The client's counsel
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19 March 2014
The family Bar encompasses two related areas of practice, namely matrimonial finance and child care.
The service offered is generally well-received by solicitors in London and, with an abundance of personalities, there are plenty of silks to choose from.
The list of barristers is not exhaustive, but is based on the subjective recommendations of leading family and matrimonial solicitors. Client care is the watchword in this sensitive area of practice but, as always, it is horses for courses and personalities vary greatly.
There are many chambers winning praise for their family practice but four heavyweights stand out from the crowd, namely 1 Mitre Court Buildings, Queen Elizabeth Building, 29 Bedford Row and 1 King’s Bench Walk.
Paul Focke QC’s former set 1 Mitre Court is renowned for its heavyweight ancillary relief work and a high level of computer literacy. Focke has recently left the set to join the ranks of the judiciary.
Nearly all the Mitre Court silks win praise, but nominations in reverse order for the top three are Bruce Blair QC, who is “very good on detail”, Jeremy Posnansky QC, and in first place, despite only recently taking silk, Nicholas Mostyn QC.
Mostyn is already in the big league, praised for his advocacy, his “good brain” and is described as “a star at assembling, assimilating and presenting information”.
Also rated at this set are Michael Horowitz QC, Mark Everall QC for his child care work, and Martin Pointer QC who “although not bubbling along like Mostyn is still very good” and comes highly regarded.
At Queen Elizabeth Building, there are again several silks earning praise. If you are looking for “the complete barrister for a big money case” then you are looking for Florence Baron QC who “understands finance and is good with clients”.
Featuring in our dream team, Paul Coleridge QC adds “presence” to a case and is very highly rated as is David Bodey QC, who “applies a meticulous approach and has an ability to bring clarity to a case”.
Bodey is “liked by the judiciary” and is an expert on both financial and child care matters, while Lord Meston QC is a rated child specialist. Set head Ian Karsten QC must not be overlooked.
At 29 Bedford Row Augustus Ullstein QC has “an incisive mind and can fight his case tenaciously”. He also possesses a “relaxed manner which makes him good with clients”. Also at this set Tim Scott QC is very highly regarded when an “academic approach” is required.
The last of our big hitters is 1 King’s Bench Walk where two QCs (and one junior) have made their way into one of our exclusive dream teams. Barry Singleton QC is “best known for really complex big money cases with an international dimension” but is also a “brilliant advocate for Children Act applications”.
Judith Parker QC is the second dream team entrant and is rated highly as is Camden Pratt QC - described by one practitioner as a “bit of a wild card, but we think he’s a brilliant advocate” and two 1998 silks James Turner QC, who is “developing a reputation for both money and children” and Andrew McFarlane QC. Two more silks winning praise at this set are Rodger Hayward Smith QC and Richard Anelay QC.
Patricia Scotland QC heads up 1 Gray’s Inn Square and is highly rated for child care work, for her “strong advocacy” and client care. Gordon Murdoch QC of Lionel Swift QC’s 4 Paper Buildings has “a realistic approach to complicated cases” and is “good with clients”. Jonathan Cohen QC of the same set is also highly rated.
Other recommended silks include James Munby QC of 1 New Square and, heads of their respective chambers, Allan Levy QC of 17 Bedford Row, Joanna Dodson QC of 14 Gray’s Inn Square, and Robert Seabrook QC of 1 Crown Office Row.
Alison Ball QC and Elenor Platt QC who are joint head of chambers of One Garden Court Family Law Chambers are also praised for heavy matrimonial work. Their set is seen by many leading family solicitors as highly competent, concentrating primarily on public child care matters, local authority and legal aid work.