Ben Parry-Smith - Spear's Magazine

Ben Parry-Smith

Payne Hicks Beach

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‘A newly wealthy client once said to me after her divorce, “Thank you, I now have freedom and responsibility.” These two apparently contradictory things are what I think most people – whatever their situation – aspire to,’ says Ben Parry-Smith.

Parry-Smith certainly has spotless credentials. Having been educated at Eton, he read law at Merton College, Oxford, trained at Mishcon de Reya and, upon qualification in 2008, joined Payne Hicks Beach.

A standout moment in his career was undoubtedly the recent Work v Gray case, which threw up questions regarding special contribution and how to value different contributions to the marital partnership.

‘The focus after Work v Gray is on disparity of contributions – is there sufficient disparity such that a court ignoring it would lead to unfairness?’ he asks rhetorically.

Parry-Smith believes the ‘alleged tension’ between transparent justice and protecting privacy is overblown. ‘It is often possible for the courts to report interesting legal developments while protecting the privacy of clients,’ he says. As for arbitration, ‘It provides people who can afford it a swift and confidential way to resolve their dispute. However, if a case raises novel legal arguments, it is likely that the spouse advancing such arguments will want to put them before a judge.’