Family in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP is sought after for its expertise in handling high-value, complex matrimonial disputes involving finances and children. The team's clients include business owners, media personalities and owners of landed estates; it is particularly active in advising sportspersons, whose short careers complicate the determination of financial remedies. The practice is led by Helen Marriott in Liverpool and Joanne Radcliff in Manchester, both of whom have broad practices encompassing divorce as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Natalie Dickson was promoted to partner in May 2020 and handles financial remedy and private children matters, including those with international elements.

Practice head(s):

Helen Marriott; Joanne Radcliff

Other key lawyers:

Natalie Dickson; Richard Rigg; Leanne Instrall


‘Brabners is a market-leading, multi-disciplinary practice in NW England, with an outstanding reputation that originated in the commercial field. The Family team fits well in this environment, providing complementary services to high-net-worth clients within the firm and externally.’

‘I’ve known the firm for many years, particularly the Family team. I have been instructed by Joanne Radcliff, Amy Harris and Leanne Instrall. All are extremely capable and hard-working, committed to serving their clients.’

‘Joanne Radcliff and her team in Manchester are well respected and while they work as needed for their clients – they do so with decorum and respect for others. They clearly act with care and expertise for their clients. They are well known and often seen with events/ public presentations. I know that they are keen to promote their internal diversity which is a great example to the profession. ’

‘Joanne Radcliff is lovely and very knowledgeable in her work and wants the best outcome for her clients. Leanne clearly has an eye for detail. Together they all make a great team. ’

‘Helen Marriott is a class act. She is client focussed and gets results.’

‘The family team at Brabners are excellent. They work collaboratively with other teams within the firm to provide cost effective and joined up advice to their clients. They are approachable and are key players in the Manchester family law community through Resolution, volunteering, and social scene. ’

‘Joanne Radcliffe is truly excellent with phenomenal client care skills. She is a joy to work with and collaborates with other lawyers to deliver bespoke outcomes for families.

‘Amy Harris has a calm and thorough manner when dealing with clients at a difficult time and committed to the best outcome’

Hall Brown Family Law

Hall Brown Family Law is instructed on some of the highest-value matters in the market, acting for business owners and prominent sports people in matrimonial disputes. The practice's financial remedy work includes advising on multijurisdictional disputes involving complicating aspects such as post-separation accrual. The team also acts for its globally-connected clients on children matters, including those involving abductions and applications for leave to remove. The highly experienced James Brown and Sam Hall lead the team which also includes Andrew Newbury; Newbury is valued by clients for his 'immense knowledge and intellectual ability'. Senior associate Laura Guillon has a broad practice encompassing financial remedy and Schedule 1 Children Act disputes.

Practice head(s):

James Brown; Sam Hall

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Newbury; Beth Wilkins; Laura Guillon


‘Well known and well respected for high net worth money work. Fights client case without being too aggressive or losing sight of the advantages of a out of court settlement.’

‘Thorough knowledge of law and procedure. Excellent client care skills and meticulous preparation.’

‘Andrew Newbury has vast knowledge and pragmatism. James Brown is just brilliant at financial matters.’

‘Andrew Newbury represented me. Before first instructing him, I asked a leading family law QC whom she would use if she were getting divorced and Andrew was her clear (and, as I experienced, entirely justified) recommendation. Knowing I was up against a belligerent ex -spouse, with a difficult firm acting on the other side, I wanted someone who would take the fight to “the enemy” and Andrew certainly did that; always proactive, always pressuring the respondent, always two steps ahead of his opponent both in terms of preparation for the case and knowledge of the law. Very approachable and communicative – Andrew, despite being much in demand, returns calls and emails without having to be chased.’

‘An exceptional law firm, deservedly with a monumental national profile, and also internationally known. Strength in depth from partner level downwards. ’

‘Andrew Newbury is at the top of his game. Immense knowledge and intellectual ability, with pragmatism and great client care. Simply the best matrimonial lawyer around. Sam Hall has an abundance of experience and communication skills. James Brown is exceptionally bright, with an uncanny ability to spot the killer point in a case, and then pursue it with vigour and charm.’

‘A forward thinking, modern practice. Very responsive. Very compassionate in the way they deal with matters and that comes from the top down.’

‘Sam Hall has excellent interpersonal skills and shows huge amounts of compassion whilst giving excellent advice. Very responsive despite being very busy.’

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell is sought after by high-net-worth clients for its experience of handling family matters with international dimensions, such as complex, cross-border asset structures. The practice also routinely handles divorces involving complicating aspects such as substance addiction, allegations of abuse, and litigation in different jurisdictions. Ros Bever has a ‘tenacious approach to justice‘ and has previously handled litigation up to the Supreme Court level, while Nathaniel Groarke is accredited by Resolution as a specialist in international work. Senior associate Hannah Saxe is ‘astute and level-headed’ with a focus on matters involving children.

Practice head(s):

Ros Bever; Nathaniel Groarke

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Saxe; Lara Tucker


‘Nathaniel Groarke has always been my main contact. He is very approachable, with an honest and balanced approach. Lara Tucker who supports him has also always being professional and helpful.’

‘Ros Bever is hugely experienced, and rare in having taken cases to the Supreme Court from outside London.’

‘Irwin Mitchell are one of the best family law teams I have worked with. They manage to work cohesively together, but also have their own individual style and are well matched to their clients. They offer an outstanding service and it is always a pleasure to be instructed by them. You know you are getting a well prepared case where the client has been appropriately and sensibly advised – although they are definitely not afraid of a fight!’

‘Lara Tucker operates well above her qualification level, and could give many senior partners a run for their money. She has impeccable judgment and a fierce but pragmatic approach.’

‘Hannah Saxe is astute and level-headed. She fights hard for her clients whilst maintaining a realistic and pragmatic approach to the strategy of their matter. Her preparation and presentation is meticulous.’

‘Ros Bever is an exceptional leader and Nathaniel Groarke runs a tight ship in Manchester.’

‘The depth of the team at Irwin Mitchell ensures that they are able to deal with all aspects of financial remedy in house. The individuals ensure that this is not at the cost of the provision of a very personal service. ’

‘Ros Bever heads up the team with a tenacious approach to justice for her clients and, whilst she delegates within the team she is always accessible to them and the client and has an unrivalled hand on the tiller. Lara Tucker continues to out perform her peers with a staggering attention to detail coupled with an ability to focus on the real issues to try to limit costs and find a solution. ’

JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP advises on very high-value divorce matters, drawing on the firm’s expertise in corporate, property and immigration law, amongst other areas, to aid clients. In addition to handling complex financial remedy proceedings, the team acts on disputes involving children, such as disputes around financial provisions and child arrangement orders. Elspeth Kinder is noted for her work on financial remedy, while Michael Chapman specialises in Schedule 1 claims made on behalf of children of unmarried parents. Beverley Jones leads the Liverpool team and has ‘superior knowledge and experience of family law’. In-house barrister Abigail Bennett is described as a 'seriously impressive advocate', while David Pickering is another key partner in the practice. Cara Nuttall departed the practice in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Elspeth Kinder; Michael Chapman; Beverley Jones

Other key lawyers:

David Pickering; Emma Benson; Katie Lowe; Abigail Bennett


‘The best family law firm in the North West to my mind. Every associate I have worked with has been exceptional – well-versed in law and totally invested in the case but equally prepared to give the client robust and sensible advice.’

‘The JMW Family team are a fantastic team of highly qualified professionals who work very effectively for all clients. One of the key team strengths is their collaborative working practice and also the blend of personalities within the team which enables them to provide advice to all walks of life and also very challenging situations. I have been particularly impressed by the way they very quickly adapted to the very difficult situation we all faced with the impact of the coronavirus. I know that their clients continued to receive the best possible service and support and this is why they are my first choice when recommending a family solicitor to my clients, contacts and also my friends and family.’

‘There is real camaraderie in the team, led by Beverley Jones. They all pull together and go above and beyond what is their duty in order to push for the best evidence and the best service for their client. I am well aware that the team put in far more work than they billed for and they were willing to very actively pursue cutting edge high profile litigation, which we were successful in. They made appropriate employees available to attend key ancillary meetings with the Local Authority and provided a holistic litigation service to ensure that the clients were properly and vigorously represented at all times.

‘There is a fantastic collaborative team ethos at this firm. There is always somebody available to assist at short notice . All solicitors have client focused approached and dispense legal advise with precision. The litigation support and service provided was really exceptional in my view in all key respects including; evidence gathering, building and maintaining client relationships, exceptional communication with me and a deeply held commitment to diversity and human rights.’

‘Elspeth Kinder has great empathy but also can be really clear and directive in situations that need it. She is my go to at JMW. Clients love her and she gives the right time and focus to each individual.’

‘Beverley Jones stands out from other competitors as she is supportive and extremely helpful to myself and colleagues in the fertility clinic setting. She ensures that clients feel well cared for and that healthcare professionals are armed with the knowledge needed for looking after patients where legal parenthood may be a factor. Beverley is also recognised as a leader in the field and regularly contributes to projects with charities.’

‘This is a recognised an established leader in the field of matrimonial finance (financial remedy) cases in Manchester. The team is lead by David Pickering, who has a towering reputation in the field and has a number of prominent and highly regarded individuals in the team.’

‘Beverley Jones is an outstanding legal professional. Not only does she have superior knowledge and experience of family law, she is also extremely empathetic with her clients and their situations which are often complex and highly emotional. Beverley goes above and beyond for her clients and is not afraid to challenge the status quo to provide the best outcomes for all involved. She is a beacon for diversity and has made huge progress for LGBTQ community particularly around adoption and surrogacy and is an inspiration to others.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for the wife in financial remedy proceedings involving several linked sets of chancery division proceedings.

Maguire Family Law

Maguire Family Law provides assistance to high and ultra-high net-worth clients across the spectrum of matrimonial law, from pre- and post-nuptial agreements to arrangements related to finances and children following divorces. The practice also aids clients in seeking to revise the terms of divorces. Founding partner James Maguire has more than 25 years of experience in family law, frequently handling complex financial disputes; he also has a specialism in advising on cross-border matters involving children, such as relocations and abductions. The highly experienced Henry Venables and Denise Moran are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

James Maguire; Henry Venables

Other key lawyers:

Denise Moran


‘Well known and well respected for high net worth money work. Fights their client case without being too aggressive or losing sight of the advantages of a out of court settlement.’

‘Thorough knowledge of law and procedure. Excellent client care skills and meticulous preparation.’

‘The practice has established the “Family Finance Forum” where like minded professionals from all disciplines of divorce work ie IFAs, forensic accountants, Counsellors, Pension Experts, Barristers, social workers, mediators etc, etc meet on a quarterly basis to discuss current trends, enjoy case studies and networking. It is an excellent initiative demonstrating the holistic approach adopted by the firm to providing the very best it can for its clients as they go through this process.’

‘James Maguire has a very different approach to his competitors, deep thinking whilst pragmatic, very much looking at matters in the round to find an appropriate outcome for his client and enable them to move forward in their lives. Clients will be very much at ease with approach and the team around him.’

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP offers significant expertise in family law, including handling financial remedy disputes and arrangements for children. The team's work also includes cohabitation agreements, disputes around children's schooling, and cases involving foreign divorces. Practice head Alison Bull handles financial and children arrangements, and is noted for her focus on non-court dispute resolution, such as mediation. Principal associate Andrew Moore is active in handling financial disputes involving international assets and business interests.

Practice head(s):

Alison Bull

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Shepherd; Andrew Moore; Sue Brookes; Rose-Marie Drury


‘One of the keys strengths of the team is their willingness to work collaboratively to resolve cases in a way which is pragmatic. They always pay attention to the legal/financial detail of a case, whilst also not forgetting the human aspect of the work we do.’

‘I felt the two lawyers I spoke to were personable, knowledgeable and most importantly showed a great deal of empathy and understanding of my situation.’

‘I have worked with both Rose-Marie Drury and Andrew Moore in the drafting of pre-nuptial agreements which by their nature require a level of sensitivity and co-working to achieve the client’s objectives. Rose-Marie and Andrew have both been efficient and pragmatic in their approach to the case. Sue Brookes has represented the other party to a long standing financial remedy case. Sue has acknowledged the vast differences between our clients and their respective approaches to settlement and has always picked up the telephone to try to find an agreed way forward that we can both support our clients with. She has managed a very difficult client extremely well, and been very patient about my need for time to take instructions given my client’s comparatively vulnerable position.’

‘They are empathetic, personable and knowledgeable’

MSB Solicitors Ltd

MSB Solicitors Ltd stands out for its work in complex financial proceedings as well as extremely challenging children matters, such as cases involving abuse and abductions. The team is adept at advising clients on high-value matters, including disputes over cross-border assets. Pauline McNamara is noted for her work in financial disputes related to divorces and pre-nuptual agreements, while Emma Palmer handles cases involving children and abuse claims. In addition to its private work, the team has a strong legal aid practice. Emma Carey is another key contact in the team.

Practice head(s):

Emma Palmer; Pauline McNamara

Other key lawyers:

Emma Carey


‘The Family law team headed by Emma Palmer consists of excellent lawyers and support staff all of whom are demonstrably committed to delivering the best service to the clients in the most time efficient manner.’

‘The private client family team have a considerable presence in the Merseyside area brought about by their experience , expertise and extensive connections. This enables them to punch above their weight obtaining very high quality client work, which they deal with very efficiently and as necessary aggressively, yet with compassion and understanding for their client throughout.’

‘They are forward thinking and proactive with clients and connections and have a great presence in Liverpool. They collaborate well between teams in house so cross sell services inside and outside of the business really well. I feel this is because they are well connected as partners and a boutique practice.’

‘Emma Palmer is an excellent lawyer willing to go the extra mile for her clients. Thanks to her great efforts, my application under the Hague Abduction Convention was settled days after the directions hearing and a voluntary return of my daughter to me was secured.’

‘Pauline McNamara shows a superb blend of aggressively fighting her client’s corner whilst empathetically understanding their problems and needs.She is a formidable adversary with a strong following throughout Merseyside and Cheshire. She has also built a very able support team around her.’

‘Pauline McNamara is a force to be reckoned with, her attitude and follow up with clients and introductions/driving clients understanding is top class. ‘

‘I am particularly impressed with Head of Family Emma Palmer. Her knowledge of complex issues such as honour based violence, forced marriage and inter jurisdictional matters are excellent and she is regularly sought out by children’s guardians in Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester when dealing with these cases.’

Work highlights

  • Advised mother on application to vary and prevent enforcement of a French appeal order.
  • Advised Husband in a complex, multi-jurisdictional finances case including applications for emergency finance orders.
  • Advised mother in care proceedings involving allegations of satanic sexual abuse and parental alienation.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP advises a client base of high-net-worth clients on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as on divorces. The team stands out for its expertise in handling matters with an international dimension; many of its clients own assets such as foreign property, multinational businesses and offshore pensions. Emma Collins leads the national family law team, with Carole Atkinson, Fiona Davidson and Fiona Turner also key partners in the team. All have decades of experience in advising on complex financial matters related to relationships. Associate Rachel Lim is another name to note, with a specialism in advising on divorces involving insolvency and bankruptcy.

Practice head(s):

Emma Collins

Other key lawyers:

Carole Atkinson; Fiona Davidson; Fiona Turner; Rachel Lim


‘Having had a reasonable amount of experience with family law firms I can say without doubt that Weightmans will now be my only choice if I need to call upon a family law firm going forward. They are by far unique because the level of experience, professionalism and ethical approach.’

‘I chose Fiona Turner to represent me. I was very cautious having had a terrible experience with several family lawyers previously. I was therefore extremely selective and interviewed many solicitors before choosing Fiona. I live a 3 hour drive from her office but this did not affect our relationship or her commitment. I can not praise her enough, she far out did my expectation. Fiona is efficient with your time and keeps the conversation on point. Her cost prediction of my case was very accurate and she constantly reviewed the work and costs. What I admired most about Fiona was the fact that she knew what she needed to do to get me the result I wanted and she did not get drawn into or allow me to get drawn into all the mud slinging that the other side tried to throw at us. She played a straight bat from the start and it completely went in our favour when it came to Court.’

‘Fiona Davidson – personable, knowledgeable and sensible. She is a delight to work with and her instructions are meticulous.’

‘Weightmans deliver an excellent service to their clients. Weightmans is extremely focussed on meeting client needs, is efficient and responsive and involved in complex cases.’

‘Fiona Davidson is extremely strong in children and financial remedy matters. She always delivers sensible, sound advice and is empathetic and realistic with clients. She has an excellent manner and readily inspires confidence in clients.

‘Fiona Davidson goes the extra mile to work in the client’s best interest to avoid unnecessary litigation in sensitive family breakdown.’

‘Emma Collins is knowledgeable, tenacious yet reasonable, a pleasure to deal with and easy to get hold of to resolve issues. ’

Aaron & Partners LLP

Aaron & Partners LLP specialises in advising on the financial aspects of divorces. The team’s work includes divorces involving farming assets, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and family businesses. Richard Barge leads the practice; he works with Simon Mawdsley and Lorraine Saunders, who are also recommended. The practice acts for clients such as businessowners, professionals, and landowners and handles matters involving international assets. Saunders is valued by clients for providing ‘empathy and support at all times’.

Practice head(s):

Richard Barge

Other key lawyers:

Simon Mawdsley; Lorraine Saunders


‘The first meeting was really scary but I was put at my ease straight away. I met members of the team and the process was explained really well to me. I felt at all times that they were supporting and helping me along the journey of divorce with great consideration and empathy. I felt a bit ‘wobbly’ at times but Lorraine totally understood and guided me along so well, she was brilliant! Other members of the team were brought in at different times for writing a will; selling the family home; buying a new house etc. We used technology throughout which is not a strength of mine but again they helped me. They went over and beyond in my opinion and will be highly recommended by me to other people.’

‘Lorraine Saunders offered me a crutch that enabled me to reach an amicable divorce from my husband. She showed empathy and support at all times in her professional capacity. Her communication skills were excellent and she contacted me in a number of different ways during the challenging Covid pandemic. Everything was explained really well so I knew what was coming next and how to deal with it. I felt her by my side helping me at all times. She has very special qualities that give clients a confidence to obtain a successful end in a supportive and non confrontational way.’

‘Each member of the team is highly skilled in the work that they do, very efficient and their response time is almost immediate! I find this practice very unique in comparison to all other legal firms where I usually have to wait for weeks to get any response at all.’

‘Compassionate with the issues. Ability to help see things in a different way. Anticipating potential problems and having in place strategies to overcome. ’

‘As a large regional firm I feel that they retain the personal service approach that they offer to their clients, something which some large national firms can loose sight of. During these challenging times they have adapted to using available technology to maintain a proactive service for clients.’

Farleys Solicitors LLP

Farleys Solicitors LLP acts for business owners and professionals in divorce proceedings, handling financial remedy and arrangements for children. The team has the capability to handle matters involving overseas aspects, such as international assets and parents of children living in different countries. Antonia Love leads the practice and is active in financial matters, while Angharad Bentley handles matters involving children, including care proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Antonia Love

Other key lawyers:

Angharad Bentley


‘Very well established and organised firm. Clearly putting a lot of resources to achieve success and compete with others nationally. Their standards of practice are of very high standards and no different to top world class firms.’

‘No one like Antonia Love! She is confident, assertive, yet very thoughtful of details and compassionate. During the most stressful time of life she is there to get you though and makes it easy on you.’

‘Excellent first class service, very professional and efficient’

‘The strength of knowledge, commitment to clients and accessibility. They are a straight forward ‘safe pair of hands’ and are respected by their peers. They embrace diversity in all forms and do not discriminate.’

‘The individuals I work with are intelligent, committed and hold a depth and wealth of knowledge relevant to their area of practice. They provide excellent client service and are supportive and reliable as part of the legal team servicing the lay clients. They are respected by the Judiciary and peers alike.’

‘An excellent all round team consisting of strong individuals with a practical and solution focussed approach.’

‘I valued the all round level of service to a wide client base ranging from those with little to those with an abundance of assets.’

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP is adept at advising high-profile clients on family law matters, from pre- and post-nuptial agreements to disputes around children and financial remedy following divorce. The team’s work includes acting for clients with complex assets, such as trusts, pensions and family-owned businesses. The practice also handles matters involving cross-border aspects, with the external relocation of children a particular area of focus. Director Joanne Raisbeck is praised by clients as ‘astute and precise’; senior chartered legal executive Sarah McCarthy is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Raisbeck

Other key lawyers:

Sarah McCarthy


‘Sarah McCarthy – I can give no greater accolade than to send my close friends to her. She is sensible and pragmatic yet determined and knows when to fight. She is very personable and clients love her. Joanne Raisbeck – vast experience in dealing with high net worth cases. She is astute and precise and knows the law inside out.’

‘Joanne Raisbeck is a first class solicitor in matrimonial financial remedy and matrimonial/prenuptial agreement work. Primary choice of solicitor in such work for high profile/high worth clients. Extremely able solicitor with a good judgment and willingness to give her clients a frank and accurate assessment of their prospects of success. Extremely good client bedside manner which reassures even the most anxious individual. Impressive with more dominant clients. The No. 1 solicitor for any form of matrimonial/pre-nuptial agreement drafting.’

‘Joanne Raisbeck and her team have been exceptional in my case. Throughout these difficult times of not only Covid but personally for my divorce, I doubt I would receive a better service, and this is only confirmed by me by having to deal with my ex-husbands law firm who seem not to be on the same level at all.’

‘I found Hill Dickinson an excellent firm to work with on a very personal issue. All aspects of the service were to a high standard. ’

‘I have found at all times that I am being given the care and attention needed when going though the trauma of divorce. Simply put, its not all about money. Hill Dickinson are a caring team that always put you first and try to take the pain away from the cold legality of divorce, looking for answers instead of confrontation.’

‘Joanne Raisbeck has been my lawyer from the start of my divorce and I could not have hoped for a more understanding solid individual who one, understands family and its sensitivity and importance, and two understands law. Joanne has at every step of the way tried to find an amicable solution to the drama of divorce whilst at the same time she has acted professionally in protecting me. I have felt safe and informed at every stage of the proceedings. My wife’s lawyer has been brutal and at every step confrontational and Joanne has been nothing more than professional dealing with all my irritations and leaving me feeling calm. Simply a great lawyer/solicitor.’

‘We went to a different solicitor about our matter which was us wishing to apply for parental responsibility etc for our grandson. They told us that we had no rights and were being unreasonable. Thank heavens that Sarah McCarthy was recommended to us by a friend. She has just been perfect. She has advised us to do the right things at the right times and has supported us throughout the whole process. Billing has been prompt and we have been satisfied with the costs. I do not know about operational processes for firms but can say that we are 100% happy with the service that we have received. ’

‘I have found Sarah McCarthy to be in valuable within my divorce settlement. She had listened to my needs and worries and has guided me with professionalism and true caring. She is a total asset to Hill Dickensian and I am truly grateful for her support. ’

McAlister Family Law

McAlister Family Law is adept at advising on the full range of family law matters, from public children matters to financial remedy disputes. In public law proceedings related to children, the team is frequently referred work by local authorities, and also acts for parents, with Donna Roberts and Nick Hodson the key partners in this area. Managing partner Amanda McAlister has more than 20 years’ experience in advising on divorces, particularly on financial issues, with Fiona Wood also active in this area. The team is further expanding, with Ruth Hetherington and Caroline Bilous joining the practice in January and April 2021, respectively. Hetherington now leads the team’s private children law division, while Bilous is active on the financial side of divorce matters.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Wood; Nick Hodson; Donna Roberts; Ruth Hetherington; Liz Cowell; Caroline Bilous

Other key lawyers:

Amanda McAlister


‘A very experienced team led by Amanda McAlister. I have seen a lot of solicitors and this is different- much more of a relaxed and informal atmosphere. It was the first solicitors’ office where I felt at ease. The standard of work is very high. There is collaboration between team members and I know that I can speak to someone to advise me even when my own solicitor is away, as has happened. I have a very complex and long standing case which I brought to McAlisters part way through and I feel confident in this firm to bring a positive outcome to what has been a very stressful period.’

‘This practice has developed rapidly over recent years to be seen as a high quality firm with strength in depth and excellent value for money in the field of matrimonial finance (financial remedy) cases in Manchester. The team is lead by Amanda McAlister, with an excellent hand-picked team of specialists.’

‘The team has exceptional strength in depth. The team has drawn together a number of senior solicitors (both partners and senior associates) who are regularly involved in the most complex family cases. With particular regard to the area I work in, the team now comprises some of the most experienced and capable children lawyers.’

‘Ruth Hetherington always conducts herself in a calm, pragmatic and reassuring way. Her advice is always carefully considered and clear when delivered and focused on the best outcome for me as her client, but with an overriding interest in what is best for my daughter’.

‘Amanda McAlister is immensely able, focused and switched on. Fiona Wood has an enviable combination of monumental intelligence and common sense. Great client skills. You can rely on her. Liz Cowell is a powerhouse intellect. What she does not know isn’t worth knowing.’

‘I regularly instruct Nick Hodson who I find to be excellent – calm, professional, excellent advice and isn’t afraid to have a discussion and challenge to ensure we come to the right recommendations.’

‘There is a diverse team with experience and I know when instructing a solicitor from the firm I will receive an excellent service.’

‘They are going from strength to strength thanks to a dynamic team of senior lawyers at the helm.’

Myerson Solicitors LLP

Myerson Solicitors LLP's broad family practice handles financial matters, including financial remedy disputes and pre-nuptial agreements, as well as child contact proceedings and child arrangement orders. The family practice draws on the wider firm's capabilties in areas such as agriculture, probate, and property to provide a comprehensive service to clients. Its work also includes matters with international dimensions, such as cases where one of the parties is a non-UK domicile. Jane Tenquist leads the team, with over 30 years' experience in family law; she 'knows her cases inside out, and is very client focused'. Senior associate Nichola Bright is noted for her work on financial disputes, international children matters, and cases involving fertility and surrogacy.

Practice head(s):

Jane Tenquist

Other key lawyers:

Nichola Bright


‘An excellent matrimonial department within a larger firm, enabling the matrimonial team to harness advice on commercial matters in the drop of a hat.’

‘The team is headed by Jane Tenquist; her ability to listen, knowledge of this area of law, deciphering relevant key information critical to the matter and progression is highly commendable. Jane’s team are equally strong in these skills and together they work excellently. As a client I have felt to be in a very safe set of hands and I say thank you for your hard work.’

‘As a client of the practice I have experienced positive and practical guidance from my first introduction. Filing for divorce following 35 years of marriage was a very traumatic life event but I have been supported and guided throughout the whole process. My wishes were listened to and then legal advice given provided as to my various actions.’

‘I have worked with Jane Tenquist on two difficult matters, in both cases she has shown the steely aggression required to challenge reported accounts and looked beyond the detail and the obvious to find the right and a better settlement for her clients. She demonstrated great foresight in looking beyond the here and now in taking the necessary actions to get to the right solution later on.’

‘Jane Tenquist is very capable, calm and level headed. The nature of the work  is very emotive and from a client’s perspective it has been really helpful that she is able to show strength on my behalf at times when emotions made it difficult for me to do so on my own. She has given excellent advise and prevented me from making mistakes I may otherwise have made if she did not have my back. She also cares about the clients as people and shows person-to-person concern that you are OK.’

‘Jane Tenquist was fantastic. Her decisive and supportive manner provided clarity and instilled confidence during a turbulent period in my life. Later on, Nichola Bright took up my case and provided an equally high standard of service. Dilligent, helpful and understanding. I have finally obtained a good financial settlement in spite of the respondents non co-operative attitude.’

‘They have an approachable, honest manner that is supported by extensive knowledge and experience. Nichola Bright offers her clients the feeling of confidence in her advice as well as her understanding and appreciation of the challenges they are facing. She has the human touch that is so valuable to clients.’

‘I was extremely lucky to have Jane Tenquist represent me, she is calm and has a quiet demeanour and is incredibly knowledgeable and thorough. She will investigate every avenue and get results. A true professional and very comforting to know you are in safe hands.’

SAS Daniels LLP

Led by Shelley Chesworth, SAS Daniels LLP' family law practice covers matrimonial disputes related to financial remedy and children arrangements. The team's work includes matters involving complicating aspects such as complex and international assets, allegations of abuse and controlling behaviour, and mental health issues. The practice also advises on pre-nuptial agreements. Associate Cheryl Haywood is also praised by clients; she handles children disputes, with a focus on matters involving relocation, and also advises on financial disutes.

Practice head(s):

Shelley Chesworth

Other key lawyers:

Cheryl Haywood


‘Approachable and contactable, SAS are knowledgeable in family law and the associated proceedings, fair price.’

‘Shelley Chesworth  listens to clients with compassion and understanding, and is realistic with her approach and feedback to the client giving good honest advice. A trustworthy, solicitor with high morals and ethics. Knowledgeable with current up to date advice.’

‘SAS Daniels are always a pleasure to conduct work for in our role as Process Servers, they always provide a great service, the bundle of Court documents are always accurately compiled & the instruction they provide is perfectly constructed & well above the normal standards we received from other solicitors. Whenever we need to contact them, they are always available to speak to & advise, especially with cases that have sensitive issues. Payment is always quick as well as feedback, we find them a very professional company to deal with. ’

‘Most of the instructions we have received from SAS have been from associate solicitor Cheryl Haywood & Christine her Legal Secretary, they are both extremely experienced in the field that they work in, they are very professional & efficient, provide concise instructions which can be fully understood. They clearly both have a great passion for the role that they play, they are always available if needed & we feel are a credit to SAS Daniels. They certainly make us feel valued as Process Servers & it’s a pleasure to work with them.’

Slater Heelis

Slater Heelis represents high-net-worth clients in court proceedings and arbitrations, handling disputes involving financial settlements and children. Much of the team’s work involves complicating elements such as cross-border assets and complex financial arrangements. The highly experienced Mark Heptinstall leads the practice, and also sits as a Deputy District Judge and a Recorder on the Northern Circuit. Patricia Robinson and Charlotte Beck have experience handling financial remedy and private children disputes including acting in High Court litigation. Phillip Rhodes, a Resolution-trained mediator, is another name to note. Associate Alexandra Goldrein joined from Irwin Mitchell in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Mark Heptinstall

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Robinson; Charlotte Beck; Phillip Rhodes; Kim Aucott; Alexandra Goldrein; Vicki McLynn


‘Slater Heelis LLP are an outstanding team of family law practitioners. I have only the highest regards for their ability, across the team, to get things done with the minimum of fuss which also equates to well controlled expense. The technical knowledge is first class and that instils confidence for the client and ultimately helps to keep anxiety levels low in the face of often infuriating opposition. Mark Heptinstall heads with calm authority and a truly caring personal approach which I have not experienced of heard of from any other Family law firm. ’

‘The family law department were exemplary. Nothing was too much trouble, they were exceptionally well organised and incredibly knowledgeable. Immediately from the first meeting I knew I had appointed not only the right law form, but the right individual. Mid way through my case we entered the first lockdown but the level and quality of service remained the same. Despite the difficult times we were all living in.’

‘Phillip Rhodes was my solicitor and I have to say his persona/approach is his greatest asset. At a time when I was dealing with an horrific divorce, a full-time single dad, working full time, home schooling as well as dealing with a lockdown, Phillip single handedly guided me through the worst period of my life. Nothing was too much trouble. I would sum up Phillip Rhodes as an exemplary solicitor – one of the best in his specialist field. A fantastic listener, understanding, compassionate, incredibly knowledgeable, genuine and very fair. He cares about his clients! ’

‘Charlotte Beck – simply excellent – intelligent, engaging and great to work with – clients really appreciate her dedication and assuredness of touch.’

‘A highly effective team of hard working, approachable and highly experienced matrimonial solicitors, headed up by the marvellous Mark Heptinstall. Mark Heptinstall has a way of reassuring clients about the case while also ensuring the best possible outcome.

‘Alexandra Goldrein really fights for her clients, no matter how difficult the case is. She is passionate and energetic and you definitely want her in your corner. Alexandra Goldrein is tenacious. She is deeply compassionate and committed to her clients.’

‘Mark Heptinstall makes light of his enormous experience, and with the best instincts in every case I have done with him. Clients love him, for his ability, support and pragmatism. Kim Aucott is very bright, sensible, and driven to do the very best for her clients.’

‘Phillip Rhodes is superb and in my view the stand out partner. He is extremely personable and clients feel extremely reassured by him and fights very hard for his clients. He is technically also very skilled. ’

‘Vicki McLynn is truly an outstanding individual. Vicki has an incredibly personable manner and skilled at addressing the most difficult and stressful situations with an amazing air of calm and focus. The clients love her manner and her ability to provide simple solutions to the most complex of problems.’

Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Stephensons Solicitors LLP is noted for the breadth of family law matters in which it is instructed, ranging from complex care proceedings to high-value financial remedy claims.  Victoria Gethin specialises in matters involving children, public and private, while Amanda Rimmer predominantly handles private divorce disputes related to finances and arrangements for children, with many of her financial cases involving cross-jurisdictional elements. Gwyneth John is another key partner in the area of children law. The practice also has a strong bench of associates, with Tim Galbraith focusing on complex care proceedings and Jackie Price's broad practice covering all areas of children and matrimonial law.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Gethin; Amanda Rimmer

Other key lawyers:

Gwyneth John; Tim Galbraith; Jackie Price; Rachel Bennett


‘This team has a superb reputation in public law children work and is unusual in that it is equally at home acting for individuals and local authorities. The work is supported by an excellent bespoke case management system designed to enable fee earners to devote all their time to client focussed work. There is a very experienced and capable private paying team concentrating on divorce and finance. Management is very efficient and well organised.’

‘The team is very organised. This is crucial for client care and robust representation. Whenever I am instructed by them, I know the brief and the papers will be properly prepared with all salient issues properly set out. They provide realistic advice to all clients, and they do everything required to ensure their client comes out with the best possible outcome.’

‘I had the privilege of having Victoria Gethin represent me. The case that she was representing me in was a very long and complex legal case which involved the custody of my two boys. I can honestly say that if it were not for Victoria, I think that I may have given up fighting for them, even though I knew that is was in their best interest to be with me – their father. Victoria was on hand whenever I needed her and she was always very supportive. It was very evident from from the start that I had chosen the right person to represent me. Victoria is very diligent, smart, supportive and determined.’

‘Well respected and quality family law firm. Client friendly, knowledgeable and always providing an excellent level of service.’

‘Gwyneth John is very experienced in all areas of family law and a forthright advocate for her clients.’

‘Rachel Benett is an outstanding associate capable of taking on complex and demanding work across a range of specialisms. Comfortable dealing with international work, complex care proceedings, or private clients, Rachel’s legal awareness, client focus, and commitment set her apart from her peers.’

‘Victoria Gethin is a very experienced family practitioner who is geared towards getting the best possible result for her clients. Provides sound and measured advice.’

‘Amanda Rimmer is a highly experienced family lawyer who is always accessible to her team and her clients.’

Key clients


West Yorkshire

Crown Commercial Wider Legal Services

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother in complex care proceedings. The case included over 60 different advocates including over 20 Queen’s Counsel. The highly complex multi-handed public law litigation is thought to be the largest public law family case ever litigated in England and Wales.


Vardags routinely advises on very high-value, complex financial disputes, including cases involving international assets, jurisdiction issues and complex company structures. The team counts high-net worth individuals such as business owners and sports professionals amongst its clients. Emma Gill leads the practice, handling financial and children work; she is praised as ‘a leading light in Manchester and the North West’ and was recently promoted to senior director. Other recommended lawyers in the team include Annemarie Bradley, who ‘exudes a quiet confidence’.

Practice head(s):

Emma Gill

Other key lawyers:

Annemarie Bradley; Lucy Williams


‘Emma Gill is a leading light in Manchester and the North West. Heads the team and generates both loyalty and a hardworking ethos’. 

‘The team are incredibly approachable and provide sensible and pragmatic advice to a wide range of wealthy clients. Their back office technology has always been well ahead of its competitors and their forward thinking approach helped them greatly to move seamlessly to remote working at the beginning of the pandemic.’

‘The team provide a bespoke service built around the client. Vardags particularly shine when acting for the financially weaker party. They have both the skill and knowledge to dissect the other party’s complex financial disclosure with precision whilst also been able to clear and straightforward explanations of complex mattes to their client who may well be unfamiliar with the subject matter.’

‘Emma Gill is best described as the indefatigable Emma Gill. A human dynamo, with an astute ability to find the right questions to ask, and then deliver on the answer. Someone you can trust implicitly.’

‘The name Vardags carries with it an expectation of high standards and quality of service; the team in Manchester meets and exceeds that reputation. The firm has adapted superbly to the pressures imposed by the pandemic, showing flexibility and acknowledging how the virus can impact upon their clients and their cases.’

‘I have known Emma Gill for a long time and she is very good on complex cases. A pragmatist and easy to have a conversation with.’

‘Annemarie Bradley is committed to her clients and will happily go the extra mile for them. She is down to earth and pragmatic and has a wonderful warmth to her that the clients appreciate. Lucy Williams is loved by clients and counsel for her down to earth approach to the most complicated of cases. She is simply a breath of fresh air to work with and prepares her cases incredibly thoroughly. Lucy has an encyclopaedic knowledge of her cases.’

‘The team at Vardags go above and beyond, from the warm and friendly welcome at switchboard through to all of the staff, be it paralegals or directors of the firm. What I got from Vardags from the very first point of contact was calm, professional reassurance. Legal knowledge is one thing but the ability to humanise the legal system in what was a hugely stressful legal battle for over 2 years helped me in more ways than just legal advice.’

Butcher & Barlow LLP

Butcher & Barlow LLP's varied family law practice handles public and private children matters as well as financial disputes. The team represents clients in FDR hearings, family proceedings courts and the High Court, advising on complex matters such as cases involving alleged abuse. Kevan Hankinson leads the team and has a broad practice in this area; Caroline Cockill-Guy and Nicola Wingfield are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Kevan Hankinson

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Cockill-Guy; Nicola Wingfield


‘Butcher & Barlow worked well as a team, supporting and progressing the legal steps to achieve a satisfactory conclusion. They used technology well to communicate immediately as the matter moved forward, never allowing pressures of work to interfere with the speed of action. They were very efficient, thorough in their search for a conclusion but always bearing in mind what was required by the Court Order. Procrastination was not in their vocabulary but instead their goal was to avoid delays by the person who had been given a Court Order which he did not intend to obey.’

‘The Family Law team at Butcher & Barlow LLP are experienced, competent and approachable. They have a breadth of knowledge in dealing with a wide variety of work, including financials, contact and child care matters. They have achieved accreditations across the team and have a good reputation with both clients and professionals alike.’

‘With my world being turned upside down without any notice and not knowing which way to turn, I approached Caroline Cockill-Guy whom I had had an extremely positive legal experience with in the past for help and advice. From the onset I was put at ease and a plan formulated to address the issues in a truthful, professional and forthright manner. The efficiency in prompt communication and attention to detail in following this set plan by Caroline was the primary key to win the case. It is a fact that Caroline and her team have set me on a path to a much happier, healthier and brighter future which I cannot thank them enough and will always be indebted to them for life.’

‘Always professional and extremely client-focused. No stone left unturned in each case and their briefs are always impeccably well prepared.’

‘Nicola Wingfield is a credit to the firm. Nicola goes over and above for her clients. She has empathy whilst maintaining professionalism at all times. Nicola undertakes a variety of work, and is also a member of the Children’s Panel. She works so hard to do the best possible job for her client’s and deserves recognition for her efforts. She is passionate about Family Law and this shows in her work and representation of her clients.’

‘Caroline Cockill-Guy has a passion for Family Law and fosters a high level of commitment to her work, understanding my objectives and advocates on that basis. When I was first introduced to Caroline, she demonstrated strong analytical and advice skills, showing the ability to spot my weakness points and draw reasonable logical conclusions from the limited information I provided to her. Caroline is honest, open, responsive and has provided me with an excellent legal service.’

‘Kevan Hankinson is fantastic, he’s approachable, easy to talk too, no matter how hard things are, he is understanding and reassuring. Kevan makes family law understandable, gives easy to understand next steps. I would recommend him whole heartedly to anyone needing help with family law.’

‘I have worked closely with Caroline Cockhill-Guy for number of years, representing me on a variety of challenging family law matters. From the moment of introduction I felt fully supported by Caroline in every way. A Highly motivated, competent and extremely professional lawyer. Caroline’s valuable experience and skills enable her think outside of the box when required. Compassionate and understanding when it matters. Committed to winning and securing the best outcome for me. I would be delighted to recommend Caroline and her team at Butcher and Barlow.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on a wide ranging and complex finances case, crossing issues of separation, company law, property law and children, which required detailed advice, negotiating skills and advocacy before the court.
  • Handling a public law case before the High Court, or national significance and reported as case law accordingly. This matter required a detailed knowledge of the legal principles in a difficult and novel area of law, and experience of conducting a case at the higher levels of the court system.
  • Advising on a complex matrimonial dispute across the family and chancery court, requiring excellent client care, cross-departmental co-operation and an understanding of the difficult interplay between family and agricultural law.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP counsels a client base of high net worth individuals, such as professional, entrepreneurs, and business owners, on private family law issues. The team’s diverse practice covers disputes involving children, including Schedule 1 and Children Act claims, as well as financial remedy proceedings involving complex assets. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements, non-molestation orders and occupation orders are also areas of law handled by the team. Chris Longbottom is the key figure in the Manchester office.

Practice head(s):

Chris Longbottom; Gareth Schofield

Other key lawyers:

Emily Finn


‘Chris Longbottom and Emily Finn were faultless from start to finish. Incredibly supportive and have been honest with me throughout. I would not have had the incredible outcome I did without them. I owe them an awful lot.’

‘The family team at Clarke Willmott is reliable and pleasant to deal with. They are well known as experts in their field and have good working relationships with other professionals. Our experience from dealing with the team has been that they are very knowledgeable and are also efficient at delivering a quality service.’

‘Chris Longbottom is a well established practitioner who is known for his expertise in the family field. He forges strong relationships with clients. Emily Finn is also a key member of the team and has a lovely approachable manner when dealing with both clients and other professionals.’

‘The matrimonial team is alert to different ways to support clients going through the demands of family separation and on the look out for all available options to problem solve. ’

‘Chris Longbottom is stand-out in his client care skills and ability to lead his team.’

‘Team approach, work well with other professionals, focus on the important financial arrangements and encourage clients not to sweat the small stuff. ’

‘Chris Longbottom provides very hands on client care, while Emily Finn is very knowledgeable in terms of procedure ’

Forbes Solicitors

Forbes Solicitors stands out in the market for its work in public and private family law matters. On the private side, the team advises on disputes involving children and finances related to divorce, with Rubina Vohra leading on much of this work. Helen Shirbon specialises in public children matters, representing children, guardians and parents in complex matters involving local authorities. Shirley Wignall and Gill Carr are also highly active in public and private law matters involving children.

Practice head(s):

Rubina Vohra; Helen Shirbon

Other key lawyers:

Shirley Wignall; Gill Carr


‘A heavyweight family law outfit with a particularly strong presence in child care proceedings. Forbes is a well organised and resourced team capable of handling the most complex litigation.’

‘Forbes have built a reputation for being reliable and accessible to clients even at the most urgent times. The solicitors and partners within their family team are always striving to improve their knowledge base via the most up to date training and practises. What makes them unique is their ability to deal with the most complex of cases. There is no case which Forbes would not be able to advise upon and access a range of experience to match it to the clients needs.’

‘Excellent family law firm; client friendly and always ensure the quality of advice and client service is second to none.’

‘Forbes Solicitors have an excellent team of friendly professionals who are dedicated to providing the highest standard of service to their clients. The response time of communications was exceptional and I have the utmost praise for their efforts and results.’

‘I was particularly supported by Rubina Vhora. Rubina took time to explain everything to me clearly and I felt very comfortable discussing my case with her. She gave me confidence to make my own choices and she acted on them to achieve a positive outcome for me. I could not have wished for a better team to support me through an extreely emotional and difficult experience.’

‘Rubina Vohra is excellent. She is very experienced in matrimonial finance including cases with a cross jurisdictional element. She is always well prepared. She has a good attention to detail but remains pragmatic and does not lose sight of the bigger picture. Her friendly and approachable manner means she builds a good rapport with clients and is a joy to work with.’

‘I have worked with two partners in particular, Shirley Wignall and Helen Shirbon both of which have a wealth of experience in family law which shows in the excellent reputation they have built. It is their ability to adapt to the most unusual of cases and to apply their experience and represent the clients to the best of their ability without hesitation.’

‘Gill Carr has excellent client care skills, combined with a formidable eye for detail.’

Linder Myers

Linder Myers specialises in public children law matters, handling challenging cases involving neglect, abuse and substance misuse. The practice represents parents and other family members as well as older children, and also acts for local authorities in emergency protection orders. Diane Cogan leads the practice; principal Sarah McCarthy is also praised as 'extremely professional, responsive and diligent at her work'.

Practice head(s):

Diane Cogan

Other key lawyers:

Sarah McCarthy


‘I value the quality of their personal service and their ability to listen and connect with you. The advice they give you is not only practical, but where necessary direct and steps are taken efficiently and to the point which impacts on reduced fees. They are clear if they consider you are taking an expensive approach that would be ineffective and can help you understand why a different approach would be better all round and they aim to manage your expectations.’

‘I have always found the solicitors and support staff excellent and so helpful. They always respond immediately if needed. The solicitors representing me as a children’s guardian are always professional whoever they are representing. My experience has been in public law proceedings and solicitors are supportive and are able to competently represent children and young people.’

‘I have been dealing with Sarah McCarthy and I found her to be extremely professional, respondent and diligent at her work. I’ve been updated every important point in the process that I’ve been going through and have found prompt replies and responses to my queries.’

‘The main person that I worked with was Sarah McCarthy, with regard to my divorce. I found her to be very knowledgeable, supportive and responsive to any concerns/queries I had. However, the main reason I chose Sarah was because of her belief about approaching the divorce process in a way that makes the process least damaging for all involved. I found her approach unique, from reports from friends and colleagues, in comparison. I feel such gratitude to Sarah and her attitude to the matter, more people should have the exemplary experience I had. I felt very supported through a very difficult and traumatic period in my life, and 100% trusted the advice she gave me.’

‘Sarah McCarthy is an excellent communicator and sensible litigator. Her firm but conciliatory and collaborative approach is an asset to the firm.’

‘Sarah McCarthy was outstanding and anticipated future needs with great care, consideration and executed with great efficiency. At each step the process was rapid and very smooth. Sarah’s attention and service felt as though I was her only client, a very dedicated and outstanding service.

‘Sarah McCarthy is a collaborative Lawyer and there are few in my local area. Sarah is easy to work with, reliable and trustworthy. Whilst doing a great job for her own client, she will work with the opposition to achieve the best results for both clients. She cares about her work and does a thorough job. She is not afraid to speak her mind where she disagrees but manages to do this in a non confrontational manner.’

Stowe Family Law LLP

Stowe Family Law LLP's varied practice covers disputes involving both children and finances, including matters with complicating aspects such as international assets and child abductions. Key figures in the practice include Helen Miller in Altrincham and Gareth Curtis in Manchester, both of whom handle complex financial disputes. Kaleel Anwar was promoted to partner in November 2020 and has a broad practice, with particular specialisms in advising on marriages governed by Islamic law. The firm is expanding its client base across the North West, opening offices in Chester, Liverpool and Preston in 2020. Matthew Taylor joined from Weightmans LLP in October 2020 to head up the Liverpool office.

Practice head(s):

Helen Miller; Gareth Curtis; Lesley Smythe; Matthew Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Camilla Burton-Baddeley; Jason Stanley; Kaleel Anwar; Matthew Taylor


‘I have worked for some years with Gareth Curtis in an extremely complex international family law case. He has been objective, professional, resourceful, realistic, reassuringly supportive and clear, both in his explanations and methodology. I’m grateful to have found him and to have him act for me. On this legal journey, with various twists and turns, I’ve been reassured by his quiet kindness and empathic understanding and relieved in the way he has structured the my case. I would not hesitate to recommend him.’

‘This practice are extremely professional, caring and sympathetic. The billing process is completely transparent and there are no nasty surprises.’

‘Gareth Curtis was the lawyer who worked on my case. He was extremely responsive to emails and phone calls. He was professional at all times and is a very calm and caring individual who put me at ease from day one. His knowledge of the law is outstanding. If he says he will do something, he will. He is an asset to the firm.’

‘Gareth Curtis is exceptional. Thorough knowledge of law and procedure Excellent client care skills meticulous preparation ’

‘A dedicated and skilled team of family lawyers across a number of different branch offices. Committed to resolving issues through court where this is necessary yet open to referring clients to dispute resolution where the case requires it and it will benefit clients. Helen Miller leads a strong team in the Altrincham office.’

Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors

Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors handles public and private family law work, including financial and children disputes. The team’s children work covers some of the most complex and challenging aspects of this area, including child relocation, abuse and parental alienation. The practice likewise advises on separations involving allegations of physical and emotional abuse. Susan Howarth has decades of experience in this area, with a particular focus on working for the victims of domestic abuse. Victoria Poole has a broad practice, handling all aspects of family law.

Practice head(s):

Susan Howarth

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Poole


‘I have been dealing with Susan Howarth Solicitors for 30 years in relation to conveyancing and divorce proceedings. My primary solicitor has been Susan Howarth. She is a very strong professional and compassionate person who will listen and take to heart all your needs and requirements. In my opinion Susan will go that extra mile just to make all her clients feel comfortable at a time in their lives when they rely on a good friend at a professional level. In all the experience I have had with dealing with Susan Howarth Solicitors I have found no negativity or weaknesses in their company, their is too much positivity for weakness to thrive.’

‘My solicitor was Victoria Poole. She was so honest and she tell you if you were wrong or right very caring even give you courtesy phone calls to see how things are with the children etc ’

‘I have used this practice for both conveyancing and also a fraught family matter. Both are very different, both were dealt with professionally, with empathy and swiftly. From the very outset I knew this practice was one I needed to trust with my case. With the challenges of Covid they still maintained regular contact and pushed for my case to be carried out via online court sessions to reduce impact on my children – something I am very grateful for.’

‘Warm friendly service and expert advice, reassuring, made me confident that I was using the correct solicitors after a trail of bad ones.’

‘I have used Susan Howarth on a couple of separate occasions. I found them very professional, friendly and always happy to help. The staff attended to matters swiftly and proficiently.’

‘Vicky Poole was able to take on my case, which had been a particularly acrimonious family matter, get a grasp quickly of the issues in my case; advise me on matters which were imperative to my situation, which had been missed by previously instructed Solicitors and turned the case around to conclusion within a matter of weeks. This was all despite the fact that it had been a drawn out prolonged process by my ex husband, who was throughout reluctant to cooperate. She has an incredible ability to be sympathetic and understanding but assertive to get the job done! I would have no hesitation in recommending Vicky Poole to anyone in a similar position.’

‘The team at Susan Howarth & Co always passionately and professionally represent their clients interests whilst having a careful respect for the wider interests of the children.’

Ward Hadaway LLP

Ward Hadaway's family law practice has developed substantially since a team of lawyers from Laytons LLP joined the firm in April 2020. Under the leadership of Christine Barker and Liz Bottrill, the team has built a practice handling complex financial and Children Act proceedings, such as matters involving assets that are overseas or that are difficult to value. The team is also active in the areas of prenuptial and cohabitation agreements, while Bottrill has a specialism in the growing area of surrogacy and fertility law.

Practice head(s):

Christine Barker; Liz Bottrill

Other key lawyers:

David Burrows


‘Liz Bottrill has good knowledge, experience and expertise combined with personal warmth.’

‘Always available with very experienced senior lawyers.’

‘Christine Barker is very approachable and knowledgeable.’

‘A fantastic and personalised service that’s supported by an appropriate use of technology without the process ever feeling automated. The people are all approachable, polite and easy to work with as well as being experts in the respective fields.’

‘Liz Bottrill has been our relationship lead since outset and continues to be our trusted source of legal guidance for all matters family related. Her polite but direct approach is appreciated by all that deal with her, and her ability to share complex explanations for legal matters in layman’s terms.’

BPS Family Law LLP

BPS Family Law LLP specialises in advising clients on matters related to divorces, including financial settlements and disputes over children and maintenance payments. The practice has long-standing ties to Manchester's Jewish community, handling divorces involving Jewish religious law. The team operates from offices in Manchester, Hale and Stockton Heath, and acts for clients from across the North West and beyond. The experienced Caroline Swain leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Swain


‘BPS works as a team, that was apparent from my first appointment. Sad though the process of divorce is, I was professionally guided through the whole process.’

‘Caroline Swain oozes confidence and professionism from the word go. Up to date, sympathetic when needed but keeps you grounded to the reality of the process. I very much doubt any other person could have achieved my outcome, it’s not all about the money, that is discreetly taken care of. I will continue to recommend Caroline to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.’

‘Caroline Swain is a extremely competent lawyer who takes a no nonsense approach whilst showing empathy in a difficult situation. She prepares a case in a incredibly through evidence based approach and instills confidence throughout the process.’

‘BPS Family Law practice is unique as your case is treated with the upmost professionalism, the advice given is unbiased and tailored to your personal circumstances. As a client every step of your case is updated and given by email or calls. Questions are answered, explanations are in a simple manner and are prompt. Billing from the firm is competitive. Invoices are provided with a breakdown of charges and reflect a true representation of work carried out on your case. With the current world pandemic I feel BPS have adapted their services well to allow for remote working without dropping their professional service to their clients.’

‘I was recommended BPS Family Law after Caroline Swain represented the wife of one of my employers in divorce proceedings. Caroline is highly professional with a friendly, approachable manner. She listens to your concerns/requirements and interprets what is achievable within the constraints of the law to assist you with a successful outcome.’

‘A hard working team who during the pandemic have aimed to help and work with their clients and work outside of the box.’

‘They are approachable and have their clients’ best interests at heart.’

‘A boutique family law team dealing with high value matrimonial finance maters, with a great team led by the brilliant Caroline Swain, who brings a wealth of experience, common sense and street wisdom to everything she does. ’

Work highlights

  • Handling a high-profile, precedent-setting divorce case involving a wealthy Jewish couple that clarifies the law relating to financial remedy applications.
  • Acting in divorce proceedings for a wife who has been married for 40 years, a central legal issue being the extent to which the couple are technically separated, and when that occurred.
  • Representing the wife  in a family dispute involving the question of whether a father who loaned £300,000 to his son many years ago is entitled to have that loan protected in the event that the son and his wife divorce.

Gorvins Solicitors

Nicola Fraser leads the family practice at Gorvins Solicitors, providing advice to clients on matters ranging from financial remedy proceedings to Children Act disputes, including cases involving allegations of abuse and Non-Molestation Orders. The team has strong links to the public sector, such as police federations, providing advice to their members. It is praised by clients as 'exceptional, patient and very easy to deal with'.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Fraser


‘The family team are all really approachable. Given all were working from home their IT systems were really good and this did not delay any responses. The invoices generated are quality assured by the named solicitor who was readily available to answer any queries where required. Given the size of the firm and the different departments, the solicitor was able to obtain advice quickly from other specialists.’

‘My experience of the family team at Gorvins is very positive. When I have been instructed by them they have provided with papers at an early opportunity. The fee earners in the team are extremely good at liaising with Counsel and providing a great deal of helpful information a full bundle and detailed brief is always provided (not the case with many firms!). The clients have always been advised very well and are aware of Counsel’s role within proceedings. They are always on hand, if needed, during proceedings to assist Counsel at any opportunity.’

‘My engagement with Gorvins is particularly with Nicola Fraser. Nicola is an very experienced family lawyer whose knowledge, particularly in relation to pensions, is excellent. In my experience Nicola goes ‘above and beyond’ for her clients. On the last occasion I acted for her we had lengthy discussions (including some out of hours) and she was incredibly knowledgeable of the case we were dealing with. The work that I have seen has always been detailed and well thought out. She makes good, fair, offers of settlement and I would say she tries to avoid court proceedings and minimise costs and stress for her clients where possible.’

‘Nicola Fraser and the team were exceptional, patient and very easy to deal with. It would have been easy to treat the case as a matter of process only however their empathy and attention to details was second to none ’

‘I would recommend Nicola Fraser and her team to anybody. Their legal knowledge and expertise were exemplary. However Nicola demonstrated a high level of kindness care and compassion. Nicola has been recommended to me by multiple colleagues at work and she did not disappoint. I would always recommend her again.’

gunnercooke LLP

gunnercooke LLP advises on a broad range of family law matters, including disputes around finances and children as well as cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements. Much of the firm's work involves multijurisdictional aspects, such as overseas assets. Roland Humphreys is the key figure in the team and is praised for his 'keen eye for detail which instils a level of trust and confidence in the client from the outset'.

Other key lawyers:

Roland Humphreys


‘Personal service, but backed up by wide resource base in terms of other expertise and tech support.’

‘Roland Humphreys has particular expertise in high value cases. His attention to detail in a case and overall planning is exceptional. He gives realistic advice but is always willing to put up a fight for clients and their best possible outcomes. He gives more than just generic advice from the outset and really gets to grip with a case from the first meetings. His focus on each case and how it is dealt with is very client centric. Overall he is very empathic and kind. Always putting clients at their ease from the start yet giving them absolute confidence in his abilities. His technical knowledge is way ahead of most other Lawyers in his field. I would not recommend any other Family Lawyer in the North West. ’

‘Roland Humphrys is a very solid and reliable family solicitor with a particular expertise when dealing with matrimonial farming cases – clients find he has an extremely engaging and reassuring manner. Hard working colleague with a wealth of experience in both financial remedy and child work cases. He developed his career under excellent local firms who knew their fields of law well and it now shows in Roland’s ability.’

‘A reputable firm in Chester with a personable approach.’

‘Roland Humphries has keen eye for detail which instils a level of trust and confidence in the client from the outset. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Roland Humphreys remains streets ahead of most of his peers. Roland has great experience in all areas of family work, but matrimonial finance and private child in particular. Roland is able to bring to bear not only excellent case management and tactical advice but also a cutting edge knowledge of the latest case law. This makes him a delight to be briefed by as counsel but also a formidable solicitor advocate. I have had the benefit of being both instructed by and appearing against Roland as an advocate in court and can tell you that his is an unusual ability to litigate a case as a solicitor but also put it elegantly as an advocate. The value in that for clients is obvious.’

Jolliffe & Co LLP

Jolliffe & Co LLP's private client practice routinely acts on financial remedy matters, including cases with complicating factors such as substance abuse. Many of the team's clients are business owners or farmers, and the firm is adept at producing settlements involving assets that are difficult to divide. Senior associate Helen Davies is active in disputes involving finances and children.

Practice head(s):

Marie Proud

Other key lawyers:

Helen Davies


‘I was recommended this practice by a good friend. They knew I needed a safe pair of hands as I was going through a very emotional and difficult marital breakdown. I had no previous dealings of this sort so did not understand the processes. From first communication with Jolliffe’s I was treated with excellent communication and calm and efficient staff at every stage. I got the reassurance to proceed through the divorce steps in a fully informed and pressure free way. This enabled me to make the right decisions for me at the right time.’

‘Most of my dealings have been with Helen Davies. I have felt that she really cares for my situation and will do all that she can to make the process as smooth for me as possible. Helen has guided me through offering a friendly service with attention to detail. I have been kept well informed of all developments and it is always a pleasure to speak to her. ’

‘I have dealt with Helen Davies. I have found her very knowledgeable and professional but also approachable and understanding. She has offered assurances when needed. She has been fair and given impartial advice rather than raising false expectations but also fought my corner. She has provided detailed advice and written excellent statements and orders. She has supported me during court hearings. She responds as quickly as she is able, given her other commitments, particularly when time is of the essence.’

‘Boutique and experienced, Jolliffes offers a high quality but personal experience. They are very well thought of in the Cheshire/North Wales area and considered a cut above. ’

‘Helen Davies is outstanding. Professional, unfalteringly committed to her clients. She has great instincts and is extremely well prepared. I am convinced that she will do very well.’

KBL Solicitors LLP

KBL Solicitors LLP experienced some turnover in its team this year, as practice head Victoria Melling departed the firm in December 2020, with associate Ceri Thomas taking over the lead role in the team. Under Thomas, the team continues to have a wide practice, with recent work including financial remedy disputes, Children Act proceedings, and separations involving allegations of abuse.

Practice head(s):

Ceri Thomas


‘The communication was clear and concise. The billing was clear and split clearly on each invoice, I was billed monthly which assisted me in my financial planning’

‘I was recommended to use KBL by a previous customer, they used the same service as myself. The recommendation was worth it, the advice was clear and helped me greatly personally.’

‘A progressive team who always meet client expectations.’

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

'A small team that does top quality work', the family practice at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP is routinely instructed to advise on financial disputes between separating individuals, as well as providing assistance with drafting pre-nuptial agreements. The team's clients frequently hold assets such as offshore trusts, as well as family businesses which they wish to protect from relationship breakdowns. Colin Davies leads the practice and has more than 25 years' experience in this area. Associate Madelaine Hailey is also recommended and is praised as 'staggeringly bright with exceptional judgement'.

Practice head(s):

Colin Davies

Other key lawyers:

Madelaine Hailey; Ayesha Griffin


‘Madeleine Hailey and Ayesha Griffin were absolutely fantastic, they were supportive, their knowledge is second to none, they cared about my case and were extremely efficient, responsive and prompt. They made me feel like no question was stupid, and like no email was irrelevant. All in all I could not recommend them highly enough.’

‘Madelaine Hailey is the stand out. In a really competitive Manchester Family Law market she really does hold her own and is much in demand if the quality and volume of work she sends to chambers is any indicator. Really is one to watch.’

‘Colin Davies is brilliant, his attention to detail and client care is outstanding. He plans in advance, sends papers in a good order with clear instructions for counsel.’

‘Madelaine Hailey is extremely capable and impressive. She is thorough, determined and acts above her years of experience.’

‘They are a small team that does top quality work. The level and quality of their cases given the size of the team is remarkable. They are not fussy or showy, they just consistently do cases of very high net worth (including for many public figures and celebreties). The team of three are all exceptionally bright and able lawyers.’

‘Madelaine Hailey: staggeringly bright with exceptional judgement. A real star in the making who is going to become one of the absolute leading lights in the field in Manchester. Tenacious but never over the top. The quality of her case preparation and correspondence is extraordinarily high. Colin Davies is a very good lawyer with a calm, sensible head.’

‘This is a very impressive outfit that has cross-firm cover and expertise for a one-stop shop that is able to cater for all client needs; a recent case has involved detailed knowledge of regulatory controls, litigation procedure and wealth transfers in the context of a difficult separation involving children and asset transfers. ’

‘I have worked in particular with Madelaine Hailey; she is an exceptional young lawyer with a very bright future. She is smart, collaborative and very street-wise and has an eye for the detail that matters and makes a difference to the strategic bigger picture. She always has the optimum end goal in sight, and coped fantastically well with an extremely difficult client to ensure that the right solution was achieved. She doesn’t miss a trick.’

Shoosmiths LLP

In May 2021 Shoosmiths LLP recruited McAlister Family Law partner Nicola Wilburn-Shaw to head up the firm’s family law offering in Manchester.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Wilburn-Shaw

Slater and Gordon

Slater and Gordon‘s family law practice focuses on financial remedy cases, and has the capabilities to advise on complex matters including contested separation agreements, pension-related issues and gifts. Georgina Chase now leads the practice following the departure of Lorraine Harvey.

Practice head(s):

Georgina Chase

Watson Ramsbottom

Watson Ramsbottom specialises in family law matters involving domestic abuse and stalking, including handling children matters linked to these issues. Practice head Rachel Horman-Brown is particularly well-known for her expertise in coercive control cases, and has previously provided training and advice to police forces and government bodies on this issue. Parental alienation and cyberstalking are other growing areas in which the firm is highly active.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Horman-Brown


‘Watson Ramsbottom is the leading firm for harassment, domestic abuse and stalking in the Country. What sets it apart from other family firms is the depth of knowledge, as demonstrated by Rachel Horman-Brown’s recent book publication, media appearances or chairmanship of Paladin and the ability to access the full range of legal remedies across all jurisdictions. For example, I have acted in civil harassment claims, the Family Court and in judicial reviews in the High Court for domestic abuse victims instructed by Watson Ramsbottom. Clients get a combination of first class legal knowledge, compassionate service and a tenacity and willingness to fight their corner. ’

‘Specialism in cases involving issues domestic abuse, coercive control, cyber stalking, forced marriage in addition to the public and private law children work they undertake. Because of their specialisms they act for clients nationally. They have a civil department so they can provide an holistic service to survivors of abuse in relation to actions against the police/challenging decisions not to charge perpetrators of abuse.’

‘3 members of the department accredited to undertake forced marriage work which is probably more than any other firm in the country. Rachel Horman-Brown is renowned nationally for her work in relation to domestic abuse, coercive control and cyber stalking. In addition to case work she has also published a helpful book for practitioners on coercive control and is active in campaigning and at policy level.’

‘They are very approachable, have staff with a variety of skills and backgrounds that represent the diversity of the area, they have specific language skills that other firms have to employ interpreters for, having the consistency in staff and not always having to have a third party translate enhances the customers confidence and feels they are listened too, without repeating their stories. Their team is led by an expert in the field of Domestic Abuse and Stalking which offers expertise that is unique to the area. They work collaboratively with local charities providing advice clinics for the vulnerable. ’

‘Rachel Horman is exceptional in her field being a leading pioneer in the DA Bill and Stalking arena. She has exceptional skills at negotiation and public speaking. Rachel is a pioneer in raining awareness across the country not just locally.’

‘WR are one of the standout firms in Lancashire. I have always found the team at WR to be very friendly, approachable and unflappable. In my relationship with WR, I occasionally have to deliver disappointing news however that is always met with a positive solution based response. The team and firm have a collaborative ethos; aiming to get the best, most cost effective solution for their client. ’

‘Rachel Horman-Brown is passionate about her client’s interests. She has vast experience allowing her to manage client’s expectations and provide appropriate advice, ensuring the best outcome for all.’