Vanessa Meachin QC > Chambers of David Berkley QC > Birmingham, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of David Berkley QC
B4 6AT

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Vanessa Meachin QC is a family law specialist and has developed a practice in which she enjoys the considerable mix of care, adoption, matrimonial finance and private law children act applications. In recent years she has coupled her family law practice with a developing interest in court of protection work. She appears frequently in complex and sensitive cases involving children in private and public law areas in the Family Division and Family Court. She represents parents, children and local authorities.

In Vanessa’s financial remedies practice, her cases routinely involve substantial assets, corporate assets and issues relating to land and foreign property. She also deals with cases involving financial provision for the family on death and financial provision for children.

Vanessa was called in 1990. She is a family law specialist and has developed a practice in which she enjoys the considerable mix of care, adoption, family finance and private law children act applications. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal at regular intervals in her career. Since 2009 she has been a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit (Family and Civil). She is a pupil supervisor and regular speaker at seminars. She is a member of ALC, CoramBaaf and FLBA. She is an affiliate member of Resolution. She accepts instructions under direct access.

Recent cases:

  • Lancashire County Council -v- M (1) F (2) and  C (3 By his Children’s Guardian) [2020] EWFC 43
  • W (A Child) [2019] EWCA Civ 1966
  • RE B (A Child) (Post-Adoption Contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29
  • Re M (Children) (Suspected Trafficking – Competent Authority) [2017] EWFC 56
  • Re D + Ors (Children) 2017 EWFC B87
  • Re C (a child) [2016] EWFC B110
  • Re D (Appeal: Procedure: Evidence) [2015] EWCA Civ 409/ [2016] 1 FLR 249
  • Re D [2015] All ER (D) 136
  • A local Authority V AB and others [2015] All ER (D) 14
  • Re K (Wardship: Publicity) [2014] 1 FLR 548
  • Re K (Wardship: Publicity) (No 2) [2013] EWHC 3748 (Fam)/[2014] 2 FLR 310
  • A Local Authority v X and a Child [2013] EWHC 3274 (Fam)/ [2014] 2 FLR 123
  • Re K (A child: Therapy) [2013] All ER (D) 367
  • Re W (a child) (removal at birth: contact) [2013] All ER (D) 254
  • Birmingham City Council v AG and A [2009] EWHC 3720 (Fam)/[2010] 2 FLR 580
  • Re R (Placement order) [2007] EWHC 3031 (Fam) [2008] 1 FLR 1259
  • Re B (Appeal: lack of reasons) [2003] EWCA Civ 881/ [2003] 2 FLR 1035
  • Re G (Leave to Appeal: Jurisdiction) [1999] 1 FLR 771


Vanessa is experienced in complex public law cases under the children and adoption legislation. She has 26 years of experience of appearing for parents, other relatives, local authorities and children. She routinely appears in the High court in relation to cases relating to the death of a child by various mechanisms (including shaking, suffocation, possible consumption of drugs or infection caused by starvation). In other cases, where the child has not died, she has considerable experience of allegations of serious physical abuse (burns, bruising, head injuries, multiple fractures and attempted suffocation) sexual abuse (parent and or sibling), emotional abuse (including allegations of demonic possession), neglect, domestic violence and factitious illness. These cases will routinely involve the cross examination of a number of medical experts from multi disciplines.

She has acted in cases where the welfare of the children has required exploration and assessment of relatives abroad. This has included consideration of jurisdictional issues as between England and Wales and countries such as Iraq, Latvia and Lithuania.

She has acted in such cases involving Human Trafficking and cases involving the use of the Inherent Jurisdiction to enable a child to be securely accommodated in another country.

Her practice has included protective orders for young females encompassing forced marriage, female genital mutilation, declarations that a marriage was unlawful (coercion and rape) and reporting restriction orders.

She has represented parents from differing economic, cultural, social background and ages. Some may have issues such as drug, alcohol dependency, mental health difficulties, language difficulties or a combination of these problems.


Over the last 28 years Vanessa has accumulated extensive experience in applications arising in financial remedies, Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and more recently disputes involving civil partners. Her financial remedy work has included applications to set aside consent orders and presenting or opposing appeals. She is required routinely to conduct cases involving parties of medium to high net worth, business accounts, forensic expert reports and pension issues. Some interesting points have included consideration of the implications for a Wife following a foreign divorce, the consequences following a spouse’s bankruptcy, an application to enforce maintenance arrears once the Husband’s mortgage fraud was identified and the approach to a personal injury award as a resource for the Husband.

Vanessa will often be instructed at an early stage when attempts are being made to resolve the financial aspect of separation, before court proceedings have been issued.

Vanessa has also been instructed to deal with other matters within the parties’ dispute including successfully resisting applications to set aside entitlement to decree nisi in two separate cases.

Her clients have been from a wide background including those with physical or mental disability. These have involved instructions being taken from a Deputy acting for the protected party (P) or from the Official Solicitor.


Vanessa is available for private remote FDR hearings. For more information on private remote FDR hearings please click here.


Vanessa has wide experience in private law applications, including cases where serious allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse (against either the partner and or the child) or emotional abuse (against either the partner and or the child) and parental alienation have featured.

These cases have often included other issues such as the local authority becoming involved with the family, consideration of the child or children being separately represented and implacable hostility being shown by one parent to the other post separation. Vanessa has been involved in cases where the court has contemplated and changed the child’s living arrangements following a determination that the parent with care has been attempting to alienate the child from the other parent.

Vanessa has also been involved in cases featuring permission for children to travel out of the jurisdiction whether permanently or temporarily. Her cases have involved such varied countries as Kenya, Thailand, Australia and Spain.


Called 1990
Silk 2018


Recorder (2009) – South Eastern Circuit

  • Association of Lawyers for Children
  • Family Law Association
  • Legal Committee member of British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering.


LLB (Hons)

Lawyer Rankings

Regional Bar > Midland Circuit > Family and children law

(Leading Silks: Divorce and Financial Remedy) Ranked: Tier 1

Vanessa Meachin QC3PBA brilliant advocate whose knowledge and application of the law is first-class.

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

Vanessa Meachin QC3PBA brilliant advocate whose knowledge and application of the law is first-class.

3PB is primarily known in the Midlands for its contingent of care-focused barristers, whose practice involves serious non accidental injuries, sexual abuse allegations, adoption orders and more for the full range of parties including local authorities, parents and children. However, the set also houses several barristers with experience in financial remedy proceedings, such as Elizabeth McGrath QC and Vanessa Meachin QC, both of whom have seen recent substantial cases involving private clients with large asset portfolios in addition to their child law practices. Turning to the set’s the junior ranks, Michael George is praised for his ‘exceptional aptitude for financial remedy work, particularly cases involving company law, complex accounts and pensions‘; on the care side, key juniors include Lawrence MesslingSuzanne Coleclough , and Stephen Abberley, while practitioners such as Poonam BhariAimee Fox, and Nicola Martin spread themselves across both areas.