Focuses on the financial side of relationship dissolution, handling complex cases relating to significant assets and jurisdictional disputes. He often handles financial remedy proceedings involving complex trust and business structures. Yates also leads negotiations in high-value postnuptial agreements. Strengths: "He's hugely knowledgeable and quick on his feet." "He's thoughtful and firm on behalf of the client, but also accessible and amenable during discussions." "A persuasive, smooth advocate who fights hard in court but also takes the heat out of cases." ‘Nicholas is calmness personified. He is strategically excellent, and can explain complex legal concepts to lay clients in a clear and effective way.’Chambers and Partners 2022 and Legal 500 2022
Nicholas was called to the Bar in 1996 after graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge.
He has represented a number of well-known celebrities, FTSE 100 CEOs and others in the public eye.
Described as “an exceptionally persuasive advocate”, “astonishingly good” and “incredible on his feet” (by Chambers & Partners), his “combination of emotional intelligence, intellectual rigour and charming and persuasive advocacy puts him in a league apart” (The Legal 500). In the 2018-2019 edition of The Legal 500 they described him as having “one of the best legal minds at the family Bar”
Nicholas specialises in financial remedy cases (including Civil Partnership and Schedule 1 claims) involving substantial assets, complex company valuations, trusts, tax issues and international dimensions.
He also drafts nuptial agreements and advises on their enforceability, as well as representing clients on jurisdiction matters, marriage/non-marriage cases and Inheritance Act claims.
He is one of the few members of the family bar to have won a second-tier appeal to the Court of Appeal in a financial case within the first three years of practice.
Nicholas is highly regarded by the professionals with whom he works and is quick to establish a solid rapport with his clients to achieve their goals in a straightforward, timely and cost-efficient way.
He is well-known for his negotiation skills and the quality of his written and oral arguments, as well the numeracy within his financial presentations.
His international practice has included work in Jersey, France, Macau and he often appears in The Cayman Islands, where he has also been called (ad hoc) to the Bar, including in the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal.
He has also given expert evidence as to English law in foreign jurisdictions.
- Financial remedies on divorce and partnership dissolution
- Schedule 1 claims (financial remedies for the benefit of children)
- Nuptial agreements (pre and post-nuptial)
- Inheritance Act financial claims
- Divorce (including jurisdiction and marriage/non-marriage)
Nicolaisen v Nicolaisen  1 FLR 1163. A High Court jurisdiction trial heard by Mr Justice Moor, involving concurrent proceedings brought by the parties in England, Norway and Austria. The principal issues were whether (i) W had been habitually resident in England to the requisite standard when she brought her petition, and (ii) in the event that England did have jurisdiction, it was the appropriate forum. The case engaged the Marinos versus Munro debate as to the correct test for habitual residence under EC Regulation 2201/2003 (“Brussels II”) and also the transitional Brexit provisions in relation to jurisdiction. Acted for the husband and won. This is a landmark jurisdiction case.
CG v SG  EWHC 942 (Fam). A High Court financial remedy trial involving a disputed valuation of a financial advisory business. The judgment in particular addresses issues of valuation where is it asserted that a business is a “singleton” business reliant upon the relevant party’s future involvement in it. It also addresses the correct approach to costs where the court has preferred the evidence of one party’s expert over that of the other. Acted for the wife.
FRB v DCA (No. 2)  EWHC 754 (Fam)
Assets of c.£172m. Acted for the husband in a novel case involving a 'undivided family arrangement', substantial pre-acquired assets, complex valuations of international financial entities and where the wife's inaction, in not informing her husband that their son may not have been his biological child, was found to have been so egregious that it would be inequitable to disregard: i.e. conduct was found against the wife and sounded in the financial outcome.
Also see the attached PDF: article in The Times on 13.05.20.
DJ v BJ (The Cayman Islands) 2019
A financial case concerning the interpretation and effect of a pre-nuptial agreement and whether the husband should be held to the terms of it which were extremely beneficial to the wife.
Al-Baker v Al-Baker (No 2)  EWHC 2510 (Fam)
Application by wife under Part III. Her husband’s assets were worth over £100m. The main issues were the value of the worldwide assets, the extent of husband’s non-disclosure, the drawing of adverse inferences against him and whether the wife could obtain a 50/50 sharing outcome under Part III (as opposed to under the MCA 1973). The wife did get a sharing outcome of c.£63m – the largest award yet under Part III.
Z v Z and Others  EWHC 1720 (Fam)
Zimina v Zimin  EWCA Civ 1429 (CofA)
Application by a wife under Part III of the 1984 Act following a consent order having been entered into in Russia some years beforehand, since which time husband’s financial resources had increased.
MG v FG (Schedule 1 - Application to strike out Estoppel Legal Costs Funding)  EWCH 1964 (Fam)
Application by a mother under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 after receipt by her of a financial award (as wife) in Australia. Issues of ‘strike out’ under Schedule 1, res judicata and issue estoppel, as well as legal service payment orders in Children Act proceedings.
De Reene v Galbraith-Marten 13 April 2016 (Court of Appeal)
Permission to appeal against the refusal of leave (by a High Court Judge) for a wife to apply for financial provision under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (financial provision following a foreign divorce). This case was reported in most of the daily newspapers (see e.g. The Times 19.04.16 – see attached PDF).
AB v CD  EWHC 10 (Fam)
Setting aside of a financial remedy consent order on the basis of wife’s non-disclosure. The wife failed to notify the husband and the court of an important investment in her company about which they should have been told prior to the settlement. The non-disclosure was not deliberate, but it was material. The consent order was set aside.
Chai v Peng
- Chai v Peng (Estoppel: Foreign Judgment) (No 1)  EWHC 3519 (Fam)  2 FLR 412
- Chai v Peng (Jurisdiction: Forum Conveniens) (No 2)  EWHC 3518 (Fam)  2 FLR 424
- Chai v Peng (No 2)  EWHC 1519 (Fam)  1 FLR 637
- Chai v Peng  EWHC 750 (Fam)  2 FLR 1189
- Peng v Chai  EWCA Civ 1312 (Court of Appeal)
- Chai v Peng & Others  EWHC 792 (Fam)
Jurisdiction race between Malaysia and England; wife won and jurisdiction was founded in England; wife successfully defended husband’s appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Interim maintenance and legal services order of £1.32m per annum.
Final financial remedy hearing; assets of over £200m.
Short-term interim maintenance award; jurisdiction and foreign law.
B v B  EWHC 1232 (Fam)
Division of current and future resources from Private Equity funds; which party should get which property, including a castle. High net-worth assets.
F v F (Financial Remedies: Premarital Wealth)  EWHC 438 (Fam)
Financial remedies; premarital wealth; whether family settlements constituted ‘financial arrangements’ for purposes of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
Bokor-Ingram v Bokor-Ingram  EWCA Civ 412
Material disclosure and the setting aside of consent orders.
I v I (Ancillary Relief: Disclosure)  1 FLR 2011
Material disclosure and the setting aside of consent orders.
Dorney-Kingdom v Dorney-Kingdom  2 FLR 855
Financial relief; Mesher orders and the interaction of jurisdiction between the courts and the Child Support Agency.
Family Law Bar Association (ex-member of the Committee)
- Aldenham School
- Trinity College, Cambridge (MA Cantab)
- The City University (Diploma in Law)
- Inns of Court School of Law
Chambers & Partners
"He's thoughtful and firm on behalf of the client, but also accessible and amenable during discussions."
"A persuasive, smooth advocate who fights hard in court but also takes the heat out of cases."
"Nicholas has exceptional skill in financial proceedings, and shows great attention to detail." "He is incredible on his feet."
“He's astonishingly good; he thinks in a very interesting way and very strategically. He slots right into a team and gets some incredible results."
"Nicholas’ creative thinking and beguiling advocacy are impressive."
“Peers consistently compliment him for his endeavour, good client manner and advocacy skills.”
“He is marvellous. I think he is the brightest star at the junior Bar. He is going to have an extraordinary career and he’s an invaluable resource. He is an exceptional advocate, who is very bright, subtle and tactical.”
“A highly respected expert in high net worth ancillary relief cases…, Inheritance Act claims, and pre and post nuptial agreements.”
“He is an excellent tactician and a real team player, who provides incisive advice.”
“He is very charming and very calm, and he has a wonderful and appropriate sense of humour.”
“He enjoys a reputation for being right most of the time and is much in demand with solicitors who say “his advice is invariably authoritative, straightforward and sensible, and his preparation is formidable.””
“An exceptionally persuasive advocate of quiet, sensible intelligence.”
“He enjoys the backing of many an instructing solicitor.”
The Legal 500
"Nicholas is calmness personified. He is strategically excellent, and can explain complex legal concepts to lay clients in a clear and effective way."
“One of the best legal minds at the family Bar.”
“His preparation is faultless.”
“He is a gifted advocate and a creative thinker – an expert in his field”
“Recommended for drafting nuptial agreements and advising on their enforceability.”
“His combination of emotional intelligence, intellectual rigour and charming and persuasive advocacy puts him in a league apart.”
Nicholas is married with three daughters and is also a semi-professional singer and keen amateur cyclist, often to be found on his way up Mont Ventoux (on one occasion, twice in one day) or other past stages of Tour de France.