John Vater KC > Chambers of Nick Goodwin KC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Nick Goodwin KC
Harcourt Chambers


Also Oxford (0844 561 7135). John specialises in children’s law, both public and private. In the public law sphere he represents all parties at all levels and has particular expertise in cases involving complex medical evidence. In the private law sphere, John has a particular interest in cases involving implacable hostility, issues of identity, and removal from the jurisdiction. In addition, John has wide experience of the inherent ‘best interests’ jurisdiction, having appeared in such cases for parents, subjects and the Official Solicitor. John is an IFLA accredited Children Law arbitrator. John is also a member of St John’s Buildings Chambers in Manchester and Liverpool and a member of 9 Park Place in Cardiff.

In the last year John has appeared in numerous cases in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court:

  •  Re N (Children) [2016] UKSC 16
  • Re B (Child) (Relocation: Sweden) [2015] EWCA Civ 286
  • JB v KS [2015] EWHC 180 (Fam)
  • Re S and T [2015] EWHC 1753 (Fam)
  • Re M [2015] EWHC 1433 (Fam)

Other important cases include: Re P (care orders: injunctive relief) [2000] 2 FLR 385; Hale v Tanner [2000] 2 FLR 879 (Court of Appeal); Re ET (serious injuries: standard of proof) [2003] 2 FLR 1205; A County Council v DP, RS BS [2005] 2 FLR 1031; and Re H (residence order: placement out of jurisdiction) [2006] 1 FLR 1140. John Vater QC is also at 9 Park Place Chambers (Chambers of Paul Hopkins QC).


Called 1994, Gray’s Inn. Publications of note: co-author of ‘Contact: The New Deal’ (Jordans 2006); ‘The Public Law Outline: The Court Companion’ (Jordans 2008); appointed QC 2012.


FLBA; ALC; Legal Action Group,  MCIArb (Children Law, Institute of Family Law Arbitrators).


Birkenhead School; St Peter’s College, Oxford University (1993 Jurisprudence 2(1)).


Fly-fishing, Italy, Liverpool FC.

Lawyer Rankings

Regional Bar > South Eastern Circuit > Family and children law

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

John Vater KCHarcourt Chambers ‘John is relentless in his desire to get to the heart of the family dynamic and does not pull any punches with either the client or the court.’

‘An excellent family set with a number of excellent practitioners’, Harcourt Chambers has renowned expertise in children law, both private and public as well as matrimonial finance. John Vater KC is a ‘passionate parents advocate’ who is well known for his ‘work ethic, courtroom skills and client care’Jane Campbell focuses on divorce and financial remedy cases for high profile individuals, along with ‘effective advocate’ Fiona Hay , who is praised for her ‘ability to deliver clear and practical advice in difficult cases’ and ‘her wonderful manner with clients’. Sara Granshaw and Simon Miller specialise in children law and regularly appear for a number of local authorities, vulnerable parents, and children’s guardians at all levels, including the Court of Appeal.

Regional Bar > Midland Circuit > Family and children law

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

John Vater KCHarcourt Chambers ‘John is the best trial advocate at the children’s Bar. He is a phenomenal cross-examiner, who has expertise in cases involving complex medical evidence, including brain injuries. His ability is matched by his genuine concern for his clients and he fights for them with every ounce of his ability.’  

Harcourt Chambers is a ‘strong set at all levels specialising in family law with a particular niche in international family law’. John Vater KC is described as a ‘fearsome and committed advocate’ who recently won a conflict of jurisdictions case in the High Court. Aidan Vine KC is ‘highly experienced and knowledgeable’ and acts in both matrimonial finance and children’s cases, often with an international element. Matthew Brookes-Baker recently handled a High Court case involving the tragic injury and death of a child caused by co-sleeping with the parents. Alex Forbes is ‘robust, determined, and detail oriented’ and practices in all aspects of family law, both children and financial.

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

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 4

John Vater KC – Harcourt Chambers ‘John is beyond tenacious, exceptionally insightful, and wonderfully organised. His written work is fantastic, and behind his tremendous ability is a wonderfully human and approachable person.’