Raymond Tooth’s name has long been synonymous with the UK’s toughest divorce wins, and this year he doesn’t disappoint, citing a string of successes, including cases in the Court of Appeal.
A noteworthy case was S & V, a leave to remove battle dealing with international kidnapping. ‘The mother had unlawfully retained the children in Ukraine since August 2018,’ he explains. Thanks to Tooth, the court allowed publicity around the case in order to persuade the mother to return the children to the UK.
The lawyer is monikered ‘Jaws’ for his fearless defence of the wives of celebrities such as Jude Law, Michael Barrymore and Roman Abramovich. In person, however, he is good-humoured, jovial and even surprisingly gentle. An even more surprising revelation is blood ties with screen legend Rex Harrison.
‘I wanted to be an actor,’ he says of his uncle’s influence on him, ‘but my father was a lawyer, and so I joined the family firm instead.’
Tooth, who founded Sears Tooth back in 1982, could have not fallen into a more dramatic career. In his early litigations, he ‘defended the underdogs’ against the South African government in the apartheid era, and even took on the mafia in Las Vegas.
He recalls a curious visit from a woman he had informally advised before proceedings, early in his career, who asked him why he had decided to act for her husband instead. ‘She told me that when she told her husband she wanted a divorce, he said he had already consulted me,’ he recalls.
‘He said she would be annihilated.’ The encounter was an epiphany for Tooth. ‘It was then that I realised I was regarded as a force to be reckoned with,’ he explains.
He believes that while every case should be capable of settlement, the best approach is to move matters forward as quickly as possible, as delay creates anxiety, frustration and unnecessary legal expense.
The pioneer of divorce boutiques recently received congratulations from the Law Society for practising for over 50 years. When his phone rings on a Monday morning, he says ‘one never knows’ who’s calling.
Despite a track record of acting for the wives of A-list celebrities, Tooth stresses that he is open to welcoming clients from all walks of life. ‘I feel honoured to assist anybody who wishes to seek my help,’ he says humbly.
When not working, Tooth spends his free time breeding and racing thoroughbred horses, and has won a number of prestigious races.