Annie Ward

I am a barrister with 20 years of experience in cases involving family money, from divorce to cohabiting couples, financial applications about children and inheritance disputes. I do some cases involving children. I accept instructions on a direct access basis. I also work as a mediator and an arbitrator.

My work as a barrister sees me in court most days. I started off doing my training in London and moved to Winchester when I had children. I now work mainly in Hampshire/Dorset and in London. I get most of my work from local solicitors but I accept instructions from clients direct if the case is suitable. I find that this provides the right kind of client with the same level of representation but usually at a fraction of the cost.

I think most judges would say that I am a plain speaking advocate. I’ll fight my client’s corner when I need to, but actually in the family court you tend to get better results through cooperation rather than confrontation.  Most of my clients just want a fair result and that’s what I try and achieve for them.

I am happy to get involved at any stage of proceedings, or even before proceedings. Some clients think it is best to do the preliminary stages themselves and then just get a barrister in for the final hearing. My own experience is that the sooner you get sensible legal advice, the less chance there is of having a final hearing at all. Most cases are capable of being settled if both sides are realistic about their expectations, and that’s where I can make an input early on. I won’t sugar coat anything; I’ll let you know exactly what I think the strengths and weaknesses of your case are.

If I represent you, I am contactable by phone or email, and we can arrange a face to face meeting at a location to suit you. Because I am in court most days, I am less easy to get hold of than a solicitor, so you must understand that there is a difference between using a solicitor and using a barrister by direct access.

I only work Monday to Friday because at the weekends I like to be at home with my family. I live in a village in Hampshire and I enjoy the countryside, either walking the dog or out on my bike. I have two teenagers who keep me on my toes and like most of my clients I try and balance work and family life.

Areas of expertise

o The division of matrimonial finances after a divorce or separation. In these cases I have experience of dealing with businesses, trusts, assets overseas, pensions, dissipation of assets, inheritances, lottery wins, professionals in partnerships, members of the Armed Forces, short marriages, late marriages, pre-nuptials, post-nuptials; the list is endless

o Challenging or re-opening financial orders which have already been made

o Varying maintenance orders

o Applications for financial provision for children

o Claims by cohabiting couples over the ownership of property

o Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – these are claims where the court can change a person’s will after their death if they have not left proper financial provision for their dependants

o Challenging the validity of wills, or gifts made by people who have subsequently died

o Applications in the Court of Protection to safeguard the finances of those who have lost mental capacity

o Applications to remove children from the jurisdiction, or to relocate within the UK

Mediation and Arbitration

Because court proceedings are expensive, uncertain and take a long time, I am also qualified as a mediator and an arbitrator. Mediation is where a mediator acts as a neutral third party in a negotiation to try and help people to settle their dispute. Arbitration is exactly like court proceedings but is outside the court system. The parties choose their arbitrator, and choose what dispute the arbitrator is going to decide, and then the case is heard by the arbitrator just like a judge. Their decision is final and gets turned into a court order, so it is as legally binding as if you had been through the court system, but it can be much quicker and much cheaper. I can act as your representative if you wish to engage in mediation or arbitration. I can act the mediator/arbitrator as well, but only if both sides agree, and only if I haven’t already been instructed to represent one side of the dispute.

 

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