Family Law Partners > Brighton, England > Firm Profile

Family Law Partners

Living Wage

Private client > Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

The ‘first-rate family boutique practice’ at ‘forward-thinking, fast-acting, client-focused firm’ Family Law Partners spans Brighton and Horsham and achieves the ‘best possible results’. Having launched its Agreeable model, a service for divorcing and separating couples, in April 2022, and embedding an in-house family therapist in its offering, the practice is led by a trio of lawyers including managing director and collaborative lawyer and arbitrator Robert Williams, who specialises in finance-related matters after relationship breakdown. Also co-heading the team is the ‘truly stellar’ Kate Elliott, who is a Resolution trained mediator and undertakes a range of family matters relating to private children work, high-net-worth individuals, nuptial agreements, domestic violence and addiction issues, and Lisa Burton-Durham, who is ‘bright, personable and a pleasure to work with’ and offers expertise in spousal maintenance work, property portfolios, cohabitee disputes and TOLATA issues, as well as private children matters such as coercive control and parental alienation mandates. Collaborative lawyer Christopher Maulkin deals with financial issues and family matters involving unmarried couples. Also noted is ‘approachable and friendly solicitor’ Gemma Hope.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams; Lisa Burton-Durham; Kate Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Maulkin; Gemma Hope; Rachel Nicholl; Hannah Viet; Hannah Gumbrill-Ward; Eleanor Pollard; Polly Dallyn


‘Family Law Partners provides a service that is second to none. They are a forward-thinking, fast-acting, client-focused firm. Whilst they have a strong focus on collaborative law and mediation, they do not shy away from complex, interesting and difficult cases.’

‘Lisa Burton-Durham is bright, personable and a pleasure to work with. Hannah Gumbrill-Ward is a level-headed and hardworking solicitor with excellent judgment. Rachel Nicholl is a tenacious solicitor who is forensic in her approach to cases. Gemma Hope is an approachable and friendly solicitor who works tirelessly for her clients. Eleanor Pollard is determined and hardworking.’

‘Kate Elliott and Lisa Burton-Durham are stand out individuals who go the extra mile. They are astute, incisive and committed. I cannot recommend them more highly as a team and in general. This firm is progressive and forward thinking. Committed to family justice.’

‘Simply the best. Very focused on achieving the best possible result for the client by whatever means – be that negotiation, mediation, collaboration or litigation.’

‘Kate Elliott is truly stellar. She is endlessly patient and compassionate. She is able to deliver time and time again in complex children work and those involving family finances. She is always on top of her game. She is very bright, has great attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned. She is able to achieve fantastic outcomes for clients, whether in court or out. Her skill, energy and hard work is unparalleled. She is someone you would always want on your side. Polly Dallyn is phenomenally hard working and intelligent. Polly brings clarity to the most complicated cases. She is working at a level beyond her qualification years. Her attention to detail often makes all the difference to the outcome of client’s cases. Gemma Hope is a very clever lawyer who is dedicated to her clients and works hard to achieve positive outcomes for them.’

‘First-rate family boutique practice going from strength to strength. Solution focused, working to support the whole family.’

‘Robert Williams is an opponent who garners respect. He is clever, innovative and skilled in a range of ADR.’

‘A hugely impressive firm, committed to achieving the very best for their clients both in and out of court. They have some brilliant lawyers, who really get to the heart of a client’s case. They manage to achieve an excellent balance between compassion and tenacity. They have a full-time family therapist and coach, to holistically assist their clients with being able to exit their relationship on a positive footing. They are true all-rounders.’

Private client > Family: Hampshire Tier 3

Family Law Partners is focused on ‘solutions and resolution’, particularly when handling complex family financial and divorce remedy matters for high-net-worth-individuals. Operating out of the Hampshire office, Emily Pain heads up the group, and boasts extensive experience handling financial issues and children disputes following a separation. Hazel Manktelow is a qualified mediator, who has carved out a niche acting in domestic abuse cases and mandates relating to armed forces pensions. Jayne Llewelyn is noted for her disputes expertise. Senior associate Victoria Burrows joined the Horsham office from Irwin Mitchell in November 2022.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams; Emily Pain

Other key lawyers:

Hazel Manktelow; Jayne Llewelyn; Victoria Burrows


‘Emily Pain – enthusiastic, diligent and dedicated.’

‘Jayne Llewellyn is known for being very supportive of her clients.’

‘Dynamic in every sense. Excellent lawyers with a focus on solutions and resolution – steeped in ADR.’

‘Hazel Manktelow has carved out a real niche for herself dealing with armed forces pensions as well as a highly regarded mediation practice. She is brilliant at putting clients at ease and making sure they feel supported and listened to. Hazel will never fight anything unnecessarily and is entirely committed to resolving situations amicably.’

‘Jayne Llewelyn is always very eager to help her clients solve their family issues in the most effective way, both in terms of cost and generally. Jayne has significant experience and knowledge in family finances/ financial remedy cases and she has a very practical approach to matters. Her understanding and empathy for her clients’ situations is excellent yet she can manage their expectations and instil her advice and guidance gently but firmly.’

‘Robert Williams – experienced, calm, sensible – resolution focused but firm when he needs to be.’

‘Jayne Llewelyn is so approachable and welcoming to her clients. She is very empathetic to their needs but at the same time is able to provide clear and robust legal advice protecting their interests at all times – her knowledge in complex and high-net-worth cases is exceptional.’

Private client > Family: Essex Tier 4

Overseen by Robert Williams in Brighton and led by Essex-based Louise Buttery, Family Law Partners fields a particular strong dispute resolution practice and is praised by clients for ‘going the extra mile in offering support’. Clients ‘would fully recommend’ Buttery, who is equipped to handle high-value financial cases, as well as complex children matters.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams; Louise Buttery


‘This is a unique specialist firm with a real breadth in partners and associates. They have detailed knowledge of their areas and can draw upon wide family law resources within the firm.’

‘Vast experience and technical knowledge, with a personal touch.’

‘Louise Buttery is a joy to work with. She is passionate about good outcomes for her clients, and communicates with both clients and professional partners effectively.’

‘A huge breadth of experience, they bespoke their services to meet the needs of individual clients. They are at the forefront of alternate dispute resolution services.’

‘Louise Buttery is technically excellent. She knows all rules, procedures and black letter law but even better than that she is kind and empathetic to clients listening to their needs. She is an excellent collaborative lawyer who will always promote alternative dispute resolution where appropriate to get a quicker and less painful outcome for her clients.’

‘They go the extra mile in offering support.’

‘Louise Buttery has been exceptional from the outset and guided me through a long divorce case.’

‘Louise Buttery was absolutely outstanding in explaining every step of the process, telling me what my options were and also giving me very clear legal advice on the situation. Throughout she was exceptional in staying in touch and keeping me informed about the latest developments, and remained incredibly calm during the court hearing. I would fully recommend her to anyone seeking advice on issues of family law.’

Private client > Family: mediation Tier 2

Family Law Partners ‘offers not only the best in litigation but also the full remit of alternatives to going to court coupled with a comprehensive counselling therapy and well-being space. Truly a team who can offer a “good divorce”.’ It has an abundance of talent where the lawyers offer ‘a holistic approach to divorce and separation enabling clients to move on from an emotional and difficult process with clarity and confidence‘. Gemma Hope is a member of the Family Mediation Council and is an accredited mediator. Kate Elliott has an excellent practice – she qualified as a mediator in 2019 and is working towards accreditation. Sarah Jelly is also well-regarded and can provide statutory Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings. Hazel Manktelow is also a child-inclusive mediator.

Other key lawyers:

Kate Elliott; Gemma Hope; Polly Dallyn; Emily Pain; Hazel Manktelow; Jayne Llewellyn; Alice Scambler


‘Kate Elliott ‘lowered the temperature’ in an incredibly acrimonious environment, and she very calmly, but firmly, drew the parties back in to focus on the key issues in dispute. It was remarkable’.

‘Hazel is an excellent mediator who brings her warm personality and common sense attitude together with vast legal background experience to the mediation process. Clients are in a safe pair of hands with Hazel’.

‘Polly Dallyn-phenomenally hardworking and intelligent, Polly brings clarity to the most complicated cases. Her attention to detail often makes all the difference to the outcome of client’s cases‘.

‘Gemma Hope is a very clever lawyer who is dedicated to her client’s and works hard to achieve positive outcomes for them’.

‘Emily Pain’s calm, confident manner has meant I have recommended many clients to her. She has never disappointed, always achieving excellent outcomes whether in court or out’.

‘The team works well together. Sarah Jelly is a class act’.

‘Jayne remained calm, tempered and encouraging throughout the process. Jayne gave space for the clients to be able to lean on and take advice from lawyers whilst ensuring good progress was made throughout the day’.

‘Alice offers a great client-focused service for clients. I often refer mediation to her as I know she will deliver a fantastic service’.

Private client > Family Tier 5

Family Law Partners ‘is a truly modern and progressive firm that is entirely focused on securing realistic and effective results for its clients’. Farhana Shahzady has particular expertise in complex cases with both financial and children elements. Trisha Siddique specialises in Islamic and Middle East law and complex cases concerning religious marriage ceremonies. Other names to note include Emilie Helm and Robert Williams. Mark Harrop took up a consultancy role at Collyer Bristow LLP at the beginning of 2023, and Rosa Schofield moved to The International Family Law Group LLP in October 2023.

Practice head(s):

Farhana Shahzady; Emilie Helm; Trisha Siddique; Robert Williams

Other key lawyers:

Kate Elliott


‘Farhana Shazady is sharp and insightful. Farhana is passionate about her clients and leaves no stone unturned.’

‘Emilie Helm has been a huge asset to the firm. Her impact on the firm was instantly noticeable and very positive. She balances a forensic and detail-orientated approach to litigation, within the realistic bespoke advice that she provides to her clients.’

‘Dynamic and forward-thinking team with a focus on ADR and out of court settlement. There is a wonderful energy to the team who go above and beyond to help their clients.’

‘Kate Elliott is a fantastic team leader who inspires confidence in her colleagues and clients alike. She is wonderful to work with; motivating and supportive, as well as possessing excellent judgment.’

‘Farhana Shahzady stands out owing to their fantastic manner with clients. They always build such strong relationships which enable them to give frank advice which the client trusts implicitly. They are the most down-to-earth, practical solicitors and such joy to work with.’

‘Trisha Siddique has loads of experience and is frequently sought out by clients who need experience on big money cases and those cases with an international aspect. She is extremely adept at getting quickly up to speed with cases.’

‘A well-established middle money practice offering quality and value. An excellent reputation for children work. A well-known and prominent family law specialist firm with good quality at all levels. A family team of strength and depth.’

Family Law Partners are a specialist firm dealing exclusively with family law in the South East, in Brighton, Horsham, London, Chelmsford, Eastbourne, Fleet, Petersfield, Tunbridge Wells, Winchester and Lewes. We always look to work collaboratively with clients and fellow professionals to achieve the best outcome for our clients and their families.

We have a team of 25 qualified lawyers: Sarah Jelly, consultant (qualified 1978); Robert Williams, director (qualified 1994), Alan Larkin, director (qualified 1997), Jayne Llewelyn, consultant (qualified 1989); Hazel Manktelow, consultant (qualified 2003); Lisa Burton-Durham, director (qualified 2004); Kate Elliott, director (qualified 2006); Gemma Hope, director (qualified 2006); Louise Buttery, consultant (qualified 2011); Chris Maulkin, director (qualified 2011); Polly Dallyn, senior associate (qualified 2017), Charlotte Plowman, senior associate (qualified 2016); Emily Pain, consultant (qualified 2011); Rachel Nicholl, director (qualified 2013); Mimi Hadley, solicitor (qualified 2020); Alice Scambler, consultant (qualified 2008), Raj Patel, solicitor (qualified 2019); Eleanor Pollard, solicitor (qualified 2020); Sarah-Jane Riddell, senior associate (qualified 1993); Craig Yeung-Williams, associate solicitor (qualified 2010), Lucy Naish, senior associate (qualified 2017);  Zoë Summers, consultant (qualified 2009); Hannah Gumbrill-Ward, associate solicitor (qualified 2019); Victoria Burrows, senior associate (qualified 2004).

We are committed to non-court dispute resolution (DR); presently offering twelve mediators, eleven collaborative lawyers and an arbitrator. The willingness to provide and signpost to DR options (including arbitration) is fundamental to our practice and in the “DNA” of all the team, as evidenced by the commitment we make to train the team in DR disciplines.

Types of work undertaken: In all our work we look to ensure the client has the right team in place to support their needs.  This may include specialist counsel, pension experts, financial experts, forensic accountants, counsellors and family consultants.

Divorce, judicial separation and dissolution: our team of divorce solicitors are highly experienced and will work with our clients to make an informed decision as to which option is appropriate and if so when it would be in their interests to start the process.

Mediation: our mediation team are all experienced family law specialist comprising Kate Elliott, Gemma Hope, Hannah Viet, Sarah-Jane Riddell, Polly Dallyn, Charlotte Plowman, Sarah Jelly, Jayne Llewelyn, Hazel Manktelow, Louise Buttery, Emily Pain and Alice Scrambler. As a wider team, we advise clients on how mediation can be used as an effective way of resolving family law issues, including arrangements for children.

Financial issues: our family solicitors are highly experienced in complex financial issues and approach their advice holistically and strategically to ensure cases are dealt with in the most appropriate, sensitive and cost-effective way. We aim to adopt a non-adversarial approach to resolving matters and encourage the use of mediation, round table meetings and the collaborative law model. Even when involved in litigation we remain issue focused to ensure the best outcome is achieved in the most cost-effective way.

Cohabitation: we look at all the issues that may impact our client and advise how to address these in the most appropriate, sensitive and cost-effective way. We aim to adopt a non-adversarial approach to resolving matters and encourage the use of family mediation, round table meetings and the collaborative law model.  When cases require it we will litigate but we do so in a solution-focused way.

Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements: we prefer to facilitate pre-relationship agreements using round table meetings or the collaborative model if possible so there can be honest and open discussions, and issues can be explored and reality checked.

Children: we take a solution-focused approach to arrangements for children, involve third party support to improve communication and parenting differences and we work with our clients to find lasting outcomes.

Surrogacy: our specialist surrogacy team are experienced in advising on the different aspects of surrogacy.  We help same-sex and heterosexual couples both married and unmarried and from diverse backgrounds and cultures. We can assist with surrogacy planning, parental order applications, surrogacy disputes, international surrogacy issues, immigration and British nationality for children born abroad.

Brighton (Sussex)
Horsham (Sussex)
Tunbridge Wells (Kent)
Fleet (Hampshire)
Petersfield (Hampshire)
Winchester (Hampshire)
Chelmsford (Essex)
Lewes (Sussex)
Eastbourne (Sussex)

Number of directors: 9
Number of additional lawyers: 16

Department Name Email Telephone
Founding Director, Divorce/Finance, Arbitration Robert Williams
Founding Director & Head of Innovation Alan Larkin
Director, Divorce/Finance, Collaborative Law, Cohabitation, Children Lisa Burton-Durham
Director, Divorce/Finance, Collaborative Law, Mediation, Surrogacy, Children Gemma Hope
Divorce/Finance, Mediation, Children Kate Elliott
Divorce/Finance Chris Maulkin
Divorce/Finance Rachel Nicholl
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Hannah Viet
Divorce/Finance Victoria Burrows
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Polly Dallyn
Divorce/Finance Hannah Gumbrill-Ward
Divorce/Finance Charlotte Plowman
Divorce/Finance Eleanor Pollard
Divorce/Finance/Children Craig Yeung-Williams
Divorce/Finance Raj Patel
Divorce/Finance Mimi Hadley
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Hazel Manktelow
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Sarah Jelly
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Jayne Llewelyn
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Louise Buttery
Divorce/Finance Emily Pain
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Alice Scambler
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Sarah-Jane Riddell
Divorce/Finance Zoë Summers
Divorce/Finance/Children Lucy Naish
Photo Name Position Profile
Lisa Burton-Durham photo Mrs Lisa Burton-Durham Head of Brighton team, Chartered Legal Executive & Collaborative Lawyer
Gemma Hope photo Gemma Hope Director, Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer
Alan Larkin photo Mr Alan Larkin Founding Director, Head of Innovation & Technology/Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
Jayne Llewelyn photo Jayne Llewelyn Consultant, Mediator, Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer
Christopher Maulkin photo Mr Christopher Maulkin Senior Associate, Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
Emily Pain photo Emily Pain Consultant, Solicitor & Mediator
Raj Patel photo Raj Patel Raj joined Family Law Partners in 2022 after working for a sole…
Eleanor Pollard photo Eleanor Pollard Solicitor.
Sarah-Jane Riddell photo Sarah-Jane Riddell Senior Associate Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer & Mediator
Zoë Summers photo Zoë Summers Consultant, Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
Robert Williams photo Mr Robert Williams Founding Director, Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer & Arbitrator
Number of UK partners : 8
Number of other UK lawyers : 16
Family Law Advanced Panel
Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation
Family Mediation Council

Diversity at Family Law Partners

FLP is committed to valuing diversity and seeks to provide all Employees with the opportunity for employment, career and personal development on the basis of ability, qualifications and suitability for the work as well as their potential to be developed into the job.

We believe that people from different backgrounds can bring fresh ideas, thinking and approaches which make the way work is undertaken more effective and efficient.

FLP will not tolerate direct or indirect discrimination against any person on grounds of age, disability, gender / gender reassignment, marriage / civil partnership, pregnancy / maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation whether in the field of recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, career progression, training, transfer or dismissal.

It is also the responsibility of all Employees in their daily actions, decisions and behaviour to endeavour to promote these concepts, to comply with all relevant legislation and to ensure that they do not discriminate against colleagues, clients, suppliers or any other person associated with FLP.

Our Responsibility Agenda

Family Law Partners is committed to operating as a socially responsible business. We work hard to drive the firm forward in a sustainable way, which for us means keeping an eye firmly on our role as an employer, a member of our local and legal business community, and an agent of change on the national stage supporting access to justice.

Our responsibility agenda covers four key pillars – the Family Law Partners’ team, access to justice, the communities in which we work and our environmental impact.

Our people

We want Family Law Partners to be a great place to work for our staff. We understand that a happy team leads to satisfied clients through the delivery of exceptional customer service. We give our staff the freedom to work in a flexible way with the freedom to expand and grow their roles.

We were one of the first family teams in the country to resource a dedicated external counsellor to support team wellbeing which in turn enables a better service to clients. Our reflective practice model allows team members to explore the dynamics between us and our clients, and encourages our team to build their relationships with each other.

Access to justice

In 2014 we launched ‘Engage’, probably the world’s first virtual family lawyer, to help our clients prepare, free of charge, for their initial, crucial consultation with us, ensuring we could provide bespoke advice from the first minute.

We also created a free child maintenance calculator because of our frustration with the limitations of the official calculator utilised by the Child Maintenance Service.

In 2020, when the challenges of Covid became apparent, we shared Engage with other lawyers and their clients free of charge on our innovation platform called Family Law Lab. We presently have 50 firms across England & Wales utilising Engage.

Diversity and talent

In April 2021 we marked our 10-year anniversary by announcing the creation of a £36,000 scholarship fund with the University of Brighton’s Business & Law School to support candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds to study law.

The scholarship programme will provide economic support for six local law students during the entirety of their undergraduate studies. Additionally, we will provide mentoring opportunities through our family law specialists to help prepare students for future legal careers.

Our community

We are proud supporters of UK charity Magic Breakfast who provide healthy, nutritious breakfasts to 31,000 children each day in 467 schools across England. We donate £5.00 for every feedback questionnaire our clients complete, helping to improve learning for the most disadvantaged children, a better classroom experience for all and improved outcomes for the wider community.

Our environmental footprint

We are committed to reducing our environmental impact both at a firm level and at an individual level through encouraging positive behaviour change among our team.

One of our objectives (from launch in April 2011) was to become a truly paperless business, and we have taken proactive steps to move towards this. For example, we encourage electronic forms of communication and document sharing this approach delivers an environmental saving but also responds to our clients wishes to communicate with us electronically.

Our major environmental impacts are energy use, consumption of materials e.g. paper, and transport emissions. We are committed to recycling and encourage the team to travel via public transport (or via lift-shares) wherever possible.

We ensure that environmental considerations are taken into consideration in our purchasing decisions and have decided not to print marketing collateral and literature. Instead, we promote our services via online channels and social media networks, and make client resources (such as factsheets) available as online downloads rather than hard copies.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: I cannot thank you enough for your support over the last few years. It has been a prolonged and distressing process, but you kept me sane in the darkest periods, and I am very grateful for your no-nonsense but compassionate approach, which made it all a bit easier to cope with. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to anyone. Although I wouldn’t wish the situation on my worst enemy, you help make it less traumatic.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Kate Elliott is a dedicated, reliable and extremely competent lawyer who puts the client first. I am so happy with Kate’s help and professionalism. I was thoroughly recommend her and her practice. Thank you, Kate.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Thank you Lisa for all your help, advice and support through the long and (at times) painful journey of my divorce and its completion with the sale of the house. It was an experience and without your constant support, both professionally and emotionally, it would have been an even more difficult time, and for that I thank you immensely.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: A heartfelt thank you for everything you guys have put into this. I don’t need to explain much more, I know you get it and the impact that this has been having on us. I know you have spent your days, evening and weekends on this and I am very grateful. I can’t thank you enough for all your hours of support and advice.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Kate Elliott is quite simply a phenomenal family solicitor. From the very first meeting to getting to a resolution she has always been strong, supportive, smart and incredibly human. I wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending her and the team at the Family Law Partners.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Gemma has excellent knowledge in her field, along with a very personable nature. I felt that she has always given me the best possible advice and service and I completely trusted her judgement and ability. Gemma made sure I was aware of all my legal requirements, what would happen next, and answered all my questions quickly. This constant reassurance paved the way to ensure that a fair and amicable agreement was made with the knowledge that my dependants, assets and future income where safe and secure.