Our people

930 professionals at Knights service 12,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Gail Brooks

Partner
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Gail Brooks

Partner

Gail is a Partner in the Family team and is a qualified collaborative lawyer.

Gail specialises in high value divorce settlements between couples in the UK and those with international connections, advising on complex financial arrangements, including those involving family businesses and trusts, onshore and offshore assets and structured tax-planning arrangements.

Gail advises on the care and custody of children in family disputes and obtains injunctions to prevent child abduction or domestic violence and harassment.

In addition, she advises couples who wish to preserve assets and enter into a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement.  She also advises cohabiting/un-married couples who need help to resolve a dispute over property or finance following separation.

Gail’s clients include business owners and high-net-worth individuals who are based in the UK or who have UK links.

Recent examples of how Gail has helped clients include:

  • securing financial provision for a wife whose husband had attempted to ringfence matrimonial assets to put them beyond her reach, achieving close to a 50/50 split of three properties, a family business and a multi-million-pound pension pot;
  • achieving an equal shared care order for a father in relation to the time spent with his children and obtaining an order giving him permanent custody of their passports, in order to counter the efforts of his former wife to turn the children against him, reduce their time with him to supervised visits only and to prevent him from taking them on family holidays;
  • negotiating the settlement of financial arrangements for a wife where the matrimonial assets were significant but heavily mortgaged and where the terms of the settlement needed careful structuring to mitigate their respective capital gains tax liabilities; and
  • supporting a client in the negotiation of a prenuptial agreement with her fiancé who had sizeable assets in his sole name, on terms that ensured she and the couple’s child would be well provided for if the marriage should fail.
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Fiona Lazenby

Partner
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Fiona Lazenby

Partner

Fiona is a Partner in the Family team.

Fiona advises clients from landowners and farming families to entrepreneurs, lottery winners and football club owners.  Specialising in working with high-net-worth clients with assets into the hundreds of million pounds, she helps to negotiate the property and financial repercussions of relationship breakdown as well as resolving disputes over children's living arrangements and wellbeing.  Working across the UK and internationally, Fiona has expertise in the treatment of assets held in offshore trusts.

Fiona also advises clients on wealth protection when they decide to marry or cohabit, and prepares pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and cohabitation agreements to safeguard inherited wealth or business value created before marriage.

Fiona seeks the best possible outcome for clients; and she has often faced national media on their behalf.

Fiona is also a member of the Law Society Family Advanced Panel in respect of complex assets.

Recent examples of how Fiona has helped clients include:

  • successfully obtaining payment of court costs following an inappropriate attempt by one parent to have their three children move to Spain;
  • preventing the former partner of a CEO from claiming a share of property and business assets;
  • ensuring that a £950,000 boat was not detained in England as part of the divorce process; and
  • safeguarding a £14 million trust which the ex-spouse tried to claim in the division of assets.
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Katie McCann

Partner
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Katie McCann

Partner

Katie is a Partner in the Family team.

Katie advises on all aspects of divorce, with an emphasis on the resolution of financial matters following the breakdown of a relationship and on arrangements for the care and arrangements for children.

Katie’s specialism lies in complex and high value divorces, often involving public figures, business owners and entrepreneurs. She specialises in cases where family money is tied up in businesses, trusts, offshore accounts or foreign assets. She also acts where divorcing parents intend to live in different countries and there are child relocation issues or the possibility of child abduction.

In addition, Katie works collaboratively with our private client, tax, corporate and employment teams when advising on all aspects of financial settlements to ensure that each client gets a rounded and indepth level of advice and where appropriate, on the use and enforceability of pre and post nuptial agreements as a means of attempting to ring-fence existing wealth or a future expectation of inherited wealth.

Having previously worked as a family law barrister, Katie has extensive experience in all aspects of family law proceedings. She also has experience in obtaining injunctions to keep details of divorce settlements out of the press.

Katie’s clients are high-net-worth individuals and include many well-known sports and media personalities, business owners, entrepreneurs, wealthy families and owners of landed estate.

Recent examples of how Katie has helped clients include:

  • obtaining a press injunction for a client who was keen to keep details of their divorce settlement out of the public domain;
  • advising a client whose main assets where in a foreign jurisdiction, involving complex corporate and tax considerations; and
  • successfully shielding a family trust with international assets against the former spouse of a beneficiary who attempted to claim a share in the trust’s assets as part of their divorce settlement.
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Jackie Phillips

Partner
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Jackie Phillips

Partner

Jackie is a Partner in the Family team.

Jackie advises her clients on the financial consequences of divorce and separation; protecting wealth through pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements; negotiating financial settlements; resolving the complexities of the children's living arrangements; including parental responsibility and the implications of the Children Act; working across the UK and internationally.

Jackie is committed to minimising the emotional challenges by building bridges between former partners to achieve a cost-effective, amicable solution away from the courts where possible, particularly where this can benefit the couple's finances and the wellbeing of their children.

Recent examples of how Jackie has helped clients include:

  • establishing that a husband had misled the court by deliberately undervaluing his business interests enabling her to achieve an improved settlement for the wife;
  • winning a clean break divorce for an entrepreneur with a developing business which will prevent the former spouse from claiming any future wealth should the value of the business increase in the future; and
  • ring-fencing pre-marital assets worth several million pounds through a pre-nuptial agreement in order to protect them as far as possible from any future settlement in the event of a separation.
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Elisabeth Pugh

Partner
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Elisabeth Pugh

Partner

Elisabeth is a Partner in the Family team.

Elisabeth's clients, who are based nationally and internationally, include landowners, farmers,  professionals, sports personalities, celebrities, company directors, business leaders and their spouses.

Elisabeth specialises in dealing with the repercussions of relationship breakdown, skilfully negotiating financial settlements where possible and litigating where necessary. She is particularly experienced in diverse and high-value portfolios including property, business interests, share schemes, pensions and trusts (on and off-shore).

Elisabeth also acts for parents, and grandparents, as they resolve arrangements regarding children's living arrangements and financial provision for children. Elisabeth has experience of acting in cases at county court level, in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal. For couples with independent assets who are planning to live together, marry or enter a civil partnership, she advises on wealth protection via cohabitation agreements, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and pre-partnership agreements.

Recent examples of how Elisabeth has helped clients include:

  • achieving an improved share of £12 million in assets in a divorce settlement where there was an ungenerous pre-nuptial agreement;
  • securing a business valuation which was resisted by the husband increasing the pot by £1,000,000;
  • successfully defending a father from an unscrupulous attempt by his former spouse to mis-use the Children Act for financial gain; and
  • negotiating better terms in a pre-nuptial agreement for the fiancee of a premiership footballer.
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Martin Ridings

Partner
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Martin Ridings

Partner

Martin is a Partner in the Family team.

Martin's expertise is negotiating financial settlements following divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation, and also advises on cohabitation agreements or disputes, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and disputes concerning arrangements for children.

Martin works with business people and professionals protecting wealth, to farming families needing help dividing land, property or other assets when a relationship breaks down.

Martin specialises in finding lasting, stable agreements for financial maintenance and living agreements for children, particularly when parents are unmarried or where scope for financial arrangements can seem limited.

Recent examples of how Martin has helped clients include:

  • ensuring a wife retained custody of her children by exposing the husband's fraudulent allegations against her, and successfully persuading the court he should pay court costs;
  • achieving a clean break divorce, without involving the courts, for family with high-value assets in Malaysia and Singapore while enabling the children to remain in the UK family home; and
  • successfully realising a husband's share of £3 million in marriage assets through the sale of the marital home, opposed by the wife, and achieving the maximum possible value for the house by navigating the complexities of the HS2 need-to-sell scheme.
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Michael Gregory

Senior Associate
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Michael Gregory

Senior Associate

Michael is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

Michael is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

Michael advises couples on the complete spectrum of family law with a particular emphasis upon high-net-worth financial settlements. Agreements or disputes often involve an international element, such as dealing with overseas assets or choice of jurisdiction, and Michael has handled cases with elements in Europe, the USA, Israel and the Lebanon.

When relationships break down, Michael is an expert in negotiating financial settlements involving inherited assets, complex business and trust structures and significant changes in financial circumstances, such as lottery wins.

Michael is a member of the England and Ireland LGBT Family Law Institute, where membership is by invitation only and requires significant experience in the field of LGBT law reform.  He has advised on numerous non-marital or same-sex agreements, separations and divorces.

Michael is experienced in wealth protection through nuptial agreements and cohabitation or “living-together” agreements.

Michael also advises on fertility law and surrogacy in regard to arrangements with fertility clinics and surrogate mothers both within the UK and overseas, including acquiring parentage of a child born through surrogacy both in the UK as well as internationally.

Recent examples of how Michael has helped clients include:

  • successfully ensuring divorce proceedings took place in the optimal jurisdiction, to ensure that matrimonial assets were divided in accordance with a pre-nuptial agreement;
  • shielding the capital and income of a wealthy entrepreneur from a significant financial claim from his ex-girlfriend in a very acrimonious dispute; and
  • successfully reopening in England a financial settlement that had been concluded overseas, ensuring a fair overall financial settlement as part of the divorce.
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Andrew Hall

Senior Associate
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Andrew Hall

Senior Associate

Andrew is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

Andrew has extensive experience of negotiating financial settlements after divorce for wealthy families, including entrepreneurs, professional sports personalities, celebrities or their spouses.  This includes dealing with complexities of multi-million pound business assets, investments, property and pensions after divorce, separation or the dissolution of a civil partnership.

Andrew also helps clients to agree positive arrangements for parenting following breakup, particularly for international families where there may be a wish for children to leave the UK.

Where couples wish to maintain an amicable relationship, Andrew offers the alternative of a collaborative approach to achieving an agreement over arrangements regarding finances and children.

Recent examples of how Andrew has helped clients include:

• winning an appeal at the High Court that improved one spouse's share from 5% to 40% of property acquired before the marriage: SvS [2006].

• showing that a husband had attempted to mislead the court with fraudulent information about the effect of head injuries caused by a motorbike accident, and improving the financial settlement obtained by the wife; and

• gaining the rarely granted permission of the court to allow a child to leave the UK in order to live in the care of an aunt and uncle in St Vincent in the Caribbean.

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Michelle Jarvis

Senior Associate
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Michelle Jarvis

Senior Associate

Michelle is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

Michelle advises on all legal issues arising from the breakdown of relationships, whether married, in a civil partnership or living together.  This includes divorce, financial remedy, financial provision for children and cohabitation disputes, particularly where clients have business and property assets or investments.  Michelle advises third parties, when their assets become caught up in a divorce settlement.  She also advises parents and other family members such as grandparents on child arrangements (previously known as residence and contact) as well as advising in relocation cases.  For individuals with wealth to protect, who are moving in with their partner or planning to get married, she also prepares prenuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

Michelle's clients include professionals, business owners, directors, shareholders and their spouses.

Recent examples of how Michelle has helped clients include:

• successfully representing a father, in a High Court case, ensuring that his child could stay in the UK and reside with him, rather than relocating permanently to Nigeria with the mother;
• securing a capitalised maintenance order in a divorce settlement acting for a property investor with a developing business who wished to ensure that there were no  claims on his future wealth;
• concluding a prenuptial agreement for a same-sex couple prior to their marriage; and
• protecting assets which parents had transferred into their adult son's name to hold on trust, but upon divorce his spouse tried to claim the assets were matrimonial and therefore she was entitled to a share in the value.

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Jo Leon

Senior Associate
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Jo Leon

Senior Associate

Jo is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

Jo advises on arrangements after relationship breakdown regarding children, finances and property.  This includes negotiating, and seeking court approval for, decisions about where children should live and how much time they spend with each parent, as well as resolving disputes over issues such as change of name or education.  In regard to the agreement of financial settlements, Jo is a tenacious investigator leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all financial, business and property assets have been considered and protected, and that fair settlement is agreed.  Where there is a pension to be shared, she will bring in an appropriate expert.  Jo also prepares pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements for couples with wealth from outside the marriage which they wish to protect.

Jo acts for couples and families, whether married, in a civil partnership or living together, and often acts for families where one person lives or wishes to relocate overseas.

Recent examples of how Jo has helped clients include:

• negotiating a substantial settlement for the unmarried partner of a well-known footballer, with whom she had a child and later separated;
• securing a court award of all financial assets by investigating and proving that bank statements provided by the spouse during the divorce were fraudulent;
• negotiating an amicable agreement on arrangements for children, without going to court, when one parent wished to relocate to South Africa; and
• preventing the removal of a child to Australia on behalf of one parent who was ill and would be unable to visit.

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Jane Livingstone

Senior Associate
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Jane Livingstone

Senior Associate

Jane is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

She has particular expertise in guiding couples through the divorce process, and in dealing with financial settlements on relationship breakdown for married and unmarried couples.  Jane regularly negotiates settlements involving substantial or complex assets such as business interests, pensions, property, investment portfolios, trusts and farming assets.

Jane draws up pre-nuptial, post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements for the protection of wealth, often concerning assets owned prior to marriage, business interests, personal injury settlements and inherited assets.

Ensuring that children's interests are prioritised, Jane also helps families to reach agreement regarding arrangements for children on separation, advising both parents and grandparents, including where there is an international dimension.

Recent examples of how Jane has helped clients include:

• tracking financial contributions over two decades to successfully defend a claim to an interest in properties relating to a cohabiting couple in a multi-million pound dispute;

• resolving issues of contact with children abroad, which has involved liaising with lawyers in Cyprus.  Also settling disputes over family property in Bulgaria, France and Spain; and

• successfully protecting family wealth during a number of divorces, where assets included large car dealerships, through business valuations and divestment of family shares.

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Julie McCrery

Senior Associate
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Julie McCrery

Senior Associate

Julie is a Senior Associate in the Family team.

She advises people on matrimonial agreements and family disputes arising from separation or divorce, or disagreements over financial arrangements and time with children.

Julie acts for clients who want a cohabitation agreement or a prenuptial agreement to protect their inherited or business wealth when setting up home together, getting married or entering a civil partnership.

When relationships break down, Julie helps people to find the best solution whether this is an interim arrangement, formal separation, divorce of dissolution of a civil partnership.  She often acts for high-net-worth clients and is experienced in negotiating financial settlements involving pension sharing or offsetting, capitalising maintenance payments into a lump sum to achieve a clean break, and dealing with complex trust arrangements.

Julie advises parents and grandparents in regard to children, such as living arrangements, time together and delicate issues such as abuse or parental alienation.

Recent examples of how Julie has helped clients include:

  • protecting a significant family trust, by showing that over £30 million in assets were not matrimonial and therefore outside the scope of the divorce settlement, and ensuring that 50 per cent of the settlement would be repaid to the trust on the death of the former spouse;
  • securing a clean break divorce for a client who relied on income from a family trust, by negotiating a capital sum when the spouse had been seeking income for life;
  • helping grandparents to provide a secure home for their grandchildren via a ‘live with’ order in a difficult family dspute; and
  • defending the father and protecting his time with his children, in the face of persistent parental alienation, including false accusations of abusive behaviour.