I am a public access trained QC (Queen’s Counsel) and I provide public access services in financial remedy cases, children disputes and inheritance act claims.
Queen’s Counsel (QC) status is granted to a limited number of senior barristers as a mark of outstanding ability. Consequently, I am skilled in tackling serious and complex cases.
I provide clear, comprehensive and direct advice to clients and robust representation at court hearings. I am available for instruction at all stages of the litigation process from initial advice to representation at contested final hearings and on appeal.
I have 29 years of experience as a barrister and have been a QC since 2011. I have been a part-time Judge since 2003. In 2012 I was appointed as a Family Recorder (part time Circuit Judge) on the South Eastern Circuit and in 2016 I was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge sitting as a s.9 Judge of the Family Division in London and the South East.
I am an IFLA (Institute of Family Law Arbitrators) trained arbitrator and I am a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Arbitration is a form of alternative depute resolution used to legally resolve disputes outside the courts. As an arbitrator, I am qualified as an official independent party to settle these disputes.
I am an ADR trained civil mediator. The ADR group is one of the largest and most recognisable dispute resolution service providers in the UK. Civil mediation provides an effective and more informal way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. As a mediator, I act as an independent party who helps both sides come to an agreement.
I am also qualified to conduct private Financial Dispute Resolution hearings (FDRs), a negotiation process where a couple seek to reach a financial settlement.
My areas of expertise include:
Financial Remedy Cases
o Cases involving big money claims but also smaller money claims with added complexity.
o I have particular expertise in the areas of business valuations, pensions, taxation issues, farming cases, trust assets, inherited or pre-acquired wealth, short marriages and film partnership schemes.
o I advise and represent clients on applications under Schedule I Children Act 1989 (where the parties were not married but seek financial provision for children).
o I advise and represent parents in a wide range of private law disputes including:
· Applications for Child Arrangements Orders (formally known as Residence and Contact orders). This is where the court decides where a child will live and how often the other parent will see them following parental separation.
· Adoption cases.
· Special Guardianship applications. This an order which grants a non-parent (such as a member of the extended family) parental responsibility for a child.
· Applications seeking permission to remove a child from the jurisdiction. This is used in situations where one of the child’s parents or guardians want to remove the child from the country in which they live.
· Specific Issue applications. This is an order around a specific issue relating to the child’s care, for example regarding medical treatment, education or changing of their name.
· Child abduction cases.
o I have particular expertise in representing clients where there are serious allegations of physical or sexual abuse against children or adults.
o I also represent clients in public law proceedings (applications by local authorities for care and supervision orders) although many such cases will not be suitable for public access work.
Inheritance Act Claims
o I advise and represent clients in cases:
· Involving challenges to the validity of wills (such as for lack of capacity)
· Applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 including claims by spouses, cohabitants, children and dependants. This is where a person seeks further financial provision in cases where there is no will or they have been left out of a will entirely.
o I have appeared in a large number of reported cases, details of which are available on my Pump Court Chambers Profile.
o I have recently advised two public access clients to assist with negotiating and then drafting consent orders in financial remedy proceedings. I represented one of those clients at a heavily contested FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) hearing.
o I have represented mothers pursuing findings of sexual abuse against fathers and also fathers defending such allegations.
o I have recently represented a public access client facing serious allegations of physical abuse against his former wife at a 5 day fact finding hearing and then a 2 day welfare hearing.
o I have recently represented a public access client seeking to establish defined contact with his daughter.
I am ranked in the two major legal directories published each year (Chambers and Partners and Legal 500).
Recent comments include:
2018 Chambers and Partners: “Leslie is in my experience a rarity. He is a highly experienced, very approachable matrimonial silk. He provides high-quality, well-thought-through advice in a way in which the lay client can fully understand.”
2017 Chambers and Partners: “Advises on the full range of family law issues, representing clients in public and private children matters, as well as in matrimonial finance cases. He is able to oversee ADR procedures as well as handle litigation.”
Strengths: “He is highly authoritative, especially when it comes to cases concerning non-accidental injury in children.” “He is hard-working, conscientious and a quietly assertive advocate.”
2016 Legal 500: “Calm, patient and thoughtful.”
2016 Chambers and Partners: “Has considerable experience in tackling high-profile matrimonial disputes, many of which have involved children law aspects. He often appears in London as well as on the Western Circuit.”
Strengths: “He thinks his cases and tactics through very carefully. He is a very hard worker and is someone who is always thoroughly prepared.”
2015 Legal 500: “He has a calming influence, which encourages constructive dialogue.”
2015 Chambers and Partners: “Very insightful, and supportive of the client”
2014 Chambers and Partners: “praised for his attention to detail and his easy-going manner”.
“Highly regarded in the region for his expertise in family matters across the board”
2013 Chambers and Partners: “well versed in family matters and is held in high esteem for his expertise in family finance and children work in both the public and private spheres. Sources are highly impressed with his advocacy capabilities.”