Litigation

 

Expert Advice

Upon receipt of full written instructions I will carefully read and consider the Papers, research the relevant Domestic and European law and provide a precise legal Opinion in writing on the merits of legal proceedings and the likely outcome.  In Financial Provision cases, this will include an objective assessment of (i) the structure of the Relief. For example, on-going spousal maintenance versus a Clean-Break Pension set-off versus Pension Sharing, the transfer of the matrimonial home versus a Mesher Order and (ii) the amount of any monetary award whether by way of spousal maintenance and/or Lump Sum.

In Children’s cases it will include a clear indication of the likely frequency and duration of Contact, the merits of any application for Residence and the structure of any Shared Residence Order.  In Public Law cases, it will contain a critical analysis of the Trust’s application for a Care Order and/or a freeing for Adoption order.

In Employment/Discrimination claims it will contain a careful examination of the reciprocal rights and duties of the Employer and Employee and all procedural requirements and failings.  Where appropriate it will contain a Cost/Benefit analysis and a recommendation as to the cost effective figure for settlement.

A written Opinion should provide real value by informing and guiding you in the future conduct of negotiation and litigation.

 

Legal Drafting

My generation was probably one of the last to be trained in the discipline of the Classic rules of Pleading.  Pleadings which contain evidence “evidence” merged with fact often  cast a dark shadow over rather than illuminate the core issues in dispute. The evidence of a witness belongs in a Statement, affidavit and oral testimony not the pleadings of fact and law or  in the Core Issues.

Upon full written instructions I will draft pre-nuptial agreements, divorce Petitions, applications for maintenance pending suit and Financial Provision following Divorce, Calderbank Offers, Originating C1 applications and C2 applications under the children Order, core issues for Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR), skeletal and final submissions, Grounds of Appeal, ex parte applications for non-molestation and/or occupation orders, applications for ex parte Restraining orders, Mareva injunctions, Position papers and Undertakings in employment cases, I can advise and assist in the drafting of Originating applications, Appearances, Notices for Particulars, Replies, requests for disclosure and other Documents in Tribunal cases.

 

Advocacy

Over the course of my career, I have appeared in a very broad spectrum of cases before the Magistrates’ Courts, the County Courts, the High Court the English Court of Appeal, and Industrial Tribuals /Fair Employment Tribunal. I have appeared in the following types of cases:

Complex high asset value cases involving assets with values  up to £40,000,000 including those with significant international dimensions.

Cases involving the Child Abduction under the Hague Convention where it is alleged a child is being wrongfully removed from his/her country of Habitual Residence.

Cases before the High Court involving allegations of chronic parental neglect, intra-familial child sexual abuse and Non-Accidental Injury (NIA).  Most recently I appeared in a case involving bi-lateral skull fractures sustained by  four week old infant in which the child was ultimately returned to the unsupervised full-time care of its parents.

Claims before an Industrial Tribunal/the Fair Employment Tribunal involving allegations of unlawful Discrimination on the grounds of race, political opinion, religious belief, gender, age and sexual orientation.  I have appeared in cases involving claims of Wrongful dismissal, Unfair dismissal and Constructive dismissal.

Over the past 25 years I have developed and  honed my skills as a written and oral advocate.  Advocacy requires an objective and rigorous assessment of the factual matrix particular to the Client case, combined with a balanced analysis of the legal precedents to produce a measured and compelling argument couched in unemotive language.  In the absence of a fair and balanced offer for settlement, I will use my experience and skill as an advocate to fight for a better outcome for the client.

Recent Court cases:

McC v McC [2015] NI Master 8

“…for much of the proceedings I considered that it would be inappropriate to make other than a nominal Order…however, closing submissions by the wife’s Counsel moved me from that position. Mr Martin persuasively argued that there were sufficient evidential factors present to lead me to the conclusion that the husband’s current employer was a reputable company and not, as he described it, “a cowboy operation”…Mr Martin argued that, weighing all the evidence, I should conclude that on the balance of probabilities, the evidence pointed towards the employers more likely than not being a good employer. Hence I should grant more than a nominal Order. I agree with Mr Martin’s analysis…”

 

M v M [2015] NI Master 9

“…Mr Martin forthrightly submitted that I should not conduct a sharing exercise and dress it up as a needs-based analysis. He argued that this was not a needs-based case. A PSO [Pension Sharing Order ] would not at this point in time make any contribution to the wife’s day-to-day needs. The wife has 21 years left to work up a pension provision. It is therefore too far in the future to start to predict what her needs will be at that time. This is a compelling argument and I agree with it. I therefore decline to make a PSO.”