A family members lawyer who helped lead a campaign to introduce no fault divorces in England and Wales has been honoured for his lifetime’s do the job at the North’s biggest lawful awards.
Nigel Shepherd, of Mills & Reeve, was past night time presented with the Life span Achievement Award at the Manchester Legal Awards.
Hundreds of customers of the North West lawful local community gathered at the Midland Resort for the black tie party to honour colleagues doing work in fields from criminal law to spouse and children and employment regulation.
Mr Shepherd was a popular winner of the Lifetime Achievement title, which honours men and women who have experienced “an unrivalled effects and long lasting contribution to the authorized expert services market place in the region for the duration of their life time”.
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Other winners incorporated Brabners, Eversheds Sutherland and DWF.
Mr Shepherd was two times the countrywide chairman of Resolution, the nationwide affiliation of famiy justice gurus, wherever he assisted drive for critical authorized reforms.
In their citation for Mr Shepherd past evening, the awards judges mentioned: “Reforming divorce legislation has been a experienced and personal mission for most of his occupation. In his to start with stint as chair, he led Resolution by the very charged political debate that resulted in the Family members Regulation Act 1996, which would have introduced no fault divorce but was under no circumstances applied.”
Resolution at that time experienced just just one personnel member – so Mr Shepherd persuaded associates to fund lobbying and PR aid by way of a levy on best of the membership charge.
The judges mentioned: “As a consequence, the organisation was in a position to punch very well previously mentioned its excess weight and make a substantial contribution to the passage of the laws. It also represented a step adjust in the organisation’s profile and influence.
“Nigel approved the invitation to grow to be chair again mainly for the reason that he and Resolution saw no fault divorce, and other essential troubles of legislation reform, as unfinished enterprise. In his previous two-yr expression at Resolution, he continued to boost the arguments and be the key spokesperson for change via the print and broadcast media, briefings with politicians, communications with customers and as a result of his membership of the advisory board supporting Professor Liz Trinder’s Finding Fault research.”
In 2018 Mills & Reeve correctly used for Resolution to intervene in the greatly described Supreme Court docket proceedings of Owens v Owens, which revolved all around the interpretation of so-referred to as “unreasonable conduct”.
When Mrs Owens did not get her divorce, the scenario was a catalyst for alter as the Supreme Court docket called on Parliament to choose motion. As a outcome the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 – which eliminates fault from the divorce course of action – was handed and was implented on April 6 this 12 months.
Lawful scholar Professor Liz Trinder has stated: “During his two stints as nationwide chair of Resolution, Nigel has been an totally tireless campaigner to help the advancement of equally excellent family members law apply and good relatives regulation. He has done so with great humour, limitless enthusiasm and enthusiasm. I cannot imagine of any individual who has carried out much more to test to secure divorce legislation reform in this region.”
Mr Shepherd reported: “I arrived up for what was then Manchester Polytechnic in 1975,did my degree, fulfilled my wife in the initially term, and we preferred it below so we stayed. Most of my lifestyle has been right here, as opposed to remaining in the south where I was born.
“Due to the fact then I have observed the field alter phenomenally, the occupation is genuinely diverse now. I mean, I begun off in a pretty modest two partner firm carrying out my training in Gately, then I moved to a well identified agency called Slater Heelis, and I did all sorts of litigation get the job done.
“I did prison function, family, commercial litigation, I did some prosecuting for the division of social protection. So, I have often done spouse and children, I begun to do much more and a lot more of it and in the conclusion I ended up specialising totally in family regulation.
“I begun specialising in household legislation operate more and more and then I moved to do nothing but family legislation when I arrived into the city centre in 1993, and I’ve stayed considering the fact that.
“I’ve generally had an affinity with family members law and I truly enjoy the perform. I started out to not take pleasure in the felony work as substantially as I experienced performed in the early days.
“It turned additional tough, the authorized assist situation became far more tough. I nevertheless completely enjoyed the courtroom do the job, but I gravitated in direction of accomplishing a lot more and additional relatives and then I received this chance to grow to be a companion in a city centre company so I took that and that was it.
“I have generally been intensely involved in the countrywide family members justice team called Resolution. I turned a member of that in the mid 80’s. It was established in 1982 – so early days.
“I was involved in the first steering committee in Manchester to get the regional team set up and then I became one of the early regional chairs of Resolution.
“Then I stood for their countrywide committee, which is like their board, and acquired onto that, and then I finally worked my way up turning into nationwide chair in the mid 90’s.
“I was intensely included in that. I led the organisation through a marketing campaign for ‘no fault divorce’, and that was in the mid 90s. We bought the legislation, but it was in no way applied. So I remained on the board of Resolution and still committed to attempting to get this significant improve in the regulation via and I acknowledged the invitation to turn out to be national chair again in 2016 – the only man or woman to have finished it 2 times.
“I did it incredibly significantly mainly because I observed ‘no fault divorce’ as unfinished organization and we felt that we could get it by way of. We carried on the campaigning and inevitably we acquired the ‘no fault divorce’ legislation handed in 2020 and it acquired carried out on the 6th of April this 12 months.
“So, we have succeeded in changing the legislation, it is the most important change to divorce legislation for 50 % a century.
“It suggests that we’ve now acquired a new procedure of divorce for any person beginning from the 6th of April, which would not require blame hooked up at all, it’s just a notification.
“A single individual, or for the initial time ever, both people, can jointly do it. There isn’t going to have to be alleged adultery, no unreasonable conduct allegations, none of that blame activity.
“It presents people a considerably far better likelihood of hopefully holding the temperature down and receiving a better possibility of sorting things out, which is the major goal.
“Resolution users try out to reduce conflict, to encourage settlement and keep in mind that people are still mom and dad even if they’re not likely to be jointly any longer. If you can reduce the temperature you can give people a much better chance of sorting things out amicably.
“It is been extremely substantially a workforce exertion, but I have variety of spearheaded it so I’ve been presented this sort of nickname of Mr ‘no fault divorce’. It’s been a workforce effort and hard work, tons of assistance, plenty of individuals helping which include the employees crew at Resolution.
“I always believed we might get it but I wasn’t guaranteed it was likely to be while I was however professionally concerned in the Regulation or even now actually alive and kicking. I definitely preferred to get it performed prior to I retired, I definitely wished to see that as a result of so it was good that we did.
“It truly is a genuine honour to obtain this award. If you glance at the type of folks who have received it in the previous, there are some really huge names of the Manchester legal scene so to be in the same ballpark as them is a real honour and a privilege.
“It is my hometown, it can be my experienced residence, so to get that recognition from your peers is significantly unique.
Mr Shepherd explained desired to spend certain thanks to “the firms, specifically at Mills and Reeve, have been extremely supportive for the reason that I was a companion in the business and they accommodate me getting a chair at resolution once again in 2016”.
He included: “We worked in a way that I could do that, and manufactured house for all the work and campaigning I was executing. As a firm, we are deeply dedicated to resolution – all of our legal professionals are associates and so we’re really supportive of it, we believe that it really is the appropriate way to observe.
“Resolution customers, resolution committee customers and the staff members group – couldn’t have performed it with out them. Superb work.
“And my household, they have been placing up with me banging on about this for about as long as my daughters have been alive, and it really is an indicator of how considerably they invested in it.
“When we read that the laws was likely to go via they acquired me a hoodie with ‘no fault divorce’ composed on it.
“You won’t be able to do this kind of stuff on your very own, devoid of that assistance, it just would not have been feasible.
“It really is a seriously great bookend to my job, I was genuinely younger when I begun this off in the early 90’s, so to see it by means of around 25 several years later on, it’s just great to feel kind of as nevertheless my function is accomplished.
“I’m however a expert with the firm, I have what some may phone a portfolio career now, but retirement is much a lot more soothing. I’m participating in a whole lot more golfing, I nonetheless enjoy football and I perform piano a great deal additional now that I have much more time to do it.”
Past night’s awards had been organised by Manchester Regulation Society, with Interlink as principal sponsor. BusinessLive’s sister title the Manchester Night News is media companion.
Paul Johnson, president of Manchester Legislation Culture and a partner at Ward Hadaway in Manchester, explained: “Nevertheless once again, this year has witnessed us receive a huge range of submissions and the common has been truly remarkable. The quality of these submissions is testomony to the actuality that the Manchester authorized job is thriving and we all have much to celebrate and be very pleased of.”
Winners at the Manchester Authorized Awards 2022
Organization Support Winner/s of the 12 months Award
Sponsor – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Winners – Charlotte Dixon, Mills & Reeve AND Laura West, Anthony Collins Solicitors
Trainee/Paralegal/Apprentice/Lawful Executive of the Yr Award
Sponsor – Manchester Metropolitan University
Winner – Jonathan Holling, JMW Solicitors LLP
Solicitor of the 12 months Award
Sponsor – Harbour
Winner – Moe Yassin, Past Legislation Group
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Winner/s of the Yr
Sponsor – Appleyard Lees
Winner – Brabners LLP
Company/Professional – Group of the Calendar year Award
Sponsor – Interlink Recruitment
Winner – Eversheds Sutherland LLP
Remarkably Commended – Pannone Company
Crime – Group of the Calendar year Award
Sponsor – Matrix 247
Winner – Slater Heelis
Extremely Counseled – Burton Copeland LLP
Work – Group of the Year Award
Sponsor – Matrix 247
Winner – Leigh Day
Family – Crew of the Year Award
Sponsor – Shard Funds
Winner – McAllister Spouse and children Regulation
Litigation – Team of the 12 months Award
Sponsor – Quantuma
Winner – Weightmans LLP
Highly Recommended – Brabners LLP
Private Injury/Clinical Negligence – Workforce of the Year Award
Sponsor – RMS PR
Winner – Stephensons Solicitors LLP
Non-public Customer – Crew of the Year Award
Sponsor – 5 Wealth Ltd
Winner – JMW Solicitors
House – Crew of the 12 months Award
Sponsor – Landmark Information Group
Winner – Eversheds Sutherland LLP
Really Counseled – Fieldfisher LLP
Regulatory – Team of the 12 months Award
Sponsor – Manchester Evening Information
Winner – DWF Law LLP
In-property Staff of the Yr
Sponsor – Quiss Technologies
Winner – Bank North
Highly Counseled – Boohoo Group plc
Barrister/QC of the Calendar year Award
Sponsor – Manchester Legislation Culture
Winner – Dr Christopher McNall, 18 St John Road Chambers
Spouse of the Year Award
Sponsor – Legmark
Winner – Vikki Woodfine, DWF Regulation
Barristers’ Chambers of the 12 months Award
Sponsor – Weightmans LLP
Winner – St John’s Structures Chambers
Law Organization of the 12 months – Little (1-5 associates nationally)
Award Sponsor – Lawshare
Winner – Olliers Solicitors
Regulation Firm of the Yr – Medium (6-20 partners nationally)
Award Sponsor – MFL Insurance plan Group Ltd
Winner – Past Regulation Team
Remarkably Counseled – CFG Law
Legislation Firm of the Year – Substantial (20+ companions nationally)
Award Sponsor – Harbour
Winner – TLT LLP
Life time Accomplishment Award
Sponsor – inCase
Winner – Nigel Shepherd, Mills & Reeve