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St John's Buildings

Chambers of Sally Harrison QC

Work 0161 214 1500
Fax 0161 835 3929
Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield

Frances Heaton QC

Work 0161 214 1500
St John's Buildings (Chambers of Sally Harrison QC)

Work Department

Family - Children


Frances is in demand in very complex public law children proceedings in which the central issues include exceptionally serious injuries, non-accidental death / murder (child or parent), serious sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation, very serious neglect, torture, learning and mental health difficulties, fabricated or induced illness, reporting restriction orders and the curtailment of parental responsibility. In these she is instructed by local authorities, parents, children, grandparents, and interveners. Her skill and expertise is sought after and she is regularly instructed in high profile cases.

Frances undertakes judicial review, which most recently has included special guardianship allowances.

She regularly appears in the Court of Appeal where the issues have included the revocation of placement orders, and appeals against findings of fact.

In addition to this work Frances continues to accept instructions in complex private law children cases and she has a particular interest in issues of habitual residence, the international movement of children, relocation and child abduction.

Frances also undertakes surrogacy cases, and particularly those that have a foreign element.

Colleagues and tribunals recognise Frances’ clear ability to assimilate and grasp the issues of the most complex cases. She is particularly noted for the sensitivity with which she handles these difficult cases and for her sensible, straight-forward advice and approach.

Frances regularly provides seminars and lectures to family solicitors, social workers and expert witnesses.


Frances read law at Sheffield University, and was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1984.


  • Family Law Bar Association [Committee Member]
  • Recorder 2002 [Crime and Family (Public and Private)]

Regional Bar : Northern Circuit

Family and children law

Within: Family and children law – Leading silks

Frances Heaton QC - St John's BuildingsA dynamic and accomplished advocate.

Within: Family and children law

With a reputation as ‘an excellent family law set’, St John's Buildings is viewed as ‘the best set in Manchester for financial remedy barristers’. Children law is also a core area of instruction, with members handling, among other areas, adoption, non-accidental injuries, sexual abuse and cases with international elements. Sally Harrison QC is representing the wife in the high-profile Richardson-Ruhan v Ruhan divorce case, and Frances Heaton QC appeared in the case of a transgender Orthodox Jewish father who was appealing against an earlier ruling denying her direct contact with her children, who lived in the Charedi community with their mother; the appeal was successful.

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