Vanessa Duff (Mitchell)

Senior Associate

Vanessa is a senior associate in the divorce and family team.

Vanessa is a Senior Associate qualified in Hong Kong and in England & Wales, and is a native English & French speaker.

She has over 14 years of experience in advising on all aspects of family law and issues which arise from the breakdown of a relationship, including divorce, financial arrangements, and separation. She also advises clients in connection with disputes involving children, to include child maintenance, issues relating to custody, care and control and access, as well as on applications for leave to remove a child from the jurisdiction. Vanessa has experience in dealing with cases of child abduction under the Hague Convention, and the associated Court proceedings in the High Court.

Vanessa’s expertise lies in dealing with cases which have an international perspective, with a particular interest in cases having a Hong Kong-European dimension and jurisdictional disputes. She has numerous relationships with foreign lawyers and is able to manage multi-country cases and rapidly source foreign advice where necessary.

She is also a specialist in advising on and drafting prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, and separation agreements, both domestic and international. This is an area of practice which requires sensitivity and tact and may require a good understanding of European marital regimes and marriage contracts.

Vanessa’s client base includes high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs and city professionals. She is skilled in resolving cases with complex financial and disclosure issues, including cases involving inherited wealth and family businesses. Many of her clients are expatriates, and French speaking, and she will conduct meetings in French if necessary. She always goes the extra mile for her clients.

Where appropriate, Vanessa is committed to resolving disputes outside of the Courtroom and is a keen advocate of alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration and private FDRs.

Prior to joining the Hong Kong family team, Vanessa worked in the Withers London family team for over 11 years. She grew up and was educated in Belgium, and subsequently studied in London and Paris.

She 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 is also a qualified Mental Health First Aider and able to assist and support clients who are experiencing emotional distress or other mental health concerns.


Julian Lipson and Vanessa Mitchell have provided me with clear, direct and informed advice in a field in which I have found judgement is as important as fact. Their approach to family law has been both hugely reassuring and helpful. Highly recommended.

Property investor and developer

Thanks to my lawyers I felt strongly supported, protected and defended during this traumatising time that a divorce can be. They helped me to keep my dignity and my self-esteem fighting to assert my rights and doing so with success and in an ethical way. They worked with great efficiency, honesty and intelligence, always available when I needed them so I never felt alone or afraid during this most difficult time of my life. I owe them a lot and I will be forever grateful.

Stay at home parent

Thanks to your expertise and prowess, my case not only saw the light of day, but we can consider it as won. Justice was served. Your dedication, your attention to detail and diligence made this all possible. You believed in me and my situation, and did not leave my side, but remained steadfast through it all. At the end we succeeded and for me was really important to close this chapter of my life.




England and Wales, 2007

Hong Kong, 2020

‘The Right Choice’, Expat Living - Dec-Feb 2022, author

‘Protecting Wealth: How to safeguard corporate and personal interests’ , The French Chamber of Commerce – 27 October 2021

‘International mobility in a world of Covid-19 - European opportunities and points for reflection’ , Withers - 11 March 2021

‘Preserving Wealth - What Owners, Entrepreneurs and Founders need to know’ , Italian Chamber of Commerce - 12 May 2021



  • English
  • French





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