Children law (including public and private law) in London Bar

A 'first-rate set of chambers', 4 Paper Buildings is ‘without question, the go-to set for children matters’, according to clients. The set has ‘great strength in depth, a very good range of barristers at different levels of call, from hugely experienced QCs to extremely talented juniors, meaning it will always have a barrister who fits each client’s needs’. Alex Verdan QC, Sam King QC, Andrew Powell, Cleo Perry, and Michael Edwards  have been acting in the Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse, the large public inquiry set to have huge implications on the way institutions deal with allegations of abuse. The set has many 'excellent' barristers including Prof Jo Delahunty QC who 'dominates every case she is in' and Teertha Gupta QC who is 'a smooth, engaging, and highly persuasive advocate with a strong following'. Charles Hale QC is 'outstanding' and 'judges really listen to Henry Setright QC because he invariably knows more on the subject than they do'.

1 KING'S BENCH WALK has, according to one source, ‘rather unusually, many silks and juniors who specialise in both finance and complex children work which gives the set an added dimension in many cases’. Or, as another puts it, chambers is a ‘strong set for children work’ and has an 'excellent team of juniors who leave no stone unturned'. Anthony Kirk QC represented the father in a complicated case involving an application for a care order in respect of a baby who had suffered catastrophic brain injuries. Also of note, Deborah Eaton QC is a hugely respected silk and is described as 'a force of nature in private children proceedings' and 'the advocate whom her peers least want to find themselves against'.

1GC | Family Law has ‘set a new gold-standard at the family Bar by investing in its premises and ICT, moving to open plan working, and recruiting a new generation of top-class talent’, according to one client. The set ‘is always willing to help and its barristers are very ‘hands-on’ offering support throughout’, offered another. With 'many excellent QCs and advocates of a high standard throughout', chambers has strength in public law children work as well as private law children matters and expertise in international work, too. Such work includes advising on relocation, abduction, adoption and surrogacy. Of particular note, Janet Bazley QC is described as a 'true pro, as comfortable cross-examining in the High Court as arguing points of law in the Court of Appeal', while Charles Geekie QC is a 'fantastic children's silk-warm, immensely likeable, and so very skilled'.

29 Bedford Row Chambers has ‘plenty of strength throughout’ with ‘exceptionally strong counsel (particularly in respect of children law matters) from the very leading silks through to more junior counsel’, said one client. Members' work encompasses all areas of private children law (including surrogacy and LGBT+ parenting) and also covers public law proceedings often involving the most serious allegations of physical and/or sexual abuse as well as international children issues. Of note, Piers Pressdee QC led the local authority team in complex High Court public children law proceedings that followed the death of a young child in suspicious circumstances.

Coram Chambers is a ‘very well-known and reputable set for both public and private children matters for which it is well-regarded, and its members are also skilled in alternative family work and surrogacy matters’. Of particular note, Mark Twomey QC  'has an enviable practice' and is 'hugely respected by the judiciary at the most senior level and brings immediate and obvious gravitas to his client's case'. Recent instructions of note for Twomey QC include acting in the leading case  of Williams v The London Borough of Hackney, which examined the law surrounding children being placed in care by parental agreement under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

Harcourt Chambers has a ‘very solid and dependable range of barristers' who are all considered by clients to be 'talented and hardworking.’ Chambers is recognised for its work on severe cases of physical as well as sexual abuse and child abduction/Hague Convention cases thanks to having a ‘number of excellent cross-border children specialists’. Frances Judd QC has recently been assigned to the Family Division of the High Court.

Fourteen ‘provides value for money, has strength in depth, and always has good counsel available to assist'. Clients particularly rate the set's 'really strong group of juniors’. Chambers has an excellent reputation for its work in public and private law children proceedings and is regularly involved in cases with an international dimension (‘It has many able barristers who are a safe pair of hands and who are well able to deal with routine public law cases as well as those that are more challenging’). Members also have experience in cases where there are allegations of significant harm and where a local authority has become involved.

With ‘many excellent and solid barristers42 Bedford Row is able to advise on the full range of private law issues as well as public law children matters. Areas of expertise for its members include advising on disputes over children’s schooling as well as LGBT+ co-parenting, fertility, and surrogacy issues. Damian Woodward-Carlton took silk in 2019.

9 Gough Square is 'a hardworking set' with 'an excellent choice of barristers and pupils who understand the demands of public law work' and 'provide consistently good results and advice'. Members routinely advise on a myriad of issues from radicalisation through to sexual abuse cases. In addition, they represent parents in disputes over children arrangements.

Members of the ‘superb’ The 36 Group are ‘responsive, helpful and knowledgeable of the children law sector’, according to instructing solicitors. In a ground-breaking piece of litigation, Hannah Markham QC is leading the claimants’ case against various government departments in R v YY, a case challenging the current law on transgender parents and on the registration of children, as well as the terminology to be used on birth certificates.