Family: elsewhere in the West Midlands in West Midlands
Brethertons LLP fields an experienced and dedicated family team that specialises in children law and collaborative law. It advises on a broad array of matters from domestic violence, child abduction, honour-based violence through to public law. It is particularly recommended for its work in a number of key areas including advice on relationship breakdown where there are substantial personal and business assets. It also has niche expertise in international children work such as relocation, surrogacy and international adoption matters. The group has considerable experience in complex care proceedings too, acting for both parents and children. Linda Jones heads the team in Rugby and among other things is a collaborative lawyer and an advanced member of the Family Law Panel. Kim Lehal was promoted to the partnership.
Other key lawyers:
‘Linda Jones leads the team very well‘.
‘Linda Jones was so friendly, kind, caring, helpful, and professional at the same time. She put herself out to do as much as she could for me and was so supportive’.
‘Exceptionally strong reputation on cross-border disputes. In-depth experience in child abduction, international adoption and international surrogacy‘.
‘Kim Lehal is outstandingly brilliant. She has an ability to settle anxious clients and explain complex legal matters in an understandable way. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of international adoption procedure and practice, with particular expertise at the recognition of foreign adoption orders‘.
S (A Child), Re  EWCA Civ 1453
Y (Children)  EWCA Civ 1208
Zajic v Sumislawska  EWFC 88
Uhd v McKay  EWHC 1239 (Fam)
- Advised on an application by the applicant father for the return of the child – the father was an Australian national and the mother was a UK national who had lived in Australia since she was 21 years old.
- Advised on a mother’s appeal from a circuit judge’s order that two children (aged 7 and 10) should be returned to their home country of Canada pursuant to a Hague Convention application by the ‘left behind’ applicant father.
- Advised on an international child abduction case where the client had been accused of abducting the child from Ireland –the case made law by setting out the law and procedure in relation to the dismissal of applications at first instance.
- Instructed by a father who is a Czech national living in England in a complicated case where the child was brought on holiday by the mother and was wrongfully retained in another country.
FBC Manby Bowdler LLP
FBC Manby Bowdler LLP has a well-established team that frequently deals with high-net-worth and complex family matters for clients from its office locations in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire. Its case load often involves matters with diverse assets, property portfolios, farms, business assets and other trusts and overseas assets. In addition the team has a number of solicitors who are experienced in Children Act cases. Anne Thomson leads the department and is a deputy district judge too. Thomson continues to attract high-value financial remedy cases often involving businesses and complex farming structures, with particular expertise in pre-nuptial agreements. Philip Cowell is vastly experienced in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown and is also trained in collaborative law.
‘The team in Telford is a strong, experienced and dedicated team. The lawyers work together to ensure that their clients receive the highest attention and care from them. Anne has led this team for many years and is a standout solicitor with so many years of experience and calm confidence‘.
‘It is a very sensible team that is also very good in a fight. The lawyers are the best in the area. Philip Cowell is very popular with clients and judges. He is a first-class lawyer and is extremely practical. Also great in a fight. Anne Thomson is extremely experienced and undertakes complex farming and landed cases‘.
‘Energetic; industrious; focused. Anne Thomson: clear and firm advice to clients, very trenchantly expressed, but goes the extra mile for them. Astute commercially‘.
‘Sarah Millington’s diligence and understanding has been much appreciated and her attention to detail has been exemplary. I would highly recommend Sarah‘.
‘The team was very supportive‘.
‘Rachel Bloxwich is a true star. Her clients know from the outset that their case is in the safest and most dedicated hands. Her attention to detail and analysis of the issues in each case is outstanding‘.
Harrison Clark Rickerbys
Harrison Clark Rickerbys fields a large team that often advises on complex financial disputes as well as children cases under the guidance of the well-regarded Andrew Caldicott. Caldicott has a wealth of experience in high-net-worth financial disputes and complex children matters and is a trained collaborative lawyer. Also, as a solicitor advocate, Caldicott undertakes the majority of his own advocacy work on both children and financial matters. Alongside the traditional family offering the firm has recently established a specialist public law children outfit that is led by Worcester-based partner Mathew Waddington. The team also continues to expand its ADR services. The practice acts for clients from all walks of life but maintains close ties with active and retired military personnel and also acts for members of the police and NHS staff. Due to its strength in financial remedies it is regularly instructed by business leaders and directors.
‘The team in Hereford is headed by the truly iconic Andrew Caldicott. His experience, expertise and overall client care is second to none. He leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of his clients’ best interests‘.
‘Being led by Andrew Caldicott gives them a huge head-start – he is practical, loyal and extremely no-nonsense. Andrew Caldicott is the best team leader a firm could have‘.
‘The firm goes the extra mile and that is why a lot of its new instructions come from recommendations of existing/previous clients‘.
‘Throughout the West Midlands, Harrison Clark Rickerbys is well respected as a leading player in the field of family law. Its extensive team has talent at all levels and a range of personalities, meaning that there is a lawyer, or team of lawyers, to suit every case and every client‘.
‘Andrew Caldicott, Mathew Waddington and Nadia Davis are all stalwarts whose reputations precede them. In my opinion, however, particular praise is due to Anita Hennessey and James Osborne, both of whom are stars of the future doing excellent work in often very complex cases‘.
‘With Nadia Davis, I felt comfortable and at ease discussing what for me, was a truly traumatic experience. I found my solicitor compassionate and empathetic and felt I could cope with everything with her support. I was right. From start to finish, she was able to answer all my questions and guided me in all the right directions‘.
Higgs & Sons has a focus on three key categories namely family wealth protection, family relationship protection and family child protection. The first-rate team advises on a broad range of matters from cohabitation and divorce through to Children Act proceedings. Philip Barnsley heads the department and his primary focus is on complex and high-value financial cases. Newly promoted partner Rhian Gray is another name to note. Gray has a strong practice advising on wealth protection strategies for high-net-worth families and owner managers of businesses.
Other key lawyers:
‘It is its forward-thinking approach, its willingness to challenge with a view to avoiding complacency, its willingness to integrate third parties into the process where it can see that value is being added to the client, that sets this team apart. It is focused upon “client value”. Philip Barnsley, Head of the Family Law Team, is like “your favourite uncle”‘.
‘Highly capable, professional, warm, with a reputation for service and results’.
‘Provides a high-quality service with a very knowledgeable family team, particularly with regards to financial matters‘.
‘Philip Barnsley is excellent. He is a very good negotiator, sensible but robust, knows what he is doing and is a key player in the region‘.
‘Rhian Gray has incredible gravitas with clients, clients buy into her immediately‘.
‘Rhian Gray takes a personalised approach and took the time to understand my situation and requirements, both in face-to-face and telephone meetings‘.
Thursfields Solicitors advises on the full range of family matters and also acts for some minor celebrities and footballers as well as those who are involved in the football industry. The team has noticed increased instructions on pre-and post-nuptial agreements from its business clients. Shane Miller heads the department and frequently advises on cases with an international element where there are businesses, third parties and sensitive Children Act matters to be considered. Miller attracts clients from all over the UK and many of her clients work outside the UK or outside the region of Worcestershire.
‘Thursfields adopts a straightforward and pragmatic approach to resolving matters in a courteous and pragmatic way whilst not sacrificing the pursuit of proper arguments’.
‘Shane Miller has good judgement and grasps the central issues in a case with efficiency and pragmatism. She is courteous and professional in all her dealings with the client and the other side and works hard to minimise conflict and tension in cases of high conflict to secure a sensible outcome‘.
‘Thursfields’ family department has a growing reputation both in, and to the west of, Birmingham. The team is friendly and accessible but also has the benefit of considerable experience and expertise‘.
‘Lorna Tipple is very easy to do business with – she is willing to help and very capable. Her experience and expertise comes across during discussions and she is approachable and sympathetic to her clients’ needs‘.
‘Philip Rea is efficient and industrious and has a huge amount of common sense. He is a pleasure to work with. Lorna Tipple is also a great asset to the team; she has a real talent for relating to clients from all walks of life and putting them at their ease‘.
‘Laura Williams’ style has been excellent. She is professional, understanding and patient‘.
‘A large and experienced team who have recruited very astutely to bring in some very bright talent who all show a very high level of technical skill and experience‘.
Mercy Messenger is a niche firm that specialises in all aspects of family law, with a strong focus on dealing with family businesses and support on children matters under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. The team is currently acting on some multimillion-pound cases involving complex issues surrounding marital and non-marital assets, contribution arguments and wealth that has been accrued both pre-and post-separation. Mercy Messenger is a known name for her work at unravelling complex income structures in particular. Harpreet Saund is a dedicated children law practitioner.
‘Mercy Messenger has a good analytical mind. She is an astute solicitor with very good judgement and a good understanding of human nature. She has extensive experience (including a knowledge of the judges she deals with and her professional opponents) and is tough – both with the other side and her own clients‘.
‘Lauren Parton is always very accommodating‘.
‘A great team all round. Mercy Messenger puts you at ease and you know she has got your back, her immense knowledge just shines through‘.
‘The assistant solicitors/other staff are capable and hardworking‘.
MFG Solicitors LLP
MFG Solicitors LLP offers specialist family advice across its six offices in Worcestershire and Shropshire as well as in the city of Birmingham. The group covers all areas of family law including divorce and complex finances as well as Schedule 1 Children Act matters. Other key areas include advising on childcare arrangements and cohabitation agreements. Drawing on the strengths of the firm overall, the practice is well-equipped to advise on all areas of agriculture and other areas such as tax and trusts as they impact on the family. Head of department Claire Backler regularly takes the lead in resolving financial disputes ancillary to divorce/separation where the asset value is millions of pounds. Rupinder Nandra is a qualified solicitor advocate and is particularly recommended for contested children matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The care and compassion shown to me whilst undergoing a long protracted divorce by MFG was exceptional. Claire Backler, I immediately knew that she would be the perfect person to handle my divorce. I cannot praise her and her team highly enough‘.
‘MFG is friendly, approachable and very knowledgeable and skilled in various individual areas of expertise. Frequently happy to go the extra mile in helping you/your client understand complex matters‘.
Wright Hassall LLP
Wright Hassall LLP has particular expertise in acting for clients in the agricultural and rural sectors as well as the commercial sector. Other strengths include acting for individuals in private applications relating to children, such as their removal from this jurisdiction and school fees orders. Head of department Justin Creed is a qualified collaborative lawyer and has advised a significant number of senior executives through the collaborative process. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements is another core component of the department's work. Peter Lowe, who is a member of Resolution, advises on all areas of family and divorce law and deals with complex financial issues as well as matters relating to children. Dal Heran has particular expertise in pre-nuptial agreements.
‘Justin Creed is very approachable, pragmatic and sensible – you can have an open and sensible discussion with him‘.
Baches Solicitors LLP
Baches Solicitors LLP is experienced in all aspects of care proceedings and adoption applications. Jill Darbyshire who also sits as a part-time judge is a known name in its childcare department and is well-regarded for her work on child protection issues. Darbyshire frequently represents children, parents, grandparents and other relatives in difficult legal disputes. Lindsey Newell is a key name in the matrimonial team.
Band Hatton Button LLP
At Band Hatton Button LLP Tracy Cross and Peter Martin are experienced advocates who regularly represent clients at hearings involving difficult children’s and financial cases. Cross heads the department and is a Resolution-trained family mediator and a collaborative family lawyer. Cross does an extensive amount of mediation work and is also qualified to undertake direct child consultation work within mediation. Martin routinely advises clients on complex financial cases which involve businesses, trusts and pensions.
Other key lawyers:
‘Tracy Cross is very experienced and adopts a collaborative approach. She takes good care of her clients‘.
Lanyon Bowdler has a strong reputation for representing clients when dealing with complex matters involving financial remedy, children and divorce. The financial cases frequently involve business structures, trusts, multi-jurisdictional asset portfolios and farming partnerships. The children matters often deal with internal and external relocation, domestic violence, significant welfare issues and criminal and public law factors. The team has an excellent reputation for advising a range of clients from those with modest means to more high-value claims. Of note also is the fact that the firm is an NFU panel solicitor for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire and as a result represents a sizeable number of clients in the agricultural sector. Sue Hodgson heads the department.
‘The family department has specialist expertise in dealing with highly contested Children Act matters and financial proceedings. There is a depth of understanding of complicated issues that enables the development of a sound strategy and ensures consistency throughout the process‘.
‘Sue Hodgson is quite simply outstanding. She gives very high-quality advice consistently, she is well organised and always ahead of schedule, proactively prompting her clients at key points in the process. She is approachable, professional and totally reliable. She is above all calm’.
‘This is a team that stands out completely in the Shropshire area but equally is a match for any of the Birmingham city firms for the reason that it provides a bespoke, dedicated and all-encompassing service to its clients. Sue Hodgson provides the best possible service to her clients. She is fierce, dedicated and determined to obtain the best outcome‘.
Duncan Watts LLP is an established niche matrimonial and family law firm. The two partners are Martin Croom and Joanne Connor both of whom are experienced Resolution mediators and collaborative lawyers. Martin deals with private law Children Act proceedings primarily. Connor continues to work on a variety of cases ranging from those involving larger finances through to those with more limited resources. She also undertakes a sizeable amount of private law Children Act work.
‘A small and dedicated team with a mastery of the field it serves. Joanne Connor is hugely knowledgeable of both the law and the practical side of a case. She is able to access specialists where they are needed. She remained calm and professional throughout‘.
‘Martin Croom was quite outstanding in every respect – honest, open advice with integrity throughout‘.
‘Throughout my difficult divorce all staff members were courteous, caring, welcoming, discreet and professional. I have felt cared for and supported throughout the process and have confidence in the advice I have received’.
Richard Barge at Aaron & Partners LLP was joined by Neil Hobden in January 2020 from Shoosmiths LLP. The skilled team is vastly experienced in high-value financial remedies and children cases. Hobden’s particular expertise is in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown. He acts for clients from across the UK and overseas from his base in Shropshire and many of his clients enjoy a high profile. A sizeable number of his cases involve business valuations, significant inherited wealth and ‘hidden assets’. Barge is collaboratively trained and does a lot of complex financial work. Sandy Edwards is no longer at the firm.
‘Hugely supportive. Richard Barge took up the financial issues vigorously and represented me in court. I was happy with the final outcome‘.
‘Richard Barge’s advice is calm, thoughtful and clearly articulated. He took an intuitive early understanding of my personal and financial situation and clearly outlined the next steps‘.
Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd
Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd is headed by Erica Kemp who routinely attracts high-value and complex work. Kemp is a trained mediator and a collaborative lawyer. She predominantly advises on financial matters following divorce but has a particular interest in pre-nuptial agreements and advises also on cohabitation agreements and children matters. Sarah Ingram is well-regarded too. Catherine Stephens is another notable member of the team who is a children panel representative. Stephens advises on child protection issues and other areas such as adoption and judicial review proceedings against local authorities.
‘Sarah Ingram and Erica Kemp were fantastic. They always explained things to me in a way that I understood. I felt that they were down to earth and made me feel at ease‘.
‘Erica Kemp and Sarah Ingram have been very professional in all matters concerning my case. I feel that they have taken note of my wishes, but also advise when these wishes are not in my best interests‘.
‘The team is totally committed to making sure that every client receives the best advice and representation and is fearless in presenting the case in court. Catherine Stephens is a highly intelligent, committed advocate who has a very persuasive court style‘.
Beswicks Legal covers the full array of family matters such as divorce and family settlements. It acts for high-net-worth individuals and sports professionals and is skilled at advising on a myriad of complex matters where there are business, pension and trust issues. Private children work is also an important component of the practice. Associate Sarah Jones is a key figure. Jones is accredited by Resolution as a specialist family lawyer.
Other key lawyers:
Under the leadership of Mark Vandaele at George Green LLP the team continues to be busy advising on divorce, separation and the financial implications of relationship breakdown. It also advises clients when dealing with Children Act applications and the enforcement of any related orders. In addition the practice has been instructed by a number of intervenors in family cases to protect third-party interests and has increasingly been asked to prepare pre- and post-nuptial agreements for the firm’s business and high-net-worth clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘All team members were knowledgeable in their areas, very professional and gave good advice. Most satisfactory.’
‘Rachel Baker did the work for the family court and was very reassuring from the start. She relieved considerable stress and gave advice on possible actions and helped us keep costs down.’
‘A close-knit and high-quality family team that delivers an excellent service to matrimonial finance clients. The firm’s ethos is friendly and approachable but completely professional and as a result, the relatively small family team attracts high-value, complex cases. The team punches well above its weight in terms of financial remedy work.’
‘Mark Vandaele is an excellent financial remedy lawyer with exceptional client care skills. He has the ability to reduce the most complex cases down to the essential issues to allow his clients to make informed decisions based on his expert advice. Rachel Baker is an associate of the highest quality. She has a real instinct for matrimonial finance work and is clearly destined for great things.’
‘Excellent practice providing a broad range of services including private client and corporate. Approachable and helpful individuals who are always prepared to listen. A youthful and dynamic approach displayed.’
‘Very capable organisation.’
The children team at Pickerings Solicitors is led by Richard Westley. All of its solicitors are members of the Law Society’s children law accreditation scheme and are instructed by children’s guardians on a regular basis to act in some of the most serious cases. The divorce and family team is headed by Susan Davies who is adept at handling all aspects of divorce and separation. Davies is a collaboratively trained lawyer and frequently advises on complicated matrimonial cases where there are businesses and pensions to be considered. The team also advises on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial settlements.
Other key lawyers:
‘Susan Davies handled my divorce in a sympathetic manner, dealing with what to me were difficult issues quickly and efficiently. Explained things in simple language. Always answered queries speedily‘.
‘Richard Westley continues to impress with every case he gets involved with. His common sense approach and endless work ethic is a powerful combination. His in-depth knowledge of each case he is working on is invaluable‘.
‘Graham Pegg brings experience and respect earned over many years in practice. His dedication to children he represents in proceedings is something which is over and above the norm‘.
‘The firm has a strong team of children panel solicitors, this allows a wealth of experience and knowledge particularly when representing children in care proceedings. Richard Westley is a strong advocate, he has sound legal knowledge, is approachable, well mannered and extremely conscientious‘.
‘Solid, highly competent firm. Approachable and with attention to detail. Susan Davies combines appropriate sympathy and understanding towards the client with clear-sighted practical advice and a good eye for detail. Highly competent‘.
- Currently assisting a client in the collaborative process where substantial pensions are involved.
- Currently acting for a client in a collaborative case which involves H and W who are both directors and shareholders of a business.
- Acting for the local authority in seeking appropriate care arrangements for a child who has life-limiting medical conditions that require careful management and specialist care.
- Acted for a teenager, through his guardian, in response to an application that was made by the local authority to deprive him of his liberty.
- Acting for the subject children (through their guardian) in care proceedings that were commenced by the local authority as a result of the death of their younger sibling.