Described by market authorities as ‘very impressive’ and ‘warm and engaging’ with ‘astonishing skills in international financial matters’, co-head of Penningtons Manches’ private wealth team James Stewart has had a ‘phenomenally’ busy year rich with some of London’s most complex, high value cases. Known for working with some of Russia’s wealthiest families, he was recently instructed by the wife in a £1 billion-plus Anglo-CIS case, and achieved a negotiated settlement in an Anglo-Middle Eastern case with assets in excess of £1 billion, in a bid to spare his client unwanted publicity and contentious High Court proceedings. ‘That’s what UHNW individuals are looking for now… firms that put privacy on their priority list,’ says the forthright Northern Irishman. He recently took over ‘three or four’ cases from other ‘very well-known’ firms — one with a reputation for seeing ‘most’ of its cases appear in the press: ‘While this style might suit clients with an axe to grind… it’s actually horrific for many others.’ Stewart has acted in historic cases such as Clibbery v Allan , the first major case dealing with the interaction of privacy and family law, and Re AI and MT , the first reported case on religious arbitration. More recently, he successfully acted for the wife in one of the first reported cases focusing on the English court’s jurisdiction under Article 3 of the European Maintenance Regulation.