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Matthew-RichardsonBIG

Matthew Richardson

Barrister
Call 2009

About Me

Matthew’s practice spans all areas of family law, with a specialism in private client matters including financial remedies, Schedule 1, TOLATA, and children law. His particular areas of expertise include hidden assets and non-disclosure, pensions on divorce, mental health issues, ‘parental alienation’, relocation (internal and international) and complex high-conflict relationships.

Matthew is an accomplished seminar speaker and writer and he presents regularly at national-level conferences as well as in-house. Recent seminars, webinars and articles include pensions on divorce, applied psychology in a family law context, wellbeing for family lawyers and the nuances and pitfalls of parental alienation allegations. For more details of seminar content see ‘Practice Areas’.

Matthew is vice chair of the Young Resolution national committee and is one of Coram’s two heads of wellbeing. 

Matthew was a finalist for the 2018 Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year award and he is a finalist for the 2019 Family Law Commentator of the Year award. He is ranked as a leading junior in the 2020 Legal 500.

Experience

Matthew is a calm and assured advocate. His measured and thoughtful approach has been lauded by others, and clients have commented on how fully and successfully they felt their cases have been put. The Legal 500 highlights that Matthew ‘is capable of dissecting complicated issues and delivering them to the court and client in a simple way.’

Well-liked by judges and clients alike, Matthew has a deserved reputation for providing high-level advocacy of exemplary quality. He offers an insightful and straightforward approach to cases and is noted to be both positive and effective in negotiations as well as exacting and persuasive in cross-examination and submissions.

Matthew strongly values client care; he ensures clients are best able to provide clear and comprehensive instructions and gives realistic expectations of case outcomes. Matthew has a primarily digital practice and is able to offer a modern, timely and dynamic service to solicitors. The solicitor-counsel relationship is a priority for Matthew; working as part of a team in tandem with a solicitor being a key factor in successful outcomes.

Matthew was involved in the production of the Pension Advisory Group’s final report ‘A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce’, giving specific assistance with the design and readability of the final report. More information here.

 

Notable cases include:

–  Successfully appealing in AR v ML in front of Mostyn J in a financial remedies case relating to the importance of property particulars and the correct approach to the introduction of new evidence after the delivery of judgment;

–  Successfully appealing in Re: S (a child) in the Court of Appeal in a case relating to the proper analysis of options for a child’s care, and the procedural requirements for interim trials of fact;

– Successfully responding in Re: H-W (child) in the Court of Appeal in an intractable child arrangements case;

– Successfully re-opening an old financial order on the basis of inadequate disclosure. A long, complex case applying leading case law of Sharland & Gohil. £2m of further assets were uncovered and proved as matrimonial, leading to a further award plus costs of c.£1m;

– Successfully applying in a 21-day Children Act final hearing that included issues of international child abduction, deprivation of liberty and complex mental health needs.

– Representing a respondent in an international relocation case involving the child as a separately-represented party. Overturned a s.7 welfare report mid-way through the litigation on the basis of improper assessment methodology, and substantially altered the final outcome as a result.

Practice Areas

Family Finance
Children
Alternative Families
Genetics

Practice Areas

Family Finance
Children
Alternative Families
Genetics

Seminar Content

Current seminar content available (contact the clerks for bookings):

  • The Pension Advisory Group: how to address pensions on divorce
  • Case strategy in financial remedy cases
  • ‘Parental alienation’
  • Wellbeing for family lawyers
  • Going paperless

Education

MA (Cantab) Philosophy, Girton College, Cambridge
Graduate Diploma in Law, College of Law
Bar Vocational Course, College of Law

 

Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Resolution – vice chair of the Young Resolution national committee
Association of Lawyers for Children
Lincoln’s Inn

 

Awards

Cassel Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Lord Bowen Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Eileen Ellenborgen Award, Girton College, Cambridge

 

Interests

Matthew is a regular tennis player and cyclist and he is a big film fan. He also enjoys music, photography and making furniture. Matthew took a leading role in the development and implementation of chambers’ wellbeing programme and is one of Coram’s two heads of wellbeing.

Matthew ‘is capable of dissecting complicated issues and delivering them to the court and client in a simple way.’

Legal 500, 2020

 

Matthew is articulate, well prepared, a strong advocate and negotiator and the right person to have on your side’.

Simon Gummer, Head of Family Law at Edmondson Hall Solicitors

 

‘Matthew’s webinar about the Pension Advisory Group’s final report was absolutely cracking – engaging, right pitch, insightful, lucid and probably gave me my 5 a day too.’

James Pirrie, Director at Family Law in Partnership

 

‘Matthew presented such a relevant and forensic approach to the subject of ‘parental alienation’ that it set the tone of the conference very well, and inspired and provoked much thought and discussion in the breaks throughout the day. We so appreciate the research and care that went into the presentation, and he conveyed his knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject in a way that inspired delegates. Thank you again, Matthew proved to be one of the stars of the day!’

Carole Littlechild, NAGALRO Council

 

‘I am always impressed by Matthew’s thorough preparation, attention to detail, and clear strategy. He exudes an air of calmness which filters to the client, placing them at ease. Matthew is always approachable and available to deal with queries both before and at court. Very determined and always striving to achieve the best result for our clients, his advice is clear and succinct. I would not hesitate to recommend Matthew’.
Mark Goldstein, Head of Family Law at Portner Solicitors

 

‘Matthew is a Counsel popular with clients for his straightforward approach and guidance’.

Geoff Cogan, Senior Solicitor at Storrar Cowdry

 

‘I cannot speak highly enough of Matthew; I had someone on my side who could truly empathise with my situation and put me at ease throughout proceedings. I got such a fantastic result, it now means I can move forward with my life and I now have peace of mind, I’ve waited 11 years for this!’

Private client

 

‘Through Matthew’s sound advice and drafting I was able to get a favourable response to my offer of settlement. I would have no hesitation in recommending Matthew to anyone’.

Private client

Articles

Applying the lessons of psychology to the practicalities of relocation

Coram Chambers International Family Law blog, September 2019

An article considering some of the lessons that applied psychology can teach us in our approach to advising and assisting clients with international relocation applications.

Read the article here

 

The Pension Advisory Group’s final report: reviewing a paradigm shift in pensions practice

Family Law Week, July 2019

Matthew was involved in the production of the Pension Advisory Group’s final report ‘A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce’, giving specific assistance with the design and readability of the final report. This article reviews some of the headline content of the report.

Read the article here

 

Brushing up on some Pensions Basics

Resolution Review Magazine, Issue 200

In anticipation of the publication of the Pension Advisory Group’s final report, an article that reminds readers of some of the key concepts involved in pensions on divorce.
The article is found in the May/Jun 2019 edition of Resolution’s Review magazine

 

Parental alienation: the vital early stages of litigation

Family Law, March 2019

Matthew’s article focuses on the practical aspects involved in the early stages of the litigation of allegations of ‘parental alienation’, on the basis that the ‘direction of travel’ taken in such cases is often vital. Further consideration is given to the merits of using the term ‘alienation’, and more accurate and helpful terminology is suggested as an alternative. These cases can extend for years and result in highly unsatisfactory outcomes but early and proactive decision-making can help to reduce the risks of this happening.

The article is found in the March edition of Family Law Journal: [2019] Fam Law 278

 

Wellbeing and Family Law

Resolution Review Magazine, Issue 197

Co-authored with David Lister, national head of family law at Simpson Millar Solicitors, an article looking at how wellbeing issues affect family lawyers, and what can be done to make positive changes at an organisational and individual level.

The article is found in the Nov/Dec 2018 edition of Resolution’s Review magazine

 

Litigants in Person – an inherent problem with the justice system

Family Law Week, November 2018

An article considering the profound danger associated with re-structuring our justice system around the huge increase in litigants in person, based on swingeing cuts to legal aid provision.

Read the article here

 

The Financial Remedies Court: Latest Developments

Family Law Week, October 2018

A review of progress with the expansion of the specialist Financial Remedies Court after its successful pilot in Birmingham.

Read the article here

 

Back to School (Work) – Handy Updates in Family Law

Coram Chambers, August 30, 2018

Some key developments in private client family law have been seen in 2018, including updates to key forms and precedents, so for the return to work after the Summer holidays here is a quick non-exhaustive list of some of the notable updates from 2018, along with links for downloads and further information

Read the article here

 

The Pension Advisory Group – Interim Reports and Conclusions

Coram Chambers, May 19, 2018

A must-know for family finance practitioners whenever pension assets are considered, the PAG are producing guidelines to assist in the understanding and management of pensions in the context of divorce. Matthew Richardson summarises the group’s presentation of their progress to date, and identifies some key recommendations and top tips for practitioners

Read the article here

 

JY v RY: An Indictment of the Impact of Legal Aid Cuts

Family Law Week, May 4, 2018

Following the judgment in JY v RY [2018] EWFC B16, an article considering why a case, described by the judge as ‘the most unsatisfactory’ he has heard and in which ‘had one or both of these parents been represented … probably the outcome would have been very different’, serves as an alarming lesson in just how far our justice system has fallen

Read the article here. The original judgment is here

 

Letters to young people: a practitioner’s experiment in child-focused writing

Family Law Journal, November 2017

Following the recent judgment of Mr Justice Peter Jackson in Re A : Letter to a Young Person [2017] EWFC 48, which was written as a letter to the subject child, this article asks whether family practitioners can extrapolate from this approach and improve the way we communicate, both with other lawyers, with clients, and with the courts. Should we write letters, witness statements, and practice direction documents in a more child-focused way?
Read the article here. The original judgment is here

 

Behaviour Petitions on Divorce and Intellectual Dishonesty: have you played a good enough game of charades?

Family Law Week, March 2017

An article following on from the judgment in Owens v Owens [2017] EWCA Civ 182 that considers the current state of the law in relation to divorce petitions based on “behaviour” and offers an alternative approach which I argue is more compatible with 21st century life and rights

Read the article here

 

Sharland and Gohil. Parties who cheat: a cheat sheet

M Horton and M Richardson, October 2015

A practical summary on how to apply the principles from these linked leading judgments from the Supreme Court about non-disclosure in family finance cases

Read the article here

 

Divided We Fall

The Law Society Gazette, The Law Society, 26 August 2015

Complaints about solicitor-advocates are misdirected. And where’s the evidence?

Read the article here

Case Summaries

D (A Child – Jurisdiction – Habitual Residence) [2016] EWHC 1689 (Fam)

Case summary, July 2016

Judgment of HHJ Bellamy (sitting as High Court judge) determining the habitual residence of a child as a preliminary issue.

Read the judgment here

 

Re V-Z (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 475

Case summary, June 2016
Successful appeal in care proceedings in which the Court of Appeal identifies the local authority’s failure to properly assess a family member based abroad and gives guidance on dealing with foreign authorities and their assessments of alternative carers.

Read the judgment here

 

Ciccone v Ritchie (No 1) [2016] EWHC 608 (Fam)

Case summary, March 2016
Mother’s application under the 1980 Hague Convention for the summary return of her 15 year old son to the USA. Review of the principles to be applied when considering whether to make a child a party to proceedings under the Convention.

Read the judgment here

 

Re D (A Child) (No 3) [2016] EWFC 1

Case summary, January 2016
Care proceedings in which Munby P sets out key principles to consider in cases involving parents with learning disabilities.

Read the judgment here

AR v ML [2019] EWFC 56

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2019/56.html

Matthew was successful in an appeal to Mostyn J in a financial remedies case. This is a rare reported case relating to the importance of evidence as to housing needs, in particular the importance of property particulars in ‘everyday’ cases. The judgment also develops the case law relating to the proper procedure and legal test for the introduction of new evidence after the delivery of judgment and how this relates to a judge’s power to reverse a decision at any time prior to the order being drawn up.

 

Re: S (a child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2512

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/2512.html

Matthew took the lead in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal in a children case. The judgment includes (i) important precedent on the proper procedure for the emergency removal of a child from a parent’s care when they are placed at home under a care order (para. 64-68), as well as guidance about (ii) the proper analysis of options for a child’s care (para. 38), and (iii) the procedural requirements for interim trials of fact (para. 72-74).

 

Re: H-W (child) [2017] EWCA Civ 154
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/154.html
Matthew was successful in resisting an application to the Court of Appeal in an intractable child arrangements dispute. The judgment includes helpful guidance on (i) the extent of the court’s obligation to consider the need for expert evidence beyond that which is formally applied for (para. 45, 48) and on (ii) the extent to which a court is obliged to consider all possible steps to re-establish direct contact (para. 50).

Awards

Family: Divorce and Remedy
Leading junior 2020

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Commentator of the Year
Shortlisted 2019 Awards

family law awards

Junior Barrister of the Year
Shortlisted 2018 Awards

family law awards