Community Award Nominees' Profiles
Voting for the three Community Awards is now open. The winners will be announced at this year's ceremony on Wednesday 29 November at the Ballroom South Bank, a stunning marquee structure that is situated behind the London Eye and Festival Hall..
Profiles of the shortlisted nominees for the Family Law Awards voted for by the family law community can be found below.
Voting will close at midday on Friday 20 October
Clerking Team of the Year
Family Law Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal of the Year
- Shelley De'Worringham, Family Executive, Mander Hadley Ltd
- Kerri Gregory, Family Law Paralegal, Field Overell LLP
- Victoria Poole, Chartered Legal Executive, Susan Howarth & Company
- Hollie Styles, Associate of CILEx, Thursfields
Family Law Commentator of the Year
- Maud Davis, Member Partner, TV Edwards LLP
- Joanne Edwards, Partner and Head of Family, Forsters
- Andrew Newbury, Partner, Hall Brown
- The Transparency Project
- Place your vote here
Clerking Team of the Year - Profile of Shortlisted Nominees
Award Criteria: The barristers' clerking team that has demonstrated that it has provided an outstanding quality of legal service in the family law field and also displayed high levels of teamwork.
30 Park Place Chambers
30 Park Place Chambers, based in Cardiff, is largely focused on family law, with almost half its members practising in either family finance or public and/or private children law.
Why vote for 30 Park Place Chambers
- The clerking team at 30 Park Place Chambers are so user-friendly and really do go above and beyond to try to ensure that all hearings are covered by the same trial counsel, which is no mean feat when the chambers are in such demand and also cover such a large area.
- The team are always friendly and helpful even in the face of adversity or when dealing with stressed and very demanding solicitors. It is clear that their ongoing commitment and helpful efficiency is what ensures the continuation of this organised and well run set. The teamwork displayed is truly outstanding. Each clerk knows they can rely on each other without hesitation.
- The team know their barristers really well, which is great from an instructing solicitor's perspective when faced with having to instruct at last minute and in haste, as we are then reliant on recommendations and it can be very important in some cases that the right counsel is identified.
- The clerks are always prepared to go out of their way to get cover for cases, even if it means ringing courts or other chambers, and it has been very rare that they have not either found cover or some creative way of ensuring a hearing is covered.
'A helpful, user-friendly and above all efficient clerking team can make or break a set and the clerking team in 30 Park Place Chambers is excellent in each of those areas. The clerks all work together as a team, are personable and always happy to help, even at the end of a long day, and make it a pleasure to instruct counsel in their chambers.'
36 Family is based in London. The family practice is supported by a clerking team of five.
Why vote for the 36 Family
- Nothing is too much; nothing is impossible; nothing is overlooked. Since the masterstroke of recruiting practice manager Danny Chapman from 1 Garden Court just four years ago, the team is now over 40 barristers strong; Silks are up from one to four (two home-grown and a very high-profile new recruit from 1 Hare Court); the team's revenue has grown exponentially. This is all managed by a small and very hard-working clerking team.
- The team work excellently together. Danny, Ashley, Lucinda, Adam and Frazer have a range of skills, know what they are and work to their strengths. They consistently provide the best clerking in the country. Whether it is ensuring the smooth running of cases in the Supreme Court or urgent applications in the FPC up and down the country, every case is managed with the highest levels of professionalism. Everything is done on time and as promised.
- They are brilliantly led. Danny makes sure that every case has the right barrister. The philosophy is that a case is only taken on if it can be appropriately and well covered. They are well organised. Every aspect of clerking is considered and addressed. Where room for improvement is identified, changes are enacted immediately.
- They take pride in their honesty and integrity. No barrister is ever over-sold or mis-sold. Solicitors appreciate that what the clerks tell them about the barristers' skills or about the barristers' capacity to take on the work is accurate and true.
'Consistently excellent at everything they do, the clerking team at 36 Family go above and beyond in helping solicitors with every aspect of their cases. They pride themselves in making sure the right barrister is instructed on every case. At short notice, they often work wonders in arranging cover for cases. The key seems to be they realise they are working not just for their barristers but also the solicitors who instruct them. Throughout the profession, they are not just respected and trusted but liked. It is a real pleasure to work with them.'
A family law chambers in London, specialising in children law (public, private and international), family finance and divorce, CoP and genetics.
Why vote for Coram Chambers
- Led by senior clerk Paul ‘Sammy’ Sampson, Coram Chambers' clerking team is friendly, efficient, and very accommodating. They are the ‘heart’ of the set, managing the members of chambers with skill and an eye to practice development. They are always obliging and extremely helpful in every way, including when it comes to liaising with clients, negotiating fees, and helping members to provide the best and most efficient service that they can.
- Professional clients praise the willingness of Coram's clerks to go out of their way to make the process of instructing a barrister as easy as possible. Solicitors know they can contact any of the clerks at Coram Chambers, describe a case, and be matched with the perfect barrister. Nothing is too much trouble and it is unsurprising that the clerking team has built up long-term relationships with a number of solicitor firms, some of which span decades.
- Sammy runs a tight ship, while promoting a friendly and collegiate work environment. Clients find him a pleasure to work with, and he is always available for his team and members of chambers. George Mo, David Sadler and Natalie Giles are also long-standing members of the clerking team, and provide an amazing service. Harry Butcher has recently joined Coram as a clerk and is already integral to the team.
- Coram's clerks are renowned for their ability, integrity, and the high level of service they offer to solicitors and lay clients. It's clerking how clerking should be. Whilst they were short-listed for the Clerking Team of the Year in 2015, it is hoped by both members of chambers and solicitors alike that this year will be their year to win.
'The clerks provide an exceptional and friendly service. They are always accommodating and extremely helpful in every way, including when it comes to negotiating fees, liaising with the court regarding dates to avoid, and letting me know which courtroom we are in.'
Harcourt Chambers is a leading set of barristers, based in London and Oxford, specialising in all aspects of family law.
Why vote for Harcourt Chambers
- Harcourt Chambers have rapidly established themselves as a go-to set within the busy and competitive family law world. Relative newcomers to the scene, they now host some of most highly-prized and impressive advocates around. Their impressive range of barristers is complemented by their slick, organised and professional clerking team.
- The team are quick to offer cost-effective options across many specialised areas of family law. In light of the very pressing issues posed by the increasingly problematic changes in public funding, their sensitive and realistic approach is welcomed by solicitors and clients alike. Their focus on providing continuity of counsel is particularly good. Their mastering of so many different calendars proves invaluable and is highly appreciated. The team is well-used to arranging members' appearances in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The clerks are always able to assist and on the ball.
- Above all, the friendliness of the clerks cannot be understated. The team genuinely seem to enjoy their work and enjoy helping people. The peerless Simon Boutwood heads up a full team of welcoming and brilliant clerks. Their delivery is excellent. Practice manager Matthew Molloy is particularly of note; always polite, efficient and with a full grasp of clerking responsibilities. Judith Partington is a particular favourite of the local authorities (Reading and Oxford, especially) who instruct chambers for her ability to spot the right counsel for their tricky cases. The team work absolute wonders in terms of listings and have an unparalleled knack of dealing with court staff.
- The Harcourt clerks have achieved outstanding results for chambers over the last year and more. Measured in every way, Harcourt Chambers is now at the very top of the range of family law sets, and this is in no small part due to the outstanding clerking team. The professionalism, knowledge, understanding, commitment, and attitude of Harcourt Chambers' clerks have enabled chambers to grow and blossom.
'Harcourt's clerks achieve a fantastic balance of friendliness and professionalism, establishing strong personal bonds with those who instruct chambers. The Harcourt clerks' willingness and ability to make things happen for solicitors, particularly on short notice, is an especially notable quality that is often commended by those instructing Harcourt barristers.'
Family Law Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal of the Year - Profile of Shortlisted Nominees
Award Criteria: An individual who the family law community recognise as having demonstrated excellence in their role.
Shelley De'Worringham, Family Executive, Mander Hadley Ltd
Shelley is an associate executive in the family department and joined Mander Hadley in 2015, having worked in family law for more than six years.
Why vote for Shelley
- Shelley specialises in divorce and financial relief matters and has experience in dealing with high-value cases, multi-jurisdictional cases and cases concerning public sector pensions. She deals with all aspects of relationship breakdowns to including pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements and non-married parties in cohabitation or property disputes.
- Through hard work and dedication, Shelley continuously achieves exceptional results for clients, often beyond their expectations. She goes above and beyond her role and contracted hours to ensure that the best service is delivered to her clients and is extremely client-focused. She knows her cases inside out and has an excellent knowledge of the law.
- Shelley has a determined and dedicated approach to each client's case and has established herself a strong reputation for being a fierce negotiator.
- She is approachable and easy to work with. Through her continued hard work and dedication to family law, Shelley is 'one to watch' and shall be reported again for her exceptional contribution.
'In a recent case on enforcement of a maintenance order Shelley’s client reported to me that she was one of the best people she had instructed and had really helped her through a long and stressful process where previous other solicitors had not. She was always available even out of hours and dealt with matters in a constructive and professional manner.'
Kerri Gregory, Family Law Paralegal, Field Overell LLP
Kerri joined Field Overell LLP as a Paralegal in the Family Department in 2014.
Why vote for Kerri
- Kerri has previously worked as a paralegal specialising in family law and childcare matters with a top five ranked law firm in Birmingham specialising in divorce, children matters and high-net-worth financial disputes.
- She has over 20 years' of experience of working in the legal field and is an Affiliate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
- Kerri has excellent empathy and understanding. She takes a fair but robust approach to her cases. She takes cases personally, making sure that her clients are kept informed every step of the way and represents excellent value for money.
- Kerri often provides free legal advice to the community and has participated in a number of fundraising events for the Birmingham Law Society.
'Thank you for your work at Rugby Citizens Advice Bureau.'
Victoria Poole, Chartered Legal Executive, Susan Howarth & Company
Victoria joined Susan Howarth & Co in 2005. She was appointed a Director of the firm in May 2017.
Why vote for Victoria
- Victoria is a long-standing, highly-valued member of the family law department and has made significant contributions to the firm.
- Victoria started her career in law in 1987 as a paralegal working in criminal law, personal injury and family law. In 1997, Victoria qualified as a member of the institute of Legal Executives, being admitted as a fellow in 1999. In 2010, Victoria was admitted as a Chartered Legal Executive.
- Since 1997, Victoria has specialised in family law, including domestic abuse, separation, divorce, financial settlements, pre-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements and children matters.
- Victoria is a member of Resolution and qualified as a Resolution Family Mediator in 2012. In February 2015, she was accredited by Resolution as a specialist in Domestic Abuse and in Children, gaining specialist status under the Resolution scheme.
- In 2016, Victoria gained recognition by the Family Mediation Council to undertake All Issues Mediation, which includes all aspects of family mediation. As a family mediator, she is committed to assisting parties to find their own resolution to their family dispute, thus helping to avoid expensive and lengthy court proceedings.
'I felt your help, concerns and advice were wonderful and you listened to what I wanted. The level of service was excellent. I sometimes wavered but you always put me back on the right track. Also I found your opinions and advice to be honest.'
Hollie Styles, Associate of CILEx, Thursfields
Hollie Styles is an Associate of CILEx within the family team at Thursfields.
Why vote for Hollie
- Hollie joined the firm as a secretary in 2007 and worked for a Partner specialising in care and family law. After being recognised for her passion and talent for the area, she was offered the opportunity to develop her love for care law and started to attend hearings, meet clients and assist on files. Furthering her development Hollie has since completed paralegal qualification and level 3 CILEx. She has also completed three out of six modules for level 6 and is continuing with her exams.
- Following the departure of her previous mentor, she received such positive feedback from clients that the firm decided to continue with its care offering. She initially ran a caseload of 200 files by herself, while studying towards her qualification and has since developed a full client base in the firms Stourport office. Hollie is the sole fee earner within this office and is additionally responsible for a personal assistant and supervising a trainee solicitor. She frequently attends court conducting her own advocacy, and manages her caseload extremely effectively. She is well-respected in her field.
- Hollie deals with all aspects of family law with a specific focus on complex child cases involving domestic violence and removal from the jurisdiction. Her dedication, reputation and active engagement in business development and marketing have meant that the majority of her work is now obtained from referrals and professional contacts. Referrals have been made to Hollie from all across the country, including Cardiff, Southampton, Bournemouth and Exeter. She also receives recommendations from the local authority for special guardianship orders and adoption work.
- Hollie currently assists British Gymnastics as a Regional Welfare officer. In addition, she delivers the welfare officer training in the West Midlands region, dealing with grooming, child abuse and best practice. She is an affiliate member of Resolution, has been a committed member of BNI and has now progressed to President of the Chapter for the Stourport region. Hollie's work in the child abuse and domestic violence sector also led to her 2016 external nomination for the Wonderful Worcestershire Women Awards, in which she made the final five.
'I would like to first say how pleasant and refreshing it has been to deal with Hollie. Not only does Hollie have a wealth of knowledge that she can express in terms I fully understood, but she also took time to make sure I was comfortable with everything first before acting. Hollie's level of professionalism and ability to sort what seems impossible is one of the many reasons why I will not hesitate to contact and use her again in the future.'
Family Law Commentator of the Year - Profile of Shortlisted Nominees
Award Criteria: An award for the commentator who the family law community consider to have provided the most useful commentary to help them in their practice. The commentary could have been contained in any format, including books, journal articles, videos or blogs.
Maud Davis, Member Partner, TV Edwards Solicitors
Maud specialises in all children law matters, including representing children in care and adoption proceedings, and in private law disputes between parents. She is accredited by the Law Society as a children law specialist; and is a higher rights advocate (civil), with rights of audience in all levels of the civil courts. She is the immediate past co-chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children, and remains an active committee member. Since April 2016, she has co-chaired the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children. She is also a member of the Family Justice Council (appointed in 2016).
Maud is part of a group working on the law as it affects unaccompanied migrant children, as well as working on the role of Family Drug and Alcohol Court teams in pre-proceedings, the Family Justice Council Litigants in Person Working Group and Experts’ Working Group. She is also a member of the London Family Court Users Board and the Advisory Board to Dr Karen Broadhurst’s research on recurrent care proceedings.
Why vote for Maud
- Maud is a regular contributor to Family Law and LexisNexis. She writes and speaks on children law and likely developments in family law and also provides training.
- In the last 18 months she has contributed articles to LexisNexis judgments including: PW & others v Luton Borough Council  EWHC 450 (Fam) (procedure & costs in HRA claims); Re D (A Child: Jurisdiction: Habitual Residence)  EWHC 1689 (Fam) (jurisdiction under Article 8 of BIIA); Re W (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1051 (separate representation of a young person in public law proceedings); Re A & others (Children) (Adoption)  EWHC 1293 (Fam) (preliminary points to be decided as to whether a Scottish permanence order should be recognised by English courts); and Re L (Case Management: Wasted Costs)  EWHC 1293 (Fam) (application for wasted costs in care proceedings).
- As a practitioner, Maud is able to apply her day-to-day experience when writing on family law. Maud’s committee and national policy work also adds to her experience and insight and informs her writing as a commentator. She continues to be involved in national policy work and negotiation, including at ministerial level, responding to government and major consultations.
- Maud led on the ALC’s response to a recent national call for evidence for the Family Law Justice Observatory scoping study. She has continued to be closely involved in the ALC’s work on privacy and transparency in the Family Court, as a member of the research advisory group and delivered a paper on this, with Dr Julia Brophy, at the ALC national conference in November 2016.
Joanne Edwards, Partner & Head of Family, Forsters
Jo was Chair of Resolution from April 2014 to April 2016. In that time she led high-profile family law campaigns (including the launch in 2015 of the Manifesto for Family Law), met with MPs and the judiciary and appeared regularly on national TV and radio and in the broadsheets. In December 2015 she gave evidence to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee about the MoJ’s then proposed increase of the divorce fee. Jo continues to sit on Resolution’s National Committee and chairs its law reform committee.
Jo was recently profiled as a ‘mover and shaker’ in New Law Journal. She was awarded silver in Citywealth’s Powerwomen Awards 2017, in the ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ category and has been recognised in the Legal Week Private Client Global Elite 2017.
Why vote for Joanne
- Since stepping down as Chair of Resolution, Jo is regularly asked to provide commentary on a wide variety of family issues and to speak at events.
- Jo is often quoted in the broadsheet press, technical publications, online, radio and TV. Recent examples include: comments on Sharp v Sharp  EWCA Civ 408 in The Times, Daily Telegraph, Law Society Gazette, Family Law Week and Solicitors Journal (June 2017); interview on Radio 4's Money Box 'Bank of Mum and Dad' (May 2017); quoted in The Guardian in an article on special contribution/Ryan Giggs' divorce; interviewed on Talk Radio (April 2017); interview on BBC Breakfast and Radio 4 and 5, and featured in The Telegraph and The Financial Times, on Owens v Owens  EWCA Civ 182 (March 2017) and also previous month in The Times; interview on The Vanessa Feltz Breakfast Show and Share Radio regarding cohabitants’ rights (February 2017); interview on Radio 4 Money Box regarding Work v Gray 2017] EWCA Civ 270 (January 2017).
- Recent (and forthcoming) speaking engagements include: giving national judges training on family mediation (June 2016); The Law Society Gazette mediation roundtable, (September 2016); Conservative Party Conference, Resolution and Conservative Women's Organisation fringe event on no-fault divorce, Birmingham (October 2016); Various Resolution forums regarding collaborative practice; Resolution Dispute Resolution Day, in East and West Sussex, Surrey and Kent (June 2017); YRes National Conference (September 2017); chairing a Westminster debate organised by Only Mums and Only Dads (October 2017).
Andrew Newbury, Partner, Hall Brown
Andrew is a highly regarded family law specialist who writes regular columns on family law for three major publications: The Law Society Gazette; Resolution Review; and Family Law (co-written with Martin Loxley and Grant Howell). Each column aims to extract the practical issues in cases for solicitors and to assist them with their day-to-day practice.
Why vote for Andrew
- Andre writes three chapters for Butterworths Family Law Service, which underpins his up-to-the-minute financial remedy knowledge and acknowledged expertise.
- He has co-written books for the Law Society on financial remedies and for Butterworths on the Family Procedure Rules.
- Andrew lectures nationally, sharing his knowledge and experience with hundreds of family lawyers each year. He is actively involved in Resolution and presents the financial remedy update at the Resolution National Conference. He also lectures for Professional Conferences including the White Paper Conferences.
- He is quoted often in the national press on family law issues; most recently in The Times on the subject of MoJ Family Court statistics and previously in several papers on ONS statistics. He has appeared on the Today programme on Radio 4 and BBC Breakfast as well as several other television and radio programmes.
- Andrew’s family law developments column for the Gazette frequently provides the earliest serious analysis of judgments and policy developments available to practitioners - combining deep knowledge with balanced commentary.
'Andrew is sensible, authoritative and knowledgeable but is one of the few in the profession who genuinely gives back and shares his knowledge/skills base. Andrew deserves this award not only for his recent achievements but his long standing commitment to family law and sharing his expert views on it.'
The Transparency Project
The Transparency Project (www.transparencyproject.org.uk) is an educational charity consisting of a team of lawyers, academics, researchers and journalists.
Why vote for The Transparency Project
- The Transparency Project provides information and analysis on family law cases to promote greater understanding of the work of the family courts. It explains and discusses family law and family courts in England and Wales, and signposts to useful resources to help people understand the system and the law better. It works towards improving the quality, range and accessibility of information available.
- In October 2016, it launched its Family Court Reporting Watch project, funded by the Legal Education Foundation.
- The project informs and stimulates debate concerning transparency of the Family Justice System. The team uses non-traditional methods of delivering public legal information. The blog explains the underlying reality of important cases that may be misrepresented by the press and others and aims for justice to be seen to be done and understood. It aims to improve the quality, range and accessibility of information available to the public and addresses the need for public understanding of the reality of family law.
- Recent blogs include: ‘Lasting Powers of Attorney in the news – a more detailed explanation’; ‘Looking beyond the headlines: domestic abuse allegations in family proceedings’; What is happening now on the case of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard?’; and ‘The limits of the court’s influence over adult disputes about children’.
- The blog is supported on Twitter @seethrujustice.
Andrew Langdon, Chairman of the Bar, Counsel, May 2017 said in his column ‘Court in the Act’ that bemoaned the decline in court reporters: 'Some family barristers are trying to help put things right. The Transparency Project is tackling this head-on. I went to a meeting a few days ago when their commendable Media Guide was launched. The Transparency Project’s Family Court Reporting Watch is funded by the Legal Education Foundation and is specifically aimed at correcting misreporting and explaining the legal context of news stories in plain English. Initiatives of this sort may help to reduce the dangerous void personified by the vacant press seats in our courts.'