Meet our team

Shabana Walayat

Shabana is a co-founder of Shortlands Law Firm Limited. She has been a specialist family lawyer for over 30 years, providing her with vast experience in all aspects of family law.

She has acted for clients worldwide (Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Pakistan, Egypt, America, Azerbaijan, and Europe), both in respect of resolving financial and children issues. Her expertise is extensive, whether in cases involving high net worth assets, small money, domestic abuse, child arrangements, fact-find hearing, relocation abroad and drafting agreements.

Sian Whittaker

Sian has over 20 years of specialist experience in Family Law. She is an Accredited Collaborative Lawyer, a Trained Mediator and Family Law Arbitrator. A majority of her cases have an international dimension where she advises high net worth individuals in complex assets and pension-related matters. In addition, Sian has an in-depth understanding and experience about Wills, Probate and Estate Planning matters.


If you do not have a Will in place, then the government distributes your assets as they see fit. If you are not married, then your partner does not automatically inherit your assets. Sian can help you prepare your will and advise you on Trusts and ways in which you can reduce Inheritance Tax Liabilities.

Carolyn Hanes

Carolyn is a Resolution trained accredited family mediator. Her extensive training and practice as a mediator have led to full accreditation with the Law Society as well as accreditation for civil and commercial mediation with ADRg. She holds FMCA status as an accredited family mediator with the Family Mediation Council and is qualified to Directly Consult with Children (DCC).


Carolyn is a Resolution trained PPC (Professional Practice Consultant), assisting and supporting other mediators in the development of their own practice, helping them identify and develop their own mediation signature and is an assessor for the Law Society’s accreditation scheme.

Austin Chessell

Austin Chessell is a specialist Collaborative Family Solicitor and an Accredited Family and Child Mediator. Austin is also a PPC. He focuses mainly on Family Mediation for divorce, children and financial matters.


Austin takes a pragmatic approach to his cases, and his aim is to resolve matters without the escalation of costs to his clients.


He is active with charitable and pro bono work and, as such, devotes his time at the Family CAB in Holborn at the Central Family Court. Austin is a former Trustee of Families Need Fathers.

Wentworth Cecil Gurney

Wentworth has close to six years of legal experience and is currently a solicitor at Shortlands. Wentworth achieved a distinction in the Legal Practice Course. Wentworth specialises in private-client matters (wills, probate, trusts, and lasting powers of attorney), both litigious and non-litigious.

Alastair Dobbie

Alastair Dobbie is a consultant solicitor who studied Jurisprudence at Oxford (law), where he was awarded an exhibition for a first-class result in Moderations, and got a good grounding at one of the best colleges for law, Brasenose, which boasts remarkably two sitting Supreme Court Judges as alumni.


He is a language specialist with a varied client base across the world and has experience as a professional translator and interpreter for commercial and legal documents.

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