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Most of us have heard of faking your own death, but never faking your own divorce. That’s what Carruthers had to deal with for a client whose husband claimed to have ended their marriage in a Russian court. ‘It makes it very difficult to not say, “That’s a fake!” And in an English court you shouldn’t accept that,’ he says. It’s because of such circumstances he’s not uncomfortable with his firm being seen as litigious: ‘If you don’t like litigation, frankly, you shouldn’t be a family lawyer.’

But that doesn’t mean he’s inflexible: ‘You’ve got to be able to say: “Right: mediate. Right: arbitrate.”’ In part, that’s fuelled by the court system being hit hard by austerity, he says, speaking to Spear’s straight from a wasted afternoon at court where the judge dismissed his team due to lack of time.

A Cambridge science graduate, Carruthers specialises in complex divorces that have previously involved child abduction. Perhaps unsurprisingly he’s a member of Resolution, looking to find constructive, nonconfrontational solutions to divorce. His empathy has been praised both by clients and peers.

This Daily Mail bridge competition finalist recently found his card skills have other uses. One client chose him ‘because bridge is the kind of game where you evaluate what’s in front of you, look at everyone round the table, then you’re able to read people and take a decision — that for me makes a good divorce lawyer.’ It’s clear that not only his bridge opponents but also his clients and peers agree.

Alex Carruthers Q & A

Alex Carruthers