Philip Newton

Philip Newton is a highly experienced family law specialist who has practised exclusively in this field for over 20 years. His experience covers all aspects of family law including child law (care, residence, contact, removal from the country etc.) divorce, financial provision, ancillary relief, cohabitation, injunctive protection and international remedies.

In all aspects of his practice Philip is particularly known for acting with great sympathy for his clients’ difficulties with an absolute determination to do the very best that can be achieved for them.

Philip is equally happy dealing with the most serious care cases, the most hard fought children family disputes and the most complex divorce, matrimonial finance and cohabitation cases.

He has been based in Canterbury, specialising in family law since 1990, having begun his career at the bar as a criminal barrister practising from the Temple (including the Attorney General’s set), where he developed the robust courtroom skills that now help him to get the best results for his family law clients.

Philip also has a Master’s degree in international human rights law and holds a Diploma from the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He therefore deals confidently with the variety of international issues that arise in his practice, as well as having an instinct and determination for the protection of human rights generally and all those made vulnerable by mental and physical disability or by circumstances whether cultural, religious, racial or any another.

Philip is also a qualified Family Law (Children) Arbitrator (‘the Children Scheme’), by which private law children disputes may be dealt with by arbitration.

Reported Cases

Probably Philip Newton’s most well-known case is his successful appeal from the High Court to the Court of Appeal representing the Appellant Mother in A –v- A Local Authority [2009] EWCA Civ 1057, now a leading case on disclosure in care cases and involving complex cultural issues.

Public Law Children

Philip Newton has considerable experience and expertise in public law proceedings involving children (care cases) having represented parents, carers, children and local authorities.

Typical examples of Philip’s cases in this area include:

  • Contested Emergency Protection Order hearings
  • Contested Interim Care Order hearings
  • Contested Final Care Order hearings (where for instance the Local Authority’s plan is to permanently remove children from the family)
  • Contested Placement Order hearings (the first stage of adoption)
  • Representing children in care proceedings
  • Adoption
  • Representing those seeking Special Guardianship Orders (usually family members) or opposing such applications
  • Advising, drafting documents and representing in all aspects of Care Proceedings.

But the majority of Philip’s cases involve complex issues and he has vast experience of dealing with cases involving, for instance, allegations of neglect, non-accidental injury, sexual abuse, child exploitation and international child law.

Philip’s clients particularly appreciate the clarity with which he is able to explain the most difficult and complex matters, coupled with his sympathy for their position, and his determination to fight their corner.

Philip Newton's Public Law Children Cases

Dismissing allegations of sexual abuse against a Father

Philip represented a Father in a fact finding hearing relating to allegations of sexual abuse. Philip’s detailed and robust approach to his client’s predicament succeeded not only in getting all sexual abuse allegations against the Father dismissed, but also (in the welfare hearing) in discrediting the Local Authority’s experts to the extent that they have Continue reading

Returning children to a Father’s care

Philip represented the Father at the final hearing in care proceedings, where the Local Authority had made a negative assessment of his suitability as a carer for his children. Philip successfully argued against the Local Authority and the Guardian, persuading the Court that the Father had not been properly considered as a carer for his Continue reading

Dismissing false allegations of sexual abuse

Philip represented a Father accused by the Mother of sexual abuse of their two children. Philip was successful in getting all the allegations dismissed, and his client’s relationship with the children returned to regular staying contact and half of school holidays.

Articles by Philip Newton

Philip Newton's Testimonials for Public Law Children

“I do believe ( as result of this case)  and  have confidence that only you can the win the “un- winnable cases”  and that if you can’t then no one can. You have really instilled confidence in me about your capabilities.”

Ms K from Solicitors instructing Philip Newton – February 16

“Firstly may I say I have been meaning  to send you an email for a while and just have not had a chance to say how impressed I was in how you manged to exclude the evidence which was not something any other Counsel representing Mother managed to do.”

Ms K from Solicitors Instructing Philip Newton – January 16

Divorce & Matrimonial Finance

Philip Newton’s practice encompasses all aspects of divorce and matrimonial finance. His expertise in the financial side of divorce has been built-up over more than 20 years practising in family law.

Typical examples of Philip’s work in this area would include:

  • Advising, drafting documents and representing in all aspects of Divorce and Matrimonial Finance
  • First Directions Appointments, Financial Dispute Resolutions Appointments and Final Hearings in Financial Remedy Proceedings
  • Disputes over the matrimonial property, the house and any other assets
  • Maintenance for the Wife or Husband
  • Interim Maintenance for the Wife or Husband (sometimes available to pay the legal costs)
  • Injunctions to prevent one party from disposing of the any of the matrimonial assets
  • Financial Provision for Children
  • Applications to vary the final Order
  • Appeals from the final decision.

Recent financial cases have involved such complications as debilitating illness, a lottery win, post-separation acquired wealth, a stellar career prematurely ended by mental health problems, multiple businesses, property held abroad and appeals.

Philip Newton's Divorce & Matrimonial Finance Cases

Achieving a fair outcome for a husband in a carer role

Philip acted for a Husband who had fulfilled the role of carer whilst the Wife built up her career. He successfully settled the case to his client’s satisfaction, the husband receiving by far the greater share from the matrimonial home, a significant pension share and maintenance.

Reopening a 4 year-old financial order

Philip represented a wife, succeeding in re-opening a final financial order decided 4 years previously. He obtained a substantial increase in the capital payment in accordance with the set-aside principles set out in the Supreme Court’s decisions in Sharland and Gohil. His client was completely delighted.

Share of property

Philip acted for a wife in circumstances where the husband had claimed that he no longer had the proceeds of sale of the former matrimonial home. He was successfully in obtaining orders against the husband’s family members and an order that over £40,000 be paid into Court.

Articles by Philip Newton

Can a Schedule 1 Children Act Application be Barred by Reason of the Issue Having Been Covered in the Earlier Financial Remedy Final Order?

I recently had a hybrid Child Arrangements Order, Specific Issue Order (Schools) and Schedule 1 Children Act case where the Husband/Father argued that because the Financial Remedy final order had referred to the issue of school fees in the preamble, recording that the Wife would endeavour to pay half and that the parties would review Continue reading

Interveners (or Third Parties) & Setting Aside Dispositions – Cautionary Tales

An amended version of a paper originally presented at the Becket Chambers’ Family Finance Seminar at Eastbourne, Dartford & Canterbury on the 8th, 9th & 11th February 2016. Bringing third parties into financial remedy proceedings is an extremely risky and potentially costly business.  The two tales are cautionary in very different ways; the first being Continue reading

Philip Newton's Testimonials for Divorce & Matrimonial Finance

“Thank you very much for this, and also thank you for your great work in this case, I am very happy with the final result.”

Ms C instructing Philip Newton through solicitors – January 16

Civil Partnership & Cohabitation Dispute

Both of these areas involve sorting out the property and/or financial side of a relationship that has broken down but, in circumstances where there cannot be a divorce, either because the Parties are the same sex and in a civil partnership or, because there is no legal relationship other than the fact that they are/were living together in a home that they have both contributed to in one way or another.

Typical examples of Philip’s cases in this area would be:

  • Advising, drafting documents and representing in all aspects of Civil Partner and Cohabitation Disputes
  • Disputes over the division of the equity in the home (and any expenditure on the home) on separation of cohabitees (known as a TOLATA case)
  • Financial and property disputes between civil partners.

Philip Newton's Civil Partnership & Cohabitation Dispute Cases

Obtaining share of property

Philip acted for a client attempting to obtain a share of a property which was in the other side’s sole name. Despite this, Philip was successful in obtaining by far the greater proportion of the beneficial interest for his client.

Cohabitation settlement

Advising to a successful settlement in a previously hotly disputed argument about the division of the equity in a property to which both parties contributed extensively.

Settling a Land Registry Entry error

Philip obtained an advantageous settlement in circumstances where the Land Registry documents had not properly recorded his client’s interest. This is an unusual situation that complicates matters enormously, but nonetheless a successful outcome can be achieved with very careful handling.

Family Injunctions

Almost every aspect of Philip Newton’s family practise has involved injunctions of one sort or another in the 20 plus years that he has specialised in this area. Such injunctions might arise on their own by reason of allegations of domestic violence and/or an application for one of the parties to be ousted from the family home but, they might equally be bound up with protection of the parent and children in a children case or even protection of family money in a matrimonial finance case.

Typical examples of Philip’s cases in this area would be:

  • Non-molestation Orders – both obtaining and opposing
  • Occupation Order: Both obtaining and opposing
  • Obtaining and opposing injunctions in all children, family, divorce and cohabitation matters wherever appropriate.

Philip Newton's Family Injunctions Cases