Emma Hatley - Spear's Magazine

Emma Hatley


Emma Hatley
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‘Family law had been dominated by a handful of grandes dames in recent decades but new blood is coming through and establishing a reputation in handling high-end divorces,’ says the charming and impressive Emma Hatley, a partner at Stewarts.

No one has mounted more of an attack on the established guard than Hatley, who was crowned Family Lawyer of the Year at the 2017 Spear’s Wealth Management Awards. It’s a verdict based on sheer quality: Hatley is known for discretion on behalf of her clients.

Hatley describes herself as a ‘black letter lawyer’ who enjoys the strategy of litigation but is also pragmatic in finding solutions. Despite the obvious confusion Brexit will bring, Hatley anticipates: ‘Domestic legislation will try to replicate the existing European regulations so that we don’t go back to the old days of the forum race.

‘My bigger worry is what happens to London as an international financial hub,’ adds Hatley, who describes the introduction of any new legislation as a ‘nightmare’. ‘That’s why, unfortunately, we don’t have “no-fault” divorce yet. Family lawyers have been saying we should have it for the past 20 years, but there’s been no appetite to prioritise it for any government.’

Hatley points to the fact that the fundamental family law legislation has been the same since 1973. ‘It’s been left to judges to develop family law to reflect social change,’ she explains.