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Vanessa Duff


Vanessa advises high net worth and high-profile individuals, entrepreneurs and professionals (and their spouses/partners) on all aspects of family law and issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship, to include divorce, financial arrangements, and disputes involving children. She has a particular expertise in multi-jurisdictional financial disputes and nuptial agreements.



Vanessa has over 15 years of experience in advising high net worth and high-profile individuals, professionals and entrepreneurs, and their spouses and partners, on all aspects of family law. This includes issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship, including the separation/divorce and the financial arrangements. She is skilled in resolving cases with complex financial issues, and those involving inherited wealth and family businesses.

A large part of Vanessa’s practice involves helping clients with disputes involving children, including issues relating to custody, care and control and access, and child maintenance. She also deals with international relocation cases and High Court cases of child abduction. A number of her cases involve mental health issues and/or addictions, and domestic abuse. As a qualified Mental Health First Aider, Vanessa is able to assist and support clients who are experiencing emotional distress or dealing with high conflict litigation.

Vanessa also has extensive experience in advising on and drafting prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, and separation agreements. This is an area of practice which requires sensitivity and tact and often requires an understanding of the interrelation with European marital regimes and marriage contracts.

Vanessa’s has a keen interest in cases which have an international perspective, particularly Hong Kong-European jurisdictional disputes. Many of her clients are expatriates. As a native English and French speaker, Vanessa regularly conducts meetings in French. She has an extensive network of contacts, and close working relationships with foreign lawyers, to include in France, Belgium, Germany, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, New York, California, and Australia.

Where appropriate, Vanessa is committed to resolving disputes outside of the Court and is a keen advocate of alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and private FDRs. Many of her cases settle well before reaching a trial. She proposes creative yet sensible solutions to clients and is known for her compassion, energy and for always going the extra mile for her clients.

Vanessa has been featured in various publications to include Expat Living, Hong Kong Lawyer, Hong Kong Economic Times, Around DB, Hong Kong Animal Post and Hong Kong Madame.

Vanessa grew up and was educated in Belgium, and subsequently studied in London and Paris. She is admitted to practise in England & Wales and Hong Kong.


  • Successfully securing the return of children from Hong Kong to France pursuant to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction (FR and MF [2021] HKCFI 1557).
  • Representing the Luxembourg Crown Estate as an intervening party in a ‘Royal divorce’.
  • Representing a wife against a high-profile husband in a big money case involving significant non-disclosure running to hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Obtaining child support and final orders in proceedings with an absent father and successfully defending proceedings commenced by the father in Dubai (KLT also known as KLP and CP [2021] HKFC 102).
  • Representing a mother in high conflict litigation involving allegations of child abuse.
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