This area of my website sets out an overview of my career, my qualifications, professional achievements, professional organisations, judicial judgments, career history and my books.  A career interview can also be found here

David's Overview

• English solicitor (1978 and accredited 1996),
• Mediator (1997 and accredited 1999),
• Family arbitrator and Member Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MICArb) (2001),
• Deputy (part-time) District Judge sitting at the Principal Registry of the Family Division (now Central Family Court), London and also now on Western circuit (1995)
• Australian (NSW) solicitor (2003)
• Visiting Professor, University of Law (2015)
• Honorary Professor, Leicester University (2017)
• Joint founder (2007), previously partner and now Special Counsel at iFLG.
• Lay (occasional) Preacher, Church of England (2016)

Professional Achievements

I was appointed OBE in Queens Birthday Honours List, June 2014, for services “to international family law“.

I was appointed in 2022 a KC(Hons) for work in improving English law and practice.

I believe I am one of the world’s leading family lawyers and I am regarded as one of the most innovative family lawyers of my generation including:
• Originator and a creator of family arbitration in England and Wales, now emulated in other countries
• Instrumental in the 1990s in the creation of the English Family Law Accreditation Scheme
• Co-founder in 1995 of the world’s first multi-disciplinary metropolitan family law practice, combining lawyers, mediators and counsellors, and now much copied around the world
• Co-founder in 2007 of the world’s first law firm dedicated to international families and their children, with many law firms worldwide subsequently setting up specialist international units
• Author of the leading textbook on international family law, now in 6th edition (2021), and other books
• Co-creator in 2017 of the world’s first arbitration scheme for international family law disputes


I am an English qualified and accredited solicitor. For most of my career, I have specialised in financial aspects of relationship breakdown in complex cases involving medium and substantial assets. Almost all cases now have an international element. My clients are from England and abroad, both men and women and from all walks of life although some concentrations in the IT and media/entertainment industries, the professions and entrepreneurs.
• Law Society Pt II Exams, Distinction in Accounts, 1976 and 1977
• Admitted as Solicitor of Supreme Court of England and Wales, June 1978.
• Deputy District Judge, Principal Registry of the Family Division, now Central Family Court, London, June 1995
• English Family mediator, June 1999.
• Accredited Family Law Specialist, Oct 1999; specialist portfolios in Substantial Asset cases and International cases
• Family arbitrator, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Oct 2001
• Solicitor of Supreme Court of New South Wales, Solicitor and Barrister of the High Court of Australia, October 2003
• Licensed Church of England occasional preacher 2016
• Family Law Commentator of the Year award 2011 for “outstanding contribution to commentary on family law matters”, as voted by family lawyers and inaugural award

Committees And Appointments (Past Or Present)

• Law Society Family Law Committee, Member
• Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA/resolution) Good Practice Committee, Chair and founder member
• Resolution Training Committee, Chair and founder member
• Resolution Ancillary Relief Reform Committee, Chair
• Resolution National Committee, Member (8 years)
• Resolution International Committee, Founder Member
• President’s (Family Justice Council) International Committee, Founder Member
• Family Law Review Group of Centre for Social Justice, Chair
• Law Society’s Financial Provision Reform Committee and Protocol Committee, Member
• Resolution Directive ADR Working Party, Chair
• UK College of Family Mediators, Elected Governor and Vice Chair
• International Academy of Family Lawyers, Fellow
• Centre for Social Justice, Fellow
• European Justice Observatory, Vice Chair
• Marriage Resource, Trustee
• Lawyers Christian Fellowship, Member and Convenor of Family Law Section
• English Law Society, Member
• Law Council of Australia (Family Law Section), Member
• NSW Law Society, Member
• LawAsia, Member
• Asian Institute of ADR Professionals, Fellow
• Law Commission Advisory Board, (Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements project), Member
• Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators, member
• Financial Services Authority Advisory Board, (provision of information for separating and divorcing couples), Member

Judicial Judgments

I have been a part-time, deputy, family court judge since 1995, initially in the Principal Registry of the Family Division, part of the High Court, then in the Central Family Court, London, dealing with complex financial cases and since 2021 sitting also in parallel on the Western circuit.  I have given many judgments and a few have been published.

Career History

  • 1976 – 1980 – Hepherd Winstanley & Pugh, Southampton
  • 1980 – 1981 – Anthony Collins & Co., Birmingham
  • 1981 – 1984 – Cooke Matheson & Co., London WC2
  • 1985 – 1991 – Theodore Goddard, London EC1
  • 1991 – 1995 – Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, London EC4
  • 1995 – 2003 – The Family Law Consortium, London WC2
  • 2003 – 2005 – Meyer Pigdon, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 2005 – 2007 – Panorama Legal Services, Surrey, England
  • 2007 – – The International Family Law Group LLP, London WC2

I am a co-founder with Ann Thomas , previously co-owner and partner now special counsel, at The International Family Law Group LLP, a law firm in London created by us in April 2007. More details at We were both working on international cases at separate firms. We had a vision of a law practice set up specifically for international families and their children, their distinctive needs, specialising in distinctive law and practice and working with family lawyers around the globe. Although the firm only started in 2007, the Legal 500 immediately called it “the firm to watch”.

In subsequent years it has been described as the leading international family law practice. It is described in Legal 500 2019 as: ‘the go to firm for cases with an international element’. We started with five people and now 16 years on, we have over 20, including some of the world’s top experts on international family law.

At a personal level, I have been incredibly fortunate in my career opportunities but in retrospect I did move firms quite often! It’s been wonderful in the later part of my career to spend these 16 years with Ann, my wife, and tremendous colleagues and some really interesting cases as well as the opportunity to travel to meet lawyers around the world. I have been so blessed. I have throughout tried to share what I have learnt and experiences gained with other lawyers in various ways

My Books

I enjoy writing.  At a fairly early stage in my career I realised words seem to come quite freely and, some might say, extensively.  I have written a number of books on family law matters and, less successfully but still more to come, fiction writing.  I’ve also written extensive articles, literally many hundreds.  Some of these are set out in the Articles area

The International Family Law Practice

My main book of which I am primary author and editor and very proud is “The International Family Law Practice” published by LEXIS-NEXIS and probably the leading English textbook on the international aspects of family law work. The 6th edition was published August 2021 to include the laws which apply post Brexit!  It comes at the daunting price of £350.  There are about a dozen specialist contributors and it’s a real privilege to edit as well as write half a dozen chapters myself. 

When Cupids Arrow crosses National Boundaries: A Guide for international families

With Ann Thomas, I am author of “When Cupids Arrow crosses National Boundaries: A Guide for international families”, a simple Q&A guide for nonlawyers distilling the complexities of international family law issues into an easily manageable format. 

Family Law leaves the EU: A summary Guide to Practitioners

This book, published by LEXIS-NEXIS, was written quickly in advance of leaving the EU to explain to family lawyers the many legal issues arising on the UK no longer being part of the EU.  

Divorce Reform: A Guide for Lawyers and Mediators

I co-wrote this textbook “Divorce Reform: A Guide for Lawyers and Mediators” (Thompson Reuters) about the 1996 divorce legislation, now well out of print.


The Business of Family Law

This was written by me in the late 1980s and was the first ever book on practice management of family law work and for a number of years helped many lawyers run their practices.


Butterworth’s Family Law in Europe

I was the consulting editor of this book, in the early 1990s, which explained the family law of many countries around Europe.  It became the forerunner of similar books now in publication.



In the meantime, I’ve written another book on, predictably enough, a lawyer.  This time it is based in the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, in the early part of the 19th century.  He has a sideline in smuggling but is recruited by the government as a spy during the Napoleonic wars.    I was inspired by a   similar and true story as I was doing my research about the convicts in New South Wales.  Again, publishers are invited!

The Innocent Martyr

I enjoy reading a good story. So when an opportunity arose when working in Australia, I wrote my first fiction book called “The Innocent Martyr”.  It is a dramatised fiction based on the story of one of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. I was able to carry out original research whilst in Sydney and set a number of the events and scenes in areas I knew.  In so doing, I uncovered original source material which showed some of the conventional history books of what happened to them in Australia are incorrect. I am told by those who have read it that it is a good read and a good story. It is presently awaiting interest from publishers, who clearly don’t yet realise its potential!   Any interested publisher is invited to make contact!