Charmaine is regarded as an expert in English Family Law and is one of the few Family Solicitor finance Arbitrators (CIArb) which means she is able to hand down binding judgments in family law money matters.
Charmaine has the benefit of BA (Psychology) and LLB degrees.
Charmaine has been nominated as ‘Spears Family Lawyer of the year 2024’ and named in the Spear’s 2023 Index, listed as a leading individual in Legal 500 and is individually ranked in Chambers UK. She is the only family solicitor to ever be listed on the ePrivateClient’s 50 Most Influential Solicitors.
She has particular experience and expertise in advising on big-money and big-name divorces. She is able to advise on cross-border money matters and has a particular interest in trusts and pensions. Her practice covers divorce, separation, civil partnerships, pre and post-nuptial agreements, co-habitation agreements, children issues, abductions and international law. She works with the leading Family Law silks.
Charmaine prides herself on not seeking any publicity for herself or Wedlake Bell in order to ensure that each client has the confidence that at a very distressing stage of their lives, no external factors will influence their decision making and their need for peace of mind.
Charmaine is always conscious of the need to combine the legal and psychological factor to facilitate advantageous results in these financially challenging times.
“She has an immense amount of knowledge and a wealth of experience. Her ability to read clients and read the situation is absolutely brilliant.”
Chambers UK, 2023
“I worked with Charmaine Hast, I valued her depth of knowledge of family law and empathy. She also had a great sense of humour and was kind and driven to get me the best settlement possible, which I really appreciated. Charmaine was totally engaged in working for me. Charmaine made the extremely challenging journey less frightening with her wisdom, knowledge and deep empathy.”
Legal 500, 2023
“An outstanding practitioner, hard as nails when it counts. Soft as a feather when needed. A great character of the matrimonial legal world. A truly unique person. One of the top flight of matrimonial solicitors bringing a rare degree of commitment, judgment and intellectual acuity to this most demanding area of law. Her clients like her dedication to their causes.”
Richard Todd KC
Charmaine has represented a vast number of public figures including pop stars, actors and actresses, members of parliament, well known sports men and women, TV personalities, entrepreneurs, medical practitioners, bankers, accountants and other clients who require efficient no nonsense financial advice. She makes every endeavour to ensure that she receives no publicity from these representations, in deference to the clients’ need for confidentiality during a period in their lives of emotional and financial turmoil.
She established the Family Department at Wedlake Bell in November 2011 and it quickly rose to become one of the most well respected departments in the country. She previously established and headed a former Legal 500 number one family department in the South East. She is a member of Resolution (formerly Solicitors Family Law Association) where she was one of the first accredited specialists in high net worth financial matters and child abductions. She is a past trustee of Surrey Family Mediation and a former Vice Chairman of the British South African Law Association.
As a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, she is able to guide clients, where appropriate, to a more speedy and cost effective manner of adjudicating matters rather than to resort to the court process which can be protracted, public and extremely stressful.
In May 2022, she was included as a member of the esteemed panel at the 1 Hare Court Annual Seminar together with Sir Johnathan Cohen, HHJ Oliver, Justin Warshaw KC and Eleanor Harris, both of counsel and solicitor Sam Longworth.
In February 2020, Charmaine addressed the First National Bank trustees and advisors in Sandton, South Africa on Trusts and Divorce in England and Wales.
In October 2018 she addressed the Bev Clark Seminar on Family Law in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In March 2017, Charmaine addressed The Law Society of The Northern Provinces in Johannesburg, South Africa incorporating The Gauteng Law Society, Limpopo Law Society, Mpumalanga Law Society and the North west Law Society. The subject was Part 111 provisions of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 English Law and how foreign consent and divorce judgements are dealt with in the courts of England and Wales. The title was ‘Is your foreign court order unfair and can it be set aside in England?’
In March 2015, Charmaine was widely quoted on the Wyatt post-divorce pay out, including: BBC News, the Press Association, Mail online, the Evesham Journal, Stroud Life, the Western Daily Press and the Tewkesbury Admag alongside interviews for BBC Radio Five Live, ITV, BBC, and many other publications.
Charmaine has a number of reported cases in South Africa and England and Wales.
Charmaine having read a degree in psychology prior to her law degree has a particular interest in the various psychological traits which contribute towards relationship breakdowns:
This is often evidenced by mood swings from feeling extremely high to feeling extremely low. They may never experience periods of “normal” moods.
Borderline Personality Disorder
This disturbing condition is when one experiences extraordinary difficulties in dealing with life regardless of whether it relates to how other people deal with things or how the patient perceives the world. Anger, paranoia and even feelings of suicide are experienced by these patients who have insecure relationships.
It is a tragic feeling of being useless and can include thoughts of suicide. Depression should not be left to smoulder and help should be sought without delay. Clinical depression can become manic depression and may even result in bipolar tendencies.
The Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 116 123.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is usually found in people who lack confidence but display over confidence, lack of empathy for others and the need for attention. This disorder causes unhappiness and disappointment as they think they deserve more and they find their relationships unfulfilling.
This is the general inability to experience feelings of emotion.
This is when a person is conditioned or groomed into believing that his/her perception of reality is without foundation. The retort “you are letting your imagination run away with you” is usually evidence of this. Once an abusive partner has broken down the victim’s ability to trust their own perceptions, the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship. Gaslighting tends to happen very gradually, the abusive partner’s actions may seem like just a harmless misunderstanding at first. Over time, however, these abusive behaviours continue, and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated and depressed, while losing all sense of what is actually happening. Then, the victim may start relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.
Psychosis and neurosis are subjects which require more than a simple explanation.
Charmaine has a number of reported cases including:
- FW v FH  EWHC 1338 (Fam)
- Tracey v Tracey  2 FLR 480
- B v B (Divorce: Anti Suit Injunction)  EWHC 1711
- Re SW v RC (2008) 1FLR1703*
- Re B (removal from jurisdiction) (2003) BWCA Civ1149*
- Armstrong v Armstrong (2003) 2FLR48
- Richardson v Richardson (2) another (1996) 2FLR617
* These cases were appeal cases which were successfully appealed.
- “Lawyers prepare for biggest shake-up to divorce law in 50 years”, The Financial Times, 24 January 2022
- Charmaine Hast comments regarding the emotional burden covid has placed on the population were featured in The Times and Edward Fennell’s Legal Blog, 25 March 2021
- “Am I Legally Entitled To A Share Of The Family Business?”, The Financial Times, 25 February 2020. Printed edition published on 27 February 2021.
- ‘No fault’ divorce bill gets MPs backing‘, Eprivate Client, 9 June 2020.
- “Government gets tough on family financial orders”, Law Society Gazette, 17 August 2018.
- “UK: Ex-wife cannot claim increased maintenance to compensate for lost capital”, STEP, 19 July 2018.
- “Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeal’s ruling on spousal maintenance case – Industry reacts”, ePrivateClient, 19 July 2018.
- “Reader’s question re: Non-disclosure of assets”, Financial Times, 14 June 2017 .
- “Divorce for international couples”, Spear’s, 14 February 2017.
- “Divorce season”, Spear’s, 8 September 2016.
- “Ask the expert section: inheritance”, Choice Magazine, 24 June 2016.
- “Asos co-founder sells shares to fund divorce settlement”, Spear’s, 21 June 2016.
- “Widow seeks half of deceased husband’s estate”, Spear’s, 16 May 2016.
- “Answer to ask the expert question”, Choice Magazine, 24 February 2016.
- “Press release re: Data Protection in divorce”, The Times’ Brief, 5 January 2016.