Philip McGuirk > Payne Hicks Beach LLP > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Work Department



Philip is a partner in the Family department. An expert in complex high value financial remedy cases, often with an international dimension, he is held in equally high regard for his expertise in pre- and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation contracts, asset protection and private children law.

Philip advises on all aspects of family law, with his primary focus on financial remedy work. With a reputation for being commercially minded and pragmatic he is regularly instructed in complex financial litigation, more often than not with an international dimension involving HNWIs. He advises on pre/post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements and cohabitation contracts. Philip has a busy practice in pre/post-nuptial agreements, often with a foreign element working with overseas experts. Philip represented the successful husband in one of the early post Radmacher cases (V–v-V (Prenuptial Agreement) [2012] 1 FLR 1315). Philip also deals with disputes relating to children; principally schedule 1 and section 8 CA 1989 applications.

Philip acts for (and against) many clients who are household names, as well as for city professionals, entrepreneurs, family business owners, financiers, personalities in the sports/arts/media and their spouses/partners; always with an eye to avoid as much as possible the glare of publicity in what are obviously highly personal and very often distressing matters. His preference is, and has always been, to deal with the disengagement process, and the practical implications, in an environment which seeks to guarantee the parties confidentiality, speed and economy. The Court process, he believes, ought to be regarded as the ultimate default position only.

Cases of interest:

  • Rothschild-v-De Souza [2020] EWCA Civ 1215
  • MB-v-EB (No.2) [2019] EWHC 3676 (Fam);
  • MB-v-EB [2019] EWHC 1649 (Fam);
  • SR-v-RS [2014] EWHC 4305 (Fam)
  • MA-H -v- ZS [2012] EWHC 3271 (Fam);
  • H -v- S (Recognition of Overseas Divorce) [2011] EWHC B23 (Fam);
  • V -v- V (Prenuptial Agreement) [2011] EWHC 3230 (Fam);
  • B -v- B (Ancillary Relief) [2010] 2 FLR 887;
  • Judge -v- Judge [2009] 1 FLR 1287 CA;
  • Corbett -v- Corbett [2003] 2 FLR 385 CA;
  • Attar -v- Attar (No’s 1 & 2) [1985] FD 649 & 653.


Qualified 1985; James & Sarch 1983- 2000; joined Payne Hicks Beach as a partner in 2000.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Private client > Family

(Leading individuals)

Philip McGuirkPayne Hicks Beach LLP

The strength and prestige of the Payne Hicks Beach LLP team is peerless’. It is led by Rebecca Cockcroft, whose ‘forensic approach to cases is extremely effective, and she always goes the extra mile for clients’. The lawyers are at the ‘top of their game’ with ‘strength and depth across the board and are involved in some of the biggest cases’. Baroness Fiona Shackleton is praised for her ‘extraordinary judgment and tactical acumen’ and has been described as ‘the doyenne of ultra-high-net-worth financial remedies work’. The practice is highly regarded for its considerable expertise in handling both high-net-worth financial remedies and children law matters, and the group is frequently instructed in high-profile cases that appear in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Philip McGuirk has a busy practice in post and pre-nuptial agreements, which often involve a cross-jurisdictional element. Ben Parry-Smith covers all aspects of financial remedy work, while Sarah Williams is the head of the modern family law practice and Simon Beccle has extensive experience of dealing with complex financial cases. Other highly regarded members of the department include Matthew Booth, Nick Manners, Katie Parkes, and Catherine Costley. Joshua Moger was recently promoted to the partnership, and senior associate Amy Barrow joined the practice from Dawson Cornwell LLP in April 2023.