Fiona Shackleton - Spear's Magazine

Fiona Shackleton

Payne Hicks Beach

Fiona Shackleton
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Top Flight Family Lawyer

Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia is Britain’s most feared and revered divorce lawyer. It’s not just Spear’s saying this, but her peers in the profession too.

We asked members of the 2020 edition of our Family Law Index to say who they would instruct in their own – hypothetical – divorce. In reply, her name was uttered more than any other. One observer remarks that she is ‘probably the greatest family lawyer of all time’. Shackleton almost never speaks to the press, but her cases – and outfits – are pored over by the newspapers.

Clients have included Prince Charles, Paul McCartney, Stephen Hawking, Liam Gallagher and most recently Princess Haya bint Hussein of Jordan. Earlier this year, Shackleton won a preliminary judgment for the princess at the High Court against her estranged husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

The fact-finding judgment was described as ‘damning’ by the Guardian, which also noted that it risked ‘destabilising diplomatic relations with the UAE’. It’s a case that casts several of Shackleton’s traits in sharp relief, not least her courage. ‘The fact that her firm did that against the ruler – that’s made her persona non grata in that country for ever. So it’s a very brave thing to do,’ says human rights lawyer David Haigh.