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Rachael Kelsey

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Founding director of Sheehan Kelsey Oswald Family Law Specialists – SKO. Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in family law and as a family mediator. Fellow IAML; counsel 2013-14 and secretary 2014 to date. Chair of Board, (Director and trustee Family Mediation Lothian and treasurer of CALM (the organisation of accredited family solicitor mediators in Scotland)). Trained collaborative lawyer. Family arbitrator with and trainer for FLAGS (Family Law Arbitration Group Scotland). Past chair of the Family Law Association. Lectured and written extensively on Scots family law, both nationally and internationally for, amongst others, the IAML, CBBE, Law Society of Scotland, Four Jurisdictions, Central Law Training and Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. Practice centres on financial provision, often in cases with an international or intra-UK dimension. Significant experience in cross-border, intra-UK and abroad, cases. Particular expertise in acting for LGBTI individuals (child and financial cases). Increasing corporate advisory and reputation management practice.


Trained Anderson Strathern. Assistant solicitor, Ian Smith and Partners, Galashiels; assistant solicitor, associate and latterly senior associate, Morton Fraser; partner, Mowat Hall Dick; partner Pagan Osborne; founding director Sheehan Kelsey Oswald Family Law Specialists upon family team from Pagan Osborne breaking away to set up niche family law practice, 2008; tutor in family law, professional competency course for trainee solicitors, 2004 to date. Publications of note: ‘Social revolution – the Civil Partnership Act 2004’, ‘There’s no case like Rome – the Rome III opt out’, ‘Death of a claim – death claims for cohabitants’, ‘Variations on a theme – cross jurisdiction variation’, ‘E-for explanation – Eliassen in the Supreme Court’, ‘Data Protection and Family Law’, ‘FLAGS Unfurled – Family Law Arbitration’ Journal of the Law Society of Scotland vol 50 (March 2005), vol 51 (December 2005), vol 54 (March 2009), vol 54 (April 2009), and vol 56 (July 2011), vol 57 (April 2012) and vol 58 (March 2013) respectively; ‘Scottish, English and French law implications of the Maintenance Regulation’ (co-author, Jordans International Family Law, December 2014); ‘Scottish Family Law for the English Family Lawyer’ (Private Client Business, Sweet & Maxwell, March 2013).




IAML (fellow, counsel 2013-14, secretary 2014 to date); CALM (treasurer); Family Law Association (past chair); chair, director and trustee Family Mediation Lothian; founding, and now committee, member FLAGS; Consensus Collaboration Scotland; IACP (International Academy of Collaborative Professionals).


Culloden Academy, Inverness; University of Edinburgh (LLB; Dip LP).


family, wine, food and boxing.

Scotland: Private client


Within: Leading individuals

Rachael Kelsey - SKO

Within: Family

Absolutely brilliant, clever, knowledgeable, human and responsive’, the team at SKO is ‘at the cutting edge of family law’. Its work includes handling major international maintenance cases and acted in the first contentious case under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in Scotland (a matter led by Robert Gilmour). The group also has a significant practice catering specifically to LGBTI individuals; with vast experience in related human rights and Equality Act issues, civil partnership dissolution, gender recognition, adoption, surrogacy and reproduction cases. In addition, the team advised on the first same-sex divorce case in the UK. The ‘doyenne of Scots family lawyers’, practice head Rachael Kelsey (noted as a ‘force of nature’) is particularly known for her presence in cross-border and international family cases. Susan Oswald continues to advise various county councils in England and Wales on the recognition and enforcement of proposed deprivation of liberty orders, which has implications under Scots law. John West is ‘building a stellar reputation in the field’ and regularly receives instructions from English leading and junior counsel in relation to Scottish and European law issues. Alison Edmondson is a specialist family mediator, but is also well regarded for her expertise in work for vulnerable adults, as well as tax and capacity issues. Clients include NSPCC and the Scottish Government.

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