All members of Senate House Chambers take on privately and publicly funded work at every level of court. Our barristers provide a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience.

International Child Law

Our specialist children’s law barristers deserve their reputation for providing expert advice and advocacy in international child law proceedings. All parties, including local authorities, parents, children, and CAFCASS, have benefited from their expertise.

Our barristers respond promptly to regular urgent calls for advice and representation in this critical sector. We understand that timing is everything and can make all the difference to the child or children in question. This applies to applications for injunctions, recovery and Wardship.

Our members undertake cases across all elements of international child law including:

  • care proceedings with issues pertaining to jurisdiction
  • child abduction – both internal and external
  • the international movement of children – including requests for ‘leave to remove’ children to permanently live aboard
  • enforcement of international orders
  • international adoption
  • forced marriage
  • child trafficking

Our international children’s law team have a detailed knowledge and understanding of all relevant international treaties, including The Hague Convention and Brussels II.

Our practitioners in this area also provide a dedicated out of hours advice and advocacy service in light of the need to ensure effective representation in cases such as these where time is so often of the essence.

For advice or representation that is timely, thorough and effective, contact us:
Tel – 01604 210 979
Fax – 01604 622 283
Email – clerks@senatehousechambers.com

Senate House Chambers International Child Law Team

Lianne Murphy
Joint Head of Chambers
Year of Call: 2001

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Year of Call: 2001
Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn

Practice Areas:
Family Law specialist including:
• Public law for children
• Public law for parents
• Private law for Rule 16.4 Guardians
• Specialist Non- Accidental Injury
• Radicalisation
• Medico – Legal
• Human Rights expertise in care proceedings
• FGM
• Sexual abuse
• Jurisdictional expertise in care proceedings

Lianne deals with Children Act applications in the most serious and intractable of proceedings. She specialises in complex care matters involving allegations of non-accidental injury as well as jurisdictional issues and Brussels II. Her forensic and analytical approach is perfectly suited to managing complex medico-legal issues. Lianne is regularly instructed in such matters and has recently been involved in cases concerning infant death, complex inflicted injuries to multiple children and injury sites, FGM and inter familial sexual abuse. Lianne is adept at challenging medical expertise from psychological and psychiatric evidence to paediatric, radiological and neurologically based disciplines.

Lianne has particularly well recognised expertise in Human Rights and recently represented the Mother in the case of Northamptonshire County Council v AS and Others [2015] EWHC 199, securing the first human rights award for damages within the jurisdiction for a parent in care proceedings. Lianne regularly pursues cases where a breach of Article 8 and Article 6 or an abuse of s20 Children Act 1989 is alleged. She has been instrumental in negotiating and litigating numerous settlements on behalf of parents and children and delivers external training on Human Rights Issues in Care Proceedings.

Lianne regularly acts upon instruction from the Children’s Guardian in both public and private law proceedings, including recently before the President of the Family Division when innovative use was made of Contact Monitoring Orders, attracting praise from the Bench. Lianne represents parents in both care proceedings and private law applications to permanently remove children from the jurisdiction.

Lianne’s exceptional communication skills enable her to deliver sensitive and carefully tailored client care. She makes her client’s understanding of both law and process a priority. She works hard to ensure that every client leaves Court understanding the evidence and the rationale for the Judge’s decisions.

She is proficient and sensitive in dealing with a broad range of clientele, including independently represented children and the most vulnerable of parents, including those with mental health difficulties and addictive behaviours. Lianne prides herself on treating each client with an equally significant degree of care, diligence and respect.

Lianne’s persuasive style and analytical approach to her cases make her a well-respected advocate throughout the Midland’s Circuit.

Lianne’s working background started as a Business Standards Manager at HSBC Rail. Lianne strives to achieve and maintain the highest standards in her practice, as she was employed to do in business. She regularly adjudicates upon ancillary relief and private law applications when sitting as a Deputy District Judge. Lianne is proud to be Joint Head of Senate House Chambers with Miss Michelle Christie and privileged to have been appointed to the Local Family Justice Board and also to the Bar Standards Board’s Professional Conduct Committee.

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Lucy Fairclough
Year of Call: 2005

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Year of Call: 2005
Inn of Court: Gray’s Inn
Degree: LL.B (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children

Family law:
Lucy Fairclough is a family law specialist, practising in all aspects of private and public child law and Family Law Act cases. Prior to specialising in family law, Lucy also practised at the criminal bar prosecuting and defending a wide variety of offences including sexual abuse and domestic violence cases. This background has provided Lucy with invaluable experience, skills and knowledge applicable and beneficial to her conduct of family law cases involving criminal allegations; in particular sexual abuse, non accidental injury and domestic violence as well as contested hearings and fact finding hearings. Lucy has a strong reputation for being a professional, accomplished, dedicated and tenacious advocate who has particular skill in client care.

Lucy has extensive experience representing parents, Local Authorities, children/ Guardians and Interveners in difficult and complex cases, with a wealth of experience in proceedings involving issues of:
• serious sexual abuse and violence
• non accidental injuries
• learning disabled and vulnerable parties
• addiction
• physical or mental abuse which require a sensitive and considered approach
• Intractable contact disputes

Lucy is particularly adept at dealing with challenging clients and litigants in person and is committed to achieving the best outcome for her clients.

Public Access Scheme:
Lucy is able to take instructions under the Public Access scheme.

Appointments and memberships:
Family Law Bar Association
Midland Circuit

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Hannah Mettam
Year of Call: 2006

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Year of Call: 2006
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LLB (Hons), 1st Class, Nottingham Trent University
BVC: Nottingham: Result- Very Competent
Practice Areas: Public Law Children matters, and some private law children in cases where serious allegations are made.
Hannah is a specialist in children act proceedings. Her practice consists largely of Public Law proceedings in which she represents the full range of parties; the Local Authority, Parents (including through the Official Solicitor), Children’s Guardians and Children requiring representation separately from their Guardian.

Hannah has particular expertise in the following areas:
• Serious injuries to children
• Complex medical cases.
• Sexual abuse including inter-familial and inter-sibling abuse.
• Care proceedings where there are concurrent criminal proceedings and/or PII issues, assisted by her early career at the Bar as a criminal practitioner.

On occasion Hannah conducts complex Private Law Children proceedings in which:-
• Allegations of abuse are raised or other allegations leading to a fact-finding exercise
• Parental Alienation is considered an issue.
• Abduction is an issue.

For the first 5 years of her career, Hannah practised predominantly in criminal defence. She conducted criminal trials across the full range of offences and at all levels, including rape and serious historic sexual abuse matters.

As a result of this background, Hannah is a particularly popular choice in complex cases when cross-examination is required, such as for lengthy fact-finding and final hearings, where her skills are regularly praised by clients, solicitors, and Judges alike. Hannah’s advocacy style has been described on several occasions as “formidable,” she is renowned for attention to detail and a thorough forensic approach to her advocacy, delivered with a compelling ease. Hannah has significant experience in challenging the opinions of professionals and Experts and will not shy away from doing so.
Hannah has appeared in complex cases involving the most serious of issues, including in the High Court, both with and without a leader. Hannah was recently led by Michelle Christie of Chambers acting for Northamptonshire County Council in a case that was described by Mr. Justice Keehan QC as the worst case of child abuse that he had experienced in his 30 years on the Bench and at the Bar.
Hannah has an established reputation for incredibly thorough and tactical preparation, which has been known to contribute to an effective outcome in many cases where one was not necessarily anticipated. Hannah also prepares all requisite pre-hearing documentation to the highest standard at short notice, which has, on many occasions, been seen to be going above and beyond what is required.
Hannah demonstrates excellent skills in client care; she provides sensitive and down-to-earth yet robust advice, preparing clients to meet the challenges of proceedings. Hannah likes to take the time to hold conferences with clients prior to hearings and strongly believes in the importance of continuity of counsel.

Reported Cases:
NCC v L & Another (2014) EWHC 4828 (Fam)
ED, Re [2015] EWFC B84 (29 May 2015)

Public Access Scheme:
Hannah is able to take instructions under the Public Access scheme.

Pro-bono Work:
Hannah adopts the approach of Senate House Chambers to delivering a continuing commitment to pro-bono work. Hannah has recently completed a case that was initially privately funded. When the funds ran out, Hannah continued to represent the client on a pro bono basis, including at a final hearing.

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Andrew Duncan
Year of Call: 2011

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Degree: BPP LAW SCHOOL
Bar Professional Training Course (VC)

UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
LL.M International Law

UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX
LL.B (Hons) Law

Call: 28th July 2011

Inn of Court: The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

Practice areas: Family

Profile: Andrew has developed a specialist Family Law practice, including public, private law and matrimonial finance proceedings.

Andrew has established a practice far beyond his year of call and has achieved a particularly strong reputation for his work in public law cases.

Andrew is an approachable and down to earth barrister. He is also a straight talker, who will quickly put clients at ease. Recognised as a team player, Andrew is valued by his professional clients as someone who will always go the extra mile.

Andrew has developed a successful direct access practice for private children work and receives many referrals from his clients. Andrew is a resolute advocate and members of the judiciary have often commented on his ability to forensically cross-examine to great effect.

Andrew is a member of the Family Law Bar Association.

Notable Cases:
Re HW (2017)
On behalf of a father, Andrew successfully appealed the decision of the lower court to make care and placement orders following a final hearing. The appeal consisted of two days of legal argument and was opposed by both the Local Authority and the children’s guardian. The appeal was allowed and the matter listed for re-hearing.

Re EW (2016)
Andrew, acting for the Local Authority, successfully appealed the decision of a District Judge to adjourn care and placement order applications for a further six months to allow time for the mother to engage in further therapy. This was following a fully contested seven-day trial. The appeal consisted of two days of legal argument and was opposed by legal teams for both the mother and the father.

Re JB (2016)
Andrew successfully opposed three interim removal hearings sought by the Local Authority. At the conclusion of the proceedings, two of the three children remained in the care of Andrew’s client.

Re P (2016)
Andrew successfully sought multiple findings on behalf of a mother who had been subjected to coercive and controlling behaviour by the father, who used the interpretation of religious scripture as a defence.

Re BK (2015)
Andrew successfully sought the return of three children made subject to police protection orders during on-going proceedings. The children were returned to the interim care of the parents that day, before the 72 hour PPO time limit expired.

Re K (2015)
Andrew, on behalf of a child in private law proceedings, successfully sought a transfer of residence to the father and the imposition of supervised contact to the mother. This was following the mother originally making allegations of child sexual abuse against the father that were not proven. On the contrary, findings regarding the mother’s harmful psychological state were made against her.

Re C (2015)
Andrew successfully sought findings of enduring, systemic and compulsive lying against a prima facie credible father. It was found that these lies were likely to effect the long term emotional welfare of the child concerned and the case concluded with a ‘no contact’ order.

Achievements:
During his years as a student, Andrew won the first year Mooting Competition at the University of Sussex. During the same year, he won the University Negotiating Competition, was placed first in the South Region finals and went on to the UK National Finals.

During his second year Andrew mooted at Lewes Crown Court, competed in the ESU Mooting competition, and at the National Finals of the Telder International Moot Court competition. In the same year he was elected as President of the University’s Student Law Society, managing a committee of 25 and a membership body of 600 students. Andrew scored the highest mark for Civil Advocacy in his year, whilst studying the BPTC at the BPP Law School, London.

Interests:
A passion for the countryside, you will find him engaged in most country pursuits, from skiing and scuba diving to fly fishing for salmon.

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Ayesha Bell-Paris
Year of Call: 2012


Year of Call: 2012

Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn

Degree(s): BA (English); University College London
Graduate Diploma in Law; Kaplan Law School, London

Bar Professional Training Course: Kaplan Law School, London

Scholarships and Awards:
Lord Denning Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
Winner of the Crowther Shield Advocacy Competition (Lincoln’s Inn)

Appointments and Memberships:
Treasury Solicitor “Baby Barrister” Scheme
IPSEA Tribunal Support Volunteer
Denning Society (Lincoln’s Inn)

Practice Areas: Family Law, Civil Law, Immigration

Public Access scheme:
Ayesha is able to accept instructions under the Public Access scheme.

Profile:
Ayesha joined Senate House Chambers as a tenant in 2014, following the successful completion of her pupillage under the supervision of Michelle Christie. She has since developed a busy and varied practice and has gained experience in all of chambers’ practice areas.

Family Law:
Ayesha receives instructions in all areas of family law; including both public and private law children proceedings, injunctions under the Family Law Act 1996 and matrimonial finance applications.

Ayesha enjoys a balanced practice, having represented local authorities, parents, grandparents and children’s guardians. Her sensitive and pragmatic approach has been commended by lay clients and Judges alike. She also appreciates the importance of being able to work as a team alongside her professional clients.

Ayesha often acts for vulnerable clients, such as those for whom English is not their first language or those represented by the Official Solicitor.

Through her work with IPSEA, Ayesha also has an interest in cases involving Education Law. She welcomes instructions from parents of children attending the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

Criminal Law:
 Ayesha has a thriving criminal practice, which continues to expand both in terms of prosecuting and defending. Ayesha has had particular experience in the youth court, has been instructed on behalf of the Royal Mail and has also acted for Police Federation members who are facing criminal proceedings.

Civil Law:
 Ayesha regularly appears in the County Court and is instructed in relation to housing matters, small claims trials and other civil applications.

Immigration: Ayesha has gained experience representing the Entry Clearance Officer and Secretary of State at the First Tier Immigration Tribunal and also welcomes instructions from Appellants.

Background:
 Prior to securing pupillage, Ayesha worked as a freelance outdoor clerk in the Family Courts and was largely based at the Principal Registry of the Family Division in London. She also represented appellants at the Social Security Tribunal through the Free Representation Unit and was an IPSEA volunteer, acting for parents at Special Educational Needs Tribunals.

Interests: Ayesha is a certified scuba diver and enjoys travelling to foreign climes so that she can make new underwater friends. When on dry land, Ayesha enjoys cooking, going to the theatre, electronic music and all equestrian pursuits.

Kate Yeomans
Year of Call: 2007


Year of Call: 2007
Inn of Court: Gray’s Inn
Degree: LL.B (Hons)

Kate joined chambers as a pupil in October 2015 after practicing as a county court advocate for several years. Kate has recently completed her first six under the supervision of Lianne Murphy (Joint Head of Chambers).

Kate has gained valuable experience observing private and public children law and financial remedy proceedings during her first six. Kate has also spent time with the Crime Team and has seen a range of criminal cases in both the Magistrates and the Crown Court.

Kate will be available for instruction from 12th April 2016 in all main areas of law, commensurate with her experience and year of call.

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