Family Law Partners > Lewes, England > Firm Profile

Family Law Partners

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

Family Law Partners have offices in Brighton and Horsham, and since November 2021, the team has become one of the few firms with a full-time in-house family therapist and coach. Kate Elliott, who is head of the Horsham team, has extensive experience managing complex financial remedies, while Brighton team head Lisa Burton-Durham is singled out as ‘approachable and friendly but tenacious and hardworking’. Gemma Hope specialises in dealing with financial and children issues, and Robert Williams sits as a deputy district judge in the county court and family court. Senior associate Christopher Maulkin excels in financial matters.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Burton-Durham; Robert Williams; Kate Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Hope; Rachel Nicholl; Christopher Maulkin; Hannah Viet; Zoë Summers; Sarah-Jane Riddell


‘An extremely capable team of family lawyers, really committed to developing the boundaries of good practice. Hugely impressive outfit.’

‘Robert Williams and Kate Elliott, both exceptionally talented family lawyers, with a real skill for identifying the nuances of a case and steering their clients safely through the litigation minefield. Unhesitatingly recommend for the full gambit of family law cases: children, money, big, small, international…this is a firm (and a team) that are on a steep upwards trajectory. And a pleasure to deal with too!’

‘Kate Elliott is a gift to her clients. She is enormously sensible and very attuned to likely outcomes if the parties reach court, so can provide early and accurate advice as to what is and isn’t worth fighting about. She is extremely personable and develops excellent working relationships with clients, who come to rely on her heavily during protracted court proceedings. Kate gives each case 100%; she knows her cases inside out and prepares early and thoroughly.’

‘Gemma Hope’s attention to detail is second to none- no stone is left unturned. Lisa Burton-Durham is approachable and friendly but tenacious and hard-working- a lethal combination!’

‘Lisa Burton-Durham is an experienced lawyer. She is friendly and professional, with an extensive skill set. Lisa drives and motivates a team around her and shows 110% commitment to her cases and clients. She delivers energy and passion. Lisa’s client care is exceptional, as is her legal knowledge, her approach to cases and meeting her client’s objectives.’

‘Zoë Summers is a very intelligent and able lawyer. She has a great attention to detail and forensic skills making her a very strong lawyer and particularly suited to matrimonial finance cases. She is capable of dealing with complex, difficult and high-value matrimonial finance cases. She also has excellent personal skills and is very good with clients.’

‘Chris Maulkin dealt with my matter calmly and achieved a very good outcome for me. He was also instrumental in curbing my more impatient tendencies in order to achieve this.’

‘Christopher Maulkin is one of the kindest and most intelligent gentlemen that I have had the privilege to deal with in the legal profession. He exudes patience and nothing appears to phase him or cause frustration to be displayed. An exemplary professional as well as a human being.’

Private client > Family: Hampshire Tier 3

Family Law Partners provides comprehensive support to its clients, with lawyers supported by external financial and tax planners, as well as an in-house therapist. Emily Pain acts for a range of HNW clients from North Hampshire, while Hazel Manktelow specialises in armed forces pensions and runs a co-mediation practice. The firm was strengthened in April 2021 with the arrival of qualified mediator and Hampshire Resolution member Jayne Llewelyn, who has a particular interest in hybrid mediation.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams; Emily Pain

Other key lawyers:

Hazel Manktelow; Jayne Llewelyn


‘Their down to earth, approachable and practical attitude and commitment to using progressive technology to benefit their clients. They’re all very nice to deal with and good at what they do.’

‘This is a practice which has expanded significantly over the last year or so, and has the feel of a firm which is going places.’

‘Emily Pain is a dynamic and experienced family lawyer who always goes the extra mile for her clients. I would not hesitate to recommend Emily to act on the other side of any dispute and I frequently refer clients to Emily if I am unable to act myself. Emily is a very safe pair of hands and she always fights to get the best possible outcome for her clients.’

‘Emily Pain stands out from the crowd as enthusiastic and passionate about her work.’

‘Hazel Manktelow has a sensitive yet pragmatic approach. She gives down to earth advice and her clients like her. She doesn’t inflame the situation and works well with solicitors on the other side to resolve matters collaboratively and cost-effectively. Her knowledge of pensions in particular is great.’

‘I would highly recommend Jayne Llewelyn at this firm. She has a wealth of experience in all aspects of family law and gives pragmatic advice and is very solution focused as a solicitor, mediator and collaborative lawyer.’

Private client > Family: Essex

Private client > Family: mediation Tier 2

Family Law Partners ‘has actively promoted working collaboratively with colleagues from other disciplines from the outset, promoting collaborative practice’. Sarah Jelly mediates on all matters and where financial issues are involved these are often high-value, and Hazel Manktelow is also a child inclusive mediator. Gemma Hope is a member of the Family Mediation Council while Kate Elliott is another recommended mediator. It is a ‘very big and growing successful practice with some super lawyers’. It has also been described as a ‘dynamic and disruptive law firm that has put DR at the front of its practice with an innovative pricing strategy and work environment’. Former director Mark Harrop left in summer 2022 and works as a deputy district judge.

Other key lawyers:


‘This firm is progressive, dynamic and very experienced in all aspects of family law. A magic circle for the provinces. Well versed in ADR as well as in litigation I have recommended them to several clients. They are thorough, hands on and extremely approachable whoever the client’.

‘Kate Elliott is incredibly well prepared as well as down to earth, approachable and extremely knowledgeable on the law. A real pleasure to work with. Clients love her’.

‘The team provides a very client focused service looking holistically at what a client needs from the process’.

‘There are no weak links in the team. Farhana Shahzady: exceptionally hardworking she goes the extra mile for her clients. She is passionate about the people and causes she works for’.

‘I have known Hazel Manktelow as a fellow mediator and as Hazel’s PPC for at least ten years. Hazel is an excellent and skillful mediator offering a warm and empathetic manner. Hazel provides all issues mediation and child inclusive mediation’.

‘Kate Elliott is the practitioner I know in Family Law in Partners, and she is excellent – insightful and grounded with a quick intelligence that rapidly gets to the heart of a problem’.

‘Gemma Hope is a very compassionate and dedicated lawyer who always goes the extra mile. Gemma is extremely hardworking and able, but with an approachable and considerate style. I have worked with a number of people who have received a service from FLP’.

‘Farhana Shahzady and Kate Elliott are both capable, warm mediators. Not afraid to speak their mind but don’t lose the clients’ faith when doing so. Sarah Jelly and Gemma Hope in particular have exemplary mediation skills’.

Private client > Family Tier 5

Family Law Partners has a ‘well-merited reputation for its client focus and a country-wide profile with offices in a variety of locations’. In London Farhana Shahzady  garners praise for leading a ‘well organised and structured team that has a great team dynamic’. It offers the full range of family solutions and fields a large team of DR-trained lawyers. The group was pleased to add a number of key practitioners to its ranks-  Trisha Siddique  joined from Wedlake Bell; Emilie Helm from Payne Hicks Beach LLP; Hannah Viet from Rayden Solicitors while Rachel Nicholl  was promoted to a director. Mark Harrop left the firm in summer 2022.

Practice head(s):

Farhana Shahzady; Robert Williams

Other key lawyers:

Trisha Siddique; Emilie Helm; Rosa Schofield; Kate Elliott; Hannah Viet; Rachel Nicholl


‘Trisha Siddique is fantastic at communicating clearly and promptly with her clients and is strategically savvy. Sensitive around child matters and tough when it comes to finances, Trisha’s support and advice was invaluable to me in my divorce. Her aim was to settle out of court and she suggested I focus on building as amicable a relationship as possible with my ex, to be able to co-parent effectively. She is child-centred. I have recommended her to several of my friends!’.

Farhana Shahzady and Rosa are an excellent powerhouse team. They provide seamless support to their clients and all are integrally aware of each aspect of the case which is reassuring for counsel and clients. Mark has so much experience and judgment that the strategy and case preparation is of the highest standard and perfectly pitched to give the client the best prospect in court’.

‘Farhana Shahzady:- exceptionally hardworking she goes the extra mile for her clients. She is passionate about the people and causes she works for’.

‘This firm is a breath of fresh air – not stuffy, very helpful, friendly but also excellent lawyers. Trisha Siddique has recently moved to them at a very senior level. Trisha has bags of experience and her money practice is all ‘big money’ cases from her experience gained at a leading City firm. She is the ‘weight’ that the firm needed to draw in those big clients and she is doing just that because clients know just how capable, hardworking and tenacious she is’.

‘Farhana Shahzady – very driven, she pursues her clients’ cases fearlessly and with real determination. Rosa Schofield – very personable and calm – a good recruit to the team’.

‘Robert Williams – I have been before him as an arbitrator in a very complex case, where the parties were difficult and the papers voluminous. He was very calm and measured and very well prepared making the 5-day hearing smooth and relaxed. A details man. Very good value for money. Hannah Viet- An up and coming practitioner who has an exceptional knowledge of the law and is pragmatic and sensible in achieving the best for her clients’.

Family Law Partners are a specialist firm dealing exclusively with family law in the South East, in Brighton, London, Horsham, Hampshire, Essex, Kent 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 26 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); Farhana Shahzady, director (qualified 2002); Gemma Hope, director (qualified 2006); Louise Buttery, consultant (qualified 2011); Chris Maulkin, senior associate (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), Hattie Gibson, associate solicitor (qualified 2019); Rosa Schofield, associate 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), Zoë Summers, consultant (qualified 2009), Emilie Helm, director (qualified 2008), Trisha Siddique, director (qualified 2007)

We are committed to dispute resolution (DR); presently offering nine mediators, twelve 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, Jayne Llewelyn, Hazel Manktelow, Gemma HopeKate Elliott,  Farhana Shahzady, Louise Buttery, Emily Pain, Hannah Viet, Alice Scrambler and Sarah-Jane Riddell. 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 partners: 10 directors

Total staff: 38 members of staff, including 26 qualified lawyers, 5 paralegals, 6 in the administration team.

Founding Director, Divorce/Finance, Arbitration Robert Williams
Founding Director 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 Sarah Jelly
Divorce/Finance, Mediation, Children Kate Elliott
Divorce/Finance, Mediation, Children Farhana Shahzady
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Hazel Manktelow
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Jayne Llewelyn
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Louise Buttery
Divorce/Finance Chris Maulkin
Divorce/Finance Gemma Garrett
Divorce/Finance Polly Dallyn
Divorce/Finance Emily Pain
Divorce/Finance Rachel Nicholl
Divorce/Finance Charlotte Plowman
Divorce/Finance Mimi Hadley
Divorce/Finance Hattie Gibson
Divorce/Finance Rosa Schofield
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Alice Scambler
Divorce/Finance Raj Patel
Divorce/Finance Eleanor Pollard
Divorce/Finance, Mediation Sarah-Jane Riddell
Divorce/Finance Zoë Summers
Divorce/Finance Emilie Helm
Divorce/Finance Trisha Siddique
Sarah Jelly photoMs Sarah JellyConsultant, Solicitor
Number of UK partners : 10
Number of other UK fee-earners : 17
Family Law Advanced Panel
Law Society Family Law Accreditation

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.