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.

Public Law Children

Instructing solicitors and clients alike hold our family barristers in the highest regard. Our Public Law team enjoy an excellent reputation for strong and intelligent representation as well as sensitive client-handling. Our team is renowned for its forensic approach to cases, whilst maintaining a personal touch throughout.

With its depth of experience and expertise, our Public Law team is perfectly positioned to help with the full range of public law work. Our barristers receive regular instructions from local authorities, parents, guardians, competent children, related parties as well as the Official Solicitor.

Senate House Chambers Public Law Children Team

Jo Delahunty QC
Year of Call: 1986 Year of Silk: 2006

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Year of Call: 1986
Year of Silk: 2006
Education: MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence
Public Law Family Recorder (South Eastern Circuit) 2009
Bencher the Honorable Society of Middle Temple 2011
Professor of Law Gresham College, London, 2016

Jo specializes in contentious and highly complex cases at High Court level and above involving:
• The death of/catastrophic injuries to a child
• Non Accidental Head Injury (NAHI)/ Shaken baby allegations ( TRIAD cases)
• Vitamin D/Rickets/genetic disorders and congenital malformations which can mimic child abuse
• ISIS cases: alleged radicalisation of children/ risk of flight to Syria
• Sexual abuse (Intergenerational/ Inter sibling/ maternal rape/ genital mutilation/ internet exploitation)
• Ritualized child abuse/cultural practices such as Kndoki
• Child protection cases involving concurrent criminal prosecution for terrorist offences / trafficking/ attempted murder/ child cruelty and neglect/ sex offences
• Fabricated Induced Illness (FII) allegations
• Parents with disabilities ( with a particular interest in learning disabilities)
• right of and services for a disabled child within care proceedings
• Cases involving cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult
• Re-litigation/challenge to historic findings of abuse based on emerging science/ fresh factual evidence.

Professional Memberships
Inquest Association of Lawyers for Children
Association of Women Barristers
Family Law Bar Association
The Middle Temple Women’s Forum (steering committee) 2011 – present
Centre for Child and Family Reform (CCFLR) committee 2012–present
Patron of AMEND (The Association for Multiple Endocrine Disorders)
FLBA National committee member 2010 – 13
FLBA chair of Fees sub committee 2012 – 13

‘the decision of the children’s solicitor and junior counsel to instruct Miss Delahunty QC was, in my view, both wise and responsible ‘ per Lord Justice McFarlane Re A (2012) EWCA Civ 1477

Highly sought-after specialist children silk entrusted with the most significant and demanding national cases. She has particular expertise in matters concerning a large amount of complex expert evidence following investigation.
Strengths: “She is exceptional in every way and has an attention to detail beyond any other silk right now.”
Chambers & Partners 2017

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Alison Grief QC
Year of Call: 1990 Year of Silk: 2015

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Alison has specialised in the law relating to children, Private and Public law for 20 years after a Common Law practice in Crime and housing; the former giving plenty of forensic and cross examination experience and the latter giving her considerable experience in Judicial Review practice and procedure.

Alison is regularly instructed in all aspects of Private Law children work in which she is frequently instructed in cases involving complex factual backgrounds such as: allegations of physical or sexual abuse of children, particularly where the court is considering the veracity of the child’s account, parental influence/fabrication, ABE interviews and contamination etc; mental health issues; substance misuse, allegations of domestic violence and/or coercion and control and where experts have to be cross examined or where the case has significant forensic detail. Her Public Law experience in this respect gives her a real advantage as does dealing with cases in which children are separately represented and her experience of dealing with child witnesses. She has particular expertise in allegations of parental alienation, and is regularly instructed in international relocation cases.

In Public law, Alison is renowned for her expertise in medical cases particularly deaths involving allegations of inflicted head injury, surviving catastrophic head injuries and fractures especially with issues of Vitamin D deficiency. She regularly cross examines medical experts on their hypotheses undertaking medical research at the Institute of Child Health and challenging experts on their research base. She has undertaken joint seminars with the leading experts in the field. This expertise has also been used to great advantage in cases involving allegations of Fabricated or Induced Illness and she has undertaken a number of such cases for all parties. Alison sits as an Assistant Coroner which also gives her additional insight and knowledge. Her cases often involve concurrent criminal proceedings and she is therefore highly experienced in issues of disclosure and PII. Press injunctions are often required given the nature of the cases and she is therefore well versed in the law and procedure relating to them and media management generally. The remainder of Alison’s Public law practice is serious sexual abuse including inter-generational and inter-sibling abuse in which she has good experience of dealing with child and other vulnerable witnesses; radicalisation cases; adoptions; Special Guardianship Orders and local authority duties towards children including Judicial Review and HRA claims for damages on behalf of children and parents.

Alison regularly provides seminars on both Private law and Public law issues and the Voice of the Child including for Resolution.

Recorder – Family Public and Private Law 2012
Assistant Coroner Hertfordshire

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Cyrus Larizadeh QC
Year of Call: 1992 - Year of Silk: 2016

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Cyrus Larizadeh is commonly called upon to handle very complex and high profile private and public law children cases.
He is a “terrific lawyer who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable”. He is “very good, a calm and competent advocate” who is “well respected by judges”.

Chambers and Partners 2008-2014

He has also been listed as a leading family barrister in Legal 500 since 2010.

Year of Call: 1992
Year of Silk: 2016

BA (Kent)
Dip Droit Francais (Bordeaux)
Cyrus was educated at Harrow School, the University of Kent and the University of Bordeaux
Rothschild Scholarship (Harrow)
Hallett Prize for Law (Kent)

French, Persian

Cyrus Larizadeh QC specialises in complex private law cases. He is also excellent in relocation cases. He has a great approach with Direct Access clients. He also has a well known expertise in both private and public law family cases where there are allegations of sexual and emotional abuse and non accidental injury. He represents parents, local authorities and children in the most serious and intractable of proceedings. He has appeared in the Supreme Court and in a number of very high profile cases including Baby P. His training on the law and evidence in sexual abuse cases is in demand across the country. His seminars on the law relating to assessments under s.38(6) Children Act 1989 are recognised nationally and have been used by the Judicial Studies Board.

He is a Member of the Magic Circle.

Professional Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Inner Temple

‘Thoroughly charming and a delight to work with.’
The Legal 500 2015

‘Brilliant forensic skills; his analysis of evidence is sharp and on point. The Legal 500 2014 Commonly called upon to handle high-profile and complex sexual abuse and non-accidental injury matters. Expertise: “Very good; he is a calm and competent advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2014 Recomended as a Leading Junior in the area of Children law The Legal 500 2013 Private and public children law specialist Cyrus Larizadeh is commended for his “excellent courtroom manner.” His recent matters have included a number of cases arising from sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Chambers and Partners 2013 The ‘meticulous and excellent’ Cyrus Larizadeh – has ‘in-depth knowledge of all aspects of children law, and specialist knowledge of cases involving sex offences or allegations of sexual abuse’. The Legal 500 2012 Cyrus Larizadeh handles public law children matters. His cases often involve non-accidental injury and sexual abuse. Chambers and Partners 2012 Recommended as a Leading Junior in The Legal 500 2011 Cyrus Larizadeh excels at care cases involving non-accidental injury and complex medical evidence. Chambers & Partners 2011 Cyrus Larizadeh offers a ‘meticulous approach’ and is ‘well respected by judges’. The Legal 500 2010 Cyrus Larizadeh is a good all-rounder who is “conscientious, thorough and knowledgeable.” Chambers & Partners 2010 A “terrific lawyer” who is enthusiastic and knowledgable about his work,” Cyrus Larizadeh earns the respect of both peers and clients. Complex care proceedings form the mainstay of his practice, with a particular emphasis on matters involving sexual abuse and non-accidental injury. Chambers & Partners 2009 Cyrus Larizadeh makes his debut in the tables this year, having stood out from the crowd in protracted cases concerning care proceedings. “Working at an incredible level of detail and completely on top of the papers,” observers report that he is also “very good on his feet.” Chambers & Partners 2008

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Michelle Christie
Joint Head of Chambers
Year of Call: 1999

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Year of Call: 1999
Inn of Court: Middle Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons)
Practice Areas: Family Law specialist including Public and Private law

Michelle is a specialist in the law relating to children. Her practice consists of approximately 90% Public Law through which she represents the full ambit of parties; parents including via the Official Solicitor, local authorities, Children’s Guardians and children who can be represented in their own right.

Michelle has particular expertise in the following areas:
• Infant deaths and near fatal injuries
• Complex medical cases.
• Sexual abuse including inter-familial and inter-sibling.
• Running Care proceedings where there are concurrent criminal proceedings.

On occasion Michelle conducts complex Private Law Children proceedings involving:
• Allegations of abuse are raised.
• Parental Alienation is considered an issue.
• There is a high profile element.

Michelle is popular with Solicitors and Lay Clients as a result of;
• Her forensic skills and exceptionally thorough case preparation and analysis
• The quality of her preparatory and written work, which has often attracted praise from the judiciary in judgments.
• Michelle’s cross-examination techniques of experts and other witnesses.
• Michelle’s exceptional advocacy skills are coupled with a very personable and kind approach to lay clients, which assist greatly in making the court process less daunting.

Michelle has been junior to leading counsel on many occasions and has had the pleasure of being led by Jo Delhunty QC, Leslie Samuels QC and Cyrus Larizadeh QC. Michelle also acts as a leading junior in certain complex cases.

Michelle has appeared in a number of high profile and interesting cases including:

Michelle acted as leading junior and led Miss Hannah Mettam in a case described by Mr Justice Keehan as the worst case of child abuse he has ever had the misfortune to deal with in his 30 years at the Bar and High Court bench. She appeared against Sarah Morgan QC and Will Tyler QC in a case which involved medical evidence of the most complex nature and concerned issues of serious psychiatric and psychological dysfunction.

Other recently reported cases:

C (A child : Fact Finding : Delay) [2014] EWFC B72 (21 November 2014)

ED, Re [2015] EWFC B84 (29 May 2015)


Michelle is very much committed to pro bono representation and is willing to continue to represent clients in circumstances were funding is no longer available and the interests of justice require continued representation.

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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
• 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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Stuart Yeung
Year of Call: 1989

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Year of Call: 1989
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children, Matrimonial Finance

Family law:
Stuart practises in all areas of family law, with a particular emphasis on proceedings involving children. For many years, Stuart maintained a high-level general common law practice, from which he gained invaluable experience, and which remains relevant to his current practice. His work included both the prosecution and defence of serious and complex criminal cases, as well as personal injury matters. In recent years, he has concentrated his practice exclusively in the field of family law.

Stuart is regularly instructed by local authorities, parents and children. Acting on behalf of local authorities often involves several parties and complex issues relating to serious non-accidental injury and/or death and complex medical issues. He has good case management skills and an ability to identify key issues and communicate effectively with professional and lay clients alike.

In private law proceedings, his practice comprises child arrangement work (formerly residence), contact issues, including cases of implacable hostility between parents.
Stuart is regularly instructed in financial remedy cases, including applications for maintenance pending suit, freezing injunctions as well the full range of hearings from First Appointment, through to Financial Dispute Resolution and Final Hearings.

In his approach to his work with clients, he is highly adaptable, has a sensitive and positive manner, takes pride in his work, seeks to work in partnership with both the lay and professional client in order to achieve the best possible outcome in a case, and aims to provide continuity of representation throughout. He is noted for his meticulous attention to detail.

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

Appointments and memberships:
• Stuart is a registered pupil supervisor
• Family Law Bar Association
• Inner Temple
Midlands Circuit

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Mary Abbott
Year of Call: 1994

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Year of Call: 1994
Inn of Court: Gray’s Inn
Degree: BA (Hons)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children

Family law:
Mary specialises in all aspects of Child Law in particular representing parents and children in Public Law cases. She also represents parents in Private Law disputes including applications to remove from the jurisdiction.
She has a direct but sensitive approach, always mindful that her clients are more often than not highly emotional and apprehensive. She has wealth of experience to bring to conferences and hearings, putting her client’s case forcefully but realistically.

Midland Circuit
Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)

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Elizabeth Gooderham
Year of Call: 2001

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Year of Call: 2001
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LL.B (Derby)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children and Criminal law

After beginning her career with a broad-based general criminal and family practice Elizabeth now predominantly specialises in Family law.

Family law:
Elizabeth’s family law practice covers all aspects of Children Act applications, from complex care cases involving allegations of serious sexual abuse, NAI and neglect to private law disputes.

In public law matters Elizabeth regularly appears for Local Authorities and Children/Guardians. She has a reputation for her thorough preparation, hard work and diligence and her approachable nature.

Elizabeth has extensive experience and a sensitive approach in representing clients with mental health and learning disabilities, addiction difficulties and particularly young clients.

Criminal law:
Elizabeth has over a decade of experience both prosecuting and defending in the Criminal courts.
An experienced and effective trial advocate, Elizabeth is particularly adept at cases involving young defendants or child witnesses.
Elizabeth is known for being a thorough and proficient advocate and for her articulate and persuasive style.

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Jenna Allen
Year of Call: 2002

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Year of Call: 2002
Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn
Degree: LL.B (Hons) Leicester
Practice Areas: Criminal law, Family.

Upon being called to the Bar in 2002, Jenna practised general common law for 3 years where she enjoyed a strong criminal practice, with emphasis on defence work, as well as accepting instructions in Private Family Matters and Care Proceedings. Having joined the CPS in 2006 Jenna spent 7 years developing her skills as a Senior Crown Prosecutor and Crown Advocate.

The last 9 years of criminal practice have earned her a deserved reputation amongst solicitors and the judiciary as a formidable advocate. Her wealth of experience extends across the whole range of criminal proceedings form the Magistrates and Youth Court, the Crown Court and Court of Appeal. An experienced jury trial advocate, Jenna is well versed in the full range of criminal offences, from driving misdemeanours, dishonesty, serious violence – including armed robbery and multi-defendant s.18 matters, drugs offences, including production and conspiracy, POCA proceedings and sexual offences.

Jenna left the CPS in 2013 as a level 3 prosecutor to return to Chambers, and the last 3 years have seen her expand and develop her criminal practice alongside a return to family law. As a result of her background in criminal law, Jenna is a particularly popular choice when cross-examination is required, such as for lengthy fact-finding and final hearings.

Jenna’s extensive experience both in private practice and with the Crown Prosecution Service establish her as a diligent, committed and effective advocate. She has a flourishing practice, where her vast knowledge and skill, together with her assured and approachable nature, prove a huge asset to Chambers.

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

Appointments and Memberships:
Criminal Bar Association
Lincoln’s inn
Midland Circuit
Jenna is a registered pupil supervisor

Jenna enjoys a busy home life as a mother and wife. She is always keen to ensure a healthy home/work/life balance, by making time to see family and friends, cooking, gardening and keeping fit.

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William Falshaw
Year of Call: 1987

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ch39Year of Call: 1987

Inn of Court: Inner Temple

B.A. (Hons) History – Queen Mary College – University of London
Diploma in Law – City University
Bar Vocational Course – College of Law

William has been involved in the law for over 30 years. Using his background in criminal law he has developed a successful family law practice by using his experience as a launch-pad to meet new challenges.

William has represented applicants in Private Law cases and acted for guardians and parents in contested Public Law hearings at all levels. He is well versed in dealing with allegations of neglect, emotional and sexual abuse.  Whilst employed by the Crown Prosecution Service, William was one of the first accredited lecturers in rape and serious sexual offences.  He was also instrumental in setting up the Serenity Suite in Northampton, this has given him a unique understanding into the effects of all types of abuse upon victims. He has been involved in cases dealing with child cruelty and sexual exploitation of children. He has also acted in cases involving domestic violence both in the context of mental abuse and physical abuse. His compassion and understanding of victims has often been commented upon by the Judiciary.

He is quick to absorb information and apply it to develop arguments on behalf of his client. In Court he is a clear and determined advocate who puts his point across with aplomb. He is accustomed to cross-examining witnesses and puts his client’s case clearly and succinctly. He has dealt with experts both in Court and in the preparation of cases

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Samantha Reddington
Year of Call: 2015

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Year of Call: 2015
Admitted as a Solicitor 1995
Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn

Samantha is a specialist family law practitioner with expertise in complex public and private law children matters.

Prior to her call to the Bar in 2015 Samantha was a solicitor specialising in children’s cases since 1999.

Samantha became a member of the Children Panel in 2002 and during her time as a solicitor acted on behalf of local authorities, parents and children.

Samantha acted for children in a high profile case which gained national attention due to the unique circumstances of the same during which time Samantha successfully obtained High Court injunctions on an ex-parte basis against the Media to prevent the continued harassment of and publicity surrounding the subject children. Securing in this particular case the co-operation/special dispensation of another Government to enable the children to gain permanency without the need for adoption.

During her practice as a solicitor Samantha was up until 2010 a partner in private practice Borneos, where she headed the Care Team across all 3 offices and the Family Team in Bedford.

From 2010 to 2015 Samantha practised as a freelance advocate.

Samantha is adept at challenging evidence including medical expertise from all disciplines and is well known both on the Midland and South Eastern Circuit.

Practice areas include:

• Public law for local authority
• Public law for parents
• Public law for children
• Specialist Non-Accidental Injury/Infant Death
• Medico-Legal
• Sexual Abuse
• Private law for Rule 16.4 Guardians
• Private law for parents
• Parental alienation and complex private law matters.

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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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Abigail Turner
Year of Call: 2006

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Year of Call: 2006
Inn of Court: Middle Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children

Family Law:
Abigail is an experienced, diligent and respected advocate specialising in public and private law relating to children.
Her care practice regularly sees her representing parents, local authorities, interveners and children’s guardians in cases involving:
• non accidental injury including “shaken baby syndrome”
• severe neglect
• sexual abuse/ incest
• alcohol and drug dependency
• domestic abuse
• honour based violence
• children deemed to be out of parental control

The empathy and sensitivity she shows towards her clients means she is frequently instructed to act in complex cases especially those involving vulnerable clients.

In her private law practice, Abigail strives to achieve the best outcome for her client and is known for providing realistic and well-founded advice. She has extensive experience in negotiating consent orders on behalf of clients where previous agreement has not been possible and where detail has been key.

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

Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)
Registered as a direct access barrister under the Bar Council’s Direct Public Access Scheme

Notable cases:
B (a child) [2014] EWCC B55 (fam) 17 January 2014

“Abigail is one of a handful of barristers whom I immediately think of when a difficult case with labyrinthine facts and complex issues lands on my desk. If there’s a fight to be had she has the heart, knowledge, expertise and intellectual armory to meet the challenge and meet it well” (Milton Keynes Solicitor)

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Grant Keyes
Year of Call: 2007

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Year of Call: 2007
Inn of Court: Gray’s Inn
Qualifications: BA, MBA, BVC
Practice Areas: Family Law specialist including Public and Private law

Family law:
In public law proceedings, Grant has extensive experience of acting for parents, children’s guardians and interveners in cases that involve complex issues of NAI, physical, sexual and emotional abuse (including parental alienation). Grant is regularly instructed in complex fact-finding cases involving non-accidental injuries both in the County Court and the High Court.

Grant regularly acts for clients with learning or mental health difficulties, including those represented through the Official Solicitor

In private law proceedings, Grant is highly skilled in dealing with Section 8 Children Act 1989 applications, including complex cases involving allegations of sexual abuse and domestic violence and has particular expertise in complex and entrenched cases between parents. Grant offers a robust yet practical approach to the resolution of family disputes.

Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn – Richard Yorke Scholarship (2007)
Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn – CPE Scholarship (2006)

Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for children

Notable cases (unreported)
Re S – 2015
Non-accidental injury (fracture) to a 6 month old baby, representing Father and after a 6 day fact finding and final hearing the family was reunited as a family unit, with the baby returning home.

Re A – 2015
Non-accidental injury to a young child (baby shaking) where the client was exonerated from the pool of perpetrators, and two of the children moved to her full time care.
Re C – 2015
Rape and sexual assault of teenager, representing Father in a complex case where there were 8 advocates, including 2 Guardians involving a 13 day fact finding and final hearing where the children were returned to family members.

Reported cases
Re P (a child) NCC v (1) LC (2) GA (3) P (a child) (2015)
A placement order was made where a two-year-old boy’s needs could not be met by either of his parents, who had abused drugs and exposed him to a chaotic lifestyle. Long-term fostering did not have the same level of security.

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Laura O’Malley
Year of Call: 2007

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Year of Call: 2007
Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn
Degree(s): BA Hons Law & Sociology (Warwick University) – 2:1
LL.M Master in Laws (Trinity College Dublin – First Class)
Bar Vocational Course: (The College of Law, London – Very Competent)
Practice Areas: Laura has a busy practice in all aspects of family law.

Laura acts for local authorities, parents and children and accepts instructions in all aspects of family work with a history of cases encompassing the full spectrum of allegations including neglect, sexual, physical and emotional abuse many of which require the cross-examination of expert witnesses, psychologists and the challenging of medical evidence from experienced professionals. Laura has found her previous experience as a criminal practitioner particularly useful in this regard in that she understands the importance of focused cross-examination and sensitive witness-handling techniques.

Laura has a reputation for being calmly assertive in court and extremely thorough with her preparation, her reassuring yet authoritative presence is frequently remarked upon as a huge positive when receiving client feedback. With regular exposure to often highly sensitive care work, Laura is now establishing herself as one of the leading junior barristers in the area. Laura is also an Advocacy Tutor (The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn).

Having been called to the Bar in 2007, Laura spent her formative years undertaking an array of legally-related work experience in preparation for her career at the Bar. This included her employment as a caseworker at the Crown Prosecution Service here in Northamptonshire, being awarded a scholarship from the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies to work as a death row intern in Trinidad and Tobago and obtaining the post of judicial researcher in Dublin where she was employed by the Courts Service of Ireland to assist members of the judiciary from District Court to Supreme Court level.

The Droop Scholarship (2006) – Major BVC Award awarded by The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn.
The Herbert Smith Scholarship (2008) – awarded by the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies.

O’Malley, L. & Graham-Wood, C. 2010, From Calypso to the Condemned: Notes from Death Row in Trinidad & Tobago, Amicus Journal, (2010) 23 Amicus Journal.

O’Malley, L. & Matthews, K. 2008, Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Problems of Witness Evidence in Trinidad &Tobago’s Justice System, (2008), Centre for Capital Punishment Studies Internship Report.

Denning Society (Scholars Society of Lincoln’s Inn)
Amnesty International
Human Rights Lawyers Association

Re: S, A, JA & J (Children) [2015] EWFC B116

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Samantha Dunn
Year of Call: 2008

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Year of call: 2008
Inn of Court: Middle Temple
Degree: LL.B. Law First Class (Hons)
Bar Vocational Course: Nottingham Law School: Very Competent (Outstanding in Professional Ethics)
Practice areas: Family Law specialist (Public, Private and Matrimonial Law)

Samantha is an experienced and established family law practitioner that has specialized primarily in care proceedings. She has experience representing a number of Local Authorities, Guardians, parents and other family members in cases involving:
• Serious non-accidental injuries (including baby-shake cases and cases where children have sustained occipital skull fractures and subgaleal hematomas);
• Physical and sexual abuse of children and / or adults;
• Chronic neglect, emotional and psychological abuse;
• Adults or children with learning difficulties and / or disabilities; and
• Cultural or religious elements;
• Care proceedings that involve Human Rights Act claims.

In private law practice, Samantha has experience dealing with:
• Complex finding of fact hearings where allegations of sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse are determined;
• Cases where Rule 16.4 Guardians are appointed to represent the child’s interests;
• Implacably hostile parents;
She is frequently instructed in complex cases where applications for expert assessments are necessary.

Samantha accepts instructions in all aspects of matrimonial finance work.

Samantha provides her clients with frank and sensitive advice throughout her involvement with the case. She is tenacious as an advocate and always presents cases persuasively, obtaining the best possible results for her clients.

Member of the Midland Circuit
Member of the Family Law Bar Association.
Member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

Notable cases:
T (A Child: Fact Finding) [2014] EWFC B115 (12 September 2014)
NCC v L & Anor [2014] EWHC 4828 (Fam) (21st July 2014)

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Charlene Henderson
year of Call: 2009

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Year of Call: 2009

Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn

 LL.B Law (Hons), University of Sussex

Bar Vocational Course:
 BPP Law School, London

Practice Areas: Family Law
 (Public and Private Law Children)

Profile: Charlene practices exclusively in children matters, covering all aspects of private and public children’s work in the family field. Charlene began her practice in both crime and family; her mixed practice has equipped her with knowledge of the crossover between the criminal and family jurisdictions. Charlene conducted her last ever criminal case in the Court of Appeal.

Charlene has experience in representing local authorities, parents, interveners, related parties, children’s guardians and competent children at all stages of care proceedings. She appears before all levels of the judiciary, including in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Her work in this field includes:

• Fact finding hearings comprising serious non-accidental injury (‘shaken’ baby allegations, multiple fractures and multiple bruising).
• Fact finding hearings involving sexual abuse allegations.
• Re-litigation/challenge to historic findings.
• FDAC proceedings.
• Mental illness.
• Serious domestic violence.
• Chronic neglect.

Charlene has a particular interest in handling difficult and complex cases where her clients have mental health issues or learning difficulties, including when the client is represented by the Official Solicitor. She is a popular choice for representing young clients given her pragmatic yet sensitive approach.

She also accepts instructions to act for applicants and respondents in applications for child arrangements orders under the Children Act 1989 and for injunctions under the Family Law Act 1996.

Charlene takes a dedicated approach to all of her cases and has a reputation for representing clients with passion and conviction. She has a fierce tenacity in the courtroom and has been described as an “impressive advocate” with an “astonishing command of her case”. Her knowledge, preparation and organisation of papers has been referred to as “exceptional”.

Upon completion of her studies at Sussex University, Charlene volunteered at the Free Representation Unit, she worked as a Freelance County Court Advocate and worked as a Convener and Lecturer of the ILEX course at Bedford College.

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

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Daniel Sheridan
Year of Call: 2008

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Year of Call: 2008
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons) Law (University of Sheffield)
Bar Vocational Course: Manchester, Very Competent (Outstanding in Professional Ethics)

Practice Areas:

Family Law (Public and Private Law Children)


Daniel specialises in the law relating to children. He accepts instructions in all aspects of private and public law children proceedings. His main practice is in public law work, in respect of which he represents parents, local authorities, interveners, Children’s Guardians, and children capable of being represented in their own right.

Daniel appears before all levels of the judiciary; and has appeared before the High Court (Family Division) in respect of complex combined Finding of Fact/Welfare Hearings involving issues of serious sexual abuse, applications for child witnesses to give evidence and disclosure issues in respect of concurrent criminal law proceedings.

Daniel has expertise in dealing with cases involving: chronic neglect, hearing impaired parents, mental health problems, non-accidental injury, physical, sexual and emotional harm, drug and alcohol misuse [including FDAC proceedings], cases with an international element, and Human Rights Act claims arising from public law proceedings.

Daniel’s strong advocacy style, preparation and positive approach are underpinned by his organisational skills and a sound knowledge base. His clear focus on the needs of the client is often described as “going beyond the call of duty” and “child focused”. He has a reputation for his attention to detail and his personable approach with professional and lay clients alike. Daniel’s work ethic and case preparation has enabled him to lead in complex matters beyond his year of call.

His expertise in private law children work involves cases which have entailed serious allegations of domestic violence, sexual abuse, intractable contact disputes and matters with an international element.

Earlier in his practice, Daniel conducted immigration appeals on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, via the Treasury Solicitor’s Department; and, he conducted criminal trials, which better equips him to deal with crossover issues involving those jurisdictions.

Public Access Scheme:

Daniel is able to take instructions under the Public Access Scheme.


President Inner Temple Junior Bar Association, December 2015 – September 2016.

Out of London Bar Secretary for the Midland Circuit (Inner Temple Junior Bar Association), 2014 – 2015.

Reported cases:

Milton Keynes Council v A, B, X and Y (Muslim children, Special Guardianship) [2014] EWFC B102 (14 May 2014)

OCC v B & T [2015] EWFC B73 (18 June 2013)


In his spare time, Daniel enjoys travelling and looking after Basil, his Basset Hound. Time permitting, as a lover of the great outdoors, he retreats back to his roots in North Wales to get back to basics where his family lives near the gateway to the Snowdonia National Park.

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Stephen Moore
Year of Call: 2010

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Year of Call: 2010
Inn of Court: Middle Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons) Law (University of Leicester)
Bar Vocational Course: Nottingham Law School – Very Competent
Scholarships and Awards: Blackstone Entrance Exhibition Award 2009/2010 (Middle Temple)
Practice Areas: Family Law, Criminal Law, Civil Law

Practice Overview: Family Law: Stephen’s extensive and varied advocacy experience, developed in the Criminal Courts, has been instrumental in his developing Family Law practice. Appearing in Private and Public Law matters, Stephen has experience of working with urgent applications, vulnerable clients and matters involving new born children. Stephen’s calm and patient manner is an asset when dealing with cases that inevitably involve sensitive issues.

Criminal Law: Stephen’s experience at both the employed and independent Bar has provided him with a wealth of experience in Criminal Proceedings. Stephen regularly appears in the Crown Court and is an experienced trial advocate. This experience covers the full range of criminal matters, from driving offences, DVSA matters, dishonesty, violence (including armed robbery and s.18 GBH matters), drug offences (including conspiracy and supply matters), as well as Police Property Act and POCA proceedings. Stephen also has experience as a led junior, having appeared in a multi-defendant murder.

Stephen’s pragmatic, hard-working and approachable demeanour has helped to develop his already impressive reputation; a reputation that he continues to build upon.

Civil Law: Stephen has experience of undertaking a wide range of small civil hearings, including residential possessions, interim applications, infant approval hearings and small claims, as well as Driver Conduct hearings before the Traffic Commissioner.
Background: Before joining Chambers, Stephen was employed as an in-house advocate for a firm of solicitors, predominantly working in their Crown Court Department. Prior to commencing pupillage, Stephen worked as a freelance County Court Advocate.
Appointments: CPS Advocate Panel – Level 1

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Andrew Duncan
Year of Call: 2011

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Bar Professional Training Course (VC)

LL.M International Law

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.

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.

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.

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.

 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.

Sophie Gayner
Year of Call: 2012

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Year of Call: 2012, Lincoln’s Inn

BSc (Hons) Genetics, University of Liverpool
Graduate Diploma in Law, University of Law
Bar Professional Training Course, Manchester Metropolitan University

Walter Wigglesworth Scholarship (2015-2016)


Prior to commencing Pupillage, Sophie worked as a Family Paralegal, carrying out a wide range of work in both private and public law. In her role Sophie regularly attended Court to assist counsel, as well attending public law outline meetings and representing clients in family law injunction proceedings.

Whilst working as a paralegal, Sophie set up the annual Hertfordshire Legal Walk in partnership with the Access to Justice Foundation, to raise funds for free legal advice charities.

Following successful completion of her Pupillage under the supervision of Michelle Christie, Sophie has now been welcomed as a Tenant to Senate House Chambers.

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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.

The range of public law issues we can assist with includes, but is not limited to:

  • Complex cases involving non-accidental injury and infant death
  • Sexual abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Physical abuse
  • Chronic neglect
  • Vulnerable witnesses with mental health or learning disabilities
  • Cases involving alcohol and drugs misuse
  • Cases allocated to the Family Drug and Alcohol Court
  • Female genital mutilation cases
  • Cases involving foreign jurisdictions and Brussels II
  • Proceedings under the Adoption and Children Act 2002
  • Proceedings under the Children Act 1989
  • Wardship proceedings
  • Claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 arising from/within public law proceedings

Our public law team commit to giving effective representation in even the most urgent of cases. In urgent situations, they provide a dedicated out-of-hours advice and advocacy service.

Our children law practitioners are all well-versed in Human Rights Act matters. These include declaratory proceedings as well as advising and representing in Human Rights Act Claims within family proceedings. We have specialist practitioners who have dealt with cases involving the alleged misuse of section 20 of the Children Act 1989, representing local authorities, parents and children in such cases.

We also undertake Pro-Bono work. We are committed to the principle of access to justice for all. We are keen to help provide that justice whenever possible. Please contact our clerks should you wish to make an enquiry about Pro-Bono work.

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

Senate House Chambers, your legal team

founded on the four pillars of…

Integrity, Respect, Professionalism and Strength