It’s the problem-solving aspect of family law that drew Duggins — who peers say has ‘gravitas beyond his years’ — to the profession.
Besides his experience in complex financial claims in divorce and cohabitation disputes, he has built a niche around same-sex cases. He represented a JP Morgan man in the first ever civil partnership dissolution case of Lawrence v Gallagher, where the court was ‘scrupulous’ in ensuring that the couple was treated the same way as heterosexual couples.
Another landmark case was Luckwell v Limata, where he acted for Mr Limata against the harsh terms of three pre-nups. Duggins doubts a wife in Mr Limata’s shoes would have received similar treatment: ‘If you are a man, even if you are in a weaker financial position, there is an assumption that you’ve got a much better chance at being able to fully support yourself, and that you should be doing so.’
Duggins has a calming effect on clients: ‘I often say to clients at the first meeting, “We will go for a drink when the case is finished, and you will have financial security and be at the start of a new life, and this will all be a nightmare that’s in the past.” It is satisfying to then enjoy the drink with them when the case is finished and to see the transition.’