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A ‘first class family lawyer with excellent client and case management skills’, according to at least one happy client, Vardags’ senior director Simon McKirgan works on the firm’s divorce cases involving the greatest assets. Experienced across a wide range of family law issues (including international child relocation cases), he leads a formidable team specialising in complex international financial disputes, working exclusively with UHNWs and HNWs (often of a high-profile nature) from the worlds of commerce to banking, the media and world of sports. The past year has seen the good-humoured solicitor busy with numerous ‘very interesting’ cross-border cases — a particular highlight being a jurisdiction dispute between England and a West African country involving assets purportedly exceeding £1 billion. He’s also just acted on another hotly contested jurisdiction case between England and an EU country where the wife — McKirgan’s client — was seeking to have her divorce heard in England. ‘By pinning the businessman husband down through careful questioning, we succeeded in getting him to concede that the case should be dealt with by the English courts’ (meanwhile the client ‘will secure a substantially better settlement’, he says). Considering those of his clients who never married, McKirgan is always surprised by the prevalence of the myth of the ‘common law spouse’. He says: ‘Clients are often taken aback to find that, even if they have lived with their partner for decades, cohabitees do not have the same rights as those who are married or in a civil partnership.’ Ultimately, his work is always about more than money: ‘It’s hugely satisfying to know that you are making a real difference to someone during a very difficult time in their lives.’ Clients agree, singing McKirgan’s praises: ‘Simon was excellent, he had a superb grasp of all the financial aspects of the case and gave very good advice. I have a great respect for him,’ says one. The devoted family man also has a love for Italy: ‘I love everything about it, except for Limoncello.’

Simon McKirgan