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Marcus Dearle

Partner  |  Miles Preston & Co

England and Wales
Hong Kong
British Virgin Islands


Family law
Family asset protection/divorce & trusts
International surrogacy law


What has been the highlight of your practice over the past 12 months?

The final result in one of the most important family law cases in Hong Kong in the last 10 years: LCYP v JEK [2019] HKCFI 1588. The case has clarified the law on the enforcement of pre- and post-nuptial agreements (PNAs), and is now the leading PNA case in Hong Kong. It was the first reported divorce case in either Hong Kong or England & Wales involving attacks on US discretionary trusts.

How did you get into private client?

I got into family law and private client as a trainee at Eversheds in Norwich. I then joined Withers back in 1990.

What advice would you give rising stars/new lawyers in the private client world?

Do your best. Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Be kind and treat people the way you would like to be treated yourself. Keep an eye out for those who might be struggling more than you (who might even be senior to you) and give them a leg up. Above all, keep a sense of humour.

What is your favourite quote?

“Meet success like a gentleman; disaster like a man." Winston Churchill.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

I’m interested in my history and ancestry – I’ve got some well-known British loyalists in the revolutionary war from Virginia in my blood line who were a thorn in the side to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry and the Continental Congress generally.

When the restaurants reopen, where would you like to go?

Man Wah, in the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.