THE SET 29 Bedford Row is a dedicated family law set with a strong reputation in matrimonial finance and children law. The set is most associated with excellence in the private law sphere, but offers expertise in all forms of ancillary relief and children matters such as abduction and cases involving unmarried cohabitants. Sources report that the set has "a good variety of counsel who are quick to react and easy to deal with," while one solicitor notes that the chambers' strength lies in its "strength in depth and sensible clerking." Senior clerk James Shortall is described as "a delight to work with," and his "exceptional" team is commended for being "extremely user-friendly" and for having a "very commercial and modern outlook."
SILKS Nicholas Francis QC is "superb with clients and supremely effective in court," say sources. He covers a broad range of family law matters, and is rated amongst the nation's top silks for matrimonial finance disputes. He is "skilled at reading what a judge wants" and "open to creative solutions, as evidenced by his qualification as an arbitrator."
Also excelling in matrimonial finance matters is Timothy Scott QC, who specialises in cases with an international dimension. Sources relate that he is "brilliant at cross-jurisdictional issues" and "an excellent leader," who is "very diligent and very good on both the law and the detail."
Paul Storey QC is "a fantastic parents' advocate" and "a complete star in children work." Recent cases for him have involved issues relating to allegations of abuse, mental disability and artificial insemination. He is noted by interviewees for having a tenacious style of advocacy and a good client manner.
Patrick Chamberlayne QC is "an accomplished advocate" who is "excellent in consultation and confident without being arrogant." The core of his practice is high-value ancillary relief and civil partnership claims, and he is a recognised expert in cross-jurisdictional disputes. Recent cases include the landmark H v S, concerning the validity of Saudi Arabian divorces in English law.
Also recognised for his expertise in matrimonial finance matters is the vastly experienced Philip Cayford QC, who is described by interviewees as "a patrician leader" with "true gravitas" and "a very relaxed style with clients." Recent cases for him have included a series of complex and high-value financial remedy disputes.
Christopher Wagstaffe QC is noted for his "calm and authoritative manner," with one instructing solicitor suggesting that "his knowledge of trust law, especially in the context of Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA) applications, is second to none." His matrimonial finance practice, which often involves an international dimension, is considered to have developed strongly since he took silk in 2011.
Also garnering praise from the market is 2010 silk Robert Peel QC, a "calm and distinguished advocate" described by solicitors as "a very safe pair of hands." Principal areas of focus in his matrimonial finance practice include high net worth cases, cross-border disputes and prenuptial agreements.
Piers Pressdee QC is a children law advocate whose recent cases have included issues of same-sex parenting, allegations of abuse and international relocation. Sources attest that he is "approachable and user-friendly."
Jonathan Southgate QC is "a favourite among solicitors and clients alike for his confident manner, reliable advice and effective advocacy." His recent cases include Grubb v Grubb in the High Court, a prominent high net worth divorce dispute.
JUNIORS Brent Molyneux specialises in high net worth financial remedy cases and is adept at handling matters with a cross-jurisdictional dimension. Sources remark that "he combines intelligence and excellent knowledge of the law" and that "he hardly ever fails to deliver good results."
Private children law specialist Indira Ramsahoye is "a leading junior in the area of relocation," say sources. She recently acted on MK v CK in the Court of Appeal, a ground-breaking international relocation case providing guidance in situations concerning shared residence arrangements. According to one interviewee, "clients just love her."
Jonathan Tod is "a silk in the making," say sources impressed with his expertise in Schedule 1 private law children cases. He is equally highly rated for work in the matrimonial finance sphere, with his recent cases including Z v Z in the High Court, a landmark decision relating to prenuptial agreements.
Nicholas Allen primarily handles financial remedy work, including matters under the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Sources confirm that his client skills are "first class," and that "he has a tremendous eye for detail and a first-rate knowledge of matrimonial law." He regularly practises in collaborative law.
The "competent, dependable and tenacious" Alexis Campbell is commended for her "ability to get her client's position across without aggravating the other side." The core of her practice is matrimonial finance, and she has experience in matters concerning offshore trusts, nuptial agreements and pensions.
Laura Heaton focuses her practice on ancillary relief, and is particularly highly rated in cases involving complex financial aspects, such as those concerning family businesses and pre-acquired assets. Sources relate that she is "a good advocate, who is very user-friendly."
Mark Emanuel has a broad family law practice and is noted for his work on all forms of ancillary relief.
Emanuel wins market support as does the "confident and self-assured" Petra Teacher, who has a strong matrimonial finance practice. According to one interviewee, she "dispenses sound advice which is neither too robust nor too wishy-washy, and produces excellent documents."
Lee Arnot has a broad family law practice and is noted for his expertise in private and public children law. He has appeared in cases at all levels up to the House of Lords.
Richard Bates is recognised for his matrimonial finance expertise. Sources remark that he is "always well prepared, good humoured and thorough," with one interviewee adding that he "keeps calm in trying circumstances and is persistent and patient with clients."
Ken Collins is noted for his expertise in complex ancillary relief cases, and often handles matters with an international dimension. Sources compliment him for having a "calm and no-nonsense approach that clients like."
Also recognised for matrimonial finance work is Victoria Domenge, who sources relate is "a very safe pair of hands."
Peter Duckworth is a lawyer with a strong matrimonial finance practice, who is praised for "the competency of his advice, his advocacy skills, and above all the charming way he deals with clients."
Peter Mitchell is noted for his abilities pertaining to ancillary relief and TOLATA. Sources confirm that he is "a wonderful advocate."
He is recommended as is Lynsey Cade Davies, whose principal areas of focus include financial remedies and reciprocal enforcement of foreign financial orders.