Joanne Brown



Joanne is Partner and Head of the Family Practice at Tanner De Witt. Under her leadership, the team has solidified its reputation as a specialised and reputable practice, earning recognition as ALB’s Matrimonial and Family Law Firm of the Year in 2022 and 2022. Joanne advises clients across all stages of family law, including cohabitation, paternity, adoption, prenuptial agreements, marriage, separation and divorce. Her exceptional qualities are underscored by Legal 500 Asia Pacific – Greater China, which notes her as “outstanding, direct, objective and empathetic”.

Joanne leads a team of family lawyers experienced in family litigation with many successful court cases reported. The team advises a diverse range of clients including high net worth individuals and expatriates and most of the matters have international considerations. A large part of Joanne’s practice involves advising individuals on challenging jurisdictional issues and complex financial arrangements including property held in multiple countries and spousal and child maintenance. Joanne also advises parents on difficult children’s custodial matters which often include the relocation of children from Hong Kong and child abduction. Many of the matters involve complex legal issues which will have an effect on the rule of law. This includes cases involving the Hague Convention (Abduction) and advising clients that qualify for Legal Aid.

The family team recognises and values the wide range of dispute resolution methods available to clients in this area of law often guiding clients to a positive outcome without the need to resort to court proceedings. A HKMAAL qualified Family Mediator, Joanne frequently advises clients engaged in mediation as a means to resolving conflicts. In addition, Joanne is a Qualified Practitioner of the Hong Kong Collaborative Law Practice Group and a qualified Parenting Coordinator.

Joanne studied Law in England before being admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 2008. She was awarded a Master of Laws (LLM) from The University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law in 2018. Joanne is on the firm’s Wellness Committee and sits as a Committee Member of the Hong Kong Family Law Association.


Joanne has significant experience in divorce and family matters including:

  • Cohabitation
  • Paternity
  • Adoption
  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements
  • Separation agreements
  • Divorce
  • Financial property and maintenance arrangements
  • Child custodial and access arrangements
  • Child relocation from Hong Kong
  • Child abduction / Hague Proceedings
  • Wardship proceedings
  • Criminal and domestic abuse matters
  • Immigration issues
  • Mediation and other forms of dispute resolution

Key cases

  • Advising clients engaged in high conflict cross-border divorce proceedings. These matters often involve parallel proceedings in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advising clients on nuptial agreements and their enforceability in Hong Kong.
  • Advising clients on Hague proceedings for the return of children to Hong Kong or elsewhere. These matters can also involve applications under the domestic law for the return of the children to Hong Kong, as well as advising on wardship proceedings in Hong Kong.
  • Advising clients on custodial rights and care and access arrangements for children.
  • Advising clients on matters relating to domestic abuse and other criminal matters.
  • Instructed by the Director of Legal Aid advise on public wardship proceedings.
  • Advising clients engaged in divorce proceedings on complex financial matters surrounding advance inheritance distributions and the mechanisms available to shield assets from the matrimonial pool.

Chambers and Partners 2023 states, “Joanne is solution-oriented, so she doesn’t shy away from telling the truth. She is respected among solicitors.” And, “She has a very good strategic mind. She is extremely fair and very practical.”

Awarded Family and Matrimonial Law Firm of the Year 2022 by Asian Legal Business


Chambers Greater China 2022 notes:Joanne is “empathetic, pragmatic and solution-focused.” Recognised as a leading practitioner.

Awarded ALB Hong Kong Family and Matrimonial Law Firm of the Year in 2020.

Recognised as a leading practitioner in the Chambers Asia Guide (2021-2018).

Listed as a recommended law firm and Joanne Brown as a recommended individual in Doyles Guide’s Leading Family & Divorce Hong Kong 2021.

Individual Silver Award in The Law Society of Hong Kong Pro Bono and Community Service Awards (2020-2016).

Chambers Asia Guide 2021 notes: “Joanne Brown draws widespread support from peers and clients alike, with one source highlighting: “Joanne is excellent – she is focused on client needs and maintains a clear view of what can be achieved, she is a pragmatic negotiator in mediation.” She is especially skilled in divorce, custody and nuptial matters.” Joanne is listed as a leading individual for family law.

The guide further notes: “Tanner De Witt offers clear, prompt and realistic advice at all stages of a family dispute. They are responsive and sensitive to the needs and wishes of clients, and able to incorporate those concerns into real and effective relief”. Further: “They have very good understanding and awareness of cultural and legal issues involved in international cases.”

Chambers Asia Guide 2020: Joanne Brown “understands her clients very well and doesn’t mind going the extra mile in cases.” She has noteworthy expertise in advising expatriates and HNW individuals on a range of matrimonial matters. One interviewee reports: “Joanne has a reputation for getting cases resolved without unnecessary cost and delay,” while another source notes: “I would single out Joanne as someone who is exceptional in mediation. She behaves in an incredibly helpful way and really advances negotiations”.

Chambers Asia Guide 2019: Joanne Brown “is very reassuring with clients, very professional and practical. She is the kind of person that people would go to if they want some very practical advice or if they want the case to be handled by someone with immediate maturity”.

Chambers Asia Guide 2018: Joanne is recommended by numerous clients and peers, who highlight her negotiation and client management skills. One interviewee notes: “She is great at dealing with highly complex cases and difficult clients,” adding that she is “the kind of person you would want to have there, very calm and collected.”

“As always, your sensitivity to the emotional nature of and impact of these proceedings on parties involved really sets you apart from all the other legal professionals I have come into contact with during this challenging time.” Client feedback.

“It is with sincere gratitude that I write on both myself and [anonymous]’ behalf to you personally. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our heart for seeing through the rather complicated and exhausting litigation process that we have been through in recent times. We have no doubt that Tanner De Witt is the premier family law firm.” Client feedback.


Professional memberships

  • Accredited Mediator of Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Committee Member of the Hong Kong Family Law Association
  • Member of Resolution
  • Member of the Hong Kong Collaborative Law Practice Group (Qualified Practitioner)
  • Qualified Parenting Coordinator (PC)
  • The Law Society of Hong Kong

Other memberships

  • Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC)