4 King's Bench Walk London

Family Law

What we do

Barristers Direct’s Family Team provides high quality advocacy, advice and drafting in the full range of family work, involving both children and family finance, including financial disputes arising out of divorce, care proceedings and private children disputes over whom a child should live with and when they should see the other parent. Our goal is to provide high quality representation whilst at the same time offering value for money. Our barristers recognise the particular sensitivity of all such cases, especially when they are instructed directly by members of the public

We have barristers trained and experienced in public access so that members of the public can, in appropriate cases, instruct them without incurring the additional cost of using a solicitor. Our clerks are happy to speak with you to discuss whether you might be able to take advantage of this.

Why direct access?

  • Instructing a barrister directly can significantly reduce your legal costs
  • Cut straight to receiving advice from an expert in the field
  • Retain greater control over your case
  • Your prospects of reaching an earlier, more beneficial settlement of your case are improved.

 

List of Direct Access Family Barristers

Peter Fortune 1978 Click here to view Family profile
William Holland 1982 Click here to view Family profile
Gwynn Price-Rowlands 1985 Click here to view Family profile
Kim Preston 1991 Click here to view Family profile
Piers Martin 1997 Click here to view Family profile
John Upton 1998 Click here to view Family profile
Marc Tregidgo 2002 Click here to view Family profile
Chris Bryden 2003 Click here to view Family profile
Naomi Carpenter 2004 Click here to view Family profile
Katherine Illsley 2010 Click here to view Family profile
Kate Jones 2013 Click here to view Family profile
Agata Patyna 2014 Click here to view Family profile

 

Family finance

 

Our barristers are experts in matrimonial finance and can assist in the full range of disputes involving the need to divide assets on the breakdown of a relationship, from modest to high value cases. We can assist in financial disputes that arise when couples separate, including civil partnerships and unmarried couples, but we also advise in Inheritance Act claims, disputes over wills and cases regarding maintenance of children.

We have experience in dealing with complex disputes involving businesses, trusts, injunctions and international elements. As a result our clients appreciate the value for money offered by our family barristers who also practice in complementary areas such as property, insolvency and employment law.

In cases of urgency, our team can also assist you in preparing and presenting applications to the Court to prevent your spouse dissipating or hiding assets in an attempt to conceal them during the divorce process.

We also advise about and draft separation agreements, including pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements.

Children – private cases

Our barristers regularly deal with disputes arising over children, and in particular applying for, responding to or enforcing child arrangement orders. These include orders about with whom a child should live and what, if any, time they should spend with another parent (previously known as ‘residence’ and ‘contact’ cases).

We can also provide expert advice regarding the full range of Children Act orders, including Prohibited Steps Orders (e.g. preventing changing of a child’s surname or removal of a child from the UK), Specific Issue Orders (e.g. about going to a particular kind of school or giving medical treatment, including immunisation) and orders for Parental Responsibility.

Regarding international family law, we have barristers who regularly appear on either side of applications to temporarily or permanently remove children from the UK.

Children – public cases

We also offer barristers with considerable experience of what are sometimes known as ‘public’ children cases as they involve a public body rather than a dispute between two private individuals (usually the parents of a child). These include care proceedings – where a local authority has applied to take a child into care – in which our team represent parents, grandparents and other relatives, and children (both directly and through a guardian).

Whilst legal aid is usually available in this area, we regularly represent and advise those for whom it is not, especially relatives who wish to be involved in proceedings, such as grandparents.

Occupation and non-molestation orders

Members of our team are frequently instructed to represent clients who face violence or harassment in a domestic situation and seek the protection of the Court. This work involves applying for or resisting applications for non-molestation/occupation orders under the Family Law Act 1996. As a result, our barristers are particularly sensitive when representing victims of domestic abuse and are used to getting the best result for their clients during very difficult circumstances.

Court of Protection

The Court of Protection hears cases for people who cannot make decisions at the time they need to be made (where it is said they lack mental capacity). It can make decisions over such people’s property, financial affairs and personal welfare. Our barristers are used working in the crossover between the Court of Protection and family cases. For example, where a young person leaving care is said to lack capacity, where a family member has lost capacity through dementia and there is a family dispute, or for an urgent application regarding medical treatment.

Languages

We offer advocates with the following languages:

  • French (good command)
  • German (conversational)
  • Italian (basic-conversational)
  • Japanese (conversational)
  • Mandarin Chinese (conversational)
  • Polish (native speaker)
  • Spanish (basic/conversational)

How can to instruct us?

Simply fill in the form here, call 020 7822 7000 and speak to one of our helpful clerks or email family@4kbw.co.uk

Our clerks will match you with a range of suitable barristers and provide you withquotations. The clerks will accommodate any particular choice of barrister you may already have made, but will also make suggestions if they feel there is a more appropriate match.

We aim to respond with quotations for all enquiries (unless the work cannot be done under public access) within 24 hours.

When you contact us please have  the following information available:

  • your name and contact details
  • the nature of the dispute (e.g. finances following a divorce, child arrangements, domestic violence)
  • the identity of the other party to the dispute
  • the work required (e.g. representation at a hearing, opinion in writing, advice on merits or procedure)
  • any relevant deadlines (e.g. hearing date, date for filing a document or accepting a settlement offer)

copies of any relevant documents (e.g. court orders, statements or applications) see below

Please include the full names and dates of birth of you, any other parties and children, together with the name of the court and any case number (if available).

 

Paperwork

The more organised your paperwork is the quicker it will be for your barrister to understand your case, advise you it and present it to a court. You will need to supply any documents you already have, either in hard copy or by email, arranged as follows in chronological order (going from earliest to latest):

  • a summary of your case and any specific issues you would like advice on
  • application(s) to the court and any court orders
  • statements and other documents sent to the court
  • correspondence with any other parties
  • any other documents you consider to be relevant

You can provide the above by email/scan, post, fax or in person.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I accept a quotation for work?

Once you have received and accepted a quotation, you will be sent a ‘client care’ letter. This contains our terms and conditions as approved by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board. It will set out what the barrister is instructed to do for you, any relevant timescale, the fee for the work and the terms of payment. You must read the client care letter carefully before signing one copy and returning that to us. A sample of a standard client care letter can be found here.

 

What does it cost?

A big advantage of direct access is that you instruct one lawyer rather than 2 (i.e. a solicitor and a barrister) and you are charged a fixed fee for each piece of work. You therefore retrain greater control on how much money is spent. All fees are normally agreed in advance, through for some complex cases that may not be possible. If a fixed fee cannot be offered then the barrister will provide an estimate.

Whilst not easy to estimate how much is saved by instructing a direct access barrister, rather than a solicitor and possibly a barrister, the savings are likely to be large because a barrister does not undertake the day-to-day running of the case (as a solicitor would).

 

When does the barrister start work?

Except for unusual circumstances, the barrister will start work once payment has been received in accordance with the terms of the client care letter (see above ‘How do I accept a quotation for work?’).

 

When do I meet the barrister?

Whether or not you meet your barrister depends on the type of work involved. Most cases will involve at least once meeting (‘conference’) with the barrister, either at 4KBW itself (at the address below) or at a location to suit you. In other cases you can be advised in writing without the need for a face-to-face conference.

 

What do I need to do to save money and get the best out of direct access?

First, you need to be organised because you will be undertaking the day-to-day running of your own case. It is essential that you are able to organise your own paperwork and ‘file and serve’ documents yourself, that is to send to the court and another party the documents which form your case (in most cases barristers are professionally barred from doing so because it amounts to conducting litigation, which only you – a litigant in person – or a solicitor can do).

It is useful to bear in mind that barristers are specialist advisors and courtroom advocates. With direct access, their role does not change; rather, you take the position of the solicitor, instructing the barrister to perform a specific, discrete task (e.g. to draft an advice, appear at a hearing etc). They are not on standby throughout in the same way a solicitor (who works on a retainer) would be and this is one of the reasons why direct access is more economical.

Court deadlines are also your responsibility; you need to be able to meet them, including at short notice.

Be clear what your objective is. It will help if, when your first instruct your barrister, you know exactly what it is you want to achieve. This will allow your barrister to best meet your goal or, if unrealistic, discuss alternatives.

It is also important to stress that you must be completely clear about everything with your barrister, including information that may not assist or that harms your case. This is so that she or he is fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the case and can give you the best advice.

Legal aid

If you think that you might be eligible to receive legal aid (also known as public funding) you should contact the Legal Aid Agency or a solicitor that accepts legal aid work in order to check if you are eligible. It is your choice whether, if eligible, you decide to apply for legal aid or to proceed with direct access. If the latter, you must make an informed choice not to seek public funding. Barristers cannot do legal aid work unless instructed by a solicitor.

 

Contact us now for help with your case.
Click here for a quick and free quotation.
All quotations are sent to you within 24 hrs

Tel: 020 7822 7000

Instruct a barrister through “Barristers Direct” without the additional cost of a solicitor.

Who we act for

Our barristers accept public access instructions from company and commercial clients and governmental and non-governmental organisations. Instructions are accepted from individuals in a whole range of matters including disciplinary and sporting tribunals and coroner's court inquests.