Star divorce lawyer and winner of the Family Lawyer of the Year title at the Spear’s 2017 Wealth Management Awards, Stewarts’ Emma Hatley is known for her pragmatic and compassionate approach to family law, seeking to disentangle the knot of complicated family relationships.
Industry commentators have described her as ‘one of the best family lawyers in the London market’ who ‘knocks spots off the rest with her brilliance.’ So how does this tenacious litigator go about her work? ‘My approach combines outstanding intellect and technical expertise with compassion,’ she explains, ‘in order to find fair and discrete solutions for domestic and international families. I quickly win the confidence of clients, and work hard to maintain professional and constructive working relationships with my peers across the industry.’
Hatley also has considerable expertise in negotiating and drafting sophisticated nuptial agreements, both in a domestic and international context – seamlessly coordinating with other professional advisors across the globe. She acts on all aspects of cohabitation claims and private law children issues, including applications to relocate internationally and international child abduction.
This year, Hatley has been involved in several of the most complex cases pending in the High Court, often with multiple parties and involving cross -jurisdictional disputes. These have involved some of the most difficult and contentious issues to cross the desk of a family lawyer: international child abduction, international prenuptial agreements, jurisprudence on sham trusts, or what constitutes a ‘special contribution’ – all of which she has handled with characteristic grace and pragmatism.
Surveying the current terrain, Hatley worries about the ‘uncertainty of the legal framework and our inter-relationship with other European jurisdictions in the years ahead’. However, any worries accruing from that can be partly offset by the progress made on no fault divorce, which she says is ‘to be welcomed, since it will simplify the divorce process and reduce animosity.’ She also argues that, in respect of the courts’ current approach to spousal maintenance, there is ‘a real need to provide greater clarity – especially in respect of duration.’
Hatley argues that ‘every client should feel that they are your most important client, and that you are there with them for every step of the journey’ – and, indeed, client testimonies show that she succeeds in this goal. One reads: ‘I will never be able to acknowledge you enough for your support, advice and patience last year’, while another describes her as the ‘essence of what HNW clients want and need in a family lawyer.’