Firm Profile > Dawson Cornwell > London, England

Dawson Cornwell
11 Staple Inn

Family Tier 1

Dawson Cornwell has the ‘greatest concentration of talent in the UK in international cases involving children’. This skilled team has substantial international expertise both at partner and associate level and it has an established Spanish desk and a newly formed Pakistan desk. Its lawyers cover 19 languages and its matrimonial and children teams are both well-placed to respond to complex and novel international cases. The group also has substantial expertise in other niche areas such as UHNW surrogacy. In addition the team has been involved in 17 reported cases in the past year. Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon) who receives so many plaudits has been described as a ‘living legend who has dominated the field of international children law for many years’ – she heads the children team. Kate Allen heads the matrimonial team. It has recently promoted three people to the partnership, namely Lisette Dupré; Jessica Reid and Colin Rogerson, and was also recently joined by the well-regarded Catherine Thomas, formerly of JMW Solicitors LLP and Vardags.


The team is absolutely outstanding on children matters, particularly those with an international element. The experience and expertise of the partners and associates is unrivalled, and the quality of the work is superb. The firm is energetic and engaged’.

Anne-Marie Hutchinson stands head and shoulders above her peers in this area. Her knowledge, insight, and creativity in the field is beyond comparison. She is the doyenne of international family law‘.

Kate Allen is committed to a better way of delivering family law services. She attracts wealthy clients who wish to conduct their cases well. Kate is incredibly bright and articulate‘.

Zoe Fleetwood is at the top of her game in children matters and is utterly dedicated to her clients‘.

Russell Bywater passionately fights his clients’ corner whilst giving reassuring and sensible advice behind the scenes‘.

‘Carolina Marin-Pedreno has a great client manner and a very good tactical mind‘.

Colin Rogerson is the surrogacy guru. He knows the law inside out. He is hugely respected, not just by judges and lawyers in this jurisdiction, but also internationally‘.

James Netto is quite simply brilliant. James produces statements that are a dream, and is able to manage even the most difficult of clients. He is absolutely dependable and has amazing insight into international children matters‘.

‘Lisette Dupre is immensely knowledgeable and superb. Caroline Korah is a highly dedicated lawyer who fearlessly represents her clients’ interest‘.

Anne-Marie Hutchinson, Colin Rogerson and Sulema Jahangir. They all stand out for their knowledge and experience in very sensitive matters‘.

Family: mediation Tier 2

Jeremy Abraham at Dawson Cornwell is accredited by the Family Mediation Council, by Resolution and by the Family Mediators. Abraham is a respected mediator both in sole and co-mediations and is approved for direct consultation with children.

Court of protection Tier 3

Dawson Cornwell has a significant Court of Protection practice which is largely due to Jeremy Abraham who has considerable experience as a court-appointed deputy. Abraham’s focus is on property and financial affairs for mid- to high-net-worth individuals, many of whom have been awarded substantial compensation. He is frequently instructed in cases where there is a complex high-value estate and international/cross-border matters. He has advised on cases where the client may have been the victim of financial abuse by immediate family and friends or where there has been misconduct by a former deputy.


The team is particularly adept at working on sensitive matters. Jeremy Abraham is highly experienced and isn’t afraid to tackle difficult client situations‘.

Jeremy Abraham has a wealth of experience as panel deputy and has a very shrewd approach. He has excellent client management skills and is well able to deal with difficult opponents‘.

Dawson Cornwell is one of the UK’s leading specialist family law firms, described in the words of The Legal 500 as “a powerful firm” and by sources as “without question… the leaders in the field“.

The firm: Dawson Cornwell combines its highly regarded expertise in all aspects of family law with an unrivalled reputation in the field of international children law. The firm is unusual in that it has developed two specialist departments: the matrimonial department and the international children department, which work together as “a strong team of talented lawyers who are tactical, experienced and pragmatic”, providing its clients with a bespoke service.

The matrimonial partners are the “incredibly clever, quick thinking” Russell Bywater, the “intelligent, incisive and intuitive” Kate Allen, Catherine Thomas who has “remarkable intellect and formidable legal prowess”, the “sensible and highly experienced” mediator Jeremy Abraham, the “very supportive” Charlotte Conner, Lisette Dupré who has “real passion and enthusiasm” and the “technically and strategically astute” Jessica Reid. The matrimonial department also includes consultant Rhiannon Lewis, who is “excellent and extremely knowledgeable” . The international children department is headed by the “doyenne of international family law”, Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon), who is recognised as having “near legendary status and an encyclopaedic knowledge of children law”. Anne-Marie is supported by the “absolutely superb” dual-qualified partner Carolina Marín Pedreño, who is “very experienced in international cases at the highest level”, the “very empathetic, calm and organised” public law specialist partner, Zoë Fleetwood, Colin Rogerson, who is “the go-to lawyer for surrogacy” and very experienced associates, such as “rising star of children law” James Netto.

The vast majority of the firm’s cases are international. The firm’s lawyers have extensive experience dealing with jurisdiction and other international issues. “They have every language under the sun covered”, including Azeri, Bengali, Catalan, Creole, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu. They are trailblazers in the field of cross-border children work, to which their unparalleled and ongoing record of reported cases is testament.

Dawson Cornwell has a reputation for taking on the trickiest international cases, and who “handle the heavyweight, complex and cross-jurisdictional cases well”. “They are known for their tenacity and fighting a client’s cause”. The firm has thus been instrumental in developing entirely new areas of law, including failure to maintain applications for spouses who are stranded abroad and Schedule I applications following sperm donation cases.

The firm prides itself on its partner-led approach, with strategic thinking and deft negotiation. While fee-earners assist partners to ensure that all work is undertaken cost-effectively, clients are always able to speak directly to, and deal directly with, the partner in charge of their case. Each partner has, deliberately, a different speciality so that they are able to offer collaborative law and mediation through to a high level of experience in jurisdictional work and complex litigation and trusts. At the same time the firm is known for being united in resolution rather than litigation and proportionality in respect of costs.

Sources say about the firm, “An excellent team that has a good mix of experienced heads at the top of the tree and a lot of young, keen and clever junior lawyers coming through”.

Types of work undertaken: The firm advises clients in the UK and internationally on all areas of family law, including prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, separation, divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, international forum disputes, complex financial investigations, high-net-worth financial settlements, child maintenance, enforcing foreign orders, EU regulation cases and pensions.

Its award-winning specialist international children department undertakes international custody disputes, child abduction, adoption, relocation, leave to remove, stranded spouses, forced marriage, honour-based violence, EU regulation recognition and enforcement, and complex international care cases.

The “very calm and thoughtful” Jeremy Abraham is a member of the Office of the Public Guardian’s panel and brings to his Court of Protection work his expertise as a family lawyer and his background in civil and probate litigation, as well as, importantly, his skill as a mediator.  Partners Jeremy and Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon) run a growing Court of Protection practice and are instructed in cases where there is a complex high value estate including international and cross border matters.

The firm also has a highly regarded reputation in international surrogacy, assisted reproduction law and same-sex parenting cases and has represented several high-profile commissioning parents in this field. This work is undertaken by Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon) and solicitor advocate Colin Rogerson who have “developed a fantastic reputation” in the area of surrogacy.

In addition to its litigation practice, the firm actively promotes alternative dispute resolution, with active collaborative law partner (Kate Allen), highly experienced mediator (Jeremy Abraham) and Resolution trained mediator (Jessica Reid). The firm is described as “an outstanding supporter of mediation” and is known for having “a strong practice handling mediated and collaborative solutions to family matters”.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Stephen Harker 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Russell Bywater 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Rhiannon Lewis 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Kate Allen 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Catherine Thomas 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Jeremy Abraham 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Charlotte Conner 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Lisette Dupre 0207 242 2556
Matrimonial Jessica Reid 0207 242 2556
International children Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon) 0207 242 2556
International children Carolina Marin Pedreno 0207 242 2556
International children Zoe Fleetwood 0207 242 2556
International children Colin Rogerson 0207 242 2556
Public law Zoe Fleetwood 0207 242 2556
Surrogacy, assisted reproduction and same-sex parenting Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon) 0207 242 2556
Surrogacy, assisted reproduction and same-sex parenting Colin Rogerson (solicitor advocate) 0207 242 2556
Collaborative law Kate Allen 0207 242 2556
Mediation Jeremy Abraham 0207 242 2556
Mediation Jessica Reid 0207 242 2556
Court of Protection Jeremy Abraham 0207 242 2556
Court of Protection Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon) 0207 242 2556
Photo Name Position Profile
 Jeremy Abraham  photo Jeremy Abraham
 Kate Allen  photo Kate Allen
 Russell Bywater  photo Russell Bywater
 Charlotte Conner  photo Charlotte Conner
 Lisette Dupré  photo Lisette Dupré
 Zoë Fleetwood  photo Zoë Fleetwood
 Stephen Harker  photo Stephen Harker
 Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon)  photo Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon)
 Sulema Jahangir  photo Sulema Jahangir
 Helen Kings  photo Helen Kings
 Caroline Korah  photo Caroline Korah
 Rhiannon Lewis  photo Rhiannon Lewis
 Carolina Marín Pedreño  photo Carolina Marín Pedreño
 James Netto  photo James Netto
 Jessica Reid  photo Jessica Reid
 Colin Rogerson  photo Colin Rogerson
 Catherine Thomas  photo Catherine Thomas
Number of UK partners : 13
Number of other UK fee-earners : 24

Dawson Cornwell is committed to promoting equality and diversity both in relation to our staff and job applicants and in relation to our policies, practices and procedures.  This applies to our professional dealings with clients and others. 

We recognise that a firm which is inclusive and diverse attracts the most talented individuals, who are valued for their ability and performance.   

We treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race or racial group, religion or belief, age, caring responsibility or disability. 

Wherever possible, we take steps to promote equal opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide, in order to ensure that, subject to funding constraints, our services are accessible to all clients.  We are committed to meeting the diverse needs of our clients. 

We consider all employees to be equal and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination.  This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with us. 

Awards & Recognitions 

We are signatories to the Law Society’s Diversity & Inclusion Charter and we have a Silver Charter Mark.  We have also been awarded a Diversity Aware Charter Mark.  We have been committed to issues relating to the LGBT+ community for many years as demonstrated by the awards referred to below. 

We have been shortlisted as Best Employer – Career Progression LGBT+/inclusion for the Citywealth Future Leaders Awards 2019. The criteria for the award is to demonstrate evidence of leadership and development of LGBT+ and diversity individuals within the organisation, including investment in qualifications.  

Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon), Partner, is a Founding member of the UK LGBT Family Law Institute and received the British LGBT “Corporate Straight Ally” Award (2014) and an “Albert” award from the Albert Kennedy Trust, in recognition of her work on an international level in defending the human rights of young lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans people (2011). 

Colin Rogerson, Partner, is a member of the Interlaw Diversity Forum, the P3 Network and a Founding member of the UK LGBT Family Law Institute.  He was awarded “Rising Star under 40” by the LGBT Bar Association and the Interlaw Diversity Forum, in recognition of outstanding legal professional under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their field and demonstrated a profound commitment to LGBT equality (2014). 

Sulema Jahangir, Senior Associate, was named an Unsung Hero by News Week Pakistan in 2019. 

Shabina Begum, Associate, was recognised as one of the Top 100 figures on the British Bangladeshi Power and Inspiration List in both 2014 and 2017. 

CLIENT: Children matter client
COMPANY/FIRM: Dawson Cornwell
TESTIMONIAL:I would like to thank you for all the hard work and incredible effort that you have put into my case. Even through the hardest times, you showed me great support and compassion, for that I am eternally grateful.

CLIENT: Matrimonial client
COMPANY/FIRM: Dawson Cornwell
TESTIMONIAL:I must say that I was very lucky to meet you. Thank you for everything that you have done for me, to be honest, it was very scary to come with a rather difficult question in an unfamiliar country, in a foreign language for legal assistance. Thanks to you, everything at once became clear, understandable and easy to me. Thank you very much.

CLIENT: Children and Matrimonial client
COMPANY/FIRM: Dawson Cornwell
TESTIMONIAL:As you may know, I have finally reached a settlement in my case. I wanted to send you a brief note just to thank you for all your help and work in the case. The whole team at DC has been exceptional and I am very grateful to have had you on my side.

CLIENT: Charitable organisation
COMPANY/FIRM: Dawson Cornwell
TESTIMONIAL:Over the years you have been invaluable to our clients, who are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable in society, and indeed to us as an organisation. You have given generously of your time and contributed to our policy and campaigning work. You are respected and renowned in the UK and abroad for your extensive knowledge of international family law.

CLIENT: Matrimonial client
COMPANY/FIRM: Dawson Cornwell
TESTIMONIAL:From a client’s perspective a perfect blend of empathy, professionalism, pragmatism and commitment to giving her all to achieving the best results.

CLIENT: Surrogacy client
COMPANY/FIRM: Dawson Cornwell
TESTIMONIAL:Thank you so very very much for looking after me. I didn’t think today would be emotional but it was. Thank you again. You’ve been brilliant.