Top Ten Family Lawyers
Helen Ward is a name breathed with awe across the family law world. It was her friend Ian McEwan who described her as having ‘a mind like a jewelled watch and a wise and honest heart – a very rare combination. She is a tigress who never sleeps.’ One peer tells us, meanwhile: ‘I doubt she gets out of bed for less than £50 million.’
In the past year Ward has been involved in the complex matter of Mantegazza v Mantegazza, which contains questions of forum under the Lugano Convention. ‘It was a fascinating case, and it has been a long time since I have been involved in a case about a conflict of jurisdictions,’ she says, adding: ‘I’m in another one now, where we’re not only arguing which is the right forum but whether the wife had any entitlement to bring legal proceedings in this jurisdiction at all.’ It is wonderful to listen to Ward talk about law: one sees all the attributes of a great lawyer at work – perfect recall on the detail of cases long past, precision of utterance, and all shot through with wit and humanity.
‘Sometimes it’s the death of love on one side but not the other,’ she says, wisely, of her cases. ‘And sometimes it’s not the death of love at all. Sometimes it’s a terrible conflict – aspirations take over but love doesn’t disappear.’