Clerking team

Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty

Senior Clerk - Family and Court of Protection

Mark Williams

Senior Clerk

Ryan Barker

Assistant Senior Clerk (Matrimonial Finance)

Emma Manning

Matrimonial Finance Clerk

“… very strong on financial remedy work. A technically excellent junior and a strong advocate.”

Legal 500, 2024 (Divorce and Financial Remedy)

David specialises in complex matrimonial finance matters.

With over 33 years’ experience as a barrister, David is skilled in high-value family finance disputes on divorce, pre-nuptial agreements and trusts, the interface between business and family life, farms and farming partnerships. His cases often concern complex £multi-million assets. David’s background in commercial and construction litigation allows him to use his knowledge and understanding of the application of Chancery principles in the Family Court.

David has an excellent eye for detail, clarity of thought and a realistic approach to problem solving for his clients, making him ideally suited for unusual and difficult cases.

David is a robust and highly-respected advocate and negotiator and is an accredited Mediator. David accepts instructions on a direct access basis.

He is fluent in French and Italian.

Family finance

David represents private funded parties in cases involving companies and businesses, assets held trusts within the UK and in overseas trusts, assets held abroad (including in offshore trusts), large pensions, third parties claiming beneficial interests in matrimonial assets, setting aside of sham bankruptcies designed to defeat the other spouse’s claim and applications to set-aside orders by reason of non-disclosure/concealment of assets. He has particular experience of cases where a large part of the asset base has arisen from significant unequal contributions and ‘non-matrimonial’ property.

David has extensive experience of high-value ancillary and financial relief cases, especially those involving companies, partnerships, ‘hidden wealth’ and insolvency. David has extensive knowledge in commercial-related matters and works thoroughly through accounts, company records, corporate structures, valuations of assets, asset-tracing; he will draft shareholders agreements, partnership deeds and other agreements/vehicles to preserve and divide assets and income streams.

His practice in financial work extends to complex cohabitation disputes between unmarried couples under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (‘TOLATA’), financial provision for children pursuant to Schedule 1 of the Children Act, as well as applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.

David’s background in the Business & Property Courts, particularly in Commercial, Property and Chancery Litigation matters, complement and inform his matrimonial finance practice. For example, his experience in issues of DPA, Privacy Law and Libel; Partnerships, JVAs and other business structures; and Commercial matters such as shareholder agreements, directors’ liabilities, asset tracing and competition law have proved transferable to and highly relevant in the divorce courts.

David advises in writing and conference on all aspects of family property and finances, including on the terms of marital agreements, whether pre-nuptial (ante-nuptial), post-nuptial or separation agreements. He is approachable, understanding and gives clear advice on the law, evidence and the prospects of success.

Cases

  • Surgeon with international reputation based principally in Florida; Schedule 1 application for UK resident children after long co-habitation; offshore tax-haven investments; settlements into new offshore trusts for benefit of children; school-fees orders; purchase of property in UK on terms for future sale with ring-fenced funding provision.
  • Independent Financial Adviser and property developer; diversified financial instrument investment portfolio with mixed off-set securities; complex valuations of realisable assets; post-relationship/after-acquired investments to be separated from matrimonial estate; preserved balanced investments post-hearing.
  • Property Developer and entrepreneur; very substantial portfolio of let and investment property principally in retirement home sector (over 140 properties) with complex lending/financing arrangements and valuations; very high quality of life; preservation of family home/provision of alternative housing here and abroad for spouse.
  • SME owners and Directors; long established family business in which both worked; preserve business going forward; drafting appropriate shareholder and share-purchase agreements; settling properties on children during negotiations but maintaining income streams; tax consequences of current arrangements had potential for a significant impact on prospects going forward.
  • International Airline Captain; foreign residence for tax purposes; long relationship; high quality of life; very substantial pension investments for valuation with early retirement possibilities and impact of continued working; substantial post-separation investments into funds to segregate; anticipated significant inheritance to value and apportion.
  • Parties Spanish and Norwegian residents following separation; property in Spain; impact of changes in Spanish mortgage interest rate laws; substantial non-disclosure; impact of residential status on taxability of sources of income; foreign tax experts instructed; substantial undisclosed pensions discovered; concealed income and accounts; conduct.
  • Successful application to set aside a (final) Consent Order under Sharland/Roocroft principles on the grounds that there had been concealment/material non-disclosure of assets before the Consent Order was made nine months earlier; after the original order was made his Client discovered some evidence that a bank account had a substantial undisclosed balance at the time of the order which had not been disclosed.

Private FDR

David is a trained Mediator and expert Matrimonial Finance barrister. He uses these skills in his role as judge/assessor in private FDR hearings, at which parties can receive a quick and confidential determination without the stress, delay and cost of determining financial remedies on divorce through the court process.

ADR

David qualified as a Mediator with the ADRg in July 2011 having completed their specialist course in May of that year.

He brings awareness, clarity of thought, empathy, realism and robust common-sense to resolving disputes in mediations. He is comfortable dealing with (sometimes complex) corporate structures, SPAs and varied business vehicles (partnerships, JVAs and investment arrangements), commercial agreements and accounts/accounting records. David is also comfortable dealing with disputes which include evidence from Expert Witnesses/Expert Witness Reports.

The mediations David has been involved with have been wide-ranging and largely been disputes with substantial commercial aspects; most reached settlement on the day.

David uses his skills in mediation and in financial dispute resolution to sit as judge/assessor in private FDR hearings.

Professional qualifications

LLB (Hons), LLM (Commercial Law), Bristol University

Accredited as a Mediator by the ADR Group