Firm Profile > Major Family Law > Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Major Family Law
NE20 9SU

Family Tier 1

Boutique family law firm Major Family Law  ‘provides a dedicated and thorough service to clients with family law problems.’ The ‘imperturbable' managing director Joanne Major leads the practice and is ‘an expert at helping individuals deal with the difficulties of divorce and the financial settlement.’ Her team includes the ‘tenacious’ director Anna Hunter, who specialises in complex children work; director Lucinda Connell, who is ‘a skilled advocate,’ active in multi-jurisdictional children's cases; consultant Jonathan Dunkley, whose expertise lies in complex finance matters; and solicitor Sam Carter, whose particular focus is advising clients in complex children law issues.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Major


‘The team is approachable, friendly and emphatic whilst remaining professional.’

‘The team’s strength is the great leadership driven from the top by the MD Joanne Major.’

‘Visiting the office is a joy – the professionalism of all staff who provide a very sympathetic and courteous service does make some of the difficult subject matter you are there to discuss far less traumatic.’

‘The team at Major Family Law is very client centric.’

‘All those who have dealt with the firm have been hugely impressed by the combination of expertise, forthrightness and emotional intelligence the team shows.’

‘They are all exceptionally good at what they do – and understand the importance of the whole client experience.’

‘Major Family Law is a boutique family law firm, providing the highest quality family law services in the North East.’

‘Joanne Major always provides a very trusting guiding hand, she has a real talent in explaining some very complex areas of divorce law.’

‘Anna Hunter is an intelligent and objective, but determined solicitor, who can achieve the best outcome without breaking the bank.’

‘Joanne Major is a brilliant family lawyer, with all the skills and empathy one would expect. She understands entrepreneurs and business people, and how the business world functions – essential in reaching workable settlements for divorcing business people.’

‘Anna Hunter is a specialist in children proceedings, specialising in multi-jurisdictional disputes.’ 

‘Lucinda Connell is an expert in high-value cases, often involving overseas assets.’ 

‘Sam Carter has quickly acquired a reputation as an exceptionally good advocate, particularly in children law matters where social services are involved.’

‘Jonathan Dunkley is a highly experienced practitioner and a tough negotiator when required.’


Major Family Law

Major Family Law is a well-regarded boutique practice, offering exclusively family law advice and representation.  They are known as being a strong, experienced team of lawyers, most in excess of 20 years post qualification experience, and together they provide a depth of expertise many other practices lack.

Founded in 2009 by Managing Director Joanne Major, the firm has grown organically from a standing start. Starting off as a sole trader the firm now has a current staff of 20 – three partners, seven consultants, one associate, two assistant solicitors, one paralegal, and seven supporting staff. The firm is growing exponentially at a rate of 25% each year.

The Firm’s team of lawyers combine their legal expertise and emotional intelligence with hard-hitting commercial nous.  This is epitomised by Joanne Major; her commitment to clients is second to none, and is coupled with commercial acumen – her style and gravitas are replicated by the rest of the team.

Major Family Law has established relationships with other legal practices and non-legal professionals regionally and nationally to ensure a high proportion of cases are secured through professional as well as personal recommendations.  As a stand-alone family law practice, referrals are very important.  Those who recommend work to the firm are not forced to do so – and would not do so – unless they were confident in the standard of care their referred clients received. Many professional referrers are other solicitors, barristers, members of the local judiciary as well as other businesses, accountants in the region and beyond.

Major Family Law has a dominant share of the North East Family Law market. Over recent years, many boutique family law practices have been established. When Major Family Law was created, niche firms were still in their infancy. The success of Major Family Law helped pave the way for a new type of Family Law legal practice.

Principal Areas of Work

Divorce and Separation:

Major Family Law is a leading divorce and separation practice in the North East, offering expert guidance and services for divorce and separation agreements. Our team offers services for those undergoing divorce or other relationship issues. We also provide services and advice on civil partnership dissolutions and same-sex divorce.

Children and Parenting Disputes:

Our leading North East family law firm provides expert advice from our best child solicitors. Our experienced child custody solicitors manage all parenting disputes, including child arrangement orders, financial provision matters, and step-parent parental responsibility issues. We can offer specialist guidance and legal knowledge to guide you through your situation; we also offer full court representation where required.

The breakdown of a relationship, or divorce, can have a significant impact on children of the family. Not only are children likely to be affected emotionally, but there may be entirely new living arrangements to consider; this can lead to estrangement from immediate and extended family members and there will be many decisions to make involving your children as they grow up. These choices will require communication and agreement between both parents.

Financial Provision:

Ending your relationship will have huge financial implications for a family. Whatever your personal circumstances, you need to understand your financial obligations and entitlements. We are here to provide assistance in securing the financial support that you need, as well as to help protect what is yours.

Motoring and Driving Offences:

The Major Family Law motoring solicitors can quickly help you avoid some of the sanctions imposed with driving offenses. Whether you have been charged, summonsed or have received a notice of intended prosecution for any motoring offense, we can offer our expert services. We are here to protect you from discretionary bans, licence revocation and some totting up driving bans.  Our job is to protect you from the impact that a driving ban could have on you and your family.

Variation and Enforcement of Financial Orders:

Major Family Law can help you recover your assets, that are rightfully yours, after a divorce. Alternatively, we can vary the terms of settlement in light of a change in your financial circumstances. Variation and enforcement of financial orders are court orders that are sometimes necessary to ensure a fair financial settlement. Often this will come as a result of a change of employment or circumstances. In the event that you need a temporary, or permanent change of circumstances, our solicitors can help you to apply to the court for a variation order.

These court orders can also be used to fast track returning your life and finances to normality after a divorce or separation. Our compassionate and learned solicitors can walk you through the process and help you to implement the court order that is in your best interest.

Our Recent Knowledge Hub Articles

Government announces new support for adoptive families

Government brings no fault divorce back to parliament

Northern Ireland legalises same sex marriage

Drug driving…

A few thoughts on cohabitation

Drink driving and ‘special reasons’

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Director Joanne Major 01661 824582
Legal Director Anna Hunter 01661 824582
Legal Director Lucinda Connell 01661 824582
Consultant Solicitor Charlie Waddell 01661 824582
Children's Law Associate Samuel Carter 01661 824582
Consultant Solicitor Jonathan Dunkley 01661 824582
Consultant Family Solicitor Rona Samuel 01661 824582
Consultant Solicitor Lewis Hulatt 01661 824582
Solicitor Stephanie Layton 01661 824582
Solicitor Calvin Walker 01661 824582
Paralegal Jenny Mckinney 01661 824582
Practice Manager Jane Henderson 01661 824582
Client Manager Helen Charlton 01661 824582
Photo Name Position Profile
 Sam Carter photo Sam Carter Associate Solicitor at Major Family Law Since qualifying as a solicitor in…
 Lucinda Connell photo Lucinda Connell Legal Director at Major Family Law Lucinda has practiced exclusively in family…
 Jonathan Dunkley photo Jonathan Dunkley Consultant Solicitor at Major Family Law Jonathan Dunkley is now in his…
Mr Lewis Hulatt  photo Mr Lewis Hulatt South East Consultant at Major Family Law Lewis qualified as a solicitor…
 Anna Hunter photo Anna Hunter Legal Director at Major Family Law Anna is a well-respected and experienced…
Ms Stephanie Layton  photo Ms Stephanie Layton Solicitor at Major Family Law Stephanie qualified as Solicitor in February 2014…
Mrs Joanne Major photo Mrs Joanne Major Managing Director at Major Family Law Joanne Major is a well-regarded family…
Miss Jenny Mckinney  photo Miss Jenny Mckinney Paralegal at Major Family Law Jenny worked for Her Majesty’s Courts &…
Ms Mena Ruparel  photo Ms Mena Ruparel In-House Consultant Solicitor at Major Family Law Mena has specialised in the…
Mrs Rona Samuel  photo Mrs Rona Samuel Consultant at Major Family Law Rona joined Major Family Law in January…
Mr Charlie Waddell  photo Mr Charlie Waddell Consultant Criminal Defence Solicitor at Major Family Law Charles has worked as…
Mr Calvin Walker  photo Mr Calvin Walker Solicitor at Major Family Law Calvin is a highly motivated solicitor who…
Number of directors : 3
Consultant Solicitors : 6
Solicitors : 2
Legal Assistants : 3
Paralegals : 1
Support Team : 7

At Major Family Law we recognise the importance of a diverse workforce to both eliminate discrimination and to create a strong team that will be a benefit to one another and to our clients. We pride ourselves on our commitment to fair treatment and have built an incredible team of solicitors that is equal and representative, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or any disability that they may have.

We provide an equality of opportunity where we exclusively hire solicitors based on their personality, aptitude and ability. Each member of our team is influenced to exercise personal development to bring them to their full potential, and we actively look to facilitate this training where required. Any professional advancement or promotion will be as a result of accomplishments and personal development.

We also advocate for members of the LGBTQ+ community in their needs for a family and divorce representation.

We take all accusations of discrimination seriously and will take any appropriate action necessary to provide a welcoming work environment for our team, and a safe place for our clients to come and discuss their needs. All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the firm’s grievance or complaints procedure with the complainant being informed of the outcome.

Major Family Law also support The Brain Tumour Charity, an organisation fighting to find a cure for Brain Cancer. We have an incredible opportunity to help support, and better, an incredible organisation like The Brain Tumour Charity, and so we have made a public commitment to helping raise money for this cause.

CLIENT: Jason Wainwright, Managing Partner
TESTIMONIAL: Complete faith in dealing with Joanne Major: We have very high standards of excellence at Muckle LLP and expect them from people to whom we refer work. In this respect we have complete faith in dealing with Joanne Major and her team of specialist family lawyers as we have heard nothing but good things from our clients about their client care and their capable approach to family law legal services.

CLIENT: Gillian Hall, Formerly Senior Partner, Watson Burton LLP
COMPANY/FIRM: Gillian Hall Consulting
TESTIMONIAL: Joanne’s knowledge of family law, professionalism and business acumen are second to none: I have known Joanne for many years. She has never disappointed. Her knowledge of family law, professionalism and business acumen are second to none.

CLIENT: Bradley Thomas, Tax Partner
COMPANY/FIRM: RHK Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers
TESTIMONIAL: Have referred a number of clients to her. I am very impressed with the quality: I have known Joanne Major since she established Major Family Law and have referred a number of clients to her. I am very impressed with the quality of her legal advice, her professional and personable approach and that of her able team of experienced Family Lawyers.

CLIENT: James Richardson, Barrister
COMPANY/FIRM: Trinity Chambers
TESTIMONIAL: Hugely impressed by Joanne Major’s drive, vision, and meticulous attention to detail: I’ve always been hugely impressed by Joanne Major’s drive, vision, and meticulous attention to detail. I’m not surprised, therefore, that Joanne and her dedicated team of lawyers and support staff have rapidly gained recognition as one of the most forward-looking, innovative, client-focussed family practices in the country.

CLIENT: Max Paterson, CEO
TESTIMONIAL: Joanne Major has rare and outstanding strategic vision: I am a lawyer who left practice due, in part, to a sense of frustration with the legal profession due to what I perceive as a lack of innovation, bureaucratic decision making, and defensive conservatism. Through my start-up legal tech company Settify, I now work with 150 family law practices around Australia, New Zealand and the UK, representing more than 1,000 family lawyers. Of that, Major Family Law under Joanne’s leadership stands out for having the courage to chart its own course, the ability to make strategic decisions without oppressive prevarication, a rare sense of ‘nimbleness’, which is hugely underrated in law, and a genuine desire to work collaboratively with partners of all kinds to advance clients’ interests. It is my contention that Joanne Major has rare and outstanding strategic vision.

CLIENT: Eugenia Castro
COMPANY/FIRM: Former Client
TESTIMONIAL: I went to the right team of lawyers: Joanne and her team handled my divorce which was a complex matter over 24 months, and involved cross-jurisdictional child contact. From the first phone call, she took time to explain to me both the human and legal aspects of each step. I needed a great deal of reassurance about my infant daughter and about the financial aspects of my divorce, because it had bearing on my family home which had been gifted to me during marriage. Joanne and her team see the long term picture – resolution, mediation, a sound path forward during a very upsetting time. I went to the right team of lawyers who, under expert liaison with each other, guided me through both financial and contact matters. I am based in Spain and the distance was no barrier. I trust Joanne and her team implicitly. I am not surprised her firm has grown so steadily and with such recommendation.

CLIENT: Tracy Chandler
COMPANY/FIRM: Former Client
TESTIMONIAL: Invaluable professional advice: Joanne Major and her experienced team of family lawyers are first rate. Throughout the most difficult and emotionally challenging time of my life, I was warmly guided and provided with invaluable professional advice. It is possible to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, and rest assured Major family Law are the best people to get you there. I can recommend this law firm in a heartbeat – your future truly is in the safest of hands.

CLIENT: Neville Takiar, Partner
TESTIMONIAL: We believe they are the best around: We consider Major Family Law to be the pre-eminent specialist family law firm in the North East, particularly for complex and/or high value matters. We choose to recommend Major Family Law to our clients because we believe they are the best around.

CLIENT: Paul McGowen, Principal Solicitor
COMPANY/FIRM: Collingwood Legal
TESTIMONIAL: Family lawyer of high calibre and drive: Having worked with Joanne Major at a large commercial firm some years ago, I am aware she is a family lawyer of high calibre and drive. During a short period of time she has put together an excellent team of intelligent, approachable lawyers who deliver first rate family law services to clients. We as a firm are happy to recommend them.

CLIENT: Louisa Whitney
TESTIMONIAL: Positive attitude and practical approach: I have worked as a family mediator in Surrey for a number of years. It really helps the mediation process where the solicitors giving the clients advice understand how the mediation process works, and work to help the clients achieve a resolution in mediation. I have found Lewis Hulatt really understands the mediation process and how best to support it. This gives his clients the best chance of finding a sensible resolution. His positive attitude and practical approach work well with mediation, and that makes him the kind of solicitor that I like to work with.