I undertake the whole gamut of private family work,’ says Antonia Mee, the accomplished partner who co-founded Burgess Mee five years ago. She launched the Clapham-based boutique family firm with Peter Burgess, a colleague from her time working at Withers, a previous employer.
Mee tells Spear’s that she finds private children cases particularly enjoyable and highlights her experience of complex international leave to remove matters and internal relocation cases. The latter of which are increasingly common, she adds.
She also has experience in cases where one party has ‘narcissistic traits’ or a personality disorder. She tells Spear’s ‘It’s important to get the strategy right and that means understanding the underlying psychology of the person you are dealing with.’
Many of her clients are local to Burgess Mee’s Clapham and Hammersmith offices, residing in Clapham Common and Wandsworth. She counts financiers and other professionals among her clientele, as well as individuals from all walks of life, ranging from actors to football club managers, models and aristocrats.
Mee is a seasoned litigator with High Court experience. It should come as no surprise then that a peer commends her as ‘a very well respected and excellent lawyer’. When not advising clients, she undertakes an admirable variety of pro bono work across London. She is a voluntary family law adviser for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Peckham and trains McKenzie friends – people who assist litigants in person in court.
She also has experience as Secretary of Resolution’s London group and as such, has a few thoughts about family law reform. Mee is particularly vocal about the need to improve the legal situation for cohabiting couples who then separate. ‘Sometimes upon separation, one party learns that he or she has no claims on any of the assets of their former partner, including the home they thought would always provide a roof over their head,’ she says, describing the problem and lack of rights for cohabitees. Claims in property law are not always possible and Mee explains that even if they are, they tend to be ‘very difficult and expensive’ to make. ‘In my view, with the increasing numbers of people not marrying and getting divorced, there should be legislation in relation to cohabitation.’ Mee is also a proponent of no fault divorce, a sentiment shared by Burgess.
Mee tells Spear’s that she chose to practise family law based on her longstanding interest in human nature and relationships. ‘Especially the psychological aspect of relationships and helping people when these relationships break down,’ she expands. In her spare time, she often travels to far flung locations. ‘I fulfilled a lifetime dream of going to Alaska last year,’ she says. ‘I travelled around in an RV, walked with bears, kayaked up to the base of glaciers and hiked up mountains – I don’t know how that can be topped!’