Portrait of Philip Cayford KC

Philip Cayford KC

Year of Call 1975 Silk 2002

Professional Practice

Head of Chambers between 2016 and 2021. Professional practice based mainly upon financial remedy work, specialising in a wide range of big money divorce, family and offshore trusts, international finance cases, TOLATA, pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements and disputes, Schedule 1 Children Act claims and leave to remove. More recently reported cases (listed below) have included two successful Supreme Court appeals - the seminal Wyatt v Vince, acting for the ultimately successful wife, and Mills v Mills (the lifetime maintenance case) for the husband; appearances in the Court of Appeal have included the very recent, long running case of Xanthopoulos v Rakshina [2024] EWCA Civ 84/ 100 which involved very significant Russian assets, 12 LSPO orders in favour of the husband,  and a costs bill for the financially stronger party (the wife) of some £9m. Other Court of Appeal cases have involved the similarly contested Villiers v Villiers [2022] EWCA, a successful appeal against the judgment of Mostyn J [2021] EWFC; Re R, acting for the mother in an internal relocation case; Morgan v Hill, a leading Schedule 1 authority; El Faragy (the ‘judicial humour’ case) and Shield v Shield, a long-running family trust case in which the parties’ son intervened to make a claim based upon promissory estoppel. Philip has a particular reputation for persistence in long running and difficult cases, often but not exclusively for wives, in which disclosure and cooperation have proved challenging. In addition to his court and advisory work, Philip is an enthusiastic supporter of early intervention and the alternative dispute resolution procedures (mainly the Private FDR) championed by 29 BR. He took a proactive role in the creation and design, within Chambers, of our own mediation and private FDR suite of conference rooms, and in addition to the reported decisions listed below has acted in a substantial number of matters, mainly in the High Court, which have settled following early neutral evaluation or the private FDR process. Philip is a trained arbitrator and consultant editor of Family Affairs, the FLBA’ s magazine. In 2022 he was nominated Family Silk of the Year by both Family Law and the Legal 500.

  • Recommendations

    “Mr Cayford deserves considerable credit for the expertise he showed in prosecuting this appeal. He made no attempt to avoid the undoubtedly difficult issues he had to face…. Notwithstanding those difficulties, he put forward his lay client's case with skill and tenacity.”
    Court of Appeal judgment in Xanthopoulos v Rakshina [2024] EWCA Civ 84
    ‘Philip’s advocacy skills are second to none. He is brilliant on his feet. He is calm and measured in everything he does.’
    Legal 500 2024
    "He puts clients at ease in big-money cases." "He's charming and has a great presence with clients and in court."
    Chambers and Partners 2022
    " A class act. His courtroom skills are superb. A tenacious negotiator who is well prepared and persuasive."
    Legal 500 2022
    "An absolute heavyweight who's fantastic on his feet." "He's good at catching the ear of the court with his almost regal presentation."
    Chambers and Partner 2020
    ‘Comes with a weight of authority which puts clients at ease and gives clients immense confidence.’
    Legal 500 (2020)
    Recommended as a Leader in his field - Band 1
    Chambers and Partners 2016
    Has been involved in some of the most high-profile recent family cases. He is one of the most experienced finance silks and is accustomed to dealing with complicated asset structures including trusts. He also frequently advises on private law children matters. Strengths: "He has had a phenomenal year. He is extremely approachable for the lawyers and the client, and has an incredible bedside manner. He works incredibly hard and is extremely busy. A loyal set of firms go to him before any others."
    Chambers and Partners 2016
    Very busy matrimonial silk who represents high net worth and high-profile clients in complex financial proceedings pertaining to maintenance orders, family trusts and significant postmarital assets. Expertise: "He's just superb in court, and very good at reasssuring the nervous and sometimes undermined wives of wealthy men."
    Chambers & Partners 2015
    'A class act, who dominates the courtroom and is an excellent cross-examiner.’
    Legal 500
  • Notable Cases

    • Xanthopoulos v Rakshina
      [2023] EWFC 158 (Peel J) LSPO costs
    • Xanthopoulos v Rakshina
      [2024] EWCA Civ 84 (Substantive appeal)
    • Xanthopoulos v Rakshina
      [2024] EWCA Civ 100 (Appeal costs)
    • Villiers v Villiers
      [2022] EWCA 772
    • Villiers v Villiers
      [2021] EWFC 23
    • o AJ -v -DM (Divorce – amendment of petition under Art 3(1)(a) Council Regulation (EC) No.2201/2003)
      [2019] EWHC 702 (Fam) Cohen J
    • Mills -v- Mills
      [2018] UKSC 38
    • Hagen v Hagen (Big money divorce; offshore holdings and trusts)
      [2017] FT 28 June 2017 Roberts J
    • Goyal v Goyal No 3 (Enforcement of order relating to foreign pension)
      [2017] EWHC 1 Mostyn J
    • Re:R (Final)
      [2016] EWCA CIV 1016
    • Vince -v- Wyatt
      [2016] EWHC (Cobb J) 1368
    • ALI-V- ALI
      CA 19/7/15 (FLW)
    • Wyatt v Vince
      [2015] UKSC 14
    • RA v SJ
      [2014] EWHC 4054
    • Shield v Shield
      [2014] EWCA Civ 1136
    • PG v TW (No 2) Sch 1 (Footballer; foreign applicant)
      [2014] 1 FLR 923
    • PG v TW (No 1) (Sch 1 Costs awarded against father under four separate heads)
      [2014] 1 FLR 508
    • Shield v Shield
      [2014] EWHC 23 (Fam)
    • Shield v Shield
      [2013] EWHC 3525 (Fam)
    • Michelle Young v Scott Young
      [2013] EWHC 3637
    • Vince v Wyatt (Delay in bringing claim: strike out: A v A costs)
      [2013] EWCA Civ 495
    • Re S (Leave to Remove: costs)
      [2010] 1 FLR 834
    • B v B (Off shore trusts)
      [2010] All ER (D) 61 (May)
    • Mahon v Mahon (Drawing inferences from non-disclosure)
      [2008] EWCA Civ 901
    • RH v RH (A/R costs: treatment of costs where winner’s costs are disproportionately high)
      [2008] 2 FLR 2142
    • Congden v Todd (Lottery winners) The Times
      18th May 2007 ChD
    • Re J: Leave to Remove: urgent case
      [2007] 1 FLR 2033, CA
    • Morgan v Hill (Schedule 1)
      [2007] 1 FLR 1480, CA
    • El Faragy (Judicial humour: recusal)
      [2007] EWCA Civ 1149
    • Re H (Abduction: Dominica: Corporal punishment)
      [2007] 1 FLR 72, CA
    • F v G (Schedule 1)
      [2005] 1 FLR 261, FD
    • Q v Q (Footballer: big money)
      [2005] 2 FLR 640, FD
    • Re G (Liberty to restore adjourned lump sum claim after remarriage)
      [2004] 1 FLR 997, FD
    • B v El B
      [2003] 1 FLR 811, FD
    • Payne v Payne (Leave to remove)
      [2001] 1 FLR 1052, CA
    • A v M (Privacy: disclosure: injunction for well known author)
      [2000] 1 FLR 562, FD
    • Davies v Davies (Conflict of interest: solicitor unable to act against former client)
      [2000] 1 FLR 39, CA
  • Publications and Lecturing

    • Editor and consultant editor of Family Affairs (FLBA magazine) since 2007

    • Frequent contributor to Family Law, Family Affairs and other legal periodicals
    • Frequent lecturer at Law Society, FLBA National Conferences, Resolution National Conference, Jordans, Butterworths, White Paper, House of Commons Debating Society etc

    • Middle Temple Advocacy Trainer

  • Personal Information

    Refreshers CC (Bar cricket club) President: Emmy nominated Documentary filmmaker (wildlife and conservation): Photographer and journalist: Tusk Trust Global Ambassador: Private Pilot.


  • Bencher of the Middle Temple,


  • FLBA