Pigott co-founded Levison Meltzer Pigott in 1998 and is among London’s best-known mediators. But he is also comfortable in the courtroom — at the moment he is representing a father in an international children relocation case, while also acting for a wife in a £50 million divorce where most of the assets are held in overseas corporations. ‘15 to 20 per cent of my cases have an international element to them,’ he says.
He says the balance has recently been tipping in favour of breadwinners. ‘The legal pendulum follows the curve of society’s thoughts. In the early Nineties, England was a jurisdiction where if you acted for a rich man you had little to fear,’ he says. ‘Then, during the last fifteen or twenty years, it became increasingly more equal for the financially weaker party. I think the pendulum is slowly beginning to fall back.’
Unlike most colleagues, he hopes this will affect London’s divorce capital status. ‘It’s an unattractive tag to have — it’s not saying London is the fairest jurisdiction or the quickest. It means that — if you have a lot of money, can establish England as the jurisdiction and are the financially weaker party — you will do better in England.’
A trained collaborative lawyer (an out of court representative), member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and chair of the Family Mediation Association, he knows his subject, having been in the game longer than most. He lectured for the College of Law and was one of the first to be trained by the Family Mediators Association. He is also a member of Resolution, an organisation with thousands of family lawyers dedicated to the ‘constructive’ resolution of family disputes.
When asked about some of the most challenging disputes he has encountered, he says it often involves ‘acrimonious cases’ involving fighting couples with ‘deep hostility between the parties’. He says sometimes things become difficult when clients ‘want to it their way and want their day in court’: ‘That makes it quite trying because of the relationship you have with your clients and they’re not really taking your advice on board.’
Pigott is praised by a rival for making ‘each party feel comfortable… with the “financially sophisticated” party feeling that they are understood and the “financially weaker” party feeling supported.’ He was commended by the Legal 500 who describes him as ‘a very safe pair of hands’, ‘empathetic in his approach, and inspires confidence in his clients, who work hard with him.’ Listed as a prominent figure in Citywealth’s Leading Lawyers’ Honours List, he has also been praised by Chambers & Partners who says he is ‘exceptionally bright, always well-prepared, and he has first-rate judgement and exceptional client care skills’.
The father of three lives in Wolverton, Hants and graduated from the University of Southampton in 1977. He trained at Wright Webb Syrett, qualifying in 1982. He moved to Theodore Goddard in 1983 and joined Collyer-Bristow in 1985, where he was made partner in 1998.