Jane Mitchell, the head of family law at Penningtons Manches in Oxford, has become the first lawyer in Oxford and the Thames Valley to be awarded a fellowship of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML). The IAML is a worldwide association of practising lawyers who are recognised by their peers as the most experienced and expert family law specialists in their respective countries. This prestigious appointment is especially noteworthy given that only a small number of UK family lawyers outside London are fellows of the IAML.
Jane Mitchell said: “I am extremely honoured to have been offered a fellowship of the IAML as it is the world’s leading organisation of international family lawyers and fellowships are by invitation only. To be eligible, candidates must demonstrate that they are among the leading family lawyers in their respective countries, as well as having significant international experience.
“Membership of the IAML allows family lawyers across the world to share in best practice and enables those handling international family law cases to obtain legal assistance of the highest calibre in other jurisdictions. Where there are complex cases involving cross-border issues, specialist lawyers are able to turn to one another, ensuring the best possible result for the client.”
Since it was founded in 1986 the IAML has grown steadily, both in terms of the countries represented and the overall membership. There are now 52 countries represented and more than 690 fellows worldwide.
Five other Penningtons Manches partners are fellows of IAML - Anna Worwood, Gill Rivers, James Stewart, Jane Craig and Louise Spitz – all of whom are based in London. In addition to acting in many of England’s leading reported cases, the firm’s family department has long been regarded as one of England’s pre-eminent family teams and has led the way in the introduction of non-adversarial alternatives to court such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.
A culturally and ethnically diverse city with a world-famous university and internationally recognised medical and clinical research institutions, it is not surprising that nearly 30% of Oxford’s residents were born outside the UK and that there are an estimated 4,000 short-term international migrants visiting the city. Just under two thirds (62%) of graduate students and 40% of academic staff at the University of Oxford come from outside the UK.
The growth in the number of overseas families in Oxford and the steady rise in the number of trans-national marriages and relationships involving Oxford residents has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of cases with an international element.
The Penningtons Manches Oxford family team has been at the forefront of acting in international cases ranging from jurisdictional disputes and financial proceedings involving multiple assets abroad to international pre- and post-nuptial agreements and difficult cases involving the international movement of children.
Says Jane: “The growth in the number of Oxford-based cases with an international dimension has made it vital for family practitioners to understand the complexities involved in dealing with modern day cross-jurisdictional matters. Family lawyers who deal with international clients must remain informed of the latest legal developments so that they can provide sound and cost-effective advice. My fellowship of the IAML will provide me with on-going relationships with some of the leading lawyers in the world.”
Jane Mitchell has been also named 2015-2016 Oxford Family Law 'Lawyer of the Year' by Best Lawyers International. Only one lawyer in each practice area and location is awarded this accolade. A further 23 Penningtons Manches partners across the firm have been listed in Best Lawyers International 2015 including six members of the family team.
Jane is a long-time resident of North Oxford and lives with her husband and three children.