Mark focuses on divorce and family law, in particular international cases and those involving trusts. He also deals with pre-nuptial and pre-civil partnership agreements.
Mark also acts in international children’s cases, including relocation cases. His Court of Appeal case of K v K helped to shape the law on relocation. In S v S, Mark achieved relocation but also change of primary carer for the children.
Mark was ranked one of the top ten UK family lawyers in Spear’s Wealth Managements’ Family law index 2017, 2018, and 2019 and was described as “without doubt the best technician in London”.
He was also ranked in The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100 lawyers’ under Family and Private Client and is listed among the Top 10 Family & Matrimonial Lawyers in Citywealth’s Leaders List and Spear’s Family Law Index’s ‘Top Flight Family Lawyers’. Mark is also listed in Tatler Address Book’s Advisory as one of the leading family lawyers in their trusted network of influential and elite private client experts with “gilt-edged” expertise.
Mark is the co-author of three leading textbooks on family law: International Trust and Divorce Litigation (Third Edition), Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership – The New Law, and Model Letters for Family Lawyers, all published by Jordans. Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, in a review of International Trust and Divorce Litigation said “This is a book which needs to be in the bookcase and in the briefcase of everyone involved on a divorce case with a trust element”.
Mark is a regular commentator on family law issues in the press and TV, having appeared on BBC News and Radio 4’s Today programme. He regularly lectures in England and in offshore jurisdictions on a broad range of family law issues, especially trusts on divorce and pre-nuptial agreements, and was the European Chapter President of the International Academy of Family Lawyers between 2014 and 2016.
Mark continues to have a strong presence in the UK’s top legal directories. Chambers UK 2022 reconfirms Mark’s Band 1 ranking and describes him as “an effective litigator who has retained his strong reputation in the family market”. He has “longstanding knowledge of trusts” and “delivers results without fail”. Chambers UK 2021 praised him for having “run the biggest cases” and being “excellent”, “absolutely superb and very commercial”. The Guide also added that “he’s really just at the top of his game” and “is one of those people who you know is thinking all the time and thinking about the next step”.
Mark retains his Band 1 ranking in Chambers HNW 2021. The Guide highlights he has “a very comprehensive knowledge of the law, especially international law”, “has great expertise when trusts come into play” and is “technically superb”. Chambers HNW 2020 reconfirmed his Band 1 ranking, noting he “handles matrimonial cases, with particular expertise in international cases involving trusts” and “also advises high net worth clients on pre- and post-nuptial agreements”. The Guide also praises Mark for being “one of those people who you know is thinking all the time, so he is strategising, he is calming the client. He is thinking about the next step and definitely top tier.”
The Legal 500 UK 2022 reconfirms Mark’s ranking as a ‘Leading Individual’ with a client noting he is “fantastic and I would highly recommend him (in fact I have already) to anyone getting a divorce” further adding Mark was “very, very strong” when needed, and “could see what was happening on both sides all the time”. The Legal 500 UK 2021 praised his “tremendous litigation experience” as a “family law super star” who “has been handling huge cases for many, many years”.
Mark has a keen interest in architecture, foreign travel and classic cars.
Mark studied at Pembroke College, Oxford and Guildhall University, London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and was a partner at Withers from 1999 until September 2014, when he joined Hughes Fowler Carruthers.
Chambers UK 2020 reconfirmed Mark’s Band 1 ranking and highlighted his long-standing knowledge of trusts and particularly complex points of family law as well as his significant strength in multi-jurisdictional matters in Europe and beyond.
Mark was also ranked Band 1 in Chambers HNW 2019. He was praised as a “very conscientious lawyer who thinks very deeply about cases and looks after his clients tremendously well”. Chambers HNW further remarked that Mark was “one of the best matrimonial lawyers in London” and that he has “profound knowledge” which is “critical to a client of a very high calibre”.
Chambers UK 2019 described him as an “outstanding” and “technically brilliant lawyer with great instincts” and reconfirmed his Band 1 ranking.
Chambers HNW 2018 reconfirmed Mark’s Band 1 ranking and described him as “very clearly respected for his experience” and noted for his “enormous knowledge of international law and trusts”.
Chambers UK 2018 confirmed again Mark’s Band 1 ranking, and characterised him as “an extraordinary technician” and “one of the foremost high net worth matrimonial finance practitioners at the London Bar”.
Chambers HNW 2017 ranked Mark Band 1, and praised him as “one of the best solicitors out there in dealing with cross-jurisdictional issues” and “a partner of the highest class”.
Chambers UK 2017 reconfirmed Mark’s Band 1 ranking and described him as “one of the best solicitors in the business” with a client commenting that he had “the best technical knowledge of any lawyer I’ve ever worked with”.
Chambers HNW 2016: Mark Harper “is my favourite solicitor in family law”, stated a commentator, adding: “I think he’s just fantastic and not just because he’s very bright and able. There is just something about the way he works that is extremely effective, that makes you want to work with him”. Harper’s impressive work includes international matters concerning pre-and post-nuptial agreements, while he is noted in particular for his ability to handle complex cases involving trusts. “He’s extremely strong on anything with an international element, particularly trusts. He is extremely erudite, diligent and hard working. He has got real flair” said a source. He was also praised as a highly empathetic lawyer who takes a holistic approach to giving his advice. He is totally on top of the latest case law but combines that with practical advice.
Chambers UK 2016 confirmed his Bank 1 ranking again. Mark is a “highly empathetic lawyer who is totally on top of the latest case law but combines that with practical advice”.
The Legal 500 UK 2020 recognised Mark as a ‘Leading Individual’ and described him as a “sensible and constructive” highly regarded individual and “a brilliant lawyer who does the biggest cases”.
The Legal 500 UK 2019 described him as “magisterial in managing a team on a big case”, “unrivalled on trust issues” and “an exceptional and a fearless litigator”.
The Legal 500 UK 2017 reconfirmed his position as a ‘Leading Individual’, describing his “ability to deal with complex divorce cases” as “far superior to others at other law firms”, and acknowledging his “excellent knowledge of trust law”.
The Legal 500 UK 2016 reconfirmed his position as a ‘Leading Individual’ and described him as “highly rated for his ‘in-depth knowledge of trusts’”.
Spear’s Wealth Management Family Law Index 2015 said “He does not care whose toes he treads on in pursuing his clients’ objectives”.
Spear’s 2014 said “Mark has the intellectual rigour to outwit every opponent in a jurisdiction case”. Mark was ranked in The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100 lawyers of 2008’ under Family and Private Client.
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