Martin Pointer QC

Call
1976
Silk
1996

"Martin can argue the unarguable, and is phenomenal at cross-examination."

Chambers and Partners 2019

Practice

He specialises in what are known as “big money” cases, particularly those where there is an off-shore or international element or other aspects of complexity such as trusts or tax. He has appeared in a great number of the significant reported ancillary relief decisions in England in the course of the last 20 years.

He has been involved in the development of the law relating to ancillary relief in a number of areas, viz.

  • In 2015 he represented the wife in Sharland and successfully submitted to the Supreme Court that the test for non-disclosure had become diluted; and that a more principled approach is to be applied.
  • In 2014 he appeared for the wife in Cooper-Hohn v. Hohn. At $550 millions, this is the largest ever award in an English ancillary relief claim.
  • In 2009 he represented the husband in MacLeod and persuaded the Privy Council to change the law so as to validate intra-nuptial agreements between spouses. This had the consequential effect of driving forward the debate in England about the validity of pre-nuptial agreements.
  • He appeared for the wife in Charman. This was at the time the then highest reported award in an ancillary relief case in England. It is noteworthy too for being (a) the leading case on the use of letters of request in ancillary relief cases and (b) the main authority on a spouse’s access to funds held in trust.
  • In the aftermath of the landmark decision in White, he introduced to English law the concept of special contributions. This was adopted by the Court of Appeal in Cowan, where he appeared for the husband. This concept has since been reinforced by the Court of Appeal in the case of Charman.
  • He appeared for the wife in Brooks, the case that first introduced pension splitting to the United Kingdom. It had been said that this could not be achieved without legislation: but he successfully persuaded the court (at 4 levels up to the House of Lords) that the court could vary the underlying trust so as to provide for the wife in her retirement. This decision gave impetus to the argument for formal legislation, which followed soon after (in the Welfare Reform & Pensions Act 1999). As part of the discussion antecedent to this legislation, he gave evidence to the House of Commons Social Security Committee on 14th July 1998.
  • He represented the wife in Flick. This was a ground-breaking case in 1994, where the Family Division first began to examine the limits of ancillary relief awards for wives, and test the then established orthodoxy of awards limited to reasonable requirements.

In 2011 he appeared in the celebrated case of Tsang v. Li, the widely publicised trial in Hong Kong of the wife’s ancillary relief claim; and in 2013 in the husband’s successful appeal to the Court of Appeal.

In addition to frequent appearances before the highest courts in England & Wales, Martin has also appeared at all levels including the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong; in Gibraltar; and in the Cayman Islands.

High net worth financial remedy claims; forum and jurisdiction disputes; ownership of assets; pre-nuptial agreements.

Martin has appeared in more than 100 reported cases (more than any other member of the Family bar). A limited selection follows:

  • Sharland v. Sharland [2015] UKSC 60
  • Wyatt v. Vince [2015] UKSC 14
  • Cooper-Hohn v. Hohn [2014] EWCA Civ 896
  • Joy v. Joy-Morancho [2014] EWHC 3769 (fam)
  • El Gamal v. Al-Maktoum [2011] EWHC 3763 (fam)
  • MacLeod v. MacLeod [2008] UKPC 64
  • Charman v. Charman [2007] EWCA Civ 896
  • Lambert v. Lambert [2002] EWCA Civ 1685
  • Cowan v. Cowan [2001] EWCA Civ 679
  • Brooks v. Brooks [1996] AC 375
  • Family Law Bar Association
  • International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • The King’s School, Grantham
  • University of Leicester

Chambers & Partners 2018:

"He is one of the leading silks at the Family Bar. He commands a lot of respect in court because of his seniority and compelling advocacy, and has proved his worth time and time again in many reported cases."

 

Chambers & Partners 2016:

‘…fantastic instincts…’

‘He is quite spellbinding in court.’

 

Chambers & Partners 2015:

‘You can’t beat Pointer if you have a real battle on your hands.’

‘Undoubtedly one of the finest silks at the Family Bar…’

 

Chambers & Partners 2014:

‘A luminary in the field of family law…’

Legal 500 2019:

'The market leader for matrimonial finance.’

Legal 500 2016:

'A killer instinct delivered with absolute charm; he is the Rolls-Royce of family silks in big money cases.'

‘A courageous and determined advocate.’

 

Legal 500 2014

‘Without question the best trial advocate at the London family Bar; his presence in court is electric.’

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Chambers & Partners Family Silk of the Year 2015.