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And the 2018 Family Law Award goes to…

Date:28 NOV 2018

Family law community gathers in London for the annual Family Law Awards

Nearly 600 barristers, solicitors, judges, academics and other family law practitioners gathered in central London last night for the prestigious annual Family Law Awards.

During the eighth edition of the annual awards ceremony – once again at the glamorous Ballroom South Bank – guests and sponsors hailed the hard work, drive and successes of individuals, firms and chambers from all over the U.K. Apart from some of London’s biggest chambers, a range of regional firms were present, including Geldards, Stevens & Bolton, Turner Nicholson as well as Redkite Solicitors from Wales.

Most winners were chosen by a judging panel made up of the heads of the Family Law Bar Association, Resolution, CILEx and the Association of Lawyers for Children, along with Family Law and LexisNexis editors and executives. In keeping with tradition, three of this year’s awards were voted for by the family law community, Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal, Commentator and the Clerking Team awards.

Before the winners were announced, guests were treated to a banquet of whiskey cured salmon and slowly cooked duck leg, and entertainment was provided by up and coming rapper Chris Turner (LINK TO TWITTER VIDEO/STREAM).

The evening was hosted by the respected former family judge Her Honour Isobel Plumstead (LINK TO TWITTER VIDEO OF P KICKING OFF THE CEREMONY), who entertained the crowd with some inside anecdotes, while a batch of prominent industry names took to the stage to confirm 2018’s winners in 18 different categories, most of them first-time nominees.

Winner of the prestigious Cornwell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Law - sponsored by barristers’ chambers 4 Paper Buildings – was none less than the Rt Hon
 Sir James Munby
, the former President of the family division of the High Court of England and Wales.

Gillian Frances Rivers of Pennington Manches picked up the Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year award, while Nigel Dyer QC went home with the Family Law QC of the Year award.

Among the newbies that managed to make waves in recent years,. Elizabeth Simos of KMJ Solicitors won the award for Young Solicitor of the Year, while Alex Laing, of Coram Chambers came out first in the Young Barrister of the Year category.


Family Law and LexisNexis would like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted nominees and thank everyone who submitted a nomination and voted.

Please see our Twitter for photos, videos and further details of all the night's action #familylawawardsPhotos of the winners are available on the Family Law Awards website.

The full list of winners is set out below:

Family Law Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal of the Year

Sally   Fitzherbert

Hopkins   Law

Family Law Commentator of the Year

Graeme   Fraser

OGR Stock   Denton

Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year

Gillian   Frances Rivers
   Pennington Manches

International Family Lawyer of the Year

Tim Scott   QC

29   Bedford Row

Cornwell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Law

The Rt   Hon
   Sir James Munby

Family Law Young Solicitor of the Year

Elizabeth   Simos

KMJ   Solicitors

Family Law Young Barrister of the Year

Alex   Laing

Coram   Chambers

Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year

Nazia   Rashid

Anthony   Gold

Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year

Sarah   Branson

Coram   Chambers

Family Law Partner of the Year

Gillian   Bishop

Family   Law in Partnership

Family Law QC of the Year

Nigel   Dyer QC

1 Hare   Court

Clerking Team of the Year

1GC|Family Law

Family Law Firm of the Year – London

Dawson   Cornwell

Family Law Firm of the Year – Midlands


Family Law Firm of the Year – North

Ben Hoare   Bell

Family Law Firm of the Year – South


Family Law Firm of the Year – Wales

Nicol   Denvir Purnell

Family Law Regional Chambers of the Year

Spire   Barristers

Family Law London Chambers of the Year

Harcourt   Chambers

Lexis Nexis would like to express special thanks to some of the key people behind this event, including Angela Jones, Gemma Langley, Stephen Honey, [ OTHERS ]

Christian Fleck, Managing Director, LexisNexis UK & Ireland, said:

‘The Family Law Awards are designed to champion the truly exceptional achievements of family lawyers across the profession. I’m honoured that so many have joined us to celebrate this evening as we turn the spotlight on their valuable work. Our congratulations to all those nominated and shortlisted for their efforts, and our thanks to the judges and all those who took the time to nominate.’


sponsor of Family Law Associate Solicitor of the Year



1GC|Family Law is one of the foremost Family Law barristers’ chambers in London. We have a leading reputation, both nationally and internationally, for providing high quality representation and advice in Child Law, Family Finance, Child Abduction, International and Private Child Law and Court of Protection cases and have been consistently recognised as leading family law specialists in the legal directories. We pride ourselves on the provision of a first rate service from our most senior member of chambers through to our clerks.


event supporter



1KBW has a pre-eminent reputation in family law, both nationally and internationally. We are consistently ranked by the legal directories in the top tiers of leading sets for family law, and are unique in our strength in depth for both finance and children cases. Our barristers have been at the cutting edge of the development of family law and have been in most of the ground-breaking cases over the last two decades. We also have one of the most innovative and experienced Dispute Resolution teams in the country.


sponsor of the Cornwell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Law


4 Paper Buildings has a long history as a friendly team of specialist barristers providing excellent expert yet common sense and practical advice and advocacy in all areas of family law. We believe that Chambers uniquely provides a broadly based service at the highest level across the whole range of family services, from abduction to wardship and including care proceedings, medical treatment cases, financial remedy cases and relocation. This range of service and reputation of Chambers is unrivalled and marks out Chambers as exceptional amongst its competitors.


 sponsor of Family Law Firm of the Year - Wales


 Recognised by the most prominent directories, Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, as a leading set of chambers for both Children and Family Finances. We have the depth and breadth of expertise and experience to deal with the full range of family work through our main specialist sub-groups: Family Finance, Children & Modern Families and Care proceedings. From the most complex disputes to smaller and lower value ones, every case we are instructed on is treated with the utmost importance and respect. We also provide a full and bespoke out of court DR service which utilises the expert skills of our family barristers as mediators, arbitrators and through neutral evaluation (private FDR hearings).


sponsor of Family Law Firm of the Year – North 


AlphaBiolabs one of the largest UKAS ISO 17025 accredited DNA, Drug and Alcohol testing laboratories based in the UK. With combined technical expertise exceeding 80 years, we provide a service you can rely on case after case. Our award winning rapid turnaround testing services have been pioneered by our experts with royal recognition from The Queen in 2016. AlphaBiolabs has been supporting legal professionals with DNA, Drug and Alcohol testing within the UK and Europe since 2004.


Brewin Dolphin - social media sponsor


 Brewin Dolphin is one of the UK’s leading wealth managers and we are an independently-owned firm, listed on the London FTSE 250. Our specialist wealth management services can be trusted because they have been researched, designed and developed with the help of solicitors to bring valuable advice to you and your clients.


 Family Law QC of the Year  



The Family Team comprises over 25 barristers at every level of experience. We are known for our strength in depth and we represent clients in all areas of family law across the North East and beyond. Our team accept instructions in publicly and privately funded cases and we pride ourselves on our down to earth and case-by-case tailored approach. We have a wealth of experience, including in family and matrimonial finance and private and public children law, and many of our team are recognised in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories.


sponsor of Clerking Team of the Year


 Cansford Laboratories is a state of the art drug and alcohol testing service used by Family Lawyers throughout the UK. An unrivalled turnaround service means results within three working days from sample receipt. Cansford’s team first pioneered hair testing 25 years ago and today offers a modern, fast and class-leading service with a laboratory UKAS Accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 and the UK’s largest accredited hair test catalogue. Cansford also provides Expert Witness Services.


sponsor of Family Law Chambers of the Year - London


 Capital Fortune are an award winning mortgage brokerage based in the City. Its owner Rob Killeen was a family barrister before moving into financial services. As Counsel, Rob specialized in ancillary relief and understands first-hand the challenges faced by those divorcing, particularly those paying or receiving maintenance, when it comes to arranging mortgage finance. The company is committed to mortgages on divorce and provides specialist mortgage capacity reports for court purposes. In addition, the City based team provide specialist private banking and finance facilities to many members of the Bar and solicitor’s profession.


Coram Chambers - sponsor of the drinks reception 



Coram Chambers is a leading family law barristers’ chambers. We provide advice and representation nationally and internationally on all family law matters: children, finances, property disputes, alternative families, genetics and the Court of Protection. We are at the forefront of the development of family law and act in precedent-setting cases. Coram is ‘excellent all round’ and offers ‘a comprehensive service in all areas of family and children law’.


 sponsor of Family Law Partner of the Year


Goldsmith Chambers was founded in 1986 and is proud to have maintained expertise in virtually all areas of practice. Our team of specialist family practitioners are committed to providing a first class service to professional and lay clients within the family justice system. Based in the heart of the Temple, our advocates regularly appear in the High Court and courts or tribunals around the country. Members of our team regularly appear in leading and reported cases which puts us at the cutting edge in the development of family law. Each member of our team commits to our policy of accepting instructions from publicly funded or privately funded clients.


sponsor of Family Law Young Solicitor of the Year



Harcourt Chambers is an award-winning, top ranked, leading set recommended for both children law and family finance. Its members are regularly to be found in high profile and legally important cases at first instance and appellate level. It is home to seven well-known, highly respected family silks and over 50 junior barristers, many of whom are recognised as leading practitioners in their fields. Its clerking team is widely praised for its high level of service being described as friendly, efficient, professional and client-focussed.


sponsor of Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year



We offer an exceptional team of barristers specialising in family law. Our work includes advocacy, advice & mediation in matters of law relating to children, family finance and the Court of Protection. We have one of the biggest family teams on the circuit. Our members are active across the region and beyond in all levels of court. We have expertise across family law and are able to offer unrivalled levels of responsiveness and service.


 sponsor of Family Law Firm of the Year - Midlands


 Pump Court Chambers is consistently recognised as a ‘leading set’ and a ‘top ranked’ Family Law team in the legal directories and is one of the largest at the Bar. Our unstuffy approach, expert practical advice and first class advocacy has helped us establish a leading reputation nationally. Our clerking team provides a friendly and efficient service with client care at the forefront of everything they do. Pump Court Chambers are located in London, Hampshire and Wiltshire and our strength in depth allows us to provide representation at all levels of seniority in the areas of, Family Finance, Public and Private Law Children, Child Abduction and Court of Protection.


sponsor of International Family Lawyer of the Year 


Quanta Capital has been established to combine Commercial Litigation Funding alongside an innovative LegalTech ethos, to create a new modern approach to Litigation funding. Incorporated by a senior board at the top of their respective fields, Quanta’s innovative approach to this sector has been dubbed a ‘breath of fresh air’ where funding solutions are concerned. Taking the base methodology of traditional Litigation Funding, while removing the commonly associated risks, Quanta’s quick to act ‘risk free’, tailored solutions allow a Law Firm to concentrate on what they do best, while allowing all parties to achieve the common goal of successfully settling a claim with the best possible outcome for all parties.


 sponsor of Family Law Firm of the Year – South



RateSetter has over five years’ experience in financing legal fees for clients going through divorce or civil partnership dissolution. It launched its own branded product last year, quickly becoming established as the most competitive in the litigation lender market. Focussing on making the cost more affordable for clients, it is seeing rapid take up from the market. RateSetter is a leading online peer-to-peer platform, matching private investors and creditworthy borrowers, giving retail investors access to a new asset class.


sponsor of Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year 


 The largest team of barristers in Northampton, serving the Midlands and South of England. Your specialist representatives and advisers in Family Law. Publicly and privately funded work, we also welcome Public Access instructions. In 2014 seventeen of the region’s established barristers came together to form Senate House Chambers. Our mission from inception has been to provide the highest quality legal service in Northampton, the Midlands and the South of England. Our ethos is based on four pillars of integrity, professionalism, strength and respect. For us, the Roman Senate House provides a classical reference point for these critical values.


sponsor of Family Law Firm of the Year - London


 Smith & Williamson is a financial and professional services firm with 12 offices and over 1,700 people located across the UK, Ireland and Jersey. Our business uniquely combines a UK top 10 accountancy practice* with a significant investment management business. We are a member of Nexia International, a global network of independent accounting firms. With 600 offices in over 100 countries, Nexia International links us with major cities around the world. Our forensic accountants provide valuation services in divorce proceedings, acting on behalf of the husband or wife, as single joint expert or as a shadow expert.