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Call: 2012

Philip Smith

Albion Chambers

Broad Street Bristol BS1 1DR

  • Overview

    Having joined Chambers in 2018 after the successful completion of his common law pupillage, Philip has in recent years built a practice principally specialising in financial remedies. He also accepts instructions in relation to TOLATA claims and maintains a broad civil practice.

    Prior to pupillage Philip spent time working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a large firm of solicitors. During this period, his focus was mainly on issues around corporate law, including advising on cross-border disputes and corporate-management issues. Upon his return to the UK, Philip worked as a self-employed County Court Advocate for a number of years and in that capacity appeared in approximately 1,000 hearings dealing with a wide range of civil matters in courts across the South West and beyond.

    When not in court, Philip spends much of his time working to complete the renovation of his flat – a (very) long running project! He is also member of Chambers’ Treasury Committee, having recently stepped down as Chair of the same at the end of his one-year term.

    Philip is known for his calm and measured approach and his pragmatic advice. He is assisted when negotiating settlements on behalf of clients by the skills obtained during his training and qualification as a civil and commercial mediator.

  • Matrimonial Finance

    A financial remedy specialist, Philip accepts instructions in the full gamut of work, including Schedule 1 applications and related TOLATA claims. He advises and represents clients at all stages of proceedings, from first appointment through to final hearing. Philip also has significant experience of enforcement proceedings, including applications for contempt.

    Philip is also regular speaker at Albion Chambers’ Financial Remedies Seminar and is frequently invited to provide talks at solicitors’ own in-house events.

    Notable Cases:

    R v F (2024) – Represented the professional trustees of a trust set up following contested Schedule 1 proceedings to provide housing for the mother and two children some years previously. The purpose of the trust had become defunct as neither child lived in the property and the mother had moved elsewhere. The father effectively applied to bring the trust period to an end prematurely (with the effect that the trust was determined and the property reverted to him). The court granted the father’s substantive application, in respect of which the trustees were neutral, but Philip was able to protect the trustees’ position to provide security for their potential tax liability as well as payment of their fees and legal costs.

    H v H (2023) – Represented the husband in a long marriage case involving the receipt of significant inheritance by him shortly prior to separation. The inheritance was invested in properties owned in joint names and the wife asserted a needs-based departure from equality in her favour or in the alternative an equal sharing claim. Philip was able to secure an indication at FDR which was favourable to the husband in every respect, in particular in relation to the wife’s overstated needs, which led to a departure from equality in the husband’s favour by reason of the origin of the inheritance. The case settled shortly after FDR.

    X v X v X (2023) – Represented the intervenor, who was the parent of one of the parties, at a directions hearing in a complex case with an international aspect. The intervenor’s claim involved issues of loans/gifts and whether the circumstances of the intervenor’s provision of funds to the parties had given rise to constructive/resulting trusts or proprietary estoppel. The husband sought for the intervenor dispute to be determined as a preliminary issue prior to FDR as per TL v ML. Given the significant costs of such an exercise, however, Philip was able to persuade the court that in this case an early neutral evaluation (either by private FDR or court-based FDR) was appropriate prior to the hearing of the preliminary issue, relying on the comments of Francis J in Shield v Shield.

    H v H (2022) – Represented the wife in a case where the husband had absolutely refused to engage in proceedings in any way. Philip acted in relation to the substantive application and the ongoing proceedings against the husband for contempt for failure to comply with court orders. The husband was given every opportunity to comply but was ultimately found guilty of contempt and his sentencing was listed to take place immediately after the final hearing. The final hearing, which the husband did not attend, proceeded and final orders were made as per the wife’s position. The husband was thereafter sentenced to 28 days imprisonment for his contempt and a warrant for his arrest issued.

    LC v LC (2022) – Represented the wife in a case where the only real asset was her pension. The husband sought a pension sharing order and the return of two dogs he said belonged to him. There was a significant history of coercive and controlling behaviour by the husband in this long marriage, which included the concealment by him of the ruinous state of the family finances from the wife. This had led to the repossession of the family home leaving negative equity and a continuing debt. Post-separation, the husband had been convicted of stalking the wife and received a significant custodial sentence (albeit suspended). Philip was able to persuade the court that not only should the wife retain her pension in full and that the dogs in fact belonged to the parties’ daughter, but that the husband’s true motivation for issuing proceedings was to continue his campaign of harassment against the wife rather than genuinely seeking financial provision for himself. The husband was also ordered to pay the wife’s costs.

    G v H (2021) – Represented the wife in a case where the parties had not settled their financial claims against each other despite Decree Absolute having been pronounced 10 years earlier. The wife remained in the former family home, to which the husband had not contributed since separation. Both parties had remarried and were potentially caught by “the remarriage trap”. The wife, however, had preserved her financial remedy claim in the prayer of her Divorce Petition whereas the husband had not and so his claims were struck out (there being no pensions). Philip obtained a positive indication at FDR which led to a settlement on the basis that the family home be transferred to the wife in exchange for a ‘nuisance payment’ to the Husband.

    K v P (2019) – Represented the wife in a claim brought by the husband, who was 20 years her senior and in receipt of a very low pension income, for transfer of the property in which he lived (which was one of two properties owned in the wife’s sole name) and significant maintenance. The wife’s true financial position was a matter of significant dispute. Philip persuaded the Judge to make a Martin Order allowing the husband to live in the property rent free but preserving the entirety of the wife’s ownership of the property in question.

  • Civil

    Philip maintains a broad civil practice and has regularly been instructed in fast-track trials in addition to the full spectrum of civil applications at all levels, including in the High Court.

    Building on his experience prior to coming to the Bar, Philip retains an interest in property matters. Principally this now relates to TOLATA claims, which complements his financial remedy practice, but he also accepts instructions in landlord and tenant matters.

    Philip also accepts instructions to appear in the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber. He has appeared at Tribunal in relation to various matters, including disputes concerning reasonableness of service charges and objections to first registration of land referred to the Tribunal by HM Land Registry.

    Notable cases

    B v H (2019) – The Claimant, an elderly landlord with only one property, sought possession of his property under a section 21 notice. The Defendant (in possession of legal aid funding) had raised technical defences relating to the validity of the notice and a counterclaim for disrepair. Philip was instructed at late notice and, recognising that the Claimant’s s.21 notice was invalid, advised the Claimant to discontinue his claim. The client agreed and the subsequent discontinuance of the claim for possession prevented the matter being allocated to the fast-track, saving the client from significant exposure to legal costs.

    H v B (2018) – Instructed at very short notice to appear for the Respondent in an Application for a Freezing Order at the Bristol High Court District Registry. The Application was brought in the context of an application to remove a personal representative of an estate who was alleged to have failed to administer the Estate in a responsible and appropriate manner. Philip was successful in having the Application dismissed with costs.

    B v F (2018) – Represented the Applicant in an Application for committal for contempt of court for breach of an injunction order made pursuant to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Philip was successful in proving all the breaches of the injunction sought, resulting in a custodial sentence being passed on the contemnor.

Philip Smith


  • University of West England: Bar Professional Training Course (Outstanding)
  • University of Birmingham: Bachelor of Laws with Honours (Upper-Second)

Other Qualifications

  • Civil and Commercial Mediator (ADR Group)


  • Certificate of Honour (Middle Temple)

Professional memberships

  • Western Circuit