Hughes says she’s had a good year as the international litigation work continues to flood in as well as a sudden flurry of celebrities from the acting world and instruction on pre and post nuptial agreements with very big money and complex structures. She’s also been instructed on a key case which will go to the Court of Appeal and concerns Special Contribution. ‘That is something that is likely to be of a great deal of interest to the profession,’ she tells us. Christina Estrada’s record breaking order, following her winning of diplomatic immunity in the Supreme Court, has been another string in her bow.
Undoubtedly she is not a lawyer short of accolades. Peers described her as ‘a tour de force: a blend of fierce intelligence and human empathy’, and one of the capital’s ‘most formidable and clever family lawyers’.
On the legal scene, the RSA fellow says the same problems persist: ‘Family law suffers badly because of the government cuts to the court services and to Legal Aid. That has affected everyone who litigates in family law because of the high rise in litigants in person.’ But that shouldn’t mean mediation for the sake of it. Hughes advocates litigation where necessary by those professionals skilled enough to navigate the inconsistency of judgements.
Perhaps being so good at litigation is the secret behind the out-of-court settlements she so often achieves, along with warm accolades from clients.
Government cuts are still a hot topic she says, pointing to the decline in court services. ‘There is no doubt that arbitration is gaining some acceptance but the cases have to be of a more straight-forward kind where there is some trust between the parties (or the lawyers!) and where there are not complicated problems in relation to enforcement.’