estates with agricultural and business aspects, and he is also adept at dealing with cross border assets. Beth Wilkins continues to advise on both financial remedy and Children Act cases.
James Brown; Sam Hall
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Newbury; Beth Wilkins
‘Hall Brown are one of the leading teams in the North West, with an array of talent at every level of fee earner. They attract high quality work and well respected by their peers.’
‘James Brown and Sam Hall are leading names. They have built a strong team around them and are extremely knowledgeable in the field. Andrew Newbury knows everything there is to know about family law and is meticulous in his approach. Sarah Hewitt and Madelaine Hailey are real rising stars.’
‘The combination of expertise, client-focused approach, expertise and individuals reputation make Hall Brown stand out from their peers.’
‘Hall Brown have a number of stand out individuals from Sam Hall and James Brown the owners through the senior partners, solicitors and staff. If I had to name any individual specifically it would Sam Hall for his leadership and the way he has instilled his and James’ values into the team.’
‘One of the best law firms on the Northern Circuit; best in class’.
‘A leading law firm – the creme de la creme of family law in the North West. Great for wealthy clients with complex matters’
‘Sam Hall, James Brown, and Andrew Newbury have a wealth of experience in dealing with high end matrimonial finance claims. They are top class.’
‘The team are well organised, efficient and very experienced in matrimonial finance including complex matters.’
‘Consistently one of the best fits for family law on the Northern Circuit’, Irwin Mitchell possesses a client roster of high-profile domestic and international clients who turn to the team for assistance in divorce, financial remedy, and private children work. While wielding strong alternative dispute resolution expertise, the firm boasts an impressive track record in litigation, routinely representing clients in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. ‘The team continue to thrive‘ under the leadership of Ros Bever, a leading individual in the market who provides trusted counsel to individuals regarding complex trusts, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and proceedings involving cross-border assets. Nathaniel Groarke remains a go-to practitioner for businesspeople and entrepreneurs looking for wealth management guidance, as well as providing advice to an extensive list of international clients. Emma Benson, who joined from JMW Solicitors LLP in May 2022, has brought ‘technical expertise and judgement’ concerning complicated Court of Protection cases and cross-border family matters.
Ros Bever; Nathaniel Groarke
Other key lawyers:
‘The family team are at the top of the market in Manchester in relation to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth cases and have the expertise to deal with unusual or unique aspects of any case. The team are extremely personable and dependable.’
‘Emma Benson is exceptionally hard working and trustworthy. Through the mutual clients we have, I have witnessed her technical expertise and judgement in complex high-net-worth finance cases and she truly understands the needs of her clients. She has built very strong relationships with her clients, building their confidence and trust in her. I would definitely refer business to her and the wider Irwin Mitchell family team as I know I can rely on her to provide an outstanding client service and outcome.’
‘The team have a national profile and have a brilliant reputation. Although the team in Manchester is relatively small, it stands out for having exceptional individuals who are able to work collaboratively with the national team.’
‘The team at IM benefits from working nationally which allows members of the team to draw upon a very broad range of experience and expertise. Unlike most other firms, IM benefits from having taken a number of significant cases to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. This litigation experience is invaluable.’
‘Irwin Mitchell is consistently one of the best fits for family law on the Northern Circuit. Always ahead of the game, investing in internal and external individuals as well as holding their clients’ interests at the forefront of all their decision making. Clients naturally feel very supported when using Irwin Mitchell. A family law firm with exceptional corporate structure and business aptitude.’
‘My feedback wouldn’t be complete without due recognition of Ros Bever – the team continue to thrive under her natural and effective leadership. Ros leads from the heart – super passionate about family law but a big believer in people and her team. She is a natural role model and you see the values and cultures cascade down to the team as a result of her behaviours. I have really enjoyed the ‘team’ working culture – not many firms encourage this but the client truly benefits from this approach.’
- Advised ex-wife of Screwfix millionaire in appeal proceedings raising a fundamental point of principle: Namely, if a party that has obtained an order, or two, through fraud be entitled to benefit from their fraud.
Praised for its ability to ‘analyse complex financial situations‘, JMW Solicitors LLP remains one of the preeminent family firms in the northwest, possessing a deep bench of lawyers that competently advise on divorce, children and Court of Protection matters. The team provide trusted counsel to companies looking for guidance on complex trusts cases, as well as having a wealth of knowledge regarding pre and post nuptial agreements, surrogacy law and the ever-evolving cryptocurrency sphere. Head of the family department Michael Chapman is revered for his expertise in Schedule 1 child cases, and leads alongside Elspeth Kinder who has a broad practice that is largely focused on complex cross border divorce and matrimonial finance matters. Beverly Jones ‘has developed and manages a leading team’ in the Liverpool office and is a sought-after practitioner due to her expert understanding of surrogacy law. Abigail Bennett‘s role as an in-house barrister results in her being an integral part of the firm’s caseload, especially when it concerns private children work. Katie Lowe is also recommended.
Michael Chapman; Elspeth Kinder; Beverley Jones
Other key lawyers:
Abigail Bennett; Katie Lowe
‘JMW is truly exceptional in its field, and its team of lawyers possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping clients navigate the complex financial issues that arise during divorce proceedings. They are adept at analysing complex financial situations, and they work tirelessly to ensure that their clients receive a fair and equitable settlement.
‘The lead Partner for me was Katie Lowe. Katie supported me over a long period of time, and managed a group of supporting associates and trainees, ensuring there was also someone available with a good knowledge of the case to provide support and guidance. Katie is very thorough and detailed, and able to retain a huge amount of facts and data evolving over many months as the court process evolved.’
‘A combination of significant experience of the challenges clients face , legal expertise to advise and a deep intent to put the clients needs first.’
‘The key differentiator is the ability to relate emotionally and compassionately. This enabled me as the client to relax more and to be able to see more clearly how to progress matters.’
‘Elspeth Kinder supported me on a complex family legal issue which involved an application for the removal of my children to Sweden. It was a difficult and emotionally complex case which Elspeth and her team navigated and defended in a detailed and professional manner. Elspeth was always assured of the details of the case and gave me confidence in her judgements and reading of the case. I would absolutely recommend Elspeth and her team and JMW.’
‘Elspeth Kinder and her team have detailed experience of defending international relocation applications and this was the difference to many other firms. Elspeth has the confidence that comes with winning cases and supporting clients through these complex and emotionally challenging moments.’
‘Extremely well managed and knowledgeable team. All members work well together and provide a solid team that is unrivalled. I would say that it stands out enormously as being tightly run and full of dedicated hard-working lawyers.’
‘Beverley Jones has developed and manages a leading team in the North West.’
Maguire Family Law
‘A team of specialists with strength and breadth in skills and experience levels’, Maguire Family Law is well-regarded for its strong private client offering. A key point of differentiation for the group is its expertise in private child cases where the location or relocation of the child is as stake, including complex proceedings that have had unique developments in the Royal Courts of Justice. James Maguire, who heads the new Altrincham office, draws superlative praise regarding this work, and is truly an expert on child relocation and abduction cases. Henry Venables operates from Knutsford and is a frequent port of call for high-net-worth businesspeople and entrepreneurs interested in financial and wealth management advice, as well as being adept at financial and children-related disputes. Third and final team head, Denise Moran, directs the Wilmslow office and wields specific expertise in surrogacy cases, whilst also providing insight into the firm’s most complex international financial matrimonial matters. Jennifer Curtis has a broad practice which concentrates on Children Act proceedings and regularly works alongside Abigail Reynolds who has established strength in international issues.
James Maguire; Henry Venables; Denise Moran
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer Curtis; Abigail Reynolds
‘A hard-working, broad bandwidth practice but with a strong in-depth team. If you want a solicitor who has your back this is the firm to instruct. They are totally committed to their clients, ultra-efficient and effective, offering clear and accurate advice. As a barrister, I can say that they are a joy to be instructed by.’
‘Abigail Reynolds superb. She is client-friendly, bright and on the ball. A great person to be around and a great lawyer. Jennifer Curtis is calm, steady, completely on top of the case.’
‘A team of specialists with strength and breadth in skills and experience levels. James Maguire is an international family law specialist and member of the IAFL. He leads from the front and is always available to mentor and guide the team. It is his belief that the people make the firm and client service levels are a priority. Success is evident in their client testimonials and online reviews.
Drawing immense praise from a broad range of clients, McAlister Family Law has a strong reputation acting in court proceedings concerning the safety of children and families, including acting for health care provision, non-molestation orders, and relocation applications. Alongside this work, the firm boasts an impressive track record advising individuals on matrimonial finance matters that involve business, property and foreign assets, with a flurry of senior and junior hires and promotions in 2022 to handle the steady stream of mandates. The ‘empathetic, practical and clear’ team head Amanda McAlister has notable expertise in complex pension structures which is regularly sought-after by her extensive list of high net-worth clients. Fiona Wood fronts the divorce and financial division and takes the lead on a large proportion of the firm’s financial remedy cases, whereas Ruth Hetherington‘s practice spans both public and private law cases that encompass a range of issues including abduction, abuse and international components. Liz Cowell remains active on financial settlements and is a go-to for trusts work.
Other key lawyers:
Liz Cowell; Fiona Wood; Ruth Hetherington
‘A large and dynamic team which despite its size, offers an excellent and caring service to individuals. Lawyers are extremely well supported by administrative staff. A slick operation all round and always a pleasure to deal with.’
‘Over the last 24 months there has been a massive recruitment drive with the appointment of respected individuals. The ethos and values of McAlisters filters down to all team members. It is always lovely to see how the team comes together to celebrate achievements and no doubt, on the less positive days, the team re-group and support one another.’
‘Liz Cowell has been my main contact with Macallister Family law and has dealt with the case for a number of years, advising on a practical level with honesty and integrity. She has made me feel totally at ease with the process and comforted me in very difficult times.’
‘Amanda McAlister is who you need in your corner. Empathetic, practical, clear. Capable of bringing calm resolution in the most troubled waters.’
‘The firm as a whole has really focused on my situation and I have had the privilege of having various members look over my case who all offered me the best advice possible from the partners, solicitors and paralegals. Everyone was professional and friendly and were extremely client focused. My expectations were all met and explained to me in great detail, the sense of teamwork was outstanding.’
‘McAlister law from day one offered me an honest approach but with clear direction. McAlister have provided me with excellent advice and guided me through my divorce proceedings without adding to the drama caused by the circumstances. I have felt supported and in control with an expert team behind me. In particular I have needed to draw on other professionals to support my proceedings.’
- Representing a desperately ill two-year-old child through her children’s guardian in a highly emotional complex case. The NHS Trust issued proceedings for a declaration pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court that it is in the best interests of the child for life-sustaining medical treatment to be withdrawn and for a palliative care regime to be implemented.
- Acting on a matrimonial finance case involving a variety of business and property assets. The team is involved in negotiating a fair financial settlement for the parties.
- Represented the respondent mother in private Children Act proceedings where the applicant father was a registered child sex offender and had serious criminal convictions for possessing child pornography.
International work remains the cornerstone of the Family practice at MSB Solicitors Ltd, with key work highlights over the past twelve months including representing foreign governing bodies in complex child cases. Able to offer a breadth of both private and legal aid work, the team is also routinely involved in Schedule 1 Children Act proceedings requiring non-molestation and occupation orders, as well as complicated divorce proceedings involving pension structures, business assets and intellectual property. Emma Carey‘s eminent reputation continues to generate activity for the practice and has overseen the expansion of the firm’s capabilities through the opening of the new Manchester office in 2022. ‘Exceptional’ Liverpool team head Emma Palmer is chiefly recognised for her expertise in domestic abuse, coercion and forced marriage cases, and regularly works alongside her fellow co-head Pauline McNamara who possesses an ‘incredibly loyal’ client base of sport and media personalities, for whom she is a go-to for financial remedy work. Katie Camozzi continues to be integral to the success of the practice’s most complicated cross-border matters, while John Owens, who joined from Slater and Gordon in January 2023, has added strength to the new Manchester offering.
Emma Carey; Emma Palmer; Pauline McNamara
Other key lawyers:
John Owen; Katie Camozzi
‘The team is incredibly proactive as opposed to reactive. Always thinking five steps ahead. It is analytical in its thinking and the key is in the detail. Its drafting of documentation is superb and the team works together to ensure nothing is missed. They work in hubs so that someone is always contactable. They bill every month which means that clients are on top of their bills, and counsel are paid promptly which builds a collaborative relationship which stands the test of time.’
‘Pauline McNamara is robust and determined. Clients come back to her time and time again; they are incredibly loyal as Pauline has their backs until the very end. She has considerable expertise and ensures no stone is left unturned to provide the best results for her clients.
‘Pauline McNamara is the head of the department. She has built an extremely loyal family team to her which focuses on ensuring the client is fully prepared for and during the divorce process and is supported emotionally and sensitively throughout the court journey.
‘The family team is excellent and responsive to client’s needs. The team is well led by Emma Palmer and Pauline McNamara. Clients are helped to form a firm strategy and timeline so that drift is avoided. The team is proactive not reactive. The paralegals and assistants are very helpful and up to date with each client’s case. Responses to questions are dealt with swiftly and accurately.’
‘Emma Palmer is exceptional, extremely approachable, caring and always there to offer support and help to team members, law firms and the public. The firm and it’s team do a great deal to keep updated with changes and resolve difficulties to help those in need.’
‘Quality advice and a friendly approach.’
‘It has breadth and depth of experience over the several areas of sub specialism in family law which makes them almost unique in this area.’
‘I have worked with many of the more experienced members of the team and always found them helpful, committed and talented. My view is that they fully deserve the reputation they have as one of the leading family law firms in the north west.’
- Advised foreign Government on return of a child abducted from foster care and brought to England.
- Advised Mother on enforcement of French Supreme Court Order and successfully prevented it.
- Represented spouse in contentious divorce proceedings with hidden wealth across multiple jurisdictions.
Stephensons Solicitors LLP
A ‘first choice for those seeking a family lawyer in the most difficult and sensitive of cases’, Stephensons Solicitors LLP is noted for the near unparalleled scale of its private and public family law and children mandates. Team head Victoria Gethin is revered for her ability to handle complex cases requiring liaisons with foreign bodies, applying for unique protective orders and personal data, and challenges to human rights violations. Gethin manages an ‘expanding department’ which is also geared to act on high-value matrimonial finance matters, with Emma Roberts an expert on both pre-nuptial and postnuptial agreements and cohabitation law, as well as being a port of call for unmarried couples seeking advice post-separation. Tim Galbraith continues to act on court proceedings regarding complex issues such as child relocation and non-accidental injuries, while Jackie Price is highlighted for her excellence in cases requiring psychological and medical assessments.
Other key lawyers:
Tim Galbraith; Emma Roberts; Jackie Price
‘Stephensons have a team of highly experienced and talented solicitors who are considered to be the first choice for those seeking a family lawyer in the most difficult and sensitive of cases. Those instructed by them know that the case will have been well prepared with a high level of client care. They bring professionalism to all aspects of their dealing with other solicitors, their clients and when instructing counsel.’
‘Stephensons family law department is one of the strongest in the UK with an extensive amount of legal experience but what sets them out is the fact they all really care. They are hugely passionate about each and every care they deal with across the spectrum of work they cover. Their Head of Department Victoria Gethin is very highly regarded and viewed as one of the best in the business. Their attention to detail, case preparation and client care is without fault.’
‘Victoria Gethin is a very talented solicitor now managing an expanding department. She is inspiring to her team and compassionate with clients. Emma Roberts is a powerful solicitor with a real presence.’
Lancashire County Council
Derbyshire County Council
Nottinghamshire County Council
- Instructed by a children’s guardian to represent the child in a complex medical case.
The 2022 merger with RadcliffesLeBrasseur has strengthened Weightmans LLP‘s private client offering, making it a ‘go-to’ firm in the North West. Advising on the full range of family matters with close collaboration with the tax, trusts and probate, and international private wealth team, the group show notable expertise in financial remedy, surrogacy law, and digital and crypto currency cases. The department is spearheaded by the ‘outstanding’ Emma Collins, whose broad practice features areas of particular strength such as nuptial agreements and pension structures. Beyond her work as deputy district judge, Carole Atkinson is highly revered in the market for her excellence in on-shore and off-shore trust mandates, while Fiona Turner is ’emotionally intelligent’ during complex divorce and matrimonial finance cases, especially when they include business and cross-border assets. Fiona Davidson is principally noted for her acumen in children law, a growing area of the firm’s offering that has resulted in activity in highly sensitive child relocation cases. Rachel Lim continues to advise on a broad range of practice matters.
Other key lawyers:
Carole Atkinson; Fiona Turner; Fiona Davison; Rachel Lim
‘Fiona Davidson is fantastic. Clients love her. She is sensible and astute, knowing which arguments to pursue and always being realistic with her advice.’
‘Carole Atkinson is excellent in everything she does professionally – one of the best family lawyers of her generation. Fiona Davidson heads an acclaimed family department widely recognised for its excellent service provision and attracting high value and high profile clients from the region and nationwide. Fiona consistently achieves outcomes beyond the expectation of her clients.’
‘The team at Weightmans are well known in the Manchester legal market. They are regularly instructed on ‘the other side’ in complex cases in both financial and children proceedings. The team are professional and pleasant to deal with; and focus on pragmatic solutions for their clients.’
‘Emma Collins and Fiona Turner are both well respected Partners and experts in family law. They are sensible and efficient in resolving disputes for their clients. Fiona is also the secretary for the Manchester Resolution Committee and takes a leading role in delivering Resolution events and training for local members. Linzi Perriman is also a very impressive Associate in the team, who is practical and pleasant to deal with.’
‘Emma Collins is outstanding; her knowledge and experience enables her to bring both strategic and tactical excellence to the case at hand.’
‘Both Emma Collins and Fiona Turner are technically excellent, with a client-centred solution focus. Very pleasant to deal with, and both have an absolutely safe pair of hands. Fiona has been particularly efficient in coordinating the ongoing series of 4 regions webinars for Resolution (Manchester, Cheshire & North Wales, Merseyside and Lancashire & Cumbria)’
‘The family team are a pleasure to deal with. They are my ‘go to’ firm to refer any work which has an English law aspect. They are responsive, no-nonsense and give pragmatic and sensible advice.
‘Fiona Turner is a true professional. She is responsive, sensible, measured and courteous. I find her a pleasure to deal with. She is emotionally intelligent and ensures clients see the ‘bigger’ picture while vigorously defending their position. She is definitely a safe pair of hands.
Aaron & Partners LLP is praised for its willingness to ‘avoid unnecessary conflict and court proceedings’ through its legal counsel, possessing seasoned mediators alongside established litigation experience. Group head Simon Mawdsley is intimately familiar with divorce and financial remedy negotiations, and competently handles business and pension asset disputes. Co-head Richard Barge is a go-to for nuptial and cohabitation agreements and has been a main driver behind the practice’s growing activity in this area. Lorraine Saunders ‘deals with complex divorce cases’ that routinely involve cross-border possessions and high-value trust funds, while Victoria Syvret bolsters the firm’s alternative dispute offering through her mediation experience.
Simon Mawdsley; Richard Barge
Other key lawyers:
Lorraine Saunders; Victoria Syvret
‘In the main, I have worked mainly with Richard Barge, but have recently worked with Simon Mawdseley. Richard Barge is an excellent solicitor and from the brief time I spent with Simon, he was extremely capable too.’
‘Richard Barge has a very good understanding of the principles of financial remedy law and how the various elements interlink.’
‘The firm are local to me in Chester, are professional and friendly, and I would 100% recommend Simon Mawdsley and A&P to anyone.’
‘The team at Aaron & Partners have all been excellent, especially Simon Mawdsley. He has helped me get through this entire episode with professionalism, care, and in some circumstances, humour.’
‘Aarons offer bespoke advice to private clients to a high standard. In my experience, they offer frank and reliable advice; and work collaboratively with counsel to best assist parties in dispute resolution. Where matters proceed to court, they will pursue their case fully. Their staff are dedicated and diligent.’
‘The family team in Chester work very cohesively in dealing with cases, and all team members are up to speed with matters. They have a ‘can do’ approach and are very honest with managing client expectations. The team is very experienced, and have handled many different types of divorce situations, providing a diverse and reassuring service to clients.’
‘Lorraine Saunders deals with complex divorce cases and has always been proactive and extremely organised. She is positive and efficient in all of my experience of working with her. Lorraine will always try to avoid unnecessary conflict and court proceedings, while making every attempt to ensure the best outcomes for the needs of her clients.’
A firm with an ‘excellent reputation in the North West’, Farleys Solicitors LLP has an impressive spread of complex divorce and financial remedy work alongside both public and private childcare cases. Antonia Love helms the practice and provides an ‘exceptional service’ to individuals engaged in separation negotiations, with notable expertise handling non-matrimonial assets, complex pension issues, and post-separation inheritance and business assets. The ‘highly experienced’ Ian Brunt tackles complicated children law and care proceedings alongside the ‘stand out’ Tony Rebello, whose recent work highlights include acting in criminal defence proceedings and allegations of sexual and physical abuse. Angharad Bentley is also active on firm matters, with a practice that is broadly split between divorce settlement cases and children work and routinely involves care proceedings and Child Arrangement Orders.
Other key lawyers:
Ian Brunt; Tony Rebello; Angharad Bentley
‘All I know is that I was recommended by a friend to Farleys and it was the best thing I could have done.’
‘I cannot say enough about Antonia Love, from the first meeting I had with her she made me feel relaxed and I could talk to her freely. Every meeting we had Antonia was very professional and help me get my confidence back after a long while.’
‘The matrimonial team are very competent and provide excellent customer service. They kept me updated at all stages of my court hearings. The billings were easy to understand and the service was definitely value for money.’
‘Partner Antonia Love provided an exceptional service during a very difficult divorce. She was very approachable, extremely knowledgeable and worked hard to get the best outcome for me.’
‘Dynamic family law team who are diligent and caring. They go the extra mile for clients in every case.’
‘The child law team is headed by Ian Brunt who is a highly experienced and respected solicitor known for his work on behalf of children and parents. Antonia Love heads the divorce team. She is very well regarded for her sensitive yet pragmatic advice intended to keep cost down whilst obtaining excellent results for her clients’
‘Farleys has an excellent reputation in the North West. The team has strength and breadth and presents itself on its client care.’
‘Tony Rebello is a stand-out individual in the team. His work rate is phenomenal and his commitment to his clients’ cases is outstanding. Tony is able to build up an easy rapport with his clients, who respond quickly to his approachable manner. He listens, but also is not afraid to offer realistic advice when required. Tony aims to navigate a smooth path for his clients through the choppy waters of care proceedings.’
Hill Dickinson LLP
Drawing superb praise from a catalogue of clients, Hill Dickinson LLP represents sport and media personalities, businesspeople, entrepreneurs and non-domicile individuals on divorce, financial remedy and childcare matters. Liverpool team head Joanne Raisbeck helms a high proportion of the firm’s marriage and separation mandates, ‘highly skilled in providing her clients with the very best advice’ regarding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The ‘exceptional’ Sarah McCarthy is principally noted for her expertise in complex children cases that involve international relocation, coercive behaviour, and psychological assessments, while Ellie Webster‘s key work highlights include supporting divorce matters involving high-value offshore trusts, as well complicated Special Guardianship Applications. Laura Bond continues to be highly active across the full range of practice mandates, with clients noting her as 'particularly excellent'.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah McCarthy; Ellie Webster; Laura Bond
‘The whole experience was excellent, from the initial consultation to the completion of my divorce. Divorce is a difficult experience but with guidance and support, the situation was made easier. Everything was explained clearly, options were detailed, and support was always available. I had lots of questions and worries but nothing was too much trouble.’
‘Ellie Webster has been a support network during the most difficult time of my life. Her knowledge and caring approach enabled me to face the divorce with confidence. Ellie knew I was feeling vulnerable, so she would explain the options, give me time and explain that at times I needed to be strong and persevere. Ellie is an exemplary professional who balances excellent professional knowledge with a caring, protective manner.’
‘I think this practice has been great from top to bottom. Those who I have come across since instructing Hill Dickinson have been fantastic, knowledgeable and experts in their area. The billing has been transparent and the technology used and knowledge by partners of Hill Dickson have been very good.’
A key point of differentiation for Mills & Reeve LLP is its expertise in alternative dispute resolution, with clients praising its proficiency in ‘mediation (including lawyer assisted mediation), collaborative law, arbitration and other out-of-court options.’ ‘Exceptional’ practice head Alison Bull is highly revered for her capabilities in One Lawyer Two Clients work, helping individuals settle disputes amicably and competently with flexibility that the court system rarely provides. An accredited family and civil mediator, Bull capably handles financial remedy proceeding involving complicated business, trust and overseas assets, as well as being well-versed in the drafting of nuptial agreements. Consultant Nigel Shepherd acts as an evaluator in private FDR proceedings, and his experience and reputation in the legal sphere continues to generate a high volume of activity for the firm. Andrew Moore is integral to the practice due to his broad expertise encompassing both matrimonial finance and children work, while Sue Brookes has been the main driver behind the group’s impressive cohabitation work, as well as routinely advising on post-separation disputes. Rose-Marie Drury has a strong understanding of surrogacy and fertility issues.
Other key lawyers:
Nigel Shepherd; Andrew Moore; Sue Brookes; Rose-Marie Drury
‘Excellent communication between team members, lawyers and support staff. The team is clearly very used to working together. Nothing fell through the gaps. I felt reassured that the team had my back. The new premises at Circle Square are fantastic – spacious, welcoming, friendly. The reception staff are wonderful. The tech is great – enabling remote conferences, hearings, lengthy meetings in comfort.’
‘Alison Bull the partner in charge of my case was exceptional. She accompanied me through several years of a complex, difficult and fractious divorce and was a tower of strength. She was compassionate, emotionally intelligent and focussed on the end goal. She has exceptional attention to detail and is an excellent manager of her team. I cannot praise Alison highly enough. Rose Marie Drury was an exceptional associate.’
‘Sue Brookes was outstanding and I cannot praise her enough for approach and advice which was invaluable and provided me with confidence that the process had a clearly defined end and the likely responses from the other side. I felt I was informed and supported at all times.’
‘Andrew Moore has dedicated himself to my families highly complex case of parental alienation with complex financial proceedings. Andy has exceeded all of my expectations and I cannot thank him enough.’
‘The team are well known for their commitment to ADR options such as mediation (including lawyer assisted mediation), collaborative law, arbitration and other out-of-court options. They have also introduced a one lawyer-two clients model.’
‘Alison Bull is a pragmatic lawyer who has a great grasp of the details of a case. Nigel Shepherd is one of the most well known family lawyers in the North West who has been critical in leading the campaign for no-fault divorce. Andrew Moore is incredibly well liked by clients and his peers and is takes a thoughtful and sensible approach to cases.’
‘What stands out to me is the firm’s approach to dispute resolution in all forms. Whether that’s mediation, their newly developed one lawyer two clients offering, or in the way in which they conduct their litigation. Even in highly contentious cases, there is an appropriate level of collaboration.
‘I was instructed last year by Rose-Marie Drury on a difficult case in which our client was the beneficiary of a substantial family trust against which her husband was trying to make a claim on divorce. I was hugely impressed not only with her legal analysis but also the sensible, pragmatic advice which meant that it was possible to navigate a negotiated settlement on favourable terms, at minimum financial and emotional expense.’
A firm with roots dating back to 1982, Cheshire-based Myerson Solicitors LLP advises on a broad range of family issues. Working closely with the agricultural and contentious trusts and probate team, the department is able to provide a holistic service to clients, regularly working with rural families with farmland or livestock. Fielding a bench consisting of both experienced litigators and mediators, the practice is well versed in private FDRs as well as complex financial remedy proceedings in the Manchester Family Court, among others. Team head Jane Tenquist handles high-net worth matrimonial finance matters, and is well accustomed to extensive business, trusts and foreign assets; she is also well regarded as an expert in nuptial agreements. Nichola Bright adds valuable capabilities in fertility and surrogacy law, including Parental Orders, and routinely works alongside Sarah Whitelegge who shows adeptness representing clients in children cases involving abuse and habitual residence disputes. Rachel Forster‘s commercial background is paramount to cases involving business assets held in complex corporate structures.
Other key lawyers:
Nichola Bright; Sarah Whitelegge; Rachel Forster
The ‘effective and collaborative’ practice at SAS Daniels LLP is particularly strong due to the dual-specialism of the lawyers in the team, with each member active on both divorce and financial remedy work, as well as complex children matters. Helming high-value cases for clients across a range of professions, department head Shelley Chesworth has considerable experience engaging in children advocacy work, with recent cases involving enforcement and non-molestation proceedings. Furthermore, she competently handles the steady stream of nuptial agreement mandates that the firm has seen an uptick in over the past twelve months. The ‘extremely diligent’ Anita Scorah has been active on issues regarding medical assessments and capacity concerns and is extremely capable in liaising with public bodies and local authorities in matters that span multiple jurisdictions. Claire Porter is a trusted port of call for clients with complex pension structures and business assets, while Cheryl Haywood has a broad practice that is largely concentrated on relocation cases and issues of domestic abuse and coercive control.
Other key lawyers:
Anita Scorah; Claire Porter; Cheryl Haywood
‘I have found the team to be very efficient and collaborate to ensure matters are dealt with quickly.’
‘I would highly recommend Anita Scorah to both friends and colleagues. She is extremely diligent and goes above and beyond for her clients. She provides realistic and fair advice whilst also doing her utmost to advance the best case for her clients.’
‘An impressive, forward-thinking, solution-focused firm’, Slater Heelis’s arsenal of capabilities includes a significant alternative dispute resolution offering, with a number of collaborative and resolution accredited mediators within its ranks. The team boasts an extensive track record handling complicated nuptial agreement mandates, as well as Schedule One Children Act and children relocation cases. Mark Heptinstall is a ‘true professional’, utilising his collaborative lawyer credentials to competently settle financial disputes, especially where trusts and international assets are present. Charlotte Beck provides trusted counsel to couples in cohabitation disputes or seeking post-separation advice, while Patricia Robinson, also a trained collaborative lawyer, has been involved in extensive, multi-faceted proceedings involving divorce, financial and child welfare aspects, as well as cross-border components. Phillip Rhodes is a go-to for nuptial agreements, fielding a roster of high-net worth clients from sport and media backgrounds; he is also a resolution accredited mediator.
Other key lawyers:
Charlotte Beck; Patricia Robinson; Phillip Rhodes
‘Particular mention should be given to Phil Rhodes and his assistants who went the extra mile and were always available for help. He displayed exceptional expertise and achieved the very best outcome for me.’
‘Slater Heelis in my opinion has exceeded my expectations, from the moment I was greeted I felt welcome. Mark Heptinstall and his team have been totally professional, there is excellent communication within the team, and they obviously all work together perfectly. The overall commitment from the team has put me at ease and has filled me with confidence. I know I am in safe hands.’
‘Mark Heptinstall is a true professional that has given me nothing but the best advice. Both Mark and Gabriella have the ability to listen and I actually feel I have been heard.’
‘The team work here is astonishing. Every step of the way when we needed additional support there was always someone in the firm to assist. Mark Hepstinstall made sure to direct me to the best person with the firm. At some point I had multiple cases in few different departments within the firm. They all collaborated and worked diligently to achieve the best outcome. They are diverse and work together with client focus approach. Very down to earth people.’
‘A team that is going from strength to strength. They have recruited excellent individuals who very much fit ‘the mould’. The team overall is extremely dedicated but also very down to earth. Their people skills are second to none and really set them apart from other firms that I have worked with. They work collaboratively which means more often than not the client gets the benefit of a mixture of the different qualities each team member brings.’
Patricia Robinson is fabulous in every way. Clients like and trust her, and she is always willing to go that extra mile and her judgment is spot on.
‘Slater Heelis is an impressive, forward-thinking, solution-focused firm, delivering a very dedicated, high quality service to their clients. As a silk instructed by them in a very demanding, long-running, high-conflict case, I simply cannot fault the support and service that I received. Together, we turned around a case from a sure-fire loser to an ultimate winner, which speaks volumes for their level of commitment, diligence and determination.’
‘Charlotte Beck is an outstanding family law solicitor. Intelligent, insightful, resolute and with exceptional client-care skills, she delivers amazing results. Jodi Tuson is also a highly capable young solicitor with a bright future ahead of them.’
A firm that demonstrates a ‘mastery of facts’ in both high-value matrimonial finance and complex children welfare cases, Vardags is a strong choice for clients in the North West seeking family legal counsel. Featuring a wealth of in-house specialisms, including a property valuation, financial forensic, and criminal team, the group show established proficiency in pre- and post-nuptial agreements, Schedule 1 Children Act proceedings, and multi-layered financial remedy cases. Leading the practice and recently promoted Regional Managing Partner Emma Gill is an ‘absolute star’, focusing on the firm’s most extensive high value divorce mandates which involve representing a diverse range of clients including sports and media personalities on matters concerning coercive behaviour, extensive property and business assets, and international components. Head of the children department Lucy Williams is an ‘outstanding family lawyer’, routinely leading financial matters with attached issues of domestic abuse and parental alienation, while Annemarie Bradley has a broad practice that includes ‘highly complex and high net worth cases’, usually with technical cross-border components. ‘An experienced head on young shoulders‘, Reece Johnson handles a significant volume of big-ticket mandates, with notable expertise directing asset tracing and analysing complicated corporate structures. Other key names include senior associate Nikki Hale ('a partner in the making, with intellect and skills beyond her experience'), senior associate Kate Kempster ('another star in the making'), and Gareth Curtis, who joined the practice in April 2023 from Stowe Family Law LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Lucy Williams; Annemarie Bradley; Reece Johnson; Gareth Curtis; Nikki Hale; Kate Kempster
‘Vardags’ outstanding experience in the field of family law is reflected in its very sound grasp of the issues relating to my case. As an organisation, the firm is approachable and professional, projecting humanity and warmth. Its well-developed relationships with partners, including at the bar, sound tactical and strategic sense and balanced expectations have made me feel well-supported as a client and confident that my interests are heeded and acted upon.’
‘The Vardags team is dedicated and reflective, able to combine a friendly face with a good listening ear, mastery of facts and, where necessary, determination in pressing the client’s case. There is a youthful energy in the team with which I have worked and a pleasing readiness to think laterally that never loses sight of the firm’s collective experience and wisdom.’
‘Emma Gill is a “no nonsense” figurehead, with an exceptional reputation. I deal with her team on a day-to-day basis but get the sense Emma is orchestrating the strategy behind the scenes. I however wanted to highlight Reece Johnson as a particular stand-out in the Team. Reece is extremely knowledgeable, calm and very professional. Particularly his ability to focus on the strategy of the case and to disregard distraction.’
‘Emma Gill is an absolute star. She offers clear leadership to her team while developing close relationships with clients. She has sound judgment- striving to get the best results for her clients. Reece Johnson is very impressive and examines all details in a case.’
‘The team are close-knit and have a huge amount of experience. They collaborate and are not shy of taking soundings within the team so the client gets the benefit of a range of experience even if the solicitor with conduct of the case is relatively junior. The quality, quantity and breath of their work means they have excellent judgment about the strengths and weaknesses of their clients’ cases and can advise accordingly.’
‘Lucy Williams is an outstanding family lawyer. She has got it all. It’s not just that she is on top of the law and the facts of her clients’ cases, she has something that no amount of training and hard work can buy: she has a natural acumen for the work. She is a brilliant tactician and a warm presence. I believe she will go very far. She certainly deserves to.
‘Annemarie Bradley’s vast experience in highly complex and high net worth cases means she remains unfazed at more challenging times, regardless of what is thrown at her. She thoroughly supports her clients throughout the process.’
‘Reece Johnson is very much an experienced head on young shoulders. He has a fantastic manner with clients and is able to boil down any contentious or complicated issue, seemingly with ease. Reece is very conscientious and focused upon achieving the best overall outcome for his clients.’
HD in HD v WB  EWFC 2. Final hearing November 2022 after 8-day trial in the High Court
- HD v WB  EWFC 2: Instructed by the husband on a complex case concerning over £43 million in realisable assets, almost entirely in the wife’s name. The case is significant and particularly noteworthy as it develops the area of pre-nuptial agreements particular when such agreements will be binding.
BPS Family Law LLP
In the wake of an impressive run which has seen the team advising on extensive high-value cross-border work as well as complicated child cases, BPS Family Law LLP is increasingly gaining a reputation of being ‘very capable of standing toe to toe with the big firms’. A key point of differentiation for the group is its understanding of Jewish culture and relationships, with many clients in the Manchester community and beyond seeking counsel on family and divorce cases. Caroline Swain heads the team, taking the lead on financial remedy proceedings that involve trusts, business assets, pensions and overseas holdings, as well as being active on a number of children relocation mandates. Jennifer Roulston, who joined from Lund Bennett in April 2022, delivers a ‘wealth of experience’ to clients on matters concerning divorce and cohabitation disputes, while also being highly knowledgeable on Sharia family law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Bps family law have been fantastic and so professional with any queries have had and are very easy to contact and speak to regarding any questions.’
‘Caroline Swain has been amazing and answered all questions I have asked the same day.’
‘Caroline Swain was professional, sympathetic and very reassuring.’
Butcher & Barlow LLP
A firm that has historically served the North West since 1887, Butcher & Barlow LLP has a deep bench of advisors with a variety of specialisms within family legal work. Team head Kevan Hankinson is a resolution accredited specialist, often involved in advocacy for particularly complex private children law and financial matters. Angela Gleave has notable expertise in cohabitation and nuptial agreements alongside her developed niche representing grandparents in Living Arrangements Order applications, while the ‘amazing’ Alexandra Williams, who joined the firm in February 2022 from Allington Hughes Solicitors, is particularly experienced in financial matters concerning capacity and family cases involving vulnerable children with both physical and mental disabilities. Caroline Cockill-Guy is highlighted for her ability to find the best solution for clients, especially in monetary disputes involving multiple properties, agricultural and livestock assets, and international components.
Other key lawyers:
Angela Gleave; Alexandra Williams; Caroline Cockill-Guy
‘Butcher & Barlow is the first Solicitor’s firm i ever used. I choose this firm from the recommendation of few friends. They were very happy wit the service provided. Over 12 months of cooperation with Butcher & Barlow I can say one thing. They are top notch and very very friendly and professional law firm.’
‘Caroline Cockill-Guy is a very professional and experienced solicitor. She is very good at her job whilst also being friendly and always trying find best solution. Definitely if I need any legal help in the future I will be contacting Caroline. I would highly recommend Caroline and Butcher & Barlow.’
‘Local practice in the town with a good track record and reputation of providing support and expert professional advice. Good informal network of satisfied clients who recommend this practice. Initial meetings are honest, clear with no pressure for the business.’
Clarke Willmott LLP is highly active in high-net worth divorce and financial matters, regularly advising clients on nuptial agreements, business and pension structures, and extensive land holdings. In addition, key work highlights over the past twelve months demonstrate an impressive track record in complex child arrangement court proceedings, including allegations of physical, emotional and psychological abuse. The ‘practical’ Chris Longbottom heads the team, possessing a broad practice that includes specific expertise in addressing hidden wealth issues, cross-border assets, and parental alienation. A ‘rising star in the market’, Emily Finn is a law specialist who is both ‘likeable and knowledgeable’ and provides trusted counsel to couples interested in nuptial agreements and financial provision advice before marriage.
Other key lawyers:
‘The sense of being the focus of their attention is what sets Clarke Wilmot apart from other firms. From the outset, the team at Clarke Wilmot have made me feel like mine is the only case they have. They’re attentive, personable and have a keen eye for detail. They have reflected my personality in the presentation of the case and have subsequently been honourable, honest and patient with the other party.’
‘Chris Longbottom’s attention to detail and ability to quickly reassure me has been a huge help in what is undoubtably the most stressful time of my life. Worrying about the skill of your solicitor is not something I have time for when dealing with all other aspects of the case, so to know Chris and his team, namely Paige Atherton and Leah Taylor have all the details in hand is a huge relief.’
‘Very responsive to my concerns. Outlined things for me to consider, things that were relevant, but I wasn’t even aware that I should be thinking about them. I was grateful for their expertise and guidance. But in the end, I was the one making the decision, and they performed according to my requests.’
‘I worked primarily with Emily Finn. She was extremely competent and reached out to others when appropriate. She was always timely in her responses to me.’
‘Compassionate, transparent, understanding and professional. Highly recommended.’
‘Although a team of relatively small size, their reputation is strong. They are known for being easy to deal with, pleasant, but always focused on the best interests of their clients.’
‘Chris Longbottom is well known in the Manchester market and is an approachable, practical and sensible advocate. Emily Finn is a rising star in the market. She is a treasurer of YRes Manchester and a well respected junior family law specialist who is likeable and knowledgeable.’
‘All members of the team have good knowledge of the law, are very approachable and go out of their way to make clients feel supported.’
Forbes Solicitors practice both public and private family law, witnessing an uptick in matters regarding non-accidental injury and domestic violence cases for the former, and mandates concerning the establishment of habitual residence for the latter. Beyond this work, the team are adept at complex financial remedy cases involving pensions and corporate structures, as well as care and guardianship orders. Rubina Vohra leads the private law team from Blackburn, advising on the full range of matrimonial finance issues, including disputes pertaining to the freezing of assets, financial forensics, and drafting nuptial agreements, as well as showing notable expertise in cases requiring non-molestation applications. The public law head and Preston-based Helen Shirbon is ‘a meticulously well-prepared, measured and highly effective advocate in complex childcare cases’, routinely representing vulnerable children in court. Gill Carr specialises in forced marriage and honour-based violence matters, as well as deprivation of liberty and gender recognition mandates, while the ‘very experienced’ Shirley Wignall leverages over thirty years of practice to represent both children and adults in a variety of court cases.
Rubina Vohra; Helen Shirbon
Other key lawyers:
Gill Carr; Shirley Wignall
‘Shirley Wignall is quite simply a solicitor who you want on your side. Knowledgable, practical, compassionate and very experienced in difficult children cases. Helen Shirbon is meticulously well prepared, measured and highly effective advocate in complex childcare cases. Gill Carr is highly respected and will go above and beyond for her clients.’
‘Gill Carr is experienced in her field of work; she is good both in the court and when meeting with her young people as their solicitor. Gill is approachable and makes information digestible to young people and is keen to hear their voice and include them in the court process where appropriate.’
‘The team at Forbes have been outstanding and have maintained professionalism and integrity throughout this process. They always act with integrity and professionalism and the performance of their work is always reflected in every communication I have with them. They have made a very personal and difficult situation somewhat easier.’
- Represented a father facing sexual abuse allegations which led to significant evidential issues with a lengthy trial.
- Acted on behalf of a teenager with significant mental health difficulties and multiple diagnoses in an application for deprivation of his liberty.
- Advised and represented in a financial remedy matter for the husband where agricultural and inherited assets in a long marriage with dependants who had health needs had to be ringfenced and divided.
A firm with a truly national presence, Stowe Family Law LLP‘s regional offering includes eleven offices covering areas such as Chester, Crewe, Wigan and Preston. A ‘friendly and professional’ team, the group deal with the full range of pre-marriage, divorce, post-separation and cohabitation related issues, as well as being proficient at complex child and family law act issues. Altrincham-head Helen Miller is a go-to for multi-layered financial remedy matters, as well as child relocation cases with cross-border components. Gareth Curtis leads the Manchester team and advises high-profile and high-net worth individuals on trusts and corporate structure negotiations, while also demonstrating notable expertise in Schedule 1 Child Act proceedings. Third team head and operating out of Liverpool, the highly recommended Matthew Taylor has a broad practice that has a particular focus on TOLATA disputes and cohabitee disagreements.
Helen Miller; Gareth Curtis; Matthew Taylor
‘I have found all my dealings with the Stowe team friendly, professional and nurturing (at a time when I most needed legal advice about a challenging situation).’
‘Helen Miller in particular is incredibly knowledgeable, approachable and compassionate in her approach, which was much appreciated.’
‘Brilliant, compassionate, knowledgeable and effective
The Stowe Family Law team in Liverpool went above and beyond to help me through a stressful time for me. They were kind and absolutely brilliant in everything. How they planned the strategy, the team (barrister), the experts we needed (psychologists etc) so we stayed on top of things and also in the most time efficient manner.’
‘I can’t recommend and thank Matthew Taylor and the team highly enough – they were and still are the light in one of the darkest times in my life.
‘From the first initial contact with Matthew Taylor, I felt for the first time that someone was on my side and really wanted to help me. But more importantly, that finally someone ‘got me’ and knew a way out’.
Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors
The ‘amazing‘ Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors provides a full-service offering, and owing to its considerably deep and experienced bench, is particularly geared to act on children, family and injunction cases. Consistent with previous years, the firm has noted a continued uptick in domestic abuse cases including coercive control and controlling behaviour, routinely with drug and alcohol misuse also apparent. Wielding over twenty years of social care experience before founding the practice in 1997, managing director Susan Howarth is a true specialist in dealing with these cases, as well as possessing a portfolio of high-value financial remedy mandates. Accredited family mediator Victoria Poole has particular expertise in agricultural and pension-related disputes and regularly leads child welfare court matters. Nicola Deakin‘s recent work highlights include representing grandparents in Parental Responsibility applications, child relocation proceedings, and complicated Child Arrangement Orders, while David Bannister and Sonia Rickard are also highly active on a variety of matters.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Poole; Nicola Deakin; David Bannister; Sonia Rickard
‘I went to Susan Howarth to help with representation with my divorce case and had never expected the outcome that I got, I am so happy and grateful with all the amazing support that all the team had given me and would use them 100per cent again if I had to and would also recommend them to anyone else.’
‘Victoria Poole is an amazing solicitor to use for family court in child matter. She is very knowledgeable and basically handled the entire case herself. I could not recommend her more!’
‘My first impression was how friendly and professional the team were. I discussed my situation with Nicola Deakin and she explained in detail what the way forward would entail, and an estimate of the costs and time frame. I was always informed of proceedings, and they were always exemplary and very professional.’
- Represented a wife in divorce / financial remedy proceedings. Husband wanted 100% of matrimonial assets and income. The case was settled after FDR resulting in assets divided equally and was therefore a success for the client.
- Represented wife in a domestic abuse case against husband. Advised client on the need for financial disclosure and disclosure of husband’s pension after separation. Resulted in a satisfactory outcome for the client.
- Successfully secured a ‘no contact order’, Child Arrangements Order, and Prohibited Steps Order for wife and mother of two in a post-separation coercive control and domestic violence case.
VM Family Law
The ascendant team at VM Family Law is steadily consolidating its position as a strong competitor in the market, acting on high-value financial remedy and divorce work involving multiple assets and complicated pension structures, alongside varied children work regarding contact arrangements, safeguarding measures, and Declaration of Parentage. Leading the group is Victoria Melling, a ‘superb’ practitioner who is well-versed in complex financial settlements, routinely handling cross-border property issues, business assets, and substantial trusts. Amanda Rimmer, who joined from the highly-reputed Stephensons Solicitors LLP in November 2022, has bolstered the firm’s capacity to handle multi-layered divorce cases, often negotiating settlement agreements alongside allegations of abuse, mental health difficulties, and drug and alcohol issues. Ceri Thomas, who is a Resolution accredited specialist in financial remedy, private law Children Act, and domestic abuse areas, is also highly active on matters and draws superlative praise from clients.
Other key lawyers:
Amanda Rimmer; Ceri Thomas
‘Victoria Melling is superb within her filed. She has many years of experience in matrimonial finance and is an expert within this area. Her instructions are always complete and she has usually worked out her own answers to any questions before asking. Her care of clients is magnificent.’
‘They are a relatively new team in the market and are developing a reputation as a safe pair of hands for family cases. They are growing and are attracting good work.’
‘Victoria Melling heads the firm and is a strong lawyer with a good knowledge. Ceri Thomas is sensible and pleasant to deal with on cases. She is prominent within Resolution and sits on the regional committee.’
Ward Hadaway LLP focus on high-net worth mandates, acting for individuals with both UK and non-UK assets in divorce and financial remedy proceedings. Within its broad range of expertise, the practice also has specialisms in surrogacy and fertility law, as well as post-divorce financial counsel. Leading the team is the highly experienced Christine Barker who advises on complex financial settlement negotiations, possessing a wealth of knowledge regarding pension and trust arrangements. Liz Bottrill is highly sought after for her proficiency in nuptial agreements, as well as her understanding of cohabitation, children, and surrogacy issues. David Burrows is active in the firm’s steady stream of domestic violence cases, while Rachael Longman‘s is intimately familiar with children arrangement proceedings during parental disputes.
Christine Barker; Liz Bottrill
Other key lawyers:
David Burrows; Rachael Longman
‘Rachel Ward made me feel safe during hard and stressful times.’
‘I worked with Liz Bottrill. I was always able to get a response if she was unavailable, either from her secretary or her trainee.’
‘Liz Bottrill is very Knowledgeable in relation to matrimonial matters, with particular experience in advising clients with impaired mental capacity under the Court of Protection. She is very down to earth and very good explaining matters to clients.’
Coercive control issues form the cornerstone of the practice at Watson Ramsbottom, with near unparalleled activity in domestic, mental and sexual abuse cases, as well as stalking, forced marriage and honour-based violence cases. The department is also active in a wide range of public and private children cases, many with an international element. Respected in the market as a ‘recognised expert in domestic abuse and coercive control’ cases, Rachel Horman-Brown‘s national practice has seen her act before the Court of Appeal and Royal Courts of Justice, particularly in mandates involving domestic abuse and stalking. Beyond her work in coercive control cases, Stephanie Pollitt has considerable expertise in matters involving the deprivation of liberty and human rights violations, while Sophia Isa is principally noted for her acumen in private children act proceedings, forced marriage, and female gender mutilation mandates. The firm also had a busy year of recruitment, with six practitioners arriving by the close of 2022.
Other key lawyers:
Stephanie Pollitt; Sophia Isa
‘Very strong team with experienced practitioners in domestic abuse, forced marriage and private law children. National reputation for the domestic abuse, coercive control, stalking work they undertake.’
‘Rachel Horman-Brown is a recognised expert in domestic abuse, coercive control, stalking, cyberstalking cases. Committed to representing survivors of domestic abuse. Knowledgeable, practical and empathetic.
‘Stephanie Pollitt is a highly experienced children law practitioner. Totally child focused, and very hard-working.’
Bromleys Solicitors LLP
Complex care proceedings form the cornerstone of the practice at Bromleys Solicitors LLP, with notable cases in the past twelve months pertaining to non-accidental injury, Placement Orders, Special Guardianship Orders, Non Molestation Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders. Furthermore, many of the cases routinely involve multiple-jurisdictions and a variety of external experts and psychological assessments. Olivia Bell leads the practice and focuses on child matters, working closely with local authorities to handle disputes in duty of care and safeguarding. Kate Allsop has a broad practice, with particular expertise in issues regarding domestic abuse and forced marriage protection. Anthony Theakston is also highly active, widely praised by clients for his work in court.
Other key lawyers:
Kate Allsop; Anthony Theakston
‘Many talented senior lawyers in this team. True strength and depth, and efficiency. Administrative staff are very high quality , bundles are always immaculate and deadlines adhered to. If I needed a lawyer, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. The ethos is one of total commitment to children, and they organise events with fund-raising for children’s charities as a focus.’
‘As a firm, I find Bromleys Solicitors stand out positively from the many other firms I work with. A key strength of the firm is that together and individually, the solicitors are well-supported and provide a skilled and efficient service. Bromleys consistently give clear concise legal advice but this is only the baseline for the service they provide.’
‘The team is exceptionally well run. Everyone I have worked with at Bromleys is very well-equipped to meet the challenges we face in the Family Court. They know the area of law well and area always well-prepared for every hearing. More importantly, in my view, is that they are able to cater to the individual needs of their client, both professional or lay client. They provide an invaluable contribution to Family Court in Manchester.’
Gorvins Solicitors advise on the full range of matrimonial finance and childcare mandates, with key work highlights from the past twelve months showing complex cases involving an overlap of both areas of family law, with additional complications such as crypto assets and high-value pensions. Team head and ‘stand out partner‘ Nicola Fraser specialises in financial settlement disputes involving a large array of assets, especially when they pertain to corporate structures. Experienced mediator Rachel Edwards Barrott is also active on a wide breadth of firm cases, and is chiefly noted for her expertise in domestic violence, cohabitation agreements and Schedule 1 Children Act matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have always enjoyed working with the team at Gorvins. They are very friendly, diligent and have excellent attention to detail.’
‘I mainly have experience of working with Nicola Fraser. Nicola is a stand-out partner who goes above and beyond for her clients. She is particularly good at dealing with complex matters and her no-nonsense and practical approach means that cases are dealt with very effectively.’
‘A highly regarded Stockport practice with an enviable reputation for family law.’
‘Nicola Fraser goes above and beyond for her clients.’
gunnercooke LLP gives clients a ‘5-star treatment’ when dealing with family matters, with a range of clients spanning the North West – especially within the sports sector. Nuptial agreements are a fundamental part of the practice’s work, as well as both financial remedy litigation and mediation and complex private child arrangements. Singled out for his wealth of expertise regarding agricultural assets and child maintenance litigation, Roland Humphreys is the stand-out figure at the firm and has a broad caseload, with recent highlights including domestic abuse disputes and child financial arrangement mandates. Roland is also well-versed in cross-border matters, routinely advising on relocation cases and divorces involving international components.
Other key lawyers:
‘All members of this Family practice that I came across were very competent, professional but also very approachable. The advice received and the representation I had from Roland Humphreys and Counsel was the very best, certainly 5-star treatment.’
‘The individual I worked with – Roland Humphreys – not only offered me very sound legal advice but offered tremendous personal support. I cannot thank him enough for guiding me through what was an extremely difficult and stressful period. Everything he undertook on my behalf, written documentation, representing me in Court etc was of the very highest standard and he certainly achieved the best possible outcome for me in all aspects of my divorce.’
‘Roland Humphreys is highly competent in both matrimonial finance and child law and was an excellent support at all stages of the case. He has the ability to analyse complex legal and factual issues and break them down to their simplest components for the benefit of lay clients. I would not hesitate in recommending him for any complex or moderately complex divorce case.’
‘My dealings with individual solicitors have been positive.’
‘Roland Humphreys is really impressive. He is able to build a good rapport with the client and is very responsive to their questions and requests. A keen eye for detail. Not afraid of giving robust advice when needed. Overall, a real pleasure to work with.’
Having added a Lytham-based offering to its already established three office presence in the North West, Harrison Drury & Co ensures it is regularly sought out by clients in the local market for a range of family matters. The team has been highly active in Children Act proceedings, many of which involving criminal accusations and cross-border aspects. Drawing a wide round of client praise, team head John Osborne excels at complex financial remedy cases, especially when they concern pensions, trusts and foreign property, and was also possessing niche expertise in IVF cases. Janine Hutson has a broad practice encompassing financial remedy, wealth protection, and children mandates, while the ‘outstanding’ Rebecca Patience has been active in complex safeguarding cases. Emma Panchal joined the team in April 2023 from Coupe Bradbury.
Other key lawyers:
Janine Hutson; Rebecca Patience; Emma Panchal
‘The family team at this firm conduct financial remedies cases including the preparation of pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements. They are experienced in big money cases including those involving farms and generational wealth.’
‘I have been instructed by Rebecca Patience from this firm. She is an excellent solicitor with a keen eye for detail. I have always felt fully supported by her to ensure the best outcome for the lay client. She gives realistic advice and listens to the client.’
‘The advice I received was clear, uncluttered and made sense. The service was at all times courteous, prompt and my questions were answered clearly every time. Emails were replied to promptly.’
‘I dealt almost exclusively with John Osborne who was great; he handled all situations that we encountered calmly and always saw a clear way through. I cannot recommend him and his team enough.’
‘From the first meeting I had with Harrison Drury & Co I was impressed with their approach. This was in regard to a divorce matter. They were extremely factual but at the same time very understanding of the situation, which was refreshing. As their work progressed they have always been organised in their approach, sending and receiving paperwork, their billing and breakdown of bills.’
‘The Team at Harrison Drury seem committed to find the best outcome for the children, with a child-centric approach being at the core. They are informative to the client, but also respectful of the other side, even in the face of unprofessional behaviour and their standards remain high even under the greatest of pressure, handling requests calmly and sensitively.’
‘Rebecca Patience, my solicitor, has been nothing short of outstanding and should be highly commended for her approach, demeanour and conduct. She is professional, understanding, and incredibly thorough. Knowing now what I do about her, I could not have wished for a more suitable solicitor.’
‘They have a wealth of experience and local knowledge. The team is very collegiate and supportive of one another. They provide a first class service to their clients.’
HM3 Legal has added further strength to its employment offering through the arrival of Elizabeth Hassall from Jolliffe & Co LLP. An eminent practitioner in the North Western market, Hassall brings revered expertise in financial settlements, particularly corporate, agricultural and overseas assets. The team is also geared to act on a range of family and children matters, bolstered by the addition of new arrival Emma Evans, who has niche proficiency in guardianship and surrogacy law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Elizabeth Hassall has brought many years of very high standard experience to this firm. She is exceptional in the field of financial remedy on divorce. Her quality flows into instructions and benefits the client.’
‘Elizabeth Hassall heads a very good team who clearly enjoy her leadership. Andrew Scott should be mentioned as outstanding.’
‘Elizabeth Hassall stands out as exceptional. She has vast experience in financial remedy work and has been with large Manchester and Liverpool firms during her long career. As well as very good lawyer skills she is sensitive to people, generally whether clients or opponents. Great judgment in litigation and negotiation. Top of the tree.’
Keystone Law‘s family practice is noted for its proficiency in cross-border matrimonial finance work, working with a number of clients possessing assets totaling multi-million and multi-billion values. Sarah Thompson is the ‘stand-out practitioner’ in the team, with a broad practice that is particularly concentrated on financial remedy proceedings involving agricultural assets and complex pension structures. Beyond financial work, Thompson is also routinely involved in Schedule 1 Children Act, as well as complicated family relocation disputes.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm were very professional, keeping me updated on all aspects of my case. The Solicitor I had been assigned was so helpful and helped me understand each process clearly and guided me on what to expect next. The whole process of sending documents, signing them and invoices was a very smooth process.’
‘I would highly recommend Sarah Thompson as my solicitor. She was very good at her job, professional, caring, helpful and honest. Sarah always had my best interests at heart and helped me during a very difficult period. The outcome she got was better than I could have imagined.’
‘The family team at Keystone in my view has increased its strength over the last few years with recruits such as Hannah Cornish and Sarah Thompson; both excellent and respected individuals.’
‘Sarah Thompson is a stand out practitioner. Her knowledge of financial remedy, in particular complex pension claims, is unrivalled. Sarah is a pleasure to work with. She has a superb ability to stay calm, even in the most stressful or pressured situations.’
Kuit Steinart Levy LLP acts on a strong portfolio of financial remedy work, working closely with its tax and corporate teams to advise clients on effective wealth protection. The firm has seen a strong stream of high-value nuptial matters, as well as cohabitation agreements and mediating over the settlement of trusts, pensions and Family Investment Companies. Colin Davies leads the practice, acting on a broad range of mandates in addition to being a go-to for surrogacy and fertility advice. Ayesha Griffin has expertise in both matrimonial finance and private children matters, with recent cases involving highly contentious Hague Convention proceedings, child arrangement orders and non-molestation measures. Natasha Forrester joined the firm in July 2022 from Poole Alcock LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team instilled me with confidence. They worked very effectively together and if one was unavailable the others knew the position. They were knowledgeable with a high degree of professionalism, instilling confidence with a total command of the brief.’
‘Absolute stand out was Colin Davies! From the moment he took over my case to the final hearing, I knew we were in safe hands. Colin embodies quiet authority, calmness and kindness by the bucket full. He has a level of emotional intelligence which is rare and for which I was immensely grateful. His judgement and advice was based on experience and sound which gave me some confidence in a stressful situation.’
‘Beyond doubt one of the top firms in this area of England. The team is always attentive, thorough and the quality of instructions top class.’
Lowry Legal (affiliated with Excello Law) handles a steady stream of financial remedy and children mandates, wielding the ability to both litigate in court and negotiate settlements through mediation. Most specifically, the firm is noted for its expertise in surrogacy, fertility and same sex issues, further boosted by the expertise of new arrival Michael Gregory, who joined in July 2022 from Beswicks Legal. Team head and founder Katie McCann‘s far-reaching proficiency is especially concentrated in FDR proceedings, leveraging her experience as a barrister to regularly conduct her own advocacy, as well as showing strong capabilities in nuptial agreements and collaborative work. Abigail Woodcock is also highly active on practice matters, and qualified into the team in April 2023.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Gregory; Abigail Woodcock; Lesley Smythe
‘Lesley Smythe is an experienced, highly capable and client focused solicitor who exudes confidence. She ensures her clients receive an exceptional service.’
- Advising a husband in respect to a family dispute regarding the respondent wife’s interest in a substantial family trust and her involvement with the family business – worth around £34 million – and its relevance to the overall settlement.
- Acting for a wife in respect to her divorce and finance proceedings which involved a pre-nuptial agreement which we understand our client signed under duress and within days of the wedding.
- Advising a man in respect to a particularly contentious financial remedy application, made by his spouse, concerning an extensive matrimonial pot worth approximately £3 million and involving a complex family dispute affecting the family trust and international property.
Slater and Gordon‘s connection with the Police Federation ensures it is sought out for complex pension and child arrangement matters for officers engaged in divorce and financial remedy proceedings. In addition, the firm advises on the full range of matrimonial finance issues, particularly nuptial agreements, as well as cohabitation disputes, TOLATA disputes, and Schedule 1 Children Act cases. Georgina Chase fronts the practice, specialising in pension structures, foreign assets and hidden wealth, as well as routinely acting in private children disputes. Having joined from Jackson Lees Group in June 2022, Jenniffer Brunt has brought to the firm established expertise in onshore and offshore trusts and is highly active in both matrimonial finance and domestic abuse cases, while Helen Morgan is a go-to for personal injury advice.
Other key lawyers:
Jenniffer Brunt; Helen Morgan
‘A fabulous team of Family lawyers who are one of the go-to teams in Manchester. Capable and caring with the experience to deal with the most difficult cases’
‘Georgina Chase is a first-class family lawyer of the highest calibre. She is sought after by clients and one of the most talented family lawyers around. She combines a very pleasant and tenacious manner that finds favour with lots of clients and more importantly the courts.’
‘Georgina Chase makes the practice unique by the way she leads the team. She has great connections in the industry and she is approachable; conscientious and is great tactician.’
‘They are a very commercially minded team, whilst maintaining the personal touch required for Family Law. They are fantastic to be on the same side as and are a formidable opponent when against them.’
‘Georgina Chase has rebuilt the team, almost single-handedly, whilst maintaining her very busy practice. Leads the team by example! Jenniffer Brunt has been a great addition to the team and brings with her a lot of experience.’
- Representing a wife in a complex Financial Remedy case following a 21 year marriage including cohabitation, and involving the husband’s unusual and valuable £3.3m pension in payment (the main asset), his business in which the client is a 45% shareholder, and the FMH.
- Representing a retired police officer in his complex, financial remedy case involving a deferred pension sharing order. The claim is worth £4million.
- Representing a husband in his complex Financial Remedy case involving a 16 year marriage with two dependent children. This case has cross-border complexities and is valued at £7.5million.
Woodcocks Haworth & Nuttall (WHN)
The ‘courteous, efficient, and talented’ team at Woodcocks Haworth & Nuttall (WHN) advise on an impressive volume of divorce and financial remedy work, as well as a range of complicated Children Act proceedings. A distinctive strength of the practice is its ability to handle complex nuptial agreements, with extensive experience in ringfencing business and foreign assets. David Connor has proficiencies in divorce and cohabitation disputes, acting in cases involving hidden finances and pension structures, whereas Diane Matthews is particularly knowledgeable regarding the dissolution of civil partnerships, and is a regular port of call for clients interested in cohabitation agreements and nuptial agreements. Catherine Vinden joined from Bury Metropolitan Borough Council in May 2022.
Other key lawyers:
‘In my experience, WHN Solicitors are both extremely professional and friendly. They explain legalities clearly and simply to their clients. They respond promptly to queries and always put my mind at rest over any concerns. They fill me with confidence that they have my best interests at the heart of everything they do and that my business is extremely important to them. I have never felt like ‘just another client’.’
‘Diane Matthews has been a very supportive and capable solicitor throughout my dealings with both her personally and the staff who work alongside her. From the very start she made me feel confident that she had full grasp of my situation and was dealing with it efficiently and professionally, but at the same time was very empathetic towards my situation.’
‘One of WHN Solicitors strengths is the people who work there. Courteous, efficient and talented. Communication was second to none. An extremely efficient company that I would recommend to others.’