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James Stewart, Partner at Penningtons Manches
Areas of expertise: Family law, Private wealth


Chambers High Net Worth ‘Family Lawyer of the Year 2018’, the ‘very impressive’ James Stewart is ‘warm and engaging’ with ‘astonishing skills in international financial matters’. Recognised in all the legal directories as a ‘leading individual’, James is a Resolution accredited specialist family lawyer. Spear’s Magazine describes him as ’one of the most visible faces in UK family law’ and, in the words of a leading QC, ‘James is undoubtedly one of the leaders in family law globally. Not only is he highly respected by his peers, he is loved by his clients and has amazing interpersonal skills in the most difficult of situations. He is also someone who gives back and, despite being extremely busy, finds time to support a number of charitable causes.’ James has also featured in the Tatler Address Book, in its family law advisory section.

James has acted in many groundbreaking family law cases including Clibbery v Allan [2002], to date the only family case to go to the Court of Appeal on the issue of privacy and press reporting. He is a former TimesLawyer of the Week’ following what was the first case in British legal history where a judge was persuaded to refer a family law dispute to a religious court. He ‘shines in complex cases that need strategic vision, diligent execution and a motivated, able team’.

A Fellow, former Governor and Parliamentarian of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), James is general editor of the definitive text on the field of comparative international family law, Family Law: A Global Guide (Thomson Reuters, fourth edition, 2018). He is a family arbitrator, a collaborative lawyer and one of a small group of leading family lawyers, QCs and senior judges who serve on the family law consultation board of Practical Law.

James co-chairs the Annual Legal Dinner which has become one of the leading social events in London’s legal calendar and which raises funds for the leading peace building charity, Co-operation Ireland.

Recent work highlights

  • Successfully acting for a Middle Eastern family office in the widely reported case of NN v AS and Others (Part III MFPA: financial remedies: family wealth: joinder of third parties) EWHC (Nov 2018) where family property worth in excess of £8 million was recovered.
  • Acting for the husband in a significant Anglo-Russian case involving family wealth and complex offshore trust structures. James secured a confidential and fair negotiated settlement on the client’s behalf in a case which would have otherwise proceeded to a three week final hearing.
  • In September 2018 James chaired a three-day IAFL European Chapter education programme in Stuttgart. He presented a paper on ‘matrimonial property regimes’ at the STEP Europe conference in Luxembourg in October 2018. The following month, he was a panellist at the IAFL Family Law Conference, Dubai, where he spoke on family governance, focusing on ‘How not to make a family crisis a business crisis’.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP