Harcourt Chambers

Family/Matrimonial Department

South Eastern (Bar)
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Harcourt Chambers is a standout set with operations in London and Oxford, which has long held sway as the leader on the South Eastern Circuit for an array of family and matrimonial cases. Its pre-eminent members are instructed in all aspects of family law, being able to tackle everything from high net worth financial remedy issues to complex care and adoption proceedings, as well as cases involving serious criminal charges.

Client service: "The clerks are friendly and helpful and keen to provide a seamless service." "The clerks are amazing - it's a great team which is approachable and will always go the extra mile." Simon Boutwood is chambers director and Judith Partington is the senior practice manager in Oxford.

Aidan Vine QC

A distinguished advocate who is experienced in matrimonial finance and children cases, including many with international complexities. He has appeared with regularity in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and also lectures and publishes on family law matters. He often handles care proceedings, including those involving abuse and neglect.
Strengths: "He is very approachable, with an extremely good sense of client care, and he gives clear, unequivocal advice." "He is a class act."

Douglas Allen

A junior with extensive experience in a broad array of family law matters who enters the rankings backed by impressive market feedback. He is particularly well regarded for his ability to handle complex divorce proceedings and financial remedy work.
Strengths: "Douglas Allen stands out for his tenacious advocacy." "He brings real clarity to the case." "He is very measured and approachable. He has the judge’s ear."

Emily Rayner

Notable matrimonial finance practice complemented by additional strength in cross-border children matters. Her work includes representing parties in divorce proceedings where multimillion-pound businesses and high-value properties are at stake.
Strengths: "She is good at analysing and digesting instructions, has a good empathetic manner with clients and is able to present her argument in court."

Fiona Hay

Senior junior who is esteemed for her expertise in financial relief and particularly sought after for her knowledge of cases involving shareholdings and pensions. She has published a popular handbook on the subject. In addition to appearing as an advocate, she sits as a deputy High Court judge and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Strengths: "She is settlement-focused and practical. She delivers difficult news with real compassion." "She provides clear advice and strategy." "She is a pensions guru with a lovely manner - she makes clients feel reassured and helped."

Jane Campbell

Widely respected for her expertise in financial remedy and Children Act proceedings, she has also been appointed to sit as a deputy district judge. She attracts a broad range of clients, including high net worth and high-profile individuals. She regularly handles proceedings involving inherited wealth and overseas assets.

Strengths: "She has a remarkable skill in building a rapport with clients."

John Vater QC

Focusing on public children law matters, Vater is particularly adept at handing sensitive cases containing complex medical evidence. He often acts on complex matters involving child abuse, as well as non-accidental injuries and infant fatalities. He is skilled at representing local authorities and parents in cases concerning relocation and surrogacy, while also taking on private international adoption work.
Strengths: "Vater is the most sought-after barrister in his speciality: public children work. If you want someone to deal with a serious public law case, you would be looking at him."

Jonathan Sampson QC

New silk who maintains a vibrant public and private family law practice that includes high net worth finance cases involving significant trust and business assets. He is particularly adept at handling cases relating to children and vulnerable adults, such as international relocation cases and care proceedings involving domestic and sexual abuse allegations. He undertakes a significant volume of appellate advocacy and has appeared in the Court of Appeal on numerous occasions.
Strengths: "He is brilliant at strategy." "Very detailed, thorough and good on his feet."

Louise Potter

Noted for her ability to resolve high-value financial disputes through both litigation and out-of-court negotiation. She offers particular experience in cases involving pensions and business assets.
Strengths: "She is incredibly personable and on point. Clients love her."

Nick Goodwin QC

An extremely experienced silk who regularly handles public and private children law proceedings. He is highly regarded for his participation in cases concerning fabricated or induced illness allegations, non-accidental injury and infant fatalities, while also advising adopters and local authorities in international adoption cases.
Strengths: "His attention to detail is second to none - nothing escapes him."