Leisha provides specialist advice and representation when relationships break down. She acts in applications for both married and unmarried clients concerning money, property and children. Leisha has a reputation as “a fighter” where settlement is not in her client’s interest but she will advise realistically and negotiate where possible. She is particularly renowned for her thorough preparation and detailed knowledge of her case papers at all hearings and her penetrative cross examination. Her style is direct. Her results are impressive. However, she is able to easily relate to the lay client outside court and put them at ease, be they a multi-millionaire business owner, a stay at home parent, or an unwitting intervenor. She deals with family finance upon separation and her cases include financial provision on divorce, Trusts of Land Act applications and Schedule One applications for children. She regularly appears in s8 Children Act proceedings (residence, contact, specific issue) which are often complex and involve several parties and experts.
Family Finance Team
Leisha is a matrimonial finance specialist.
Chambers & Partners 2014 says Leisha is “noted for her expertise in financial remedy applications, with sources recognising her commitment, practical advice and strong advocacy skills. She often undertakes cases involving businesses, property portfolios, farms, trusts and large pensions.”
Evidence from Actuaries and Accountants is often needed in such cases and Leisha has the necessary experience to guide and advise her clients and instructing solicitors as to what expert evidence is needed, as well the forensic skills to cross examine the other side’s experts.
She has successfully argued “conduct” on many occasions. Leisha often persuades judges to do things they have been clear at the start of the hearing that they are not going to do.
She often acts in cases where issues of non matrimonial property are involved and has successfully argued for and against the sharing of such assets.
She does however also act in more modest asset cases where although the assets can be limited, the stakes can be very high for the client : the outcome can be maintaining or losing a roof over his/her head.
Leisha is also instructed in civil partnership dissolutions.
Leisha is a regular and popular speaker on all topics regarding financial provision on divorce/dissolution and has given many seminars to barristers, solicitors, accountants and other professionals.
- T v T -Week long final hearing involving elderly couple who were both “vulnerable”. Wife was in a residential home and sought a lump sum from the sale proceeds of the former matrimonial home. All the DJs who had the matter before them, including at final hearing, gave very strong indications there would be a sale of the FMH to free up Wife’s share of the assets. Leisha successfully argued it was fair to deprive the Wife of any of the assets while the Husband was alive and he should remain in the FMH.
- G v G -4 day final hearing. The case centred on what should happen to a hotel abroad which was owned by the Husband and the Wife and a 3rd party. There were concurrent civil proceedings abroad in respect of the business. Leisha successfully argued the case should go ahead in the english court without delay and that Wife was guilty of financial misconduct. Order : (1) All Wife’s shares in the hotel partnership be transferred to Husband with his solicitors signing all necessary documentation (2) Husband to retain all his interest in his UK businesses (3) No capital to Wife (4) No maintenance for Wife or her son (a child of the family)
Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act and cohabitation disputes:
Leisha regularly deals with property disputes between cohabiting couples and family members.
She drafts pleadings efficiently and quickly and has a good “technical know-how” in relation to the Civil Procedure Rules. She is often solicitors’ first port of call for advice when dealing with this area of law that involves families but follows very different rules to what many family lawyers are used to dealing with.
These cases are sometimes dealt with as a preliminary issue in financial provision on divorce cases and at other times are stand alone disputes. They often involve several intervenors.
She has lectured widely on this expanding area of law to barristers and solicitors.
- G v G and G – Leisha acted for a son intervening in his parents’ divorce claiming land and property was beneficially his. She successfully destroyed the factual basis of Father’s pleaded case in cross examination, with the result his Counsel conceded “on the facts” before closing his case, with the only live issue being a legal one concerning illegality of purpose, which Leisha was also successful in defending. Costs order made against Father for all of son’s costs on an indemnity basis.
Leisha also frequently deals with Schedule One Children Act proceedings and has successfully represented clients of high net worth in such proceedings.
- S v V – Schedule 1 application by Mother for a lump sum of £188,000, settlement of property and child maintenance. Leisha acted for the Father and successfully argued many aspects of Mother’s case were bad in law and others unjustifiable on the facts. Father was ordered to pay lump sum of £30,000 which was less than his open offer.
- R v H – Mother sought a 50% interest in several properties (residential and business) registered in the name of her ex partner under TLATA and an order under Schedule 1 of the Children Act for a lump sum, maintenance and settlement of property for the benefit of their children. Leisha acted for the Father who was ordered to pay Mother a lump sum of £3,000 only.
Private Law Children and Domestic Abuse
Leisha is regularly instructed in private Children Act proceedings, often in complex applications involving multi-disciplinary experts and guardians. Her cases sometimes involve severely disabled children where their best interests are the subject of much debate and disagreement between various professionals.
She has vast experience in cases of:
- Shared residence
- Contact (including high conflict and implacable hostility cases)
- Leave to remove from the jurisdiction
- Internal relocations
- Change of name
- Specific issues (such as determining schooling or disputed medical treatment)
- Fact-finding (Leisha has successfully repesented many clients both making and defending serious allegations including of a violent and sexual nature, including rape of both adults and children).
Leisha’s experience in the field of child law enables her to deal with the two separate, yet interlinked areas, of money and children.
- M v M and M – Case involving a young child who refused to see her Father for no obvious reason. Father instructed Queen’s Counsel. Many experts were involved. Leisha acted for the Mother. Final order : no direct contact and Father was prohibited from applying for an order for number of years without the leave of the court (s91(14) bar)
- M v F and G – Case where the children lived with Mother who was opposed to contact with Father after he removed the children from her care. The Court initially ordered the return of the children to Mother. Mother made many allegations against Father which he refuted. He had criminal convictions. The initial Cafcass officer was very supportive of Mother’s position and recommended only very limited contact with Father. There were many hearings. Leisha was for Father and successfully argued for a new Cafcass officer. Thereafter the first Guardian resigned from the case. There was a week long final hearing. Order : children to reside with Father.
- A v A -Case where Father was having no contact with the children after Mother made serious allegations against him (including rape of her, rape of a child, sexual activity with children and violence). Leisha represented Father. The finding of fact hearing took several days over many months. Order : Finding that Mother had made the allegations up. Psychological assessment of Mother. Contact with Father.
- S v H and H – Social worker and Guardian supported Mother’s application for residence with limited contact to Father. Leisha acted for Father. After day 1 of the hearing (when Leisha cross examined the social worker all day) the Guardian indicated she was reconsidering her position. After cross examination of the Mother by Leisha, the Guardian sought an adjournment to write another report and change her recommendation. Findings made against Mother. Order for shared residence (primary care with Father) with automatic change to sole residence in Father’s favour in event of any breaches by Mother. Mother did breach the order and the children moved to live with Father.