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Leading Silks: Child Law (Public And Private)

Lorraine Cavanagh QC - St John's BuildingsExtremely tenacious and hardworking. Supremely well-prepared with excellent client care skills.
Julia Cheetham QC - Deans Court ChambersJulia is an exceptional advocate. Her preparation and attention to detail is impressive. Julia is fearless in presenting arguments on behalf of her clients. She is always a pleasure to work with, however ugly the issues in the case.
Frances Heaton QC - St John's BuildingsExcellent client care with the lay client. Insightful and thorough grasp of the issues in the case. Articulate and tenacious.
Karl Rowley QC - St John's BuildingsKarl is in a class of his own with his elegant and devastatingly effective advocacy.

Leading Silks: Divorce And Financial Remedy

Sally Harrison QC - St John's BuildingsSally is an astonishingly good advocate. A fantastic ability with the lay client, accessible to the instructing solicitor and a first-rate forensic mind. Sally really does have it all.

2020 Silks: Divorce And Financial Remedy

Samantha Hillas QC - St John's BuildingsSamantha is a ferocious advocate who will go to the edge of the earth and back for her clients.

Leading Juniors: Child Law (Public And Private)

Joanne Barnett - 9 St John StreetJoanne is thoughtful, knowledgeable, insightful, has a great rapport with clients and notably shows a highly commendable commitment to cases and will give them any extra time or discussion they require. An expert family barrister and very highly recommended.
Michael Jones - Deans Court ChambersMichael's strength is his encyclopaedic knowledge of case law and statute. He instantly puts my client at ease and is extremely down to earth and meticulous in his case preparation and drafting. His formal advices to my client department are always clear and unambiguous. He is exceptionally hardworking and a real pleasure to instruct.
Sarah Kilvington - 9 St John StreetSarah is approachable and adaptable. Always helpful and insightful. She can be tenacious and forthright, but also pragmatic and diplomatic. Good with clients whether they are professional or lay.
Margaret Parr - 7 Harrington StreetFiercely intelligent and exceptionally prepared. I have and continue to wholeheartedly recommend her to clients and am always pleased when she is available to instruct. She will also go the extra mile to assist and work closely with instructing solicitors.
Archna Dawar - St John's BuildingsExceptionally thorough and always very well prepared. She has an unmatched ability to breakdown and simplify complex matters into a digestible format which is exceptionally persuasive in the court room.
Emma Greenhalgh - 9 St John StreetEmma is always very well prepared and knows the case thoroughly. Her advice is always well researched, balanced and pragmatic. Emma has an excellent manner when dealing with professional clients and her thorough and methodical approach gives clients confidence, particularly when the matter is complex.
Fiona Holloran - 18 St John Street ChambersFiona is silk material. She is instructed in the most complex and challenging child care cases.
Kalsoom Maqsood - 9 St John StreetExpert knowledge, persuasive communicator and unquestionable integrity.
Leonie Caplan - 18 St John Street ChambersLeonie is a delight to work with. The barrister is caring and empathetic and truly listens to the client. The barrister is always prepared to discuss and advise upon the case even at short notice. Working with this barrister you are guaranteed as a solicitor to know they have read the brief and understands the pertinent points of the case.
Lucinda France-Hayhurst - St John's BuildingsOne of her strengths is her ability to work on complex matters, putting the client at ease and providing them updates in a manner in which they understand. Lucinda is also very approachable and she ensures that instructing solicitors are always debriefed following every hearing in detail to ensure that nothing is missed. Lucinda furthermore ensures she puts the clients case forward to the best of her abilities and the lay clients themselves speak very highly of her.
Eleanor Keehan - St John's BuildingsShe is enormously hardworking and as a result has a grasp of the detail which underpins all that she does in court. She has a calmness which belies her call and is able to withstand demands from both bench and multiple opponents, so as to achieve good outcomes for her clients.
Shaun Spencer - St John's BuildingsHe is always meticulously prepped and has a real sense of assurance with clients, but remains very down to earth. Even the most anxious lay clients have felt completely confident in his care. He provides realistic and sometimes difficult advice in an extremely approachable and sympathetic way, and lay clients have always felt he has 'got it' from the off.

Leading Juniors: Divorce And Financial Remedy

Archna Dawar - St John's BuildingsExceptionally thorough and always very well prepared. She has an unmatched ability to breakdown and simplify complex matters into a digestible format which is exceptionally persuasive in the court room.
Charles Eastwood - St John's BuildingsCharles is simply one of the best financial remedy practitioners in the country. His attention to detail, robust advocacy and bedside manner make him my go to counsel. I know that when he is instructed, my client is in the best possible hands.
Judith FordhamExchange ChambersJudith is a very good negotiator, who has considerable patience in dealing with clients. Judith puts their case forward in a very succinct way. She is well respected by other professionals including Judges. She is always well prepared for her conferences and court hearings. Judith also attends family lawyer seminar helping to train other lawyers.
Sheren GuirguisExchange ChambersWould not hesitate to recommend her, she is my top go-to for children and finances. She is known for her meticulous preparation.
Stephen Murray - 18 St John Street ChambersStephen is extremely thorough and robust in his approach both to advice and in court where he is a formidable advocate for his clients, which they very much appreciate. He has been described to me as both "feared and revered in equal measure".
Frances De Navarro - St John's BuildingsExcellent technical knowledge but with an ability to think commercially and practically to achieve the best possible outcome for the client. A Rolls Royce of the Bar. Frances has a particular strength in the drafting of pre/post-nups. Her brilliant bedside manner and razor sharp wit quickly puts clients at ease. You know you're going to get a great service and a thankful client when Frances is on the case.
Simon Charles - St John's BuildingsSimon has a superb attention to detail, he is practical and is able to explain to the client the difficult technical issues in a way that she could understand. He is a confident advocate and he elicits numerous helpful concessions when cross examining the other side at the final hearing.
Elisabeth Cooper - St John's BuildingsElisabeth is very well prepared and had a full understanding of the key issues in the case, whilst considering practicalities of the case.
Neil Montaldo - St John's BuildingsNeil's advocacy really is superb. The style is firm without being aggressive and with the ability to pursue a point with energy and conviction without being inflammatory. When combined with an ability to "read" and adapt to the judicial forum he is in front of it can achieve remarkable results. Neil's bedside manner with the client's really is first rate enabling him to give clear advice without upsetting and making the lay client feel he really is fighting for them.
Elliw Roberts - St John's BuildingsElliw is an excellent barrister who is highly experienced in financial remedy proceedings.

Rising Stars: Child Law (Public And Private)

Jack Harrison - Deans Court ChambersHas the best qualities to be found in a family law advocate- High intellect, tenacity, empathy.
Natasha Johnson - 7 Harrington StreetNatasha is thorough, on top of her brief and has exceptional client care.

Family and children law in Regional Bar

18 St John Street Chambers

18 St John Street Chambers' family team works on a variety of complex cases involving serious sexual abuse and life-threatening abuse, deprivation of liberty and high-value financial remedies. Fiona Holloran has a broad practice and is regularly instructed in complex cases involving historic sexual abuse, multiple injuries, fabricated and induced illness, and cases with an international element, including abductions. Rehana Begum heads the family team and  handles complex cases involving serious life threatening injuries, sexual abuse, forced marriage and deprivation of a child’s liberty. Turning to matrimonial finance, Stephen Murray is a notable name in that area.



‘A well-established set with a good range of seniority and expertise.’

’18 St John’s is a respectable professional and competent chambers. Due to the nature of work I do and they are highly regarded, extremely experienced and friendly and approachable. Of particular note they appear to be a very inclusive and diverse set which enables them represent clients from a multicultural area like Manchester.’

‘The set has a high standard of experienced counsel who are top of their game.’

‘The Chambers is an exceptionally strong set- with several go-to barristers, I am never short of someone brilliant to cover a case. They are also a lovely friendly set who do fantastic courses and social events.’

‘There are plenty of children and family specialists within the Chambers who all have an excellent knowledge base. They always offer training and over the last 12 months have offered regular training online which means that it takes place often and can be more tailored to particular topics.’ ‘Chambers have a wide range of counsel available from junior to counsel with many years of experience. Chambers offer a good number of training seminars throughout the year, a number of which I have attended before. Seminars provided by chambers are well attended which speaks volumes for the quality of information provided.’


‘Clerks are always approachable and ready to assist. I have been impressed with the way they have managed the difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, with virtual conferences being easy to set up.’

‘Camille Scott is a diamond – a valuable asset to the set- she has never let me down yet. I always have confidence when she says “leave it with me”.’

‘Garrick Brown is always very helpful and efficient.’

‘Clerks are very helpful and always prompt to respond.’

St John's Buildings

St John’s Buildings has ‘huge strength in depth‘ and is an ‘excellent set with consistently high quality counsel‘. Sally Harrison QC is a matrimonial finance silk who specialises in complex financial remedy cases; Samantha Hillas QC is also on the matrimonial finance team and her expertise includes cases involving pre- and post-nuptial agreements, trusts and corporate structures. Karl Rowley QC and Lorraine Cavanagh QC have expertise handling children law cases that involve medical disputes.



‘It is a very strong set. They have excellent barristers with a range of expertise. Their seminars, especially during lockdown, were highly informative.’

‘St Johns Buildings is the leading set for family work in the north of England. It has chambers in several cities which means that its network is unique.’

‘The clerks provide a first rate service – they are quick to respond and to help out. It’s a 5 star luxury service.’

‘This Chambers is my preferred Chambers and I would only Brief elsewhere if there were no Counsel available. The service provided is professional and the clerks always do their utmost to assist. There is a large number of Counsel within Chambers, all of whom operate to a very high standard and who I would not hesitate to instruct.’

‘St Johns Chambers is a highly regarded chambers in the north. They have a number of barristers covering child care with a vast experience between them, some more than others. They cover a number of courts and barristers are willing to travel to assist you. The clerks are very approachable and willing to help with any enquiry and assist you in trying to securing the best counsel for your case. If they are struggling with availability they will look at the diary and keep you updated if they have a change in circumstances. They offer an excellent training programme throughout the year with excellent notes.’

‘An excellent set for matrimonial finance work.’

‘The best chambers in matrimonial work in the North. Exceptional barristers that can be relied upon whatever the issue. Huge strength in depth. Seminars for solicitors are always relevant and delivered in a down to earth, non-turgid manner.’


‘Emma Manning is an excellent clerk. She will also do her best to ensure the case is allocated to the right barrister.’

‘The clerks offer what feels like a concierge service – helping out with any problem which may arise.’

‘Dan Johnson & Vaughn John are particularly attentive, professional, organised and always return to you when they say they will. They are an absolute credit to Chambers.’

‘The service is relatively good and the clerks are very friendly.’

‘The service provided is excellent from all their clerks and will follow up enquires quickly. Mark Robinson based at the Chester branch is particularly good and will support you in making sure you have the barrister you want, the fees are correct and assist you if you have issues you have regarding administrate issues with the court. He is approachable, friendly but also professional and returns calls as soon as possible.’

‘I have known Paul Laverty for many years from working with this chambers and he also is very approachable and friendly. In the past he has gone out of his way to find me counsel to travel far and wide. He is professional and through and makes sure the job is properly done.’

‘I also have high regards of Ryan Barker, Dan Johnson and Vaughan John based in the Manchester Clerking team who I deal with on a regular basis they go out of their way to help and will chase up when anything is outstanding and support you in the best way they can. They are also honest if they are struggling to assist and this is reassuring.’

‘Emma Manning is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The clerks are efficient and impressive in terms of the lengths they will go to to ensure you get the right counsel. They are transparent and clear regarding fees. It is a pleasure to work with them.’

7 Harrington Street

7 Harrington Street has an 'excellent' family and children law set and has barristers that handle child and matrimonial proceedings, including adoption and care proceedings, and Children Act matters. Margaret Parr  is 'extremely knowledgeable and personable' and represents parents, children and Local Authorities in care and adoption proceedings. Tom Fazackerley practices exclusively in divorce and financial remedy work, as well as private law children matters.



‘Good availability of Counsel for Local Authority work and a range of experience.’

‘Even after some recent big departures to the judiciary (which speaks for the pedigree of the set), there remain some big hitters and there are certainly some rising stars.’

‘There is a very strong group of more senior counsel with a wealth of experience of dealing with complex long running cases in the area of public law which I am involved in.’

‘The Chambers in question have substantial strength in depth with a large team of family lawyers who can assist in all aspects of family law.’

‘Chambers have a flexibility that is advantageous when dealing with the speed at which the family justice system operates. ‘

‘7 Harrington Street is an excellent set of Chambers which offers full range and breadth of expertise and knowledge so that they have the relevant barrister at the relevant year of call for any particular given case. There is also a great deal of comradeship and the barristers support each other and their instructing solicitors. Counsel are always available to support solicitors in the preparation of cases and for representation. In the past when we have requested specific training for our teams they have been more than happy to oblige.’


‘I have mostly dealt with Laura Jones and Carolyn Cregeen – communication is great, they always keep you updated and respond promptly. ‘

‘Despite the volume of work managed by the set’s family team, the clerks always manage to find cover particularly upon urgent applications and they communicate in a timely, professional and friendly manner.’

‘The service is always spot on and all of the family clerks are friendly, approachable and helpful.’

‘The clerks at 7 Harrington Street are efficient, helpful and create an environment in which you feel you are able to develop a good rapport.’

‘The family clerks have a very good relationship with myself and my legal team. They always assist and return calls and e-mails swiftly and ensure that we are never without counsel for our hearings. All the clerks are good I would have to single out Carolyn Cregeen for her exceptional service over the years and the brilliant rapport that we all have with her.’

9 St John Street

9 St John Street has a 'number of excellent barristers' and advises across the full spectrum of matrimonial, finance, and children law. Joanne Barnett has a strong background representing local authorities, the Official Solicitor, the National Youth Advocacy Service, and childrens' guardians. Sarah Kilvington is a 'powerfully persuasive advocate' and an 'exceptional children lawyer'. On the public law side Kilvington advises on serious abuse of children cases, and has expertise handling private law cases involving severe parental alienation.  Kalsoom Maqsood has extensive experience handling public law cases involving fatal injury and catastrophic injuries to children. Rachael Heppenstall was appointed a circuit judge.



‘I am impressed with 9 St. John Street, the clerks are equally approachable and will try to accommodate a request for particular counsel and if this proves impossible will make every effort to identify a suitable substitute.’

‘I have known Ped McKinstry for a long time and he has been an ever-present and helpful clerk who has seen the Family Team at 9SJS build up into a formidable force over the last few years. There are a number of impressive barristers who can get the job done.’

‘Chambers with experienced barristers in public children act work – always a safe pair of hands.’

‘The members of this Chambers are of an overall excellent standard in the public law arena.’

‘9SJS is an excellent set of chambers, they always do all they can to assist. They have a great set of Barristers with a wealth of experience and specialism.’

‘This chambers offers a number of experienced barristers and will also do their utmost to allow continuity on cases where a particular barrister has been used. Their training courses are easily accessed, well informed and well presented.’

‘9SJS have a strong set of barristers for public law children cases.’

‘A strong, well run chambers, with a large selection of counsel, often able to accommodate urgent matters as is needed.


‘The set provides an excellent service as exemplified above and this is enhanced by the availability of relevant training sessions from members of chambers on issues which are useful to all family practitioners. See above. Always helpful and willing to go out of there way. Will be straight and avoid double booking counsel.’

‘The clerks are generally very helpful and efficient. Ped McKinstry, senior clerk, will go out of his way to assist and the service is friendly and personal.’

‘The clerks are very helpful and try their best to meet my needs.’

‘The clerks provide an exceptional client service to endeavour to accommodate Counsel when required, even at short notice, with continuing efforts to secure a service as and when court proceedings free Counsel for use. General administration that is vital to briefing Counsel is dealt with without delay.’

Deans Court Chambers

Deans Court Chambers has a 'highly skilled' and 'very impressive child care team'. Julia Cheetham QC is a key name to note and undertakes complex child law matters, from High Court Human Rights Act claims to sexual abuse cases. Michael Jones is another key name to note and has a particular interest in children cases involving wardship and the inherent jurisdiction. In September 2021 Jack Harrison moved to Coram Chambers.



‘Deans Court Chambers has a very impressive child care team. All are highly skilled and through in their preparation. Each of them has the best qualities to be found in a family law advocate- high intellect, tenacity, empathy, capacity for robust cross examination and unfailing courtesy.’

‘I have nothing but positive comments about this set. Training is always bespoke and tailored to the audience. Availability of counsel is not usually an issue.’

‘Just a brilliant family law set, excellent experienced and talented counsel, some great rising stars and basically on speed dial, particularly when a complex case comes in.’

‘Well regarded set for family work. Large team of barristers offering family law work. Strength at all levels.’


‘The clerking service is exemplary with special mention to Louise McCarty and Matthew Rigby who always strive to assist us and are nothing but exceptional.’ 

‘Louise McCarty is a legend among clerks: hoes the extra mile, nothing is too much trouble and gives ample notice if your chosen counsel is going part heard.’

Exchange Chambers

Exchange Chambers‘ members have ‘fantastic‘ experience and knowledge across the full gamut of matrimonial and child law work. Judith Fordham is the head of the family team and specialises in matrimonial finance, while Sheren Guirguis is also noted and has a particular interest in financial remedy proceedings.



‘The family team in these chambers are highly qualified to meet our clients requirements for specialist family law advice. From initially making an enquiry with the extremely efficient clerks as to availability to the service being delivered by counsel, the chambers certainly provide a very professional service whilst making you feel that you are their individual priority.’

‘Well run chambers with experienced family law advocates.’

‘Exchange has a strong set of child protection barristers so a suitable alternative is available when instructed counsel becomes available.’

‘They are approachable and knowledgeable as a group.’

‘Very skilled family team as a whole , with effective leadership.’

‘The Family Department at Exchange Chambers in Liverpool are always extremely accommodating and have gone to lengths to make counsel available whenever I have required them. They have a strong and experienced team, and there are no members of the team who I would not be confident in instructing.’


‘The family clerk – Rachel Williams is very accommodating and will go above and beyond to find solutions to difficult listing issues.’

‘As a firm, we would normally liaise with Rachel, the main family clerk, she is extremely approachable, efficient and accommodating. When she is not available, other clerks has assisted and delivered a high quality service but Rachel takes the time to proffer a friendly comment, she is extremely approachable and an asset to chambers.’

‘Mark Shannon and Wendy Shannon have both been particularly helpful especially ensuring Counsel is available as necessary for lengthy hearings.’