"He's completely amazing on the detail of a case, and his knowledge of the law is second to none."Chambers and Partners 2019
Gavin Smith has over 25 years’ experience as a specialist family law barrister, dealing with all types of financial remedy proceedings following relationship breakdown. In additional to his general practice, his main areas of expertise are: the international and domestic enforcement of maintenance orders (on which he has written widely); disputes concerning international jurisdiction and forum; financial applications for children under the Children Act 1989; drafting pre- and post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements and cohabitation agreements. Gavin also undertakes private law disputes concerning children. He accepts Public Access instructions in suitable cases.
In parallel with his work as a barrister, Gavin has an expanding private dispute resolution practice as an arbitrator, mediator and private FDR judge.
Gavin is described by Chambers and Partners as ‘well regarded for his well-established arbitration practice.’
He qualified as a family arbitrator at the outset of the IFLA scheme in 2012. His arbitrations range from full final hearings, at which the parties are represented by counsel, to adjudications made on the basis of written evidence and submissions alone. He is co-founder of the award-winning website FamilyArbitrator.com and its parallel LinkedIn discussion group.
Gavin was the arbitrator in the two cases involving the IFLA scheme to have been reported thus far. In the landmark case of S v S  EWHC 7 (Fam) the President of the Family Division endorsed the principles of the scheme and gave important guidance on how judges should deal with applications for court consent orders based on arbitration awards. After that arbitration one of the solicitors involved wrote “We agreed upon Gavin Smith as someone whose judgment and technical knowhow would deliver on [the] goals and whose personal skills would make it as benign an experience as possible.” (Resolution Review, March/April 2014).
In DB v DLJ  EWHC 324 (Fam) Mostyn J rejected a challenge to Gavin’s award based on a supervening Barder event and / or mistake as to the value of a property. Mostyn J described the award as “a thorough, conscientious and clear piece of work. Its quality is a testament to the merit of opting for arbitration.”
At the end of another arbitration one of the counsel wrote: “May I say how impressed [the instructing solicitor] and I were with the way in which you handled everything … The whole experience was a million times better than the lottery at the CFC.”
Gavin is available to undertake arbitrations of all kinds, from single issue disputes to those involving the full range of financial remedy claims, and from high value cases to ones where the parties’ resources are very modest. Details of his availability and fees may be obtained from his clerk James Collier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gavin also conducts private FDRs, alongside his mediation practice, and is qualified as a collaborative lawyer. He keeps up to date with legal change by co-editing the financial practitioners’ ‘bibles’, At A Glance and @eGlance, and co-authoring the Financial Remedies Practice (published annually). He has an excellent working knowledge of French and has some German.
Financial remedies; private children work.
- DB v DLJ (financial provision: arbitral award)  EWHC 324 (Fam),  2 FLR 1308  1 WLR 3319: February 24, 2016 (as arbitrator)
- Vogel v Lothschütz  EWHC 473 (QB), (QBD)(LTL 30/1/2014): January 24, 2014
- S v S  EWHC 7 (Fam),  1 FLR 1257  1 WLR 2299: January 14, 2014 (as arbitrator)
- Gourisaria v Gourisaria  EWCA Civ 1019, 1 FLR 262; August 13, 2010
- NA v MA  EWHC 2900 (Fam),  1 FLR 1760: November 24, 2006
- TL v ML and others  EWHC 2860 (Fam),  1 FLR 1263: December 09, 2005
- Chorley v Chorley  EWCA Civ 68,  2 FLR 38, CA: January 12, 2005
- C v C (Brussels II: French conciliation and divorce proceedings)  EWHC 1959 (Fam),  2 FLR 14: June 28, 2004
- Mubarak v Mubarik  EWHC 1158 (Fam),  2 FLR 932: May 14, 2004
- Dharamshi v Dharamshi  1 FLR 736, CA: December 05, 2000
- Roker International Properties Inc v Couvaras  2 FLR 976: August 17, 2000
- Abdi v Jama  1 FLR 407, CA: May 25, 1995
- At A Glance: Essential Tables for Financial Remedies (annual)
- Financial Remedies Practice (annual)
- Rayden and Jackson, 18th and 19th editions
- Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th edition reissue: Vol 29(3), Matrimonial Law
- Enforcing Financial Orders in Family Proceedings
Family Law Bar Association; Resolution; Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; Forum of Family Arbitrators; Institute of Family Law Arbitrators.
- Downside School
- Oxford University
Married with four children