Firm Profile > Family Law Partners > Brighton, England

Family Law Partners
5 CLIFTON MEWS
CLIFTON HILL
BRIGHTON
BN1 3HR
England

Living Wage

Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 1

Family Law Partners handles the full range of family law matters, and are particularly known for their emphasis on out-of-court dispute resolution, such as private FDRs. While the firm is particularly adept at advising clients on financial matters, they also have experience in complex children cases. The practice is led by Robert Williams, who is also a Deputy District Judge, and other key contacts include Gemma Hope and Lauren Guy. The firm opened a third office in Horsham under new joiner Kate Elliott in October 2019, and from this office services high net worth clients from the surrounding region. Mark Harrop  heads the London team.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Instructing Family Law Partners as my legal representatives is one of the best decisions I have made. They are always professional and patient, putting their client’s first at all times. Legal proceedings can, at times, feel like an emotional tug of war. Family Law Partners empathise with their clients, providing both legal and emotional support throughout. They took the time to understand my situation inside out, tailoring their advice to the needs of my case. They are experts in their field. The advice they offer is accurate and I feel confident they will use their knowledge to achieve the best outcome for me. Family Law Partners have acted professionally and collaboratively at all times.’

‘Kate Elliott is brilliant with clients: she gives robust, clear, sensible advice and is highly effective at achieving negotiated settlements.’

‘They are a growing practice and deserve praise. They are a no-nonsense sensible firm who know exactly what they are doing. They understand the needs of a client and have the client at the forefront of their practice.’

‘Kate Elliott is excellent. She can navigate through complex cases and difficult facts and move seamlessly into settlement discussions.’

‘They are a hard-working, forward-looking team who work hard for their clients. They are good at coming to counsel when they feel they need assistance.’

‘Robert Williams is an expert in his field of financial remedy work. Approachable, engaging, forensic, he leaves no stone unturned in advancing a client’s case. Chris Maulkin is an outstanding solicitor in financial remedy work who brings a forensic mind to case analysis. Gemma Hope is a highly talented financial remedy practitioner with an in-depth knowledge of the law; she works extremely hard for her clients to achieve best outcomes. She is particularly effective in cases involving complex company structures. Lisa Burton-Durham is an experienced lawyer with a reassuring and empathetic manner and a necessary pragmatic approach to resolving financial remedy disputes. She manages clients’ expectations and guides them to a settlement when necessary but can also fight her corner.’

‘I think Kate Elliott is a real star – clever, approachable, humane and pragmatic. She is an extremely effective negotiator and I have had glowing feedback from any clients I have sent her way.’

‘It is a firm that is truly focused on non-court dispute resolution and practises what it preaches. Very few firms do that. There is a real commitment to mediation, collaboration and arbitration. All of this is in the clients’ interests, avoiding acrimony and saving costs. But they can litigate if they need to, and know their way around the court system.’

Family: mediation Tier 2

Family Law Partners' team includes five well-regarded mediators, among them Sarah Jelly, who mediates on all issues, including high-value financial matters, and Hazel Manktelow, who has developed her practice further by also qualifying as a child-inclusive mediator. Mark Harrop is among 'the best young legal minds'; he is a qualified mediator and is also an accredited collaborative practitioner.

Testimonials

Family Law Partners is a unique firm, whose focus is on exploring out-of-court settlements as well as litigation if necessary

The team works closely with clients to explore whether mediation, arbitration, counselling or other therapies may be the best way forward, which is a helpful approach for clients and courts alike’

‘It is unique in its approach to family law and cutting edge in many respects with its approaches to difficult family and children cases. The lawyers are highly collaborative and interested in therapeutic and forward-thinking approaches to prioritising children

‘Its focus is on non-court dispute resolution which is a real positive

A great firm:  it provides a top-notch level of service for clients whilst remaining focused on proportionality. It is excellent at exploring alternatives to court via mediation/ADR

‘The team has a good ethos and client focus. It is strong in ADR and mediation, sensible and does not take unreasonable positions

It has some of the best young legal minds available, such as Mark Harrop

Kate Elliott is wonderful – wise and insightful with great client care skills. She is very adept at resolving cases with a view to minimising conflict

Family Tier 6

Mark Harrop heads the London offering at Family Law Partners, and advises on all aspects of family and relationship breakdown, with a particular focus on divorce and financial issues. In addition, he has considerable experience of cases involving mental health issues and accusations of controlling or abusive behaviour. The practice has an emphasis on dispute resolution, with five mediators nationally, eight collaborative lawyers and an arbitrator. Emily Pain joined the team as a consultant from Stowe Family Law LLP.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Family Law Partners is a small, boutique practice which can respond flexibly to its clients’ demands. It is very up to date with technology and has been able to respond to the demands of remote hearings during the Covid pandemic

A firm that broke the boundaries of modern  and flexible working practices before Covid made us all do it. The focus on non-court dispute resolution is a real positive

Mark Harrop is brilliant – he just gets on with it. Mark is, in my opinion, a first-class lawyer, possessing a razor-sharp intellect, an impressive grasp of detail, tactical astuteness and an excellent manner with clients. He is also extremely hardworking and has an unfailingly professional approach

This is a firm that goes the extra ten miles for clients and is committed to ensuring that they have the best of advice long before applications are issued. The lawyers are tactically astute and never make a dud application

Family Law Partners is very forward thinking – it is leading the industry in the use of technology for family law. Kate Elliott is very level headed. Any client would be overjoyed to have her in their corner. Rachel Nicholl is extremely hardworking and passionate about her clients. She will always go the extra mile’

Emily Pain is great. She knows family law back to front, and has a wonderful way with clients. She is conscientious, hardworking, diligent and super bright. She is great on strategy and goes above and beyond for her clients, in her quest to get the best result

Mark Harrop is a considered, bright individual. He gives clients quiet confidence in his outstanding abilities to resolve their case. Kate Elliott is one of the brightest, most enthusiastic, persuasive and personable lawyers out there

‘They are strong in ADR and mediation. The lawyers are sensible and do not take unreasonable positions. Mark Harrop is very fair. He is someone you can pick up the phone to and resolve things and cut through the animosity of a case

Family Law Partners are a specialist firm dealing exclusively with family law in the South East, in Brighton, London, Horsham, Hampshire 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 14 qualified lawyers: Sarah Jelly, Consultant (qualified 1978); Robert Williams, Director (qualified 1994), Alan Larkin, Director (qualified 1997), Hazel Manktelow, Consultant (qualified 2003); Lisa Burton-Durham, Director (qualified 2004); Kate Elliott, Consultant (qualified 2006); Gemma Hope, Director (qualified 2006); Mark Harrop, Director (qualified 2008); Gemma Vines, Senior Associate (qualified 2008); Chris Maulkin, Associate (qualified 2011); Lauren Guy, Associate (qualified 2011), Gemma Garrett, Associate (qualified 2013), Emily Pain (qualified 2011) and Rachel Nicholl (qualified 2013).

We are committed to Dispute Resolution (DR); presently offering 5 Mediators, 10 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 Sarah Jelly, Hazel Manktelow, Gemma HopeKate Elliott and Mark Harrop. 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 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 focussed to ensure the best outcome is achieved in the most cost-effective way.

Co-habitation: 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.

Offices

Brighton (Head office)
London
Horsham
Hampshire (North and South)
Lewes

Number of partners

6 Directors

Total staff

21 members of staff, including 14 qualified lawyers, 1 trainee solicitor, 1 paralegal, 4 in the administration team.

Department Name Email Telephone
Founding Director, Divorce/Finance, Arbitration Robert Williams
Founding Director Alan Larkin
Director, Divorce/Finance, Collaborative Law, Co-habitation, Children Lisa Burton-Durham
Director, Divorce/Finance, Collaborative Law, Mediation, Surrogacy, Children Gemma Hope
Director, Divorce/Finance, Collaborative Law, Mediation, Co-habitation, Pre-nuptial agreements, Children Mark Harrop
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Sarah Jelly
Divorce/Finance, Mediation, Children Kate Elliott
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Hazel Manktelow
Divorce/Finance, International, Surrogacy Gemma Vines
Divorce/Finance Chris Maulkin
Divorce/Finance, Surrogacy Lauren Guy
Divorce/Finance, Gemma Garrett
Divorce/Finance Emily Pain
Divorce/Finance Rachel Nicholl
Photo Name Position Profile
Mrs Lisa Burton-Durham  photo Mrs Lisa Burton-Durham Head of Brighton team, Chartered Legal Executive & Collaborative Lawyer
Ms Gemma Garrett  photo Ms Gemma Garrett Associate, Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer
 Lauren Guy  photo Lauren Guy Senior Associate, Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
 Mark Harrop  photo Mark Harrop Head of London team, Solicitor, Mediator & Collaborative Lawyer
 Gemma Hope  photo Gemma Hope Director, Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer
Mr Alan Larkin  photo Mr Alan Larkin Founding Director, Head of Innovation & Technology/Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
Mr Christopher Maulkin  photo Mr Christopher Maulkin Senior Associate, Solicitor & Collaborative Lawyer
 Emily Pain  photo Emily Pain Consultant, Solicitor
 Gemma Vines  photo Gemma Vines Senior Associate, Solicitor
 Robert Williams photo Robert Williams Founding Director, Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer & Arbitrator
Number of UK partners : 6
Number of other UK fee-earners : 8
Resolution

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.


VALUING DIVERSITY AND DIGNITY AT WORK

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.

Key Actions

In adopting these principles FLP:

  • Will not tolerate acts that breach this policy. Any such breaches or alleged breaches will be taken seriously, be fully investigated and may be subject to disciplinary action where appropriate.
  • Fully recognises its legal obligations under all relevant legislation and codes of practice.
  • Will allow Employees to pursue, through the internal procedures, any matter which they believe has exposed them to inequitable treatment within the scope of this policy. Please see the Grievance Policy below.
  • Will offer opportunities for flexible working patterns, wherever operationally feasible, to help employees to combine a career with their domestic responsibilities.
  • Will provide equal opportunity to all who apply for vacancies through open competition.
  • Will select candidates only on the basis of their ability to carry out the job, using a clear and open process.
  • Will provide all employees with the training and development that they need to carry out their job effectively.
  • Will provide all reasonable assistance to employees who are or who become disabled, making reasonable adjustments wherever possible to provide continued employment. We will ensure an appropriate risk assessment is carried out and that appropriate specialist advice is obtained when necessary.

CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Lauren and the whole team were outstanding from my first conversation. I needed someone with a ‘can do’ attitude who understood what I needed and was able to deliver which was what I received. Thank you so much for all your help


CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Kate Elliott and her team did an excellent job for me. After my initial contact, Kate quickly engaged with me and then put in place a good structured plan addressing my needs quickly and effectively. Kate effectively achieved a good and timely financial outcome on my behalf. She impressed me In the way she dealt with my case. She is an outstanding family solicitor. Thank you very much. I would have no hesitation in recommending her, being effective in a time when you need good dependable legal advice.


CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: I would like to record my sincere thanks to Lisa and all her team for the help and guidance they have provided.


CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: Emily has been my lawyer through what has been a traumatic divorce for me. The whole process has been very stressful and the resulting anxiety was intense at times; but Emily’s calm and empathetic approach has helped not let it overwhelm me. Emily always listens carefully and advises from a foundation of knowledge and integrity. I trust Emily’s judgement and recommendations, appreciate her honesty and believe that she genuinely cares. I am very grateful to have the support of such a competent and compassionate lawyer by my side.


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.


CLIENT: Anonymous
COMPANY/FIRM: Family Law Partners
TESTIMONIAL: You were a great springboard into positive co-parenting, lack of bitterness and a fair settlement. Thank you.