Zoë is very willing to go the extra mile for your case.Chambers & Partners 2022
She exudes authority and skill.Chambers & Partners 2020
She is a fearless advocate.Chambers & Partners 2019
+44 (0) 20 7421 8019
Zoë is a specialist family law barrister, and completed her pupillage with Falcon Chambers before moving to Bristol to practice family law in October 2004. This background gives her particular insight into cases involving chancery law issues.
Zoë has extensive experience of cohabitation disputes involving ToLATA and Applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, and is often asked to advise both in writing and in conference as well as acting in disputed cases in the High Court, County Court and before the land registry adjudicator.
She has expertise in financial remedy cases involving farms and farming businesses, multiple properties, trusts of land, complex pensions and insolvency. Zoe has experience in cases involving confiscation orders and proceeds of crime act issues and international enforcement of maintenance orders.
Zoë has considerable experience in private law children disputes, particularly cases involving intractable contact disputes and parental alienation.
Zoë also specialises in cases involving international issues both in financial remedy work where cross-border marriage issues arise on divorce or international assets are involved and in children cases including disputes regarding international relocation and is frequently instructed to deal with cases at high court level.
Zoë has a fast-growing professional negligence practice dealing with claims involving solicitors arising primarily from cohabitant disputes including ToLATA, trusts and estates, divorce, financial remedies and general matrimonial work.
She is also one of the authors for the Dictionary of Private Children Law (2022). The book is a unique reference guide to the key concepts, cases and practice of private children law.
Zoe is a IFLA qualified arbitrator in children cases and financial matters.
Key cases & testimonials
WX v HX  EWFC 279 (21 December 2023) is a case in which Zoë Saunders represented the successful applicant’s wife. This was a complex and difficult case involving valuation of company assets, intervenors and comprehensive non-disclosure on the part of the respondent husband, also perhaps unsurprisingly issues of litigation conduct and costs. It contains useful summaries of the law on these issues as well as some very frank judicial comment on the shortcomings of the respondent’s case.
A case in which a multi-million pound property portfolio was involved and there were disputed issues as to contributions.
A farming dispute as to family ownership of various assets on the farm estate.
A case in which the parties ran a successful international business and partnership / company law issues required resolution.
Non-disclosure of significant sums of money requiring enforcement by way of judgment summons.
A binding agreement between the parties was alleged to have taken place years before proceedings were issued.
Enforcement of a children act order in which serious allegations of sexual abuse had been made but were found not to be true. An enforcement order of 40 hours of community service was made
A child psychologist to assist with issues of serious emotional harm being caused to a child.
Removal of children to Australia in which there were disputes as to the court’s jurisdiction to make orders and the habitual residence of the children.
A case in which the children were made wards of court as a result of risk of abduction to Syria.
Change of residence as a result of difficulties with contact orders.
A case relating to both constructive and resulting trusts involving multiple properties and complex issues of tracing of funds held on trust.
A dispute over a farming estate involving contested probate and inheritance act claims as well as proprietary estoppel.
A claim to set aside deeds of trust as a result of alleged duress.
Conveyancing negligence as a result of which the property was not registered in the names of either party and the beneficial and legal ownership had to be determined.
A case involving substantial payments by a parent to the purchase of a matrimonial home where the entitlement to beneficial interests were disputed.
Zoë is a powerhouse, in both her preparation and on her feet. Her swift grasp of case nuances and complexities is second to none, and is matched only by her robust but kind way with clients.Legal 500 2024
Zoë is extremely bright and knows the law in this area inside out. Chambers & Partners 2024
She is an extremely professional manner and courageous approach to cases.Chambers & Partners 2024
Zoë is a fiercely intelligent and fearless advocate. Her preparation is second to none and she is brilliant with clients.Chambers & Partners 2024
Zoe is very sharp and knowledgeable whilst being understanding of a client’s difficulties. She is an outstanding advocate in court. She’s very thorough, very good with clients and effective at explaining things.Chambers & Partners 2022
Zoe is a formidable advocate with a truly forensic attention to detail. She prepares her cases robustly but with the client’s needs in clear focus. She is keen to embrace a tricky legal question and to turn the question on its head to develop a commercially sound solution for the client.Chambers & Partners 2021
A fierce advocate, Zoe is undoubtedly very bright and has mastered well before most the art of paperless working. Her advice is clear and backed by both a sound understanding of the law and a ready appreciation of the client’s predicament.Chambers & Partners 2021
Zoë has a great manner with clients, excellent cross-examination skills and delivers advice in a sympathetic and honest manner. ‘She’s an excellent negotiator and is good on her feet. She is very down-to-earth and clients have been delighted with the results she has achieved on their behalf.Chambers & Partners 2020
Zoë is a strong advocate who you know will always give clients sensible, realistic advice but won’t shy away from pursuing challenging routes. Very thorough, good on her feet and clients love her..Chambers & Partners 2019
Areas of expertise
Zoë is a financial remedy specialist dealing with complex cases involving significant assets as well as more modest asset cases. She has particular expertise in cases involving issues such as third-party intervenors, insolvency, complex pensions, trusts, and inheritance issues.
Zoë has dealt with numerous cases involving international disputes and assets based abroad.
Zoë also has experience in cases involving confiscation order and proceeds of crime act issues and international enforcement of maintenance orders. Zoë has also dealt with a number of cases in which serious allegations of conduct were relevant.
Recent work includes:
- A case in which a multi-million pound property portfolio was involved and there were disputed issues as to contributions.
- A farming dispute as to family ownership of various assets on the farm estate.
- A case in which the parties ran a successful international business and partnership / company law issues required resolution.
- Non-disclosure of significant sums of money requiring enforcement by way of judgment summons.
- A binding agreement between the parties was alleged to have taken place years before proceedings were issued.
Zoë is also a CIArb and IFLA qualified Arbitrator in children cases and financial matters.
Zoë has extensive experience of private law children cases at all levels of the Family Court and in the High Court. She has particular experience in international cases involving the interplay between Brussels II and the Hague Conventions, as well as issues of Wardship and risk of abduction. She has also been involved in numerous cases involving applications for leave to remove children from the jurisdiction.
Zoë has experience of complex cases such as intractable disputes involving parental alienation and allegations of significant harm to children. Zoë also has experience of enforcement of children act orders.
Recent work includes:
- Enforcement of a children act order in which serious allegations of sexual abuse had been made but were found not to be true. An enforcement order of 40 hours of community service was made
- A child psychologist to assist with issues of serious emotional harm being caused to a child.
- Removal of children to Australia in which there were disputes as to the court’s jurisdiction to make orders and the habitual residence of the children.
- A case in which the children were made wards of court as a result of risk of abduction to Syria.
- Change of residence as a result of difficulties with contact orders.
Zoe is a IFLA qualified arbitrator in children cases and financial matters.
Zoë has specialist expertise in complex cases involving Inheritance Act claims, probate disputes, disputes concerning Trusts, property ownership and interests relating to property and land.
Zoë handles a large amount of work relating to contested probate claims, involving allegations ranging from capacity to undue influence, duress and fraud. She also handles a wide range of Inheritance Act claims, often in relation to divorce, cohabitation and/or children.
Much of Zoë’s work involves disputes relating to Trusts, especially in the context of financial settlement proceedings for husbands, wives and cohabitees. Zoe regularly handles cases involving multiple properties and/or funds held in trust, often with an international dimension and assets based abroad. She also deals with cases relating to the tracing of funds held on trust.
Zoe has particular expertise in relation to farming cases and claims of proprietary estoppel.
BA Joint Hons (Bristol), PGDL (City)
Scholarships David Karmel Award & Lord Justice Holker Scholarship (Gray’s Inn)
Zoë has completed the FLBA Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training
- Family Law Bar Association
- Resolution (Associate Member)
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
- Western Circuit
- South Eastern Circuit
- Society of Mediators
Deputy District Judge