Gemma Chapman > Chambers of David Berkley QC > Bristol, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of David Berkley QC

Work Department



Gemma is a specialist family law barrister with particular focus in Public Law proceedings. She represents local authorities, children (through their guardian), parents and other interested parties.

Gemma brings a wealth of experience to her cases, regularly instructed in matters involving; neglect, sexual and physical abuse, disputed medical evidence, non-accidental injury, factitious illness, addictions, mental health and limited capacity, and suspected murder.

She has considerable interest and experience in those involving leave to remove from the jurisdiction, child abduction and international children issues.

More recently Gemma has dealt with a number of cases involving applications under the Human Rights Act for injunctions in Public Law Cases

Recent cases:

  • Successfully advising and acting for the mother of a severely disabled child with limited life expectancy where the Local Authority sought to remove the child from her care
  • Representing a father accused of sexually abusing a child in his care that was not a child of the family
  • Three-month Fact Finding Hearing at the High Court.  The case was factually complicated in that the eldest child of the family was found dead but the evidence as to the time and manner of her death was largely inconclusive. The Local Authority sought to persuade Hogg LJ that the child had been dead for up to one week and the family had faked resuscitation. There were also issues around sexual abuse of the other children of the family some of whom suffered from severe learning difficulties. The case was challenging from the outset. In the substantive hearing Gemma was led by Stephen Cobb QC, an experience which taught her a great deal and as a result of which she modified and improved her own style of working
  • Representing a father in proceedings where a 6 month old baby had all of her fingernails and toenails removed by force over a period of 5 months. Gemma successfully defended her client against the allegations and the children were rehabilitated to his care
  • Successfully representing a Mother in care proceedings where applications were made for HRA injunction and Judicial Review of a decision made by the Local Authority and Drugs Services in respect of a residential placement
  • Representing a Mother in care proceedings where the Local Authority sought to remove her child under a full care order. Successful applications were made for a HRA injunction to prevent interim removal
  • Representing a Father in care proceedings where there were cross allegations of familial sexual abuse and jurisdictional issues
  • Representing the children in wardship proceedings where there had been an attempted abduction of one of the children and allegations of sexual abuse.


Called 2002.

Lawyer Rankings

Regional Bar > Western Circuit > Family and children law

(Leading Juniors: Child Law (Public and Private)) Ranked: Tier 4

Gemma Chapman3PBBuilds up fantastic rapport with the client and really gains their trust. Ability to cut to the chase and deliver focused and pragmatic advice, without being dismissive of the client’s views. Really puts in the time and genuinely seeks to achieve the best outcome for the client and/or any child involved.