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Practice Areas

Matrimonial and Family


Frances Hughes trained at Theodore Goddard from 1979-81, qualified in 1981 and was assistant in the matrimonial department from 1981-83. She set up the matrimonial department at Bates, Wells & Braithwaite in 1983. Frances founded Hughes Fowler Carruthers 2001 and remains Senior Partner. Frances is a fellow and former governor at large of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (formerly IAML) and former vice-president of the European chapter. She is an accredited FMA and Resolution (formerly SFLA) mediator of many years standing, and regularly chairs conferences and broadcasts on television and radio and lectures on family law matters nationally and internationally. Frances Hughes is an acknowledged leading expert in family law. She is a highly successful negotiator and settles the vast majority of her cases. She is also a renowned and highly successful litigator with vast experience of complex and international family law issues and many reported cases in her name. Spears 2016 says Frances is "a tour de force: a blend of fierce intelligence and human empathy” and “one of the capital’s “most formidable and clever family lawyers””. Frances is always a top ten Spears lawyer, awarded Citywealth Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year in the Powerwoman Awards 2018. Chambers 2018 reconfirmed her position as a 'star individual' describing her as “undeniably one of the top family law solicitors in London”, with “a track record of excellence in some of the market’s most high-profile cases.” Chambers HNW 2017 described her as “a real doyenne” and “the queen of the family law world”. Chambers 2016 describes Frances as having a “formidable reputation” as a “very talented litigator” and is able to “fight your corner efficiently and to the nth degree.” Chambers 2015 says Frances is “probably untouchable in terms of her abilities; she’s dynamic, she’s highly skilled and she brings a lot to a case,” Legal 500 2014 describes her as “a grandee of the family law world who commands utmost respect”.

Professional Memberships

Law Society; Resolution (formerly SFLA); FMA; IAFL (formerly IAML); FRSA; ‘Times’ Law Panel.


Frances graduated with an English degree from St Anne’s College, Oxford before moving to law. She is a former board member of The Poetry Society, current member of the Theatre de Complicite Trust and trustee of the Arts Patron Trust. She is a keen amateur viola player and has an interest in opera and theatre.