Family Lawyers
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It seems extraordinary that some courts do not open post for weeks,’ sighs Sarah Higgins, Charles Russell Speechlys’ head of family. She says the administration of English courts needs attention, as the current lack of funding will ultimately incur costs and increase delays. The need to repair the ‘creaking’ system is ever more urgent as Higgins’ cases become more complex. Her client base is becoming increasingly international since she first started at the firm in 1990. The Oxford graduate has thus seen growth in alternative resolutions in the private client sphere, especially in the form of out of court settlements, mediation and private financial dispute resolution (FDRs). The emergence of non-represented litigants also poses problems for represented clients, she says. ‘They can feel that the court gives the self-litigants leeway, as well as increasing costs for the represented party.’ The partner sits within the firm’s private wealth group, which advises a variety of wealthy individuals and their advisers, in the UK and abroad, on the growth and preservation of wealth, especially for family offices, landowners, trustees and family business owners. Contentious disputes are also welcome challenges for Higgins and her colleagues, who have ‘market-leading private wealth capabilities’. What draws her to family disputes? ‘People’s stories and how they interpret them,’ she says. ‘It’s a privilege to be instrumental in enabling clients to move forward to a certain future, even if it isn’t the one they would have chosen.’

Sarah Higgins
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