T: 020 7092 3700
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Matthew Richardson

Call 2009

About Me

Matthew maintains a diverse practice spanning all areas of family law, specialising in private client matters including financial remedies, Schedule 1, TOLATA, and children law. His particular areas of expertise include hidden assets and non-disclosure, mental health issues, ‘parental alienation’, relocation (internal and international) and complex high-conflict relationships. Recent and forthcoming seminars and articles include case strategy in modest- and moderate-asset family finance cases and the nuances and pitfalls of parental alienation allegations.

Matthew is a member of the four-person board that runs the business operations of chambers and is vice chair of the Young Resolution national committee.

Matthew was shortlisted for the 2018 Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year award.


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. 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.

Recent cases include:

– 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 appealing in a case to be reported shortly from the Court of Appeal in a children case relating to the proper analysis of options for a child’s care, and the procedural requirements for interim trials of fact;

– Advising and representing a spouse on the enforcement of a nuptial agreement upon relationship breakdown;

– 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
Alternative Families

Family Finance
Alternative Families


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



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



Matthew is a regular tennis player and cyclist and he is a big film fan. He also enjoys music, photography and making furniture. Matthew is involved in the development and implementation of chambers’ wellbeing programme.
‘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
‘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


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

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


Pensions, the Notorious P.A.G. – October 2018 at Coram Conference
Well being for Lawyers – October 2018 at Resolution Code in Practice
What the law demands – A high threshold for procedure and low threshold for parenting – October 2018 at NAGALRO Autumn Conference
Case Strategy in Moderate to Medium Asset Finance Cases – July 2017 at Coram Chambers and February 2018 at Wilson Solicitors

Re: H-W (child) [2017] EWCA Civ 154
Court of Appeal, intractable child arrangements dispute. 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).


Family Law Awards 2018 Shortlisted
Junior Barrister of the Year