The 2021 Family Law Index is out now Find out more


Penningtons Manches Cooper





Family Lawyers


London, United Kingdom

Advice type

Financial remedies

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

Client types





Geographical focus

United Kingdom


Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates

United States

Sector focus

Legal Advisory Services


James Stewart


James Stewart has a formidable track record for getting results in even the most difficult of cases. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then,
the highly-regarded family lawyer talks of an ‘extremely busy’ last 12 months, referring to his work in several of London’s leading UHNW cases, involving jurisdictions including Australia, Kuwait, Switzerland and Russia.

‘The highlight of the year has been acting for the wife in an extremely complex case involving four jurisdictions and where the husband – an internationally recognised entrepreneur – is a household name,’ he says. On top of that, he has been involved in a number of Part III cases involving claims made from a divorce filed in a foreign jurisdiction. He mentions two particular cases – one relating to Russia and the other to a Gulf state – as containing what he tactfully calls ‘very substantial’ assets.

He describes his role as bringing ‘real added value’ to complex financial cases, applying a creative and solution-oriented approach. ‘I focus on securing a fair settlement from the very outset – and complexity should never be a bar to an early settlement,’ he adds. Clients, meanwhile, need to ‘feel at ease’ and receive the benefit of a service which is ‘second to none’. His approach is ‘friendly but professional’, and he has a proven track record in helping even the most contentious of cases find fair solutions, particularly where children are involved.

‘I always ensure that my clients are at the very centre of my team’s focus and never forget that parties to a divorce are anxious to avoid delays, unnecessary costs and acrimony,’ he says. This has benefits, he adds, not just when it comes to getting effective results as quickly as possible, but also in generating future business. ‘The vast majority of my referrals come from former clients, which I am very grateful for and which is testament to the abilities of my team,’ he says.

Among peers he is known for work on groundbreaking family law cases, including the only family case to reach the Court of Appeal on issues of privacy and press reporting. After the case, Stewart was invited to join the fellowship of the US-based International Academy of Family Lawyers – an organisation of which he is now a fellow, former governor and parliamentarian. Appointed Visiting Professor of Law at Ulster University in 2020, he is also one of a small group of leading lawyers, QCs and senior judges who serve on the family law consultation board of Practical Law, and co-chairs the Annual Legal Dinner, a leading social event in London’s legal calendar which raises funds for the charity Co-operation Ireland.

Rank: Top Flight

Top Flight 2021, Family Lawyers


125 Wood Street, London, EC2V 7AW, United Kingdom



+44 (0)207 753 7409

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