Mr Marcus Dearle > Miles Preston > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Miles Preston

Work Department

Family Law




Marcus Dearle is a 26-year veteran of Withers in London and Hong Kong (1990-2016) and has over 34 years of experience acting in complex domestic and international family law cases. Marcus has specialist expertise, in particular, acting for trustees in HNW and UHNW divorce and trust cases, advising on HNW and UHNW pre- and post-nuptial agreements (PNAs) and dealing with international divorce litigation involving PNAs and trusts. He has recognised pioneering expertise in international surrogacy law and medico-legal/fertility law issues.

He is Chair of the International Bar Association, Family Law Committee, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

In addition to being admitted in England & Wales, he uniquely practises in Hong Kong family law from London. He is also admitted, but not practising in, the BVI.

Marcus is recognised as a leading trusts and divorce litigation practitioner advising HNW and UHNW clients in Legal Week’s Private Client Global Elite directory: the directory is entirely reliant on peer nominations.

Marcus acted for the corporate trustee of an offshore Guernsey trust in a major and complex divorce and trust case which went to trial in the High Court in London in 2001, and then to the Court of Appeal in 2008: Judge v Judge [2008] EWCA Civ 1458. Lord Justice Wilson in the Court of Appeal found that the trustee had, ‘adopted a stance not only properly defensive of the interests of the trust, but also both neutral as between the husband and the wife and essentially helpful to the court.’

He is currently representing Sir Frederick Barclay in a leading high profile case relating to a web of highly complex overseas trust arrangements see:

During the 11 years he was based in Hong Kong Marcus led the family law teams acting in a number of groundbreaking international family law cases that went to the Hong Kong Court of Appeal and/or Court of Final Appeal, including the Florence Tsang case TCWF v LKKS [2014] HKEC 1593 (the largest Hong Kong divorce case), and the landmark divorce and trust, Court of Final Appeal, case of Otto Poon [2014] HKEC 1174, when he acted for the professional trustee, HSBC International Trustee Limited – a case involving a Jersey trust which the Financial Times reported as having ‘Rattled the Trust Industry’ in Hong Kong.

He also acted successfully for the financially stronger US husband in LCYP v JEK [2019] HKCFI 1588, which is now the leading PNA case in Hong Kong.

Marcus acted for the left-behind parent in the first Hague Convention Child Abduction case in Hong Kong (unreported – 2012) between Hong Kong and Singapore, after Singapore acceded to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

He was shortlisted as International Family Lawyer of the Year at the Lexis Nexis Family Law Awards 2018 and is on the Consultant Editorial Board of Lexis Practical Guidance in Hong Kong.

He wrote the chapter on Divorce and Trusts in Sweet & Maxwell’s 2010 publication ‘Family Law and Practice in Hong Kong’ and in the 2nd (2014) and 3rd (2018) editions.

He lectures widely at international conferences and has been interviewed on international TV news networks, including by the BBC and CNN.