One of our partners in the Family department is heavily involved in preparations for the Surrey Resolution Family Law Day which takes place on 18th May 2016. The venue is Sandown Park and there are a host of renowned speakers to keep the seventy odd delegates attending right up to date with all things related to family law.

Much work goes on behind the scenes to put such an event on. The venue is booked a year ahead, as are the speakers, most of whom are barristers. In years past, a late switch of barrister has had to take place. Last year one of the barristers’ wives went into labour and not surprisingly, he felt duty bound to be at his wife’s hospital bedside rather than talking to a bunch of Surrey solicitors. The more usual reason for a last minute switch of speaker is due to a court hearing being listed in a case where the barrister’s involvement is essential.

To put the event on, the Surrey Resolution committee members who are involved make approaches to various sponsors to assist funding. This year, sponsorship is coming from Wesleyan and Novitas. Indirect sponsorship comes from the speakers on the day who willingly give up their time and do not expect a fee. Without their generosity, the day simply could not be as successful as it is by attracting attendance from about a third of the Surrey Resolution membership each year.

Surrey Resolution is keen to pass on profits made to local contact centres. Child contact centres aim to provide a safe, neutral and comfortable place for children to see their non-resident parents or family. For some it is an essential part of maintaining contact with a child/their parent.

The Surrey Resolution committee put on about half a dozen events each year. The membership is active and each event provides a good opportunity for like-minded professionals to share experiences and network. In many ways the family law circle of solicitors is unique in that even though family lawyers deal with their client’s personal conflict with their partner, it does not follow that the working relationship with the solicitor acting for the partner is combative. Indeed, the majority of Surrey Resolution lawyers make a point of cordial communication, avoiding the use of inflammatory language and attempting to retain respect for everybody involved. The #SFLD16 will provide another opportunity for the Surrey membership of Resolution to enhance good working relationships with their fellow professionals.

If you would like more information about the #SFLD16 it is not too late to book a place. The cost is £99 plus VAT and attracts a full 6 hours of CPD. The speakers include David Hobson OBE, Kate Hart of Roffe Swayne, Hannah McSorley Barrister of Guildford Chambers, Sue Atkins a parenting expert, Charles Hale QC of 4 Paper Buildings, Alexander Chandler and Elizabeth Selman, both barristers of 1 KBW. Contact Vanessa McMurtrie by email vmm@hartbrown.co.uk to book a place.


Vanessa McMurtrie

Partner, Family

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then...

Vanessa McMurtrie -Partner

Partner, Family

Vanessa McMurtrie

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then worked for us on a part time consultancy basis while devoting more time to her family. During this period she was instrumental in implementing Hart Brown’s family department’s case management system and later, the quality system that led to the firm’s ISO 9001 accreditation.

In 2005 Vanessa returned to client work and joined Mackrell Turner Garrett where she stayed for ten years, before re-joining Hart Brown in 2015. Vanessa knows Woking and the surrounding area well and enhances the work covered at our Woking office as part of the family team.

Vanessa has been a Resolution member since 1991, committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive way. She has served on the Surrey Resolution committee since 2008. She is a Resolution accredited collaboratively trained lawyer and welcomes the opportunity to help separating couples adopt this process as an alternative to the more traditional options available.

Over the years, Vanessa has gained a wealth of experience in dealing with the legal aspects of personal relationships, not just those coming to an end, but new relationships, too, where a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement is required. She prides herself on being approachable and understanding as she helps her clients go through the legal process.