DEPARTMENT PROFILE

4 Paper Buildings

Family/Matrimonial

41 ranked barristersBand 3London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Ranked Barristers
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Ranked Barristers

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An immensely respected set recognised for its immeasurable expertise in private and public children law, as well as its complementary skill in matrimonial finance work. Its venerated silks and juniors regularly appear before the highest courts in the country, handling a broad range of matters including those relating to international child abduction, historical child sex abuse, radicalisation, non-accidental injury, and many more. The set's extensive client base consists of individuals from all walks of life, including household names, businessmen, and some of society's most vulnerable individuals. When it comes to matrimonial finance the barristers here handle complex, acrimonious, high-value disputes, often involving multiple jurisdictions, offshore accounts and trusts.

Client service:

The clerks are "accommodating with timeframes and flexible with fees when needs be. They always have someone suitable to offer for a case and always return calls promptly." Michael Reeves is the senior clerk.

Strengths:

Alex Verdan QC
Head of chambers and indubitably a force in the field of children law. His caseload sees him handling matters concerning the most severe and complex of children issues. He has expertise in everything from the most serious public law issues to the placement of high-profile people's children.
"Extremely attentive, thorough, pragmatic and a pleasure to work with. His technical ability is second to none." "Alex offers a Rolls-Royce service to solicitors and clients. He consistently impresses with his commitment to cases and his availability between, and in the build-up to hearings. His cross-examination is clinically prepared and razor-sharp, and he is a top-choice silk for high-conflict children cases."

Strengths:

Alison Grief QC
Children law specialist who offers her services for the most complex cases. She demonstrates noted expertise in those matters requiring expert medical evidence, and has a particular specialism in cases regarding head injuries. She has a strong private and public law practice and represents clients in alleged fabricated illness cases among other serious issues affecting children.
"Brilliant. She understands the psychology of cases, and cross-examines and extracts information in an impressive way." "Alison Grief is a medical queen, and her dedication to her clients is beyond belief." "Her attention to detail is astonishing. She remains completely calm under pressure, leaves no stone unturned and has a planet-sized brain."

Strengths:

Andrew Powell
Children law barrister with a domestic and international practice. He is proficient in child abduction cases and has particular expertise in surrogacy issues.
"A charming and formidable opponent. He undertakes additional research into complex areas of the law, and goes above and beyond the requirements for each hearing." "His knowledge of surrogacy law is utterly amazing and his passion shines through."

Strengths:

Barbara Mills QC
Highly regarded family barrister with recognised expertise in private children proceedings, who often assists clients with cross-border cases in the High Court. She also has equal strength in domestic child disputes, involving welfare issues. Mills demonstrates further expertise in mediation and is a private judge.
"She is laser-sharp with her questioning of the client and is all over the papers." "Incredibly good at children work involving parties with emotional or psychological difficulties." "Barbara has excellent judgement and is compassionate with clients while delivering clear advice to them."

Strengths:

Brian Jubb
Brings extensive experience to bear in complex children proceedings. He has a specialism in public law cases representing vulnerable adults, and is also experienced in Hague Convention cases.
"Reliable, charming and massively experienced."  "Brian's empathetic approach is greatly valued by clients, and his attention to detail is impressive."

Strengths:

Catherine Wood QC
Recognised for her expert international children practice, and has an impressive record when it comes to matters concerning abduction, parental alienation and sexual abuse. She often handles matters with complex issues attached. Sources praise her calm, sensitive approach to cases and clients.
"Effortless in the courtroom and has the ability to kill a case with kindness." "She has a lovely manner with clients and is at the top of her game." "Able to deliver difficult advice with warmth and compassion, Catherine has just the right balance of robustness and charm."

Strengths:

Charles Hale QC
Renowned family silk who specialises in complex matters in both the private children and matrimonial finance spheres. He routinely handles significant cases on behalf of an impressive client base of high-profile individuals including those with alternative family arrangements. His practice includes international child abductions and jurisdiction disputes.
"Has a suave way of ensuring he gets what he wants in cross-examination, delivering subtle but killer blows. He has a real ability to relate to any type of client and to make them feel listened to and supported." "Judges warm to Charles immediately. He is a highly persuasive advocate and negotiator who gets results."

Strengths:

Chris Barnes
A well-respected junior who is increasingly well versed in matters concerning the overlap between public law and international children issues. He has additional experience in cases involving radicalisation and also enjoys particular renown for his work in abduction cases.
"An extraordinarily prolific advocate who appears in cases against silks unled. He has a demon brain and is a superb cross-examiner."
Recent work: Represented an appellant father in an effort to restrict disclosure to the police of information arising from family proceedings. The information concerned alleged radicalisation of a family who had returned from Syria.

Strengths:

Christopher Hames QC
Has a notable international children practice and deep expertise in matters concerning the application of the Hague Convention. His financial practice sees him representing high net worth individuals in divorce proceedings. He wins plaudits for his willingness to get fully involved with a case.
"Has excellent technical expertise, particularly in international children law and European regulations." "He's rapidly becoming a go-to for relocation cases as his tactical skill is superb." "Christopher has a reassuring air of authority and gravitas. He is always approachable and willing to help at short notice."

Strengths:

Cleo Perry QC
Her broad children practice spans both public and private law cases domestically and abroad. She has experience of representing both parents and children in disputes including those concerning non-accidental injury, and also has a growing practice in radicalisation cases.
"A robust, no-nonsense advocate. She gives clear and practical advice, and is excellent at managing a client’s expectations." "Absolutely spectacular in public children law and devastating in cross-examination. She is understated but deadly."
Recent work: Acted for Lambeth County Council in the inquiry into failings which allowed children in the care system to be subjected to sexual abuse from 1960 to 2000.

Strengths:

Cyrus Larizadeh QC
A specialist children law barrister well versed in non-accidental injury matters. He represents parents and local authorities in international and domestic cases including those concerning factitious illness disputes and placement orders.
"Cyrus is a bundle of energy and ambition." "He is superb in cross-examination."

Strengths:

Dorothea Gartland
Private and public law practitioner focusing on complex children issues, domestically and abroad. She is active in matters involving the international movement of children, and has particular experience in surrogacy and jurisdictional dispute work.
"An utter pleasure to work with and a true team player. Her written submissions are outstanding, and she is incredibly committed to her cases." "A calm, measured, professional and reassuring advocate."

Strengths:

Harry Gates
A junior with an established practice in financial remedy cases, including those with an international element. He is particularly noted for his experience dealing with complex asset structures and hidden assets, including offshore trusts and companies.
"To the point while remaining friendly and sympathetic to clients, he's always on hand to offer support and has good drafting skills." "Pragmatic, no-nonsense and user-friendly." "He is great at building a rapport with clients, and is a strong spearhead of any legal team."

Strengths:

Harry Nosworthy
A junior barrister who has a growing practice in matrimonial finance. He has particular experience in matters concerning financial remedy proceedings, and additional niche expertise in Islamic marriage agreements.
"Makes sure he keeps an open mind throughout to all the opportunities for resolving a case. He speaks with authority and gravitas."

Strengths:

Hassan Khan
Experienced children law junior who handles a wide range of private children law cases. He is noted for his strength in matters relating to wardship, surrogacy and enforcement among other areas. He also has notable experience in cases concerning sexual abuse.
"Fierce in court and well prepared." "Well known in the alternative family world. He is the type of barrister who can read the client and adjust his style accordingly."

Strengths:

Henry Clayton
Family finance junior who handles a range of matters including maintenance orders and Schedule 1 cases. He routinely services high net worth clients in financial remedy proceedings and is commended for his grasp of complex issues.
"Henry is exceptional and always in high demand." "He is sharp-witted, thorough and diligent." "He is like a ferret with regard to the detail in a case. You always come away learning something new from him."
Recent work: Represented the wife in Akhmedova v Akhmedov & Others regarding the enforcement of her £453 million award.

Strengths:

Henry Setright QC
Extraordinarily experienced children law specialist who is widely regarded as the ultimate expert on international children matters, particularly abduction. He is routinely in the Supreme Court, leading the most significant, law-changing cases. He is also well versed in matters concerning the overlap with immigration, human rights and Court of Protection issues.
"An extremely interesting, intellectual character who is always keen to explore different ideas and novel arguments. His submissions are compelling." "There is no one else you would want by your side in a complex Supreme Court case than Henry. He is a thoroughly knowledgeable and impressive advocate."
Recent work: Handled a ground-breaking case of constitutional importance in the Supreme Court, which revised the approach to common law, Gillick competence, and consent. The case looked at children’s rights, especially the requirement for the authorisation of confinement/detention and the medical treatment of children.

Strengths:

Jacqueline Renton
Focuses her specialised children practice on sophisticated international issues centring on jurisdiction, relocation and abduction. She is regarded as an expert in this area by sources, and has appeared before the CJEU on behalf of her clients.
"An experienced and effective advocate with an encyclopedic knowledge of international children matters." "A leading guru on child abduction and relocation, she takes her job very seriously." "Undoubtedly one of the best juniors for leave to remove cases. She is fearless and you know it is going to be tough if she is on the other side, so it is always best to retain her first."
Recent work: Represented Reunite International, a child abduction charity, in an appeal to the UK Supreme Court to order the return of a child back to its father in Israel.

Strengths:

Jo Delahunty QC
Highly sought-after specialist children silk entrusted with the most significant and demanding national cases. She regularly handles matters concerning the most serious injuries and fatalities resulting from sexual assault, radicalisation and abuse. She is particularly experienced in cases involving non-accidental injury to children.
"Jo Delahunty is a legend. She is immensely knowledgeable and very able when it comes to complex child injury cases." "A master strategist who gains the trust of clients, she knows exactly what to get out of witnesses."

Strengths:

John Tughan QC
Has expertise in both public and private children proceedings. He possesses great experience of handling complex cases concerning abuse at the most serious end of the spectrum. Tughan is particularly effective in matters concerning allegations of fabricated illness, risk assessment and medical issues.
"Careful, deft and a warm person to deal with, he has a searing intellect." "A tough opponent, a fantastic cross-examiner and a seriously impressive court advocate. He is also great to work with and hugely popular with clients from all walks of life."

Strengths:

Joy Brereton
Highly experienced barrister who is recognised for her work in complex children cases. She exhibits strength in international matters, and has additional expertise in disputes concerning issues of criminal offences and abuse. Her expertise spans both private and public cases.
"Hugely reassuring and sensitive to clients, she is an incisive and powerful advocate." "Clients can rest assured that she has thoroughly prepared their cases and has completely understood them." "Joy inspires confidence and is unbelievably committed to what she does. She is a pleasure to work with and fearless in court."

Strengths:

Judith Murray
Balanced practitioner who divides her practice between representing her clients in complex financial remedy and private children proceedings. She has experience across a range of Children Act issues including those concerning leave to remove matters and Schedule 1 proceedings. Murray also routinely handles acrimonious proceedings concerning alleged sexual abuse.
"An incredibly capable and agile advocate with steely determination." "A formidable advocate who fights your corner," "Judith is someone who can make a real difference to the outcome of the most difficult case. She is first rate in terms of preparation and presentation, and has an eye for the correct, strategic approach."

Strengths:

Julia Townend
Children law and matrimonial finance practitioner who acts for a broad array of parents, ranging from high-profile celebrities to mentally vulnerable individuals. Her experience includes the handling of wardship applications, termination of parental responsibility, and habitation disputes. She frequently appears before the High Court and the Central Family Court., "Positive, smart, determined and compassionate. Clients love her." "A real details person who explains things clearly to lay clients." "Julia represents a large variety of clients, all of whom have very different personalities and communication styles."

Strengths:

Justin Ageros
Experienced junior who acts across both public and private law children proceedings. He has a particular specialism in public law matters, including adoption, and acts on behalf of local authorities as well as parents and guardians.
"His cross-examination is calm, effective and spot-on." "He is incredibly smooth and has a relaxed confidence which gives him a plausibility that can make the difference between winning and losing."

Strengths:

Justine Johnston
Renowned for her strong courtroom performances in complex private children matters. She also handles issues flowing from relationship breakdown. Johnston has particular experience in international leave to remove cases, and is commended for her no-nonsense and direct approach.
"An excellent tactician who is respected by clients for her straight-talking advice. She is always across every detail of a case." "You want Justine in your corner in any family dispute. She is persistent, robust, and someone who can change the view of any judge."

Strengths:

Mark Jarman
A cross-jurisdictional specialist who represents notable individuals in private children disputes. He mainly acts in cases concerning international and internal relocation, abduction and enforcement orders. He has experience of dealing with Hague and non-Hague jurisdictions.
"Mark is capable of drawing out the salient points in cross-examination, and his advocacy is more precise and direct than that of others." "He maintains his gravitas while being empathetic." "A phenomenal cross-examiner who is completely straightforward in his approach."
Recent work: Acted in the High Court appearing on behalf of a father who sought the return of his child to Israel under the 1980 Hague Convention.

Strengths:

Michael Edwards
Children law junior with an international practice, who has handled a number of highly complex abduction cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. His practice spans a broad range of private and public law proceedings involving international issues.
"He has an intellectual grasp of complex legal issues and a great manner with clients and opponents alike." "Diligent and well organised with great forensic ability." "Hugely knowledgeable, especially in the area of international law, he always knows the answer."

Strengths:

Michael Gration
Family junior establishing a strong children practice with a focus on complex cases involving the cross-border movement of children. He is experienced in Hague Convention matters, including international abductions and the summary return of children. He is also proficient in jurisdictional disputes and the recognition of foreign orders.
"One of the leading lights in international children's law." "His advocacy and cross-examination achieve fantastic results." "Terrifyingly knowledgeable and can be relied upon in the most complex of cases because of his dazzling intellect."
Recent work: Represented a four-year-old child who had sustained severe and incurable brain damage. The NHS trust appealed to the court to determine that the removal of artificial ventilation was lawful. The child's parents wanted permission to take her to Italy for further treatment.

Strengths:

Piers Pressdee QC
Expert private law children practitioner instructed by London's top firms for complex international disputes. He demonstrates strength in child arrangements and relocation cases and is notable for his experience in abuse and non-accidental injury cases.
"Technical, highly astute, articulate and user-friendly." "He has got a good way of dealing with clients, opponents, and the courtroom, and is extremely charming and effective."
Recent work: Represented the mother in AY v AS,  proceedings in which his client sought to relocate her child permanently to Kazakhstan.

Strengths:

Rebecca Foulkes
Manages a diverse children practice which spans both public and private law proceedings, and has additional experience of handling arbitration proceedings. Her particular expertise includes serious public law issues centring on complex non-accidental injuries.
"Has a great manner with clients and is not afraid to give them robust advice." "She is accessible and user-friendly. You can drop her a line at any point and she will respond quickly." "Persuasive and establishes an excellent rapport with clients."

Strengths:

Ruth Kirby QC
Experienced family and Court of Protection practitioner who has expertise in sensitive matters. She is praised for the strength of her advocacy and for the tenacity she shows on behalf of her clients in court. Her expertise includes the representation of very high-profile families, and she is proficient in cases concerning international issues.
"Holds her own in complex cases and fights her client's corner. She wants to achieve the best result for the children involved in the case." "Concentrates on the bigger points and puts her whole heart into both legal aid and private cases."
Recent work: Represented a father during High Court proceedings in his mission to retrieve his children who had been abducted from London to Ukraine by their mother, the daughter of a high-profile Ukrainian politician and entrepreneur.

Strengths:

Sally Bradley
Specialises in complex public law children issues involving serious abuse and injury. She acts on behalf of parents, children and local authorities and has particular experience in matters with concurrent criminal proceedings, having previously practised criminal law herself.
"Sally is a compassionate and focused advocate." "Humble and accessible, she deals with the most complicated cases." "Experienced, confident and has a good sense of humour, which is important in this line of work."

Strengths:

Samantha King QC
Renowned family barrister in high demand due to her deep knowledge of public and private law cases, both at home and abroad. She exhibits strength in the most serious public law cases, including those concerning issues of alleged radicalisation and sexual abuse, and also has experience in private law issues relating to non-traditional families and surrogacy.
"Exceptionally good with clients, robust in court, and someone who fights your case." "She meticulously reads through all the papers and gets her head round all the detail. Her written work is excellent and she is compelling in court." "A team player who delivers advice of an excellent standard."
Recent work: Acted in RJ v Tigipko, representing children involved in High Court international abduction proceedings. The case concerned an application to the court for the abducting mother and maternal grandfather to be publicly named in order to secure compliance with orders requiring the return of the children from Ukraine to England.

Strengths:

Samantha Woodham
Family practitioner handling a variety of private law matters relating to both family finance and children. Her specialism lies in high-value matrimonial disputes and Schedule 1 cases. She is frequently sought out to provide pre-emptive insight into developing problems before proceedings are issued.
"Personable, all over the detail, and a brilliant advocate. Clients love her and she is a pleasure to instruct." "She is always brilliantly prepared and fantastic with the clients."

Strengths:

Sophie Connors
Negotiates a practice that takes in all areas of family law including matrimonial finance matters and private law children work. A number of her cases have an international element to them.
"Very good at cutting through the emotional elements of a case and getting to a settlement." "She is a bundle of energy" and is "an incredibly bright and very strong advocate."

Strengths:

Stephen Lyon
Respected senior junior who possesses a deep knowledge of matrimonial finance proceedings, regularly represents clients of significant wealth and international standing. He is additionally a qualified family arbitrator.
"Thorough, extremely user-friendly and pragmatic." "He is always able to handle complex issues with speed and ease." "Clients really like him because he is on their side and fights their corner."

Strengths:

Teertha Gupta QC
Focuses his well-respected practice on public and private international children disputes. He is universally commended for his personable advocacy style and his prowess in the courtroom. Sources see him as one of the foremost abduction silks.
"Charismatic and can get to grips with a case remarkably quickly." "A formidable advocate of the highest calibre." "One of the best international silks."

Family/Matrimonial Department

4 Paper Buildings

firm
Department location

4 Paper Buildings

Temple

London

Greater London

UK

EC4Y 7EX

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

London (Bar)

Family: Children


Alex Verdan QC
Star Individuals
Alison Grief QC
Band 2
Barbara Mills QC
New Silks
Catherine Wood QC
Band 1
Charles Hale QC
Band 3
Christopher Hames QC
Band 3