Portrait of Nicholas Allen KC

Nicholas Allen KC

Joint Head of Chambers

Year of Call 1995 Silk 2018

Professional Practice

Nicholas specialises in high value matrimonial finance work. He is well known for his eye for detail, his knowledge of the law, and for his client care skills. He is Joint Head of Chambers (with Alexis Campbell KC).

Nicholas was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2018. He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge assigned to the Family Division in October 2021 and is also a nominated Judge of the Court of Protection. He was previously appointed a Recorder of the Family Court in 2016. He was elected a Bencher of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 2021.

Nicholas is highly ranked in both the Chambers UK and Legal 500 directories. He is ‘Band 1’ ranked in the new ADR table in Chambers UK 2024 published in October 2023.

Nicholas is a qualified arbitrator (Finance) through the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) scheme. He was described as an “expert” in family arbitration by Peel J in G v G [2023] 2 FLR 491). He has to date been appointed as arbitrator in 31 cases and has written 25 awards (five having settled and one is ongoing). This is a significant proportion of the c. 600 arbitrations which have been registered since the inception of the financial scheme. He was also retained on a further six cases which settled or where arbitration was not pursued before his appointment was formalised. He has also conducted more than 80 private FDRs as evaluator.

Nicholas is a regular lecturer including to full-time and part-time judges at the Judicial College.

Nicholas is a contributing editor of The Family Court Practice - ‘the Red Book’ – (LexisNexis). He is the editor of the family law chapters of Foskett on Compromise (Sweet & Maxwell), the 10th edition of which will be published in June 2024. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Financial Remedies Journal (Class Legal) and contributes regularly thereto. He has had several articles published in Family Law (LexisNexis). He is the co-author of the Practice Note on contempt proceedings under FPR 2010 Part 37 for Practical Law (Thomson Reuters).

Nicholas was appointed by Mostyn J and Peel J to be a member of the committee revising the Family Court’s Standard Financial Orders which were published in 2023.

Nicholas co-authored the FLBA’s ‘Good Practice’ guidance for FDR Appointments much of which was later included in similar guidance published both by Resolution and the Family Justice Council. He also contributed to Resolution’s Guide to Good Practice for Family Lawyers on Working with the Bar in Family Cases (2018 revision).

Nicholas was a member of the JUSTICE Working Party, Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families, chaired by Professor Gillian Douglas, which published its report in 2022.

Nicholas is a trained collaborative lawyer and has been instructed on a joint basis in several such cases. He is a member of the Collaborative Family Law Group West Midlands.

Nicholas is Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Services Appointments Panel and a member of the Bar Representation Committee. He is a former member of the Bar Standards Board’s Conduct Committee and Resolution’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

Nicholas is a door tenant at St. Ives Chambers in Birmingham.

Nicholas is a member of the Steering Committee of the UK Association of LGBTQ+ Judges. He sits on Middle Temple’s LGBTQ+ Committee. He was a trustee of FreeBar from 2017 - 2022 and is a former Co-Chair of BLAGG, the Bar Lesbian and Gay Group.

Nicholas is also a qualified Attorney & Counsellor at Law, New York (admitted 1998).

  • Recommendations

    “Strengths: ‘He is particularly good at making the clients feel heard and at giving them a clear explanation of his conclusions. They don’t just accept his indications, but actually understand and agree with them by the time he's finished. I really do think he is one of the very best in that regard.’ ‘He sees cases from both parties' perspective and gives a balanced, sensible view.’ ‘He is very detailed, very measured and someone who puts everything into a case.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2024 (ADR)
    “Strengths: ‘Nicholas's attention to detail is second to none and he instils immediate confidence in even the most anxious or challenging client. His written and oral advocacy are persuasive, considered and compelling. Judges rate him and clients always feel supported by him.’ ‘Nicholas is a highly technical, detail-oriented barrister, who doesn't miss a trick. His client care skills are excellent and in court he is able to read the room and adjust his approach as needed.’ ‘He has a refined, confident manner, which instantly commands respect of the court. Possessed of a very easy and accessible manner with clients, he breaks everything down into simple terms and inspires confidence.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2024
    “Strengths: ‘Nicholas Allen is very good and hard-working. He reads every single letter in a case and is very personable. Judges like listening to him and he's very sensible in his approach.’ ‘Possessed of a first-rate intellect, he can tackle the most complex of cases. He's sympathetic to the lay client, whilst also being accessible and supportive to the instructing solicitor.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2023
    “Strengths: ‘He pays attention to the detail of complex cases.’ ‘He can translate the law into layman's terms and instils confidence from the minute he walks into the room.’ ‘A thorough, hard-working details man.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2022
    “Strengths: ‘Handles cases with meticulous detail and has a wonderful bedside manner with clients which puts them at great ease.’ ‘He is incredibly thorough, all over the detail, and someone who engenders trust and confidence.’ ‘While intellectual in his approach, he is able to explain and involve clients in his thought process and decision-making.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2021
    “Strengths: ‘Clients have a lot of confidence in him because he's meticulous and knows all the detail.' 'He's intelligent and has gravitas. People tend to listen to what he's saying because his delivery is so calm and sensible.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2020
    “Strengths: ‘Nick has got an attention to detail which is second to none, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. His presentation is also immaculate, with never a syllable, word or comma out of place.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2019
    “Strengths: ‘He is painstaking and meticulous. His knowledge of case law is second to none and this shines through in his position notes and skeletons. These are always provided on a timely basis.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2018
    “Strengths: “He reads absolutely everything he's sent and knows the papers inside out. He instils a huge amount of confidence in clients, he is an extremely charming advocate and he can disarm difficult cases.’”
    Chambers & Partners 2017
    "Commonly thought of in the profession as "a future silk." He specialises in matrimonial finance and is particularly noted for the quality of his preparation. Strengths: 'Clients absolutely love him. He is very good with sensitive clients, and difficult ones too. He is such a details man. Clients know he knows their case inside and out. Really thorough, really clever and a great advocate, he is going to be a silk.'”
    Chambers & Partners 2016
    “a favourite among solicitors for high net worth financial remedy work … 'His grasp of the law is phenomenal. His greatest talent is the depth in which he will go into a case. When I send him a brief I know he'll read it twice and be 100% prepared. I've never seen him flounder in court or not know a page number. He is a phenomenal comfort to those that instruct him.' ”
    Chambers & Partners 2015
    “utterly superb ... he has exceptional technical knowledge, and is very good with flustered clients”
    Chambers & Partners 2014
    “first class client skills ... a tremendous eye for detail and a first-rate knowledge of matrimonial law”
    Chambers & Partners 2013
    “one of his main strengths is his exceptional client care skills ... his bedside manner is perfect for vulnerable clients, and his advocacy is first class”
    Chambers & Partners 2012
    “Nicholas is multi-faceted and multi-talented. He is extremely well-versed in the law and incredibly thorough” … “the technically brilliant advocate Nicholas Allen KC” … “Nicholas is extremely knowledgeable, clear and fair as a PFDR judge. He provides helpful indications with good reasoning that invariably unlocks the case. He is a go-to on complex cases.”
    Legal 500 2024
    “Nicholas prepares every case, whatever size, with the same thoroughness, thoughtfulness and calmness and presents his views straightforwardly and persuasively. He is utterly reassuring both to clients and instructing solicitors. And his instinct is right on the money, assisted by his extensive experience as a judge and arbitrator.”
    Legal 500 2023
    “assimilates every fact and nuance of a case, and provides clients with clear, helpful advice. He inspires confidence in his instructing solicitors”
    Legal 500 2022
    “always knows the detail of the case - even where the papers are voluminous he has read them all at least once”
    Legal 500 2021
    "is fantastic and knows his papers inside and out on every case"
    Legal 500 2020
    "nothing escapes his attention"
    Legal 500 2018/19
    "one of the most technically strong members of the Bar"
    Legal 500 2017
    "he encapsulates the perfect combination of a brilliant legal mind and empathy towards clients"
    Legal 500 2016
    "his knowledge of black-letter and case law is spot on"
    Legal 500 2015
    “a real ‘details' man, who is definitely a silk of the future”
    Legal 500 2014
    “blessed with a superb legal mind and excellent advocacy skills”
    Legal 500 2013
    “an absolute star of the Family Bar”
    Legal 500 2012
    “hugely responsive, unfailingly courteous and an absolute delight to work with”
    Legal 500 2011
  • Notable Cases

    • Taiga v Ogbedo
      [2020] EWHC 3578 (Fam)
    • MT v OT (No.2)
      [2018] EWHC 2003 (Fam)
    • MT v OT (Schedule 1 Order)
      [2019] 1 FLR 93, FD
    • Sharland v Sharland
      [2015] 2 FLR 1367, SC
    • M v W (Application after New Zealand Financial Agreement)
      [2015] 1 FLR 465, FD
    • Sharland v Sharland
      [2014] 2 FLR 89, CA
    • SK v TK
      [2013] EWHC 834 (Fam)
    • S v S (Non-Disclosure)
      [2013] 2 FLR 1598, FD
    • Marinos v Marinos
      [2007] 2 FLR 1018, FD
    • R v R (Divorce: Jurisdiction: Domicile)
      [2006] 1 FLR 389, FD
    • A v B (Financial Relief: Agreements)
      [2005] 2 FLR 730, FD
    • Currey v Currey
      [2005] 1 FLR 952, CA
    • C v C (Costs: Ancillary Relief)
      [2004] 2 FLR 291, FD
  • Publications and Lecturing

    • Co-author of ‘Financial Dispute Revolution? The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2023’ [2024] FRJ [Forthcoming]

    • Co-author of ‘What is the true extent of FDR privilege?’ FRJ Blog 19 February 2024

    • Co-author of ‘The unopposable application for a Penal Notice’ FRJ Blog 18 January 2024 

    • Co-author of ‘Fresh carrot, bigger stick: Forthcoming rule changes and “the encouragement” of NCDR’ FRJ Blog 3 January 2024

    • Co-author of ‘Dickson v Rennie: Right or Wrong?’ FRJ Blog 4 December 2023

    • Author of ‘AS v CS : what are the consequences if the court has not mandated a Private FDR?’ [2023] FRJ 234

    • Co-author of ‘The Thwaite jurisdiction – a stay of execution?’ [2023] FRJ 203

    • Co-author of ‘The jurisdiction of the Family Court to determine property disputes in favour of third parties’ [2023] FRJ 192

    • Author of ‘To Deduct or Not to Deduct: That Remains the Question After Collardeau-Fuchs’ FRJ Blog 5 September 2023

    • Co-author of ‘Excluding s25(2)(g) ‘Conduct’ at an Interim Stage – Strike-Out or Summary Judgment by Another Name?’ FRJ Blog 11 August 2023

    • Author of ‘Orders under the Senior Courts Act 1981 s39 – Can the Court Act in Anticipation of Default?’ FRJ Blog 2 August 2023

    • Author of ‘Post-Separation Accrual in CG v DL – Are We Back to an Arbitrary Approach?’ FRJ Blog 18 July 2023

    • Author of 'Unilateral Assets and Short Marriages after E v L: Another White Leopard?' [2023] FRJ 124

    • Author of ‘The Revised Standard Family Court Orders: In With The New’ [2023] FRJ 101

    • Co-author of Practical Law’s ‘Contempt of court: proceedings under Part 37 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010’ (Thomson Reuters, 2023)

    • Author of ‘Omissions, Ambiguities, and Deficiencies – Seeking Clarification of a Judge's Reasoning’ [2023] FRJ 2

    • Author of ‘Myerson No. 1 and FPR 9.17(2): What Can the FDR Judge Actually Do?’ FRJ Blog 9 January 2023

    • Author of ‘For Reasons Which Are Not Fanciful – Daniels v Walker Applications in Financial Remedy Cases’ [2022] FRJ 175

    • Author of ‘A Matter of Clarification – Written Questions to Experts’ FRJ Blog 19 May 2002

    • Author of ‘Non-Matrimonial Property – Valuing the Family Business’ [2022] FRJ 6

    • Author of ‘Arbitration After Haley – If Not Now, When?’ [2021] Fam Law 811 

    • Author of ‘Some Are More Equal Than Others: Special Contribution After XW v XH’ [2020] Fam Law 1485

    • Acknowledged contributor to ‘Private FDRs’ [2020] Fam Law 815 by Simon Bruce (of Farrer & Co).

    • Editor of the family law chapters of “Foskett on Compromise” (Ninth Edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2019).

    • Author of ‘Lying Around the Kitchen - Imerman Nine Years On' [2019] Fam Law 1131

    • Co-author of ‘Till death or re-marriage do our finances part: L v L’ [2012] Fam Law 665

    • Co-author of ‘The Law and Financial Provision on the Dissolution of Civil Partnerships’ [2009] Fam Law 836

    • Acknowledged contributor to Ancillary Relief after Miller and McFarlane by Nicholas Francis QC and David Salter (Lime Legal, 2006) 

    • Acknowledged in Cohabitation and Trusts of Land by Darlington, Heaton and Wagstaffe (Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell, 2006) 

    • Nicholas is a regular lecturer to the Judicial College, national and regional Resolution, regional Law Societies and also in-house to solicitors’ firms.

  • Personal Information

    Nicholas was Chairman of the Emmanuel Society, the alumni organisation of Emmanuel College, Cambridge from 2013-2023. He is a former recipient of the Herchel Smith Scholarship from Emmanuel to Harvard University where he spent a year as Visiting Scholar at the university’s Law Faculty.

Appointments

  • Deputy High Court Judge,
    2021
  • Recorder,
    2016
  • Arbitrator,
    2016

Memberships

  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb)
  • Family Law Bar Association (committee member 2003-2008)
  • Former member of the Complaints Committee of the Bar Standards Board (2005-2007)
  • Former member of Resolution's Dispute Resolution Committee (2011-2015)
  • Member of the American Bar Association