Unlike many featured in these pages, Labi isn’t downplaying litigation as a means to an end, and emphasises that he’ll often need to go to court at a moment’s notice to deal with emergencies involving children or the freezing of assets. Having started as an insurance litigator going up against rich and powerful opponents, the politics graduate certainly isn’t shy of upping the ante. ‘Mediation works in some cases, but not all. If you have a very big power imbalance, or if you have suspicions of financial non-disclosure, you’re not going to be able to mediate it.’
And when you can’t, someone of Labi’s calibre is a must. His forensic ability, assured manner and ability to punch above his weight are recognised throughout the industry. His most attention-grabbing case was Imerman v Tchenguiz, a four-year battle that, says Labi, ‘brought the family law courts in line with the practice and law of the rest of the system, which said you cannot just raid someone’s computer and violate their confidence’.
While that was a big-money case involving complex offshore trusts and joint beneficiaries, he also specialises in children’s matters in cross-jurisdictional cases. Last year he undertook a Schedule 1 proceeding regarding the child of unmarried parents, as well as acting in a different case for the wife in Arif v Anwar against a husband who declared himself bankrupt. Away from the stresses and strains of work he finds solace in verse, chairing the charity Poet in the City, which promotes the love of poetry inside and outside the Square Mile.