About Us

John F. S. Cabot Solicitors work mainly as independent providers of legal advice and support to both commercial and private clients, however we are happy to work in partnership with other solicitors practices or barristers chambers on client cases when required.


Principal Solicitor – John Cabot

Email John: john@johnfscabot.co.uk

Personal SRA Membership Number 0081296


Engaging John as your professional expert advisor will mean that you have retained a specialist litigator of high calibre.

John has over 35 years experience in bringing and defending claims. He is a determined and able litigation solicitor.  He has excellent legal and tactical judgement. He provides his clients with expert, practical and commercial advice both in and outside the courtroom. You will find that he will protect your interests skilfully and tenaciously. If it is necessary to issue proceedings and retain counsel, John’s experience of the conduct of litigation and his knowledge of the bar is invaluable as he has instructed and worked with a wide range of barristers concerning many different types of cases (see ‘legal services’ and ‘case diary’).

John graduated from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology in 1969 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1973.  John was admitted to the High Court of New Zealand as a barrister and solicitor in 1974. He came to England in 1976 and was enrolled by the Law Society as a solicitor in February 1980. He worked for Cameron Markby (now CMS Cameron McKenna LLP) from 1978 to 1983 and then for Mackrell Turner Garrett as a litigation partner until 1999, when he established his own firm.

Although John’s advice is analytical and dispassionate, you will find that he has a sympathetic and helpful manner. This is because John understands the difficulties, uncertainties and anxieties that litigation brings with it, and the need to provide support in times that are generally of considerable stress to clients. Importantly, during the litigation process, you will deal only with him.

In addition, because of his New Zealand qualifications, John is frequently called on to provide advice and services in relation to agreements pursuant to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“PRA”). This is the New Zealand legislation governing the division of property in matrimonial and other specified circumstances. He is one of the very few lawyers in the United Kingdom with the necessary expertise to provide the services required by the PRA.

John is also an agent for the purposes of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

John does not undertake work assisted by the Community Legal Service Fund (commonly referred to as “Legal Aid”), which is run by the Legal Services Commission. Nor does he undertake work on a conditional fee basis (“no-win no-fee”).

Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (New Zealand)

John Cabot is one of the few lawyers in United Kingdom with the necessary expertise to advise on and to witness and certify agreements pursuant to section 21F of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“PRA”).  He has provided services in dozens of such agreements since the introduction of the PRA.

The following are widely held misconceptions of this legislation:

  1. A party in the United Kingdom who is seeking a lawyer to provide the
    relevant services pursuant to Section 21F needs to be advised by a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand or by a lawyer that holds a current New Zealand practising certificate.
  2. because the agreement has been prepared by the party’s New Zealand lawyer who has already given him or her the appropriate advice in relation to it

That these views are mistaken can be seen from the wording of section 21F, the material parts of which state:

“Agreement void unless complies with certain requirements    

  1. … an agreement entered into under section 21 or
    section 21A or section 21B is void unless the requirements set out in subsections (2) to (5) are complied with.
  2. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
  3. Each party to the agreement must have independent legal advice before signing the agreement.
  4. The signature of each party to the agreement must be witnessed by a lawyer.
  5. The lawyer who witnesses the signature of a party must certify that, before that party signed the agreement, the lawyer explained to that party the effect and implications of the agreement.”

First, sub-sections 21F (4) and (5) only refer to a “lawyer” – there is no requirement in the legislation for the lawyer to be legally qualified in New Zealand (although for the advice given by the lawyer to be effective, the lawyer would have to be familiar with the PRA, and its interpretation by the courts of New Zealand).

Second, S21F (5) requires “the lawyer who witnesses the signature …” to explain to [his/her client] “the effect and implications of the agreement.”  So in order to comply with S21F the lawyer witnessing the signature cannot just proceed on the basis that his client has been advised on the effect and implications of the agreement by a New Zealand based lawyer.  The advice must be provided by the UK lawyer witnessing any agreement executed by any party in this jurisdiction (although the UK lawyer should discuss the agreement with any New Zealand lawyer who has been advising the relevant party in New Zealand in order to avoid duplication of effort, if possible).

You can be assured that John Cabot is familiar with the PRA, and where appropriate will liaise with your New Zealand lawyer to provide you with a cost effective service that meets the requirements of section 21(F).