Manchester, United Kingdom
Holly qualified as a solicitor in 2010 before joining Thomas Eggar LLP, a South East based law firm and in 2013, she joined her current firm. Holly has a sympathetic approach, always going the extra mile for her clients, to ensure the receive level-headed advice and guidance. Holly specialises in all aspects of private family law including financial settlements arising out of divorce, dissolution and separation; complex financial disputes and pre-and post-nuptial agreements. She has worked on cases involving offshore corporate structures and complex financial instruments. Holly also works in children law disputes including representing parents, carers and other family members in matters relating to residence, contact, parental responsibility as well as cases involving international relocation. She regularly comments in the media on legal issues and has been quoted recently in The Times, The Telegraph and BBC News.
Family and divorce solicitor
Holly advises clients from all walks of life from teachers to doctors, entrepreneurs to full-time parents. She has a particular aptitude for handling complex financial disputes and has recently worked on cases involving offshore corporate structures and complex financial instruments. She also has a growing interest in representing parents, carers and other family members in disputes relating to children, included cases involving international relocation.
2004 - 2007
2:1 LLB, Law
2007 - 2008
Distinction in LPC, Law
I have known Holly from my early legal training up to the present day and remain closely in touch as we both specialise in Family law and are Resolution members. Holly is quick to grasp legal issues, approachable and she is practical. She is conscious of cost-proportionality and the practical results for clients. If I had to recommend someone to a solicitor in Manchester / North West she would be my choice
Family solicitors have defended the profession after Gary Lineker accused lawyers of fuelling hate between divorcing couples.
In an interview with the Radio Times, the sports broadcaster and former England striker called for a ‘mathematical equation’ to help couples divorce quickly so they could avoid what he called the ‘manipulative’ behaviour of lawyers.
He accused solicitors of finding ways to make couples spend more money, fuelling acrimony between the parties. His comments come months after his divorce from his second wife Danielle Bux. The couple's divorce was completed through a government website for £400.
Holly Tootill, family lawyer at Manchester-based JMW Solicitors, said: ‘It is naturally disappointing to read criticism of divorce lawyers based, in this case, on what might well be a bad personal experience.
‘All too often we are considered something of a necessary evil but our role is to guide clients to the most appropriate and fair solution for them.’
She noted that for 20 years family law group Resolution has been campaigning for no-fault divorce to help prevent unnecessary tensions between spouses.
Nigel Shepherd, chair of Resolution and partner at national firm Mills & Reeve, agreed that there should be changes to help couples divorce amicably, but stressed it is important couples get legal advice.
He said: ‘Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for people to finalise everything so quickly, or in such an amicable way, and that’s where the support of professionals is invaluable. Even where there is significant agreement from the outset, or where an agreement has been reached through mediation, couples will benefit from independent legal advice.
‘We agree entirely with Mr Lineker that there should be clearer guidance about financial provision upon divorce, so that people understand the potential outcomes and consequences of any settlement reached.
'This is one of the points we argue in our Manifesto For Family Law, and it’s important that any reform also ensures that vulnerable people are protected – we need to have clarity without a straitjacket.’
He added that removing the need for one party to blame the other would be the most effective way to help people reach an amicable agreement, and urged Lineker to support Resolution’s call for the introduction of no-fault divorce.
However Tootill described Lineker’s suggestion that divorce could be solved by a mathematical equation as ‘idealistic’.
She said: ‘There can’t ever really be a "one-size-fits-all" system because no two families' circumstances are ever truly identical. I also wonder how the already over-burdened courts would react to the prospect of even more couples representing themselves while trying to divide their assets.’
Top judge hands divorcee £3.5m despite husband arguing it should be less as ex-wife lives with another man2.57pm GMT, 26 May 2016
Women who move in with other men after getting divorced are still entitled to a share of their ex-husband's wealth, the UK's most senior family judge has ruled.
Karen Hart, 60, was awarded £3.5million from a £10m family fortune following her split from John Hart, a property mogul who she had been married to for more than 20 years.
Mr Hart, 77, took the case to the Court of Appeal in London after claiming the initial award to his ex-wife was unfair and ignored the fact she was living with another man.
But he discovered today that his legal challenge had failed after Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division at the High Court, ruled that the "presence of [Mrs Hart's] new partner in her life did not diminish her needs”.
The case “reaffirms” that all financial needs must be met by parties during a divorce, a top lawyer told The Daily Telegraph after the ruling as she declared it a victory for “financial independence and free choice”.The situation in my case is that my wife had been living as man and wife with somebody for years. They have a bank account together, a home together and credit cards together
Georgina Hamblin, a director at Vardags, said: “The Court of Appeal reaffirmed the well-established principle that all financial ‘needs’ must be met by the parties to a marriage and that these responsibilities cannot be shirked.ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads
“Sir James Munby offered long overdue and critical guidance on the part that new partners have to play in this exercise.
“His comments and judgment will therefore be relevant to all those looking to move on with their lives following a divorce as well as those looking on suspiciously at their spouse’s new partners hoping that they may represent a get out of jail free card.”
The court had heard that Mr and Mrs Hart began living together in 1983 and married in 1987. The couple had two children and lived in a £1.1m gated home, which included five bedrooms, a gym and home cinema room, in Wishaw, near Sutton Coldfield.
They also bought properties in Miami and Spain and amassed a £10m family fortune before divorce proceedings were commenced in 2011.
Mr Hart initially complained to Judge Stephen Wildblood QC at a 2015 hearing that his ex-wife had been co-habiting with her new partner, Tim Chubb, "for years". He claimed that her share of the family wealth ought to be cut on the assumption that she would now rely on Mr Chubb financially.
Mrs Hart argued that, after more than 20 years of marriage, she is "anxious to remain financially independent" and should not have to rely on a man to maintain her lifestyle.
Judge Wildblood ruled in her favour and refused to lower his assessment of Mrs Hart's financial "needs".
At the Appeal Court today, Mr Hart, representing himself, said that "anyone with normal sense" would see it was unfair for him to have to hand his ex £3.5m in cash, property and shares.I'm on the back foot and have been since day one... I can't believe that anybody with normal sense wouldn't see they are living together as man and wife
"The situation in my case is that my wife had been living as man and wife with somebody for years. It could be 10 years," he said.
"They have a bank account together, a home together and credit cards together. You can hardly agree with Judge Wildblood when he said they lead separate lives.
"They are obviously living together as man and wife. They own a home together. If it had gone before 10 judges, I think nine of them would have agreed with me."
He told Sir James that Judge Wildblood had taken an unusual course and insisted that previous case law showed the divorce courts generally take account of a re-marriage, or the prospect of a re-marriage, when assessing the post-split financial needs of divorcee.
He added: "It is all one way. I'm on the back foot and have been since day one... I can't believe that anybody with normal sense wouldn't see they are living together as man and wife.
"I can't believe that anybody would truly believe that my ex-wife and her partner are not living together as man and wife. I believe that Judge Wildblood definitely got this wrong."
Peter Mitchell, for Mrs Hart, accepted that she is in a long-term relationship with Mr Chubb but said that, after 20 years of marriage, she cherished her independence and didn't want to have to rely on a man for money any more.
She and Mr Chubb "have no current intention to marry," he told Sir James. "Whatever Mrs Hart decides to do in her relationship, she should not be obliged to do it because of a judge's order. Judge Wildblood made an order based on the wife's needs at the end of a very long marriage."
Sir James said that the call had been a tricky one for Judge Wildblood to make. "If one gets it wrong one way, the wife is left stranded. If one gets it wrong the other way, the husband is aggrieved," he said.
He concluded: "I do not consider that the presence of Mr Chubb in the life of Mrs Hart should diminish her needs."I do not consider that the presence of Mr Chubb in the life of Mrs Hart should diminish her needs
Outside Court afterwards, Mr Mitchell said: "Mrs Hart acknowledged that she lived with Mr Chubb and that they are in a stable and long-term relationship.
"However, she said that they were anxious to retain their financial independence and that they were financially independent, aside from the costs of maintaining their household, which they shared equally.
"The judge accepted this evidence and held that Mrs Hart was entitled to financial independence at the conclusion of this long marriage. He rejected Mr Hart's argument that Mr Chubb should be responsible for maintaining Mrs Hart."
Holly Tootill, a family lawyer with JMW Solicitors, described the ruling as “perfectly fair”.
She added that it reflected how spouses’ financial obligations to one another did not necessarily end on divorce.
She said: "If Mr Hart won his case, his ex-wife would have seen her entitlement reduced because of a relationship which might well not last, leaving her potentially unable to meet her future needs.
“Who would she turn to when the money runs out? Faced with such a scenario, she would understandably feel a measure of compulsion to marry her partner in order to gain a measure of security and clearly the court has concluded that would be unfair.”
Neither Mr nor Mrs Hart made any comment after the hearing today.
Finalist, Made in Manchester Awards
Governing body for solicitors in England and Wales