A family lawyer renowned for her work on international child abduction cases has died, aged 63.

Wendy Kemp joined Exeter firm Crosse & Crosse in 1997 as a trainee solicitor and went on to become head of the family department.

In a statement, the firm said it had received messages of sympathy from all levels of the legal profession, including former colleagues, barristers, judges and court staff.

The statement added Kemp was ‘universally popular, loved and respected by those with whom she came into contact’.

‘She was a very caring person who showed great warmth and empathy to those around her.

‘She was well known for her ability to charm the most difficult or antagonistic of people. She had a great sense of fun and a mischievous sense of humour.’

Kemp dealt with many aspects of family law, specifically high-value matrimonial matters and complex children cases. She also worked with immigration practitioners for related advice on problems with British immigration status.

One of her first cases as a trainee was a case which went all the way to the House of Lords on a point of law.

Her firm said: ‘Taking a case to the [then] highest court in the land is something most solicitors never experience in their careers.

‘Wendy accomplished this at the very start of her legal career - quite possibly a unique achievement - and as many have commented this week, "how typical of Wendy".’

She was a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, had accreditation in Hague Convention cases and was a member of Reunite, the international child abduction charity.

She was also one of the few solicitors in the south-west to be registered as a member of the Home Office International Child Abduction Unit.

She leaves behind a husband and two children.

A memorial service will be held at Exeter Cathedral on 12 February at 2pm.