James Stewart (lawyer)

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James Stewart
J Stewart.png
James Stewart
Born James Henry Wilson Stewart
(1966-05-02) 2 May 1966 (age 49)
Liskey, Strabane, Northern Ireland
Residence Covent Garden, London and Strabane, Co Tyrone
Nationality British and Irish
Education Coleraine Academical Institution
University of Essex
Occupation Solicitor, International Family Lawyer
Employer Penningtons Manches LLP
Known for Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques
Religion Presbyterian
Parent(s) John Desmond Moody Stewart, Elizabeth Frances Wilson
Penningtons Manches

James Stewart is a London based family lawyer, specialising in divorce and family law cases, many of which have an international element. He is notable for having acted in high profile international divorce and family law matters.

Early life[edit]

The son of a County Tyrone farmer,[1][2] Stewart was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution in County Londonderry, and the University of Essex.[3] After spending some time as a volunteer at Kibbutz Beit HaShita,[4] he attended the College of Law, Chester.[5]

Legal career[edit]

Stewart qualified as a solicitor in 1990, was accredited by Resolution as a specialist family lawyer in 1999.[6] A year later he was appointed partner and head of the family department at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. In 2003 he was profiled in the "On the Verge" series of the Observer magazine .[7] He became a partner at Manches, now Penningtons Manches LLP, in 2006, shortly after being elected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML).[8]

He is top ranked in the Legal 500,[9] Spears WMS Legal Index[10] and in Chambers UK 2011.[11] In October 2010 he was the only matrimonial lawyer to be shortlisted for the "Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice 2010" category of the Law Society Excellence Awards[12]

"James has worked to improve the reputation of the profession at a time when family lawyers have been subject to much criticism. His use of social media is inspiring and his energetic support of alternative dispute resolution has confirmed his position as one of the most admired family lawyers in this jurisdiction". Excellence Awards 2010 citation.

In 2003 Stewart was in the first group of lawyers in England to train in Collaborative Family Law,[13] a non-confrontational approach towards alternative dispute resolution in family law.[14] In 2007 he co-founded the group, Collaborative Family Law,[15] ( formerly the Central London Collaborative Forum), which aims to bring this form of dispute resolution to "big money" and celebrity divorces.[16] In October 2009 he hosted over 200 of the UK's leading family lawyers at Shoreditch House to hear a keynote address by the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore. This was the first occasion in which a member of the Supreme Court publicly endorsed Collaborative Law.[17][18]

In January 2009 Stewart was appointed Governor of the IAML[19] and invited to become a member of the Times Law Panel, an advisory body of 100 of the country's most prominent barristers and solicitors.[20][21] Citywealth has included Stewart in its list of Leading Lawyers for 2013/14 (Family & Matrimonial – Honours List)[22]

In January 2011 Stewart was named in the Lawyer Magazines ‘Hot 100’ listing. Published annually, the Hot 100 highlights "100 lawyers who were at the top of their game during the last year and who are set to shape the legal landscape in the 12 months ahead".[23]

Stewart's inclusion in the 2011 listing was based on a number of factors, the publication cited his passion for family law and tireless work in promoting the use of collaborative law in the UK. He is praised by clients for his “dedicated and unswerving approach”, and he is recognised in the listing as “steadily building a reputation as one of the country’s family lawyer elite”.[24]

Stewart is a recognised expert in cases involving claims for financial support for children of unmarried parents – the Children Act 1989, schedule 1 ( a provision most often used where the parent with whom the child does not live is relatively wealthy). He acted for the successful mother in the case of Re: C (A Child: Financial Provision) [2006], where his client achieved a capital fund of £2million, the highest award of its kind in England.[25] He acted for the mother in the reported case of El Gamal v Al Maktoum [2011] EWHC B27 (Fam) concerning the recognition of an Islamic Marriage.

He has acted on a number celebrity and high-profile divorces, his clients have included Pricilla Waters (in her divorce against Roger Waters) and Julie Le Brocquy, producer of BAFTA award winning Osama. Stewart also successfully represented Glory Annen Clibbery in the landmark family/Human Rights Act 1998 case of Clibbery v Allan (2002), where he won at first instance[26] and on appeal.[27] He also acted for the successful claimant, Kerry Cox, in the widely publicised cohabitation case of Cox v Jones in 2004.[28] His firm, Penningtons Manches, represented Guy Ritchie in his divorce with his wife Madonna.[29]

Stewart was nominated and short-listed for International Family Lawyer of the Year at the 2012 Family Law Awards.[30] On 14 February 2013 Stewart was named "Lawyer of the Week" in the Times following the widely publicised judgment in AI v MT 2013 EWHC 100 (Fam) [31] where a Jewish couple’s arbitrated award under rabbinical law was approved.[32]

Stewart writes extensively on International family law[33] and is a recognised authority on domestic and international pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements[34][35] and on complex financial cases,[36] his articles on Anglo-Russian divorce have appeared in The Times,[37] The Lawyer[38] and the Russian Investment Review[39][40][41] He is General Editor and co-author of "Family Law Jurisdictional Comparisons"[42] (Sweet & Maxwell 2011, 2nd Ed. 2013), he has also co-authored the Russia and Ukraine chapters of "International Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements"[43] (Family Law 2011)

Personal life[edit]

Stewart lives in Covent Garden, London.[44] He is a supporter of the peace building charity, Co-operation Ireland.[45] and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of this and other charities[46] He accepted an invitation to join the Co-operation Ireland (GB) Executive Board in February 2013.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ the Lawyer
  2. ^ the Times
  3. ^ Chambers
  4. ^ Beit HaShita
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Resolution Website". Resolution.org.uk. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Observer". The Guardian (UK). 20 April 2003. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Inside Divorce". Inside Divorce. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Legal 500". Legal 500. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Spears WMS
  11. ^ "Chambers UK 2011". Chambersandpartners.com. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "TheLaw Society Excellence Awards 2010 Shortlist". Services.lawsociety.org.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  13. ^ James Stewart. "Bringing Harmony to Divorce". The Times. UK. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Legal Experts
  15. ^ "CFL". Collaborative Family Law. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Launch of the Central London Collaborative Forum". The Lawyer. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Collaborative Law". Spears WMS. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Times – Senior judge says 'collaborative' approach can be extended". The Times. UK. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers-Officials". Iaml.org. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "The Times Law Panel". The Times. UK. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "The Law Panel and the Supreme Court". The Times. UK. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  22. ^ "Citywealth Leading Lawyers Family & Matrimonial Honours List". Citywealthmag.com. 
  23. ^ James Stewart Penningtons Manches About.Me
  24. ^ "Hot 100 2011". Centaur2.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  25. ^ "Re C". Manches.com. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  26. ^ Rozenberg, Joshua (31 January 2002). "Judges' ruling allows Ivan Allan's mistress to publish court secrets". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  27. ^ "Millionaire fails to silence ex-mistress". BBC News. 30 January 2002. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  28. ^ Independent- Janet Street-Porter on Cox v Jones[dead link]
  29. ^ "The Times – Madonna Divorce". Entertainment.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  30. ^ Family Law Awards - International Family lawyer
  31. ^ AI v MT
  32. ^ the Times - Lawyer of the Week James Stewart Penningtons Manches
  33. ^ "Legal 500". Legal 500. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  34. ^ "Financial Times – Business partners ask for pre-nups 5th Nov 2010". Financial Times. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  35. ^ "For Poorer". The Economist. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  36. ^ Andrew Pierce (29 May 2010). "Duchess of York". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  37. ^ "Times Online Why the really rich prefer to divorce in Russia". The Times. UK. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  38. ^ "There may be rubles ahead". The Lawyer. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  39. ^ "Russian Investment Review". Russiainvestors.com. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  40. ^ Poulter, Sean (1 November 2007). "Recognition of foreign marriage, ''Daily Mail''". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  41. ^ "Trading places, ''The Times''". The Times. UK. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  42. ^ Family Law Jurisdictional Comparisons 2 Ed.
  43. ^ International Pre-Nuptial Agreements
  44. ^ "The Lawyer Work/Life". Thelawyer.com. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  45. ^ "Co-operation Ireland". Co-operation Ireland. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  46. ^ "Kilimanjaro Challenge". Uk.virginmoneygiving.com. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 

External links[edit]