Emma Harman > Chambers of David Berkley QC > Bournemouth, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of David Berkley QC

Work Department



Emma Harman is an experienced fearless advocate with a meticulous attention to detail and preparation both in and out of court.

She is a robust advocate who always takes a pragmatic approach. She has a strong reputation for not only her aptitude but also her empathetic approach with clients.

Emma represents clients in cases at all levels of the Family Court including the High Court and Court of Appeal.


Emma’s areas of expertise include:

Public Law

Emma receives instructions from local authorities, parents, grandparents and guardians in a variety of cases many involving complex issues such as non-accidental injury, child fatality, sexual abuse, significant mental health issues, cognitive / capacity issues and personality disorders. Emma has appeared against leading counsel as well as having recently been led by leading counsel in an infant death case.

Private Law

Emma is briefed on all aspects of private law proceedings, many of which have included domestic abuse, sexual abuse, intractable contact disputes, parental alienation, implacable hostility, r16.4 guardians, internal and international relocation and also child abduction.

Emma quickly gets to the heart of the issues in such cases with a view to achieving the best possible outcome for her clients in a timely manner, whilst at the same time striving for an outcome that will work for the entire family and avoid the need for future litigation.

Court of Protection

Emma has experience in a wide range of Court of Protection matters including:

  • Deprivation of liberty
  • Contact
  • Welfare
  • Medical treatment
  • LPAs and EPAs
  • Property and financial affairs
  • Statutory wills.

Within DOLs applications, Emma represents Local Authorities, CCGs and the Official Solicitor. Emma has a particular interest in the cross-over between family proceedings and the deprivation of liberty of young persons.


Emma has experience in assisted reproduction matters involving parental order applications as well as other alternatives including adoption and child arrangement orders, many of which involve international surrogacy arrangements.

Examples of recent cases:

Re FM (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 189

Represented a mother who appealed against a special guardianship order made in favour of the mother’s sister. The case involved a variety of issues including allegations of significant mental health problems, drugs, and extremely complicated family dynamics. The Court of Appeal granted permission to the mother to appeal, however in its reserved judgement dismissed the appeal. In the Court of Appeal Judgment, Baker J commented: “The argument in support of the mother’s appeal has been presented by Miss Harman and the court is grateful to her for her thoughtful and well-constructed submissions”.

Unreported cases:

Re: R 2017

Representing a mother in complex care proceedings in which multi-generational, inter-familial and inter-sibling sexual abuse is alleged. Ongoing proceedings.

Re O, Z & K  [2017]

Led by Darren Howe QC, representing an uncle who had originally been in the pool of possible perpetrators in relation to over 42 various injuries to a 3 month old baby, which were said to have been sustained on at least four different occasions. The injuries included a catastrophic brain injury that led to the infant’s death. The father was found by the Family Court to have caused the injuries by the Family Court and then later convicted in the Crown Court of murder.

Re: E and H [2017]

Representation of a father in longstanding care proceedings involving head and leg fractures to a child. The case involved leading counsel and a unique challenge by one party of an intervenor’s capacity to conduct legal proceedings.

Re: W [2016]

Representation of a mother in which she was the subject of allegations of the attempted drowning of her child.

Re: A & J [2016]

Represented a mother in care proceedings including a finding of fact hearing in which the  mother was in the pool of possible perpetrators in relation to a significant brain injury and retinal haemorrhaging of a 4 month old baby, or failure to protect in the alternative. Successfully exonerated the mother from any findings.

Re: I [2016]

Represented a maternal grandmother who sought the care of her daughter’s 4 children. The mother had been murdered by the father of 2 of the children. The case lasted almost 2 years, however concluded with all 4 children being placed with the maternal grandmother under an SGO.

Re W [2015]

Represented a mother in an application for an interim care order with a plan for immediate removal of the child from the mother’s care. Successfully defeated the application in its entirety despite opposition from the local authority, guardian, and adverse evidence from an adult psychiatrist and child psychologist.

Re: C 2014

Successfully represented a father against allegations of rape and threats to kill.

Re: G 2014

Represented a mother in private law proceedings in which the child had made numerous sexual abuse disclosures against the father. Successfully proved the allegations and achieved a no contact order and s.91(14) bar.


Called 2003.


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Member of the Western Circuit


  • BVC Inns of Court School of Law
  • LLB (Hons) Brunel University
  • Jules Thorn Scholar

Lawyer Rankings

Regional Bar > Western Circuit > Family and children law

(Leading Juniors: Child Law (Public and Private)) Ranked: Tier 1

Emma Harman3PBShe is always extremely professional and works very hard on every case. She prepares cases to the minute detail and works with the instructing solicitor. She will always be in constant communication where she is covering a long length hearing and maintains an interest even after her involvement in the case has ended. She is approachable and very good with clients. Fantastic that she also participates in the Direct Access scheme.