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The 3rd Annual

Bloomsbury Professional
Family Law Conference

17 November 2020 - Online Event

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His Honour Judge Hess, Keynote Speaker

Edward Hess studied Mathematics and then Law at Cambridge University before becoming a Barrister in 1985. He practised at the Bar from Harcourt Chambers for 25 years, becoming a Recorder in 2009, a District Judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division (later the Central Family Court) in 2010, a Circuit Judge in 2015 and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2016. He became the Designated Family Judge in Wiltshire in 2018. He has been a nominated judge of the Court of Protection since 2017.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Financial Remedies Unit in the Central Family Court and has been heavily involved in the creation of the Financial Remedies Courts, writing the paper in 2016 (with Cambridge Academic Jo Miles) which inspired the project and, since 2017, acting as Deputy National Lead Judge for the Financial Remedies Courts and playing a major role in their expansion and development.

He was a member of the Financial Remedies Working Group (under Mostyn J) in 2014-15 and the Family Justice Council Needs Guidance Group in 2015-18. He was co-chair of the Pensions Advisory Group which produced its influential Guidance Report in 2019.

He is the author or co-author of a number of legal text books: The Dictionary of Financial Remedies (now in its seventh annual edition), Pensions on Divorce (now in its 3rd edition) and the Standard Family Orders Handbook (Volumes 1 and 2).

Her Honour Judge Reardon, Chair

Her Honour Judge Reardon was appointed as a circuit judge in August 2019 following a career at the Bar in which she specialised in all areas of family law. She sits in London, predominantly at East London Family Court. She is update editor, together with Sir Andrew McFarlane, of Hershman and McFarlane: Children Law and Practice and co-author of Child Protection and the Family Court: What You Need to Know.

Alex Laing

Alex specialises in children and finance law, particularly cases with an international element.

He is the most junior member of the Family Bar to be ranked in Chambers and Partners 2020, where he is described as “Very clever and persuasive” and as having “…a conspicuously excellent legal brain far beyond his years of call.”

Alex was the top barrister of his Call to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn across all areas of law. His work in complex areas was reported by Sir James Munby P as “very impressive” ([2015] EWCA Civ 1112) and “illuminating” ([2016] EWHC 2271 (Fam)). He has the unique distinction of being the Outstanding Newcomer in the Field of Children Law: ALC (2017) and the Family Law Awards: Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year (2017). He is the only member of the Family Bar twice to have won the Family Law Awards: Young Barrister of the Year (2018 and 2016). And, in 2019, Alex is instructed in both the leading finance (Villiers v Villiers UKSC 2018/0114) and the leading children (In the matter of NY (A Child) (AP) UKSC 2019/0145) case in the UK Supreme Court.

Alex is co-author of three leading books on family law:  Public Children Law: Contemporary Issues (1st edn., 2018); Child Protection and the Family Court: What You Need to Know (3rd edn., 2019); and Family Law Precedents Service (46th edn., 2020) and in June 2020 will join the team of update authors working on Hershman and McFarlane: Children Law and Practice. He is only the fourth update author to undertake the role in the book’s 29-year history.

Caroline Harris

Caroline specialises in both criminal and family law and has experience conducting cases which involve both criminal and family proceedings. In crime, Caroline acts primarily for the defence, and has experience at all levels up to and including the Court of Appeal. Caroline has expertise in a broad range of criminal matters including representing clients charged with the most serious matters including murder and serious sexual offences. In public law, Caroline has experience of representing local authorities, parents, guardians and children directly. As with her criminal cases in her family cases Caroline has conducted cases involving serious allegations including murder, sexual assault and fabricated illness. In private law, Caroline covers all areas including child arrangements and internal and external relocation.

David Hodson OBE

David Hodson OBE MICArb is a family law dispute resolution specialist with a particular specialisation in international cases. He is an English solicitor, mediator, family arbitrator, Deputy (part time) District Judge at the Central Family Court, London and an Australian (NSW) solicitor and barrister. He is a partner and co-founder (2007) of The International Family Law Group LLP,, the world's first law firm specifically dedicated to serving international families and their children and families with international, foreign assets. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2014 for 'services to international family law'.

He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Law and Honorary Professor at Leicester University. He is author and editor of 'The International Family Law Practice' (5th ed 2016) published by Lexis Nexis Jordans. He is a member of the English Law Society Family Law Committee and has been working for them on Brexit and Family Law.

Laura Moys

Laura has purposely maintained a versatile practice dealing with both complex financial and children cases. She is recognised for both her skill as an advocate and her ability to assist her clients to resolve difficult and emotionally-charged disputes by agreement. Laura was appointed as a family Recorder (part-time judge) in 2018 and is available to conduct private FDRs.

Leslie Samuels QC

Leslie is an exceptional advocate and is held in high esteem for his expertise in children work both in public and private law cases, in financial remedies cases and in inheritance and probate disputes. He has 30 years of experience as a barrister and took Silk in 2011. In 2012 he was appointed as a Family Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit and in 2016 he was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge sitting as a s.9 Judge of the Family Division in London and the South East.

Martin Kingerley QC

Martin Kingerley was elevated to the rank of Queen’s Counsel on 16th March 2020. Martin Kingerley specialises in all aspects of the law relating to children and particularly in those cases which are factually complex and high-profile. His practice encompasses both public and private law proceedings. Martin’s expertise extends to proceedings which concern assisted conception, surrogacy and other aspects of the HFEA 2008. Martin also acts in cases involving vulnerable adults within the Court of Protection.

Martin’s skills are recognised in Family and Children Law due to a combination of specialist knowledge in his field, excellent judgement, tactical acumen and a measured approach, and in turn has a wide variety of clients. Prior to being called to the Bar, Martin worked in a residential setting with adults with learning difficulties and psychiatric illnesses.

Matthew Richardson

Matthew’s practice spans all areas of family law, with a specialism in private client matters including financial remedies, Schedule 1, TOLATA, and children law. His particular areas of expertise include relocation (internal and international), so-called ‘parental alienation’, mental health issues, complex high-conflict relationships, hidden assets and non-disclosure, and pensions on divorce. An accomplished seminar speaker and writer and he presents regularly at national-level conferences as well as in-house. Recent seminars, webinars and articles include pensions on divorce, applied psychology in a family law context, wellbeing for family lawyers and the nuances and pitfalls of parental alienation allegations. Matthew is an all issues family mediator trained by Resolution and is vice chair of the Young Resolution national committee and one of Coram’s two heads of wellbeing.

Matthew was a finalist for the 2018 Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year award and he is a finalist for the 2019 Family Law Commentator of the Year award. He is ranked as a leading junior in the 2020 Legal 500.

Nicholas Allen QC

Nicholas specialises in matrimonial finance. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2018, and has sat as a Recorder of the Family Court in London and the South East since 2016. He is an IFLA-qualified Arbitrator and has written numerous awards. Nicholas conducts Private FDRs and is also a regular lecturer including to the Judicial College. He is the editor of the chapters in ‘Foskett on Compromise’ (9th Edition, Sweet & Maxwell 2019) concerning family matters.

Nicholas Anderson

Nick has a practice covering all aspects of financial and private law children proceedings, including child abduction. He regularly represents clients in both the financial and children aspects of their cases. Nick has been involved in leading cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court and regularly appears in High Court financial and children proceedings.

Sofia Thomas CTA

Sofia Thomas is a chartered tax advisor and founder of Sofia Thomas Ltd, a tax practice which focuses on partnering with family solicitors to provide tax advice to their clients on family breakdown. She is a leading expert on tax on divorce in England and Wales and is co-author of the new title Tax Implication on Family Breakdown by Bloomsbury Professional. Sofia regularly instructs as a single joint expert for contentious tax disputes and has extensive experience in international tax matters, working with non doms and expats. She has had articles published in industry-leading publications such as Taxation magazine and regularly speaks at Top 500 Legal firms on tax on divorce. Sofia is an expert contributor for the BBC, a committee member of Women in Tax and associate member of Resolution.