Gavin Smith

Gavin is a family law barrister at 1 Hare Court in London with over 27 years’ experience. He specialises in all types of financial remedy proceedings following relationship breakdown.

He is described by Chambers and Partners as “… completely amazing on the detail of a case, and his knowledge of the law is second to none” and “… also well regarded for his well-established arbitration practice”.

Gavin 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 was the arbitrator in all three of the cases involving the IFLA scheme to have been reported thus far. In the landmark case of S v S [2014] 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 [2016] 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.”

In BC v BG [2019] EWFC 7, Deputy High Court Judge Clare Ambrose referred to Gavin as “a very experienced and respected family arbitrator” and stated: “He approached the parties’ dispute with great care, investigating the facts in an even-handed manner and applying the law with expertise, taking the same approach that a judge would have taken if the matter had gone to trial.”

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 james@1hc.com.

Gavin also conducts private FDRs and is an experienced mediator and a qualified 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 Financial Remedies Practice. He has an excellent working knowledge of French and some German.

He was appointed a Deputy (part time) District Judge in March 2019, assigned to the Midland Circuit.

Gavin is married with four children and lives in North London.