‘In the family justice system, wealth won’t necessarily buy the outcome you may want,’ says Matthew Booth, who had a previous career as a classical musician, before switching to family law.
Booth has been in the Payne Hicks Beach partnership since 2014, and particularly enjoys private children law cases involving children’s living arrangements and relocation issues. It’s a varied workload, with the firm’s traditional UK client base now strongly diversified to reflect international trends. ‘I currently have clients from America, Israel, South Africa, Spain, Austria and Russia,’ he tells Spear’s, adding: ‘I enjoy the way in which family law reflects social and cultural progress.’
As for the last year, it’s been ‘busy, as always. Family law is both very reactive and time-consuming.’ He observes that under-resourced courts are ‘increasingly reluctant to see private children law disputes being litigated’, preferring them to be mediated. He also has an interesting perspective on the current move toward ‘no-fault’ divorce. ‘So-called “no fault” divorce is something of a red-herring,’ he observes, ‘insofar as the issues people really fall out over are money and children – and this will not change.’
But while there are unchanging aspects to this area of law, Booth notes that the medium of transmitting advice is changing. ‘Clients are now invariably reading your advice on a hand-held device,’ he explains. ‘Even when dealing with their professional advisors, people can often have a very short attention span.’