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). She joined Vardags in 2011 having previously been a partner in a leading family law firm in Lincoln’s Inn.

Catherine’s work focuses on the very highest value and most complex financial proceedings arising from family breakdowns. Her practice has a strong international element; jurisdictional disputes form a large part of her work.

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). She joined Vardags in 2011 having previously been a partner in a leading family law firm in Lincoln’s Inn.

Catherine’s work focuses on the very highest value and most complex financial proceedings arising from family breakdowns. Her practice has a strong international element; jurisdictional disputes form a large part of her work.

Ayesha Vardags, President

She has been repeatedly recommended in leading independent reviews of the legal profession and described as “superb” (Legal 500) and “extremely intelligent and very calm” (Chambers and Partners). CityWealth has listed Catherine as a prominent figure in matrimonial law and records that: “she generates confidence and is very personable. Catherine is a brilliant strategist, efficient and dependable.”

Accolades:
  • Catherine is “widely regarded as one of the top divorce lawyers in the country” (The Sunday Times and Management Today).
  • Catherine has been repeatedly recommended in leading independent reviews of the legal profession, including the Legal 500 (2014, 2015 and 2016). She is described as “superb” (Legal 500) and “extremely intelligent and very calm” (Chambers and Partners).
  • Included in Management Today’s prestigious “35 Women Under 35”, a list of the country’s highest-achieving young business women.
  • Celebrated as of one of top ten ‘rising stars’ of family law in the Spear’s guide to the country’s leading advisers to high-net-worth private clients, where they stated that “clients call her an invaluable and indispensable asset”.
  • Catherine appears in this year’s esteemed Citywealth Leaders List, receiving recognition as one of the UK’s ‘power women’, as well as featuring in their ‘Leading Lawyers – family and matrimonial’ category. They record that: “she generates confidence and is very personable. Catherine is a brilliant strategist, efficient and dependable.”
  • Shortlisted in 2014 for a ‘Women of the Future’ award in the professional category and nominated for ‘Family Lawyer of the Year’ in the Spear’s Wealth Young Turk Awards 2013.
  • Shortlisted for Citywealth’s New Leader of the Year Award in 2012.

Education: Catherine holds an MA in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford.

Press & publications:

Catherine’s opinion and commentary is regularly sought by the leading national and international print and broadcast media outlets, including interviews with the BBC, The Financial Times, The Metro, The Lawyer and The Global Legal Post.

Career: Having been made partner aged just 26, Catherine is an experienced strategist and leader on elite-level cases. Dealing with all aspects of private divorce and family law, Catherine advises on children disputes, including international relocation, and on a variety of agreements including prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation. 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.

Her high-profile international divorce cases have included Chai v Peng which has been widely reported in the press as being potentially one of the largest divorce settlements in English legal history.

Catherine also represented Michelle Young in her high-profile trial (Young v Young [2013] EWHC 3637 (Fam)), achieving what is thought to be the largest costs order ever awarded by the family courts.

Catherine appears in this year’s esteemed Citywealth Leaders List, receiving recognition as one of the UK’s ‘power women’, as well as featuring in their ‘Leading Lawyers – family and matrimonial’ category, in which she was described as follows: “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.”

Reported Cases:
  • Al-Baker v Al-Baker [2016] EWHC 2510
  • Al-Baker v Al-Baker [2015] EWHC 3725 (Fam)
  • Al-Baker v Al-Baker [2015] EWHC 3229 (Fam)
  • Peng v Chai [2015] EWCA Civ 1312 (Court of Appeal)
  • Chai v Peng (Estoppel: Foreign Judgment) (No 1) [2014] EWHC 3519 (Fam) [2015] 2 FLR 41
  • Chai v Peng (Jurisdiction: Forum Conveniens) (No 2) [2014] EWHC 3518 (Fam) [2015] 2 FLR 424
  • Chai v Peng (No 2) [2014] EWHC 1519 (Fam) [2015] 1 FLR 637
  • Chai v Peng [2014] EWHC 750 (Fam) [2014] 2 FLR 1189
  • Cherwayko v Cherwayko [2014] EWHC 4252 (Fam)
  • Young v Young [2013] EWHC 3637 (Fam)