Ayesha Vardags, President

Precis: Vardags’ Managing Director Catherine Thomas is “widely regarded as one of the top divorce lawyers in the country” (The Sunday Times and Management Today).

 

Catherine Thomas, Managing Director

Precis: Vardags’ Managing Director Catherine Thomas is “widely regarded as one of the top divorce lawyers in the country” (The Sunday Times and Management Today).

 

Ayesha Vardags, President

Catherine’s work focuses on the most valuable and most complex financial proceedings arising from family breakdown. In recent years, she  has handled a number of the highest profile matrimonial cases to pass through the courts, including:

  • In the case of Al-Baker v Al-Baker, she secured a lump sum of £63million for her client, which is believed to be the largest lump sum ever awarded against a spouse after a foreign divorce.
  • Her international case Chai v Peng has been widely reported in the press as being one of the largest divorce settlements in English legal history, at £64million.
  • Catherine also represented Michelle Young in her high-profile trial (Young v Young), achieving what is thought to be the largest costs order ever made by the family courts.

Catherine deals with all aspects of divorce and private family law. She has particular expertise in international litigation, having secured the jurisdiction of preference for numerous clients all over the world. She also has a deep knowledge of complex financial arrangements including trust structures and corporate valuations.

She also advises on children disputes, including international relocation, and on a variety of agreements including prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation.

Having been a partner since the age of just 26, Catherine is an experienced strategist and leader on elite-level cases. Year after year, she is recommended in the leading independent reviews of the legal profession:

  • “Catherine Thomas attracts praise for her ‘formidable intellect and knowledge of the law. Her approach and advice is always right’” (The Legal 500)
  • “An absolutely phenomenal practice…Nothing escapes her. She is very detailed, thinks ahead and pre-empts everything. She is brilliantly tactical” (Chambers and Partners)
  • “An exceptional lawyer and leader who is responsible for a remarkable team of the best family lawyers in the country. Her instinct, charm and determination comprises an intoxicating success story” (Citywealth Leaders List)
Accolades:
  • Included in Management Today’s prestigious “35 Women Under 35”, a list of the country’s highest-achieving young business women.
  •  “Extremely intelligent and very calm” (Chambers & Partners)
  •   “A first-class family lawyer with excellent client and case management skills…receives many accolades as a ‘clear-thinking and robust negotiator’” (The Legal 500)
  • “She generates confidence and is very personable. Catherine is a brilliant strategist, efficient and dependable” (The Citywealth Leaders List)
  • “Clients call her an invaluable and indispensable asset” (Spears Index of Top Recommended Family Lawyers)
  • Superb” (The Legal 500)
  •  “She combines a strong and robust approach with commerciality and whilst I have no doubt every client knows she will fight their case to the death she is able to ensure they are steered to the course which best protects their position. This is a skill which cannot be overlooked” (The Citywealth Leaders List)
  • “Extremely intelligent” (Spears Index)
  • “Perhaps of all the lawyers on this list, none has had so meteoric a rise as Catherine Thomas”  (Spears Index)

Education: MA, Jurisprudence, University of Oxford.

Further Training: As a collaborative lawyer, Catherine is able to resolve cases in the absence of court proceedings. She is also a trained (non-practising) family mediator.

Press & publications: Catherine’s opinion and commentary is regularly sought by leading national and international print and broadcast media. She has given interviews about contemporary legal issues, as well as profiles about her own practice at Vardags, to various outlets including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio 5 Live, the major broadsheets, The Metro and The Lawyer.

Reported Cases:
  • Chai v Peng & Ors [2017] 3 FCR 29
  • Peng v Chai [2017] 1 FLR 318 (Court of Appeal)
  • Al-Baker v Al-Baker [2016] EWHC 2510
  • Chai v Peng [2015] EWCA Civ 790 (Court of Appeal)
  • Chai v Peng (Estoppel: Foreign Judgment) (No 1) [2015] 2 FLR 412
  • Chai v Peng (Jurisdiction: Forum Conveniens) (No 2) [2015] 2 FLR 424
  • Chai v Peng (No 2) [2015] 1 FLR 637
  • Chai v Peng [2014] 2 FLR 1189
  • Cherwayko v Cherwayko [2014] EWHC 4252 (Fam)
  • Young v Young [2014] 2 FLR 786
Connect with me on LinkedIn