Public Law Children

On this page you will find the following, specifically related to Public Law Children;
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Our Barristers have extensive experience of acting on behalf of parents, children, relatives, guardians and local authorities in care, placement and adoption proceedings; and our expertise includes local authority duties, wardship and use of the inherent jurisdiction.

We have specialists in areas including the most severe cases of physical and sexual abuse, and in dealing with complex medical issues including rare genetic disorders, brain injury and mental health and addiction.

Our team provides representation and advice in all areas of public law, and accepts instructions from all parties to care proceedings.

Members of Chambers frequently appear in cases involving complex facts or legal argument at all levels of court. We are often instructed in lengthy fact-finding hearings or final hearings.

Our expertise:

  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Fabricated and/or induced illness
  • Neglect
  • Parents and/or children with disabilities
  • Parents with significant learning difficulties
  • Serious non-accidental injury
  • Sexual abuse and child prostitution

Our Barristers who specialise in dealing with these areas are also experienced in working with clients who require an interpreter or need particular support to help them through the legal process, and several are particularly well regarded for their ability to represent those whose circumstances have rendered them vulnerable or fearful of engagement with the legal system.

Case Studies

Representing Father in Care Proceedings

Children known to LA throughout their lives as a result of concerns relating to neglect, domestic abuse, alcohol and drug use. Mother in care when younger, history of PTSD and sexualised behaviour from very young age. Assessed to have very low IQ with significant history of mental health issues and in need of an intermediary. Continue reading

Representing teenage children within care proceedings

Marie represents 2 teenage children who became separately represented from the Guardian’s legal team as a result of a conflict in their views and the Guardian’s. They were considered competent to instruct their own Solicitor. The children live with their mother and an infant sibling. The local authority seeks to remove them and their sibling. Continue reading

Representing mother in care case

Marie represents the mother in a case where the local authority sought to remove her 3 young children from her care and for them to stay with family. They have concerns about domestic abuse, drugs, and alcohol use. The court was persuaded that separation was not necessary and the children remain with the mother whilst Continue reading

Public Law Children Articles

Family Drugs and Alcohol Courts – The Annual Report for 2022/23

The Centre for Justice Innovation annual report for the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (“FDAC”) has recently been published with a foreword from Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division. In the foreword the President describes FDAC as “a problem-solving, court-driven, approach to care proceedings”.  Statistically, FDAC families have been shown to be much Continue reading

A brief analysis of using Section 20 accommodation as a long-term measure: judicial clarity arising in Re S (A Child) and Re W (A Child) (s 20 Accommodation) [2023] EWCA Civ 1

“Section 20 accommodation” is a term used in care proceedings which describes a voluntary arrangement between parents and a local authority, whereby the parents give consent for their child to be accommodated by the local authority. This is pursuant to Section 20(1) of the Children Act 1989, which expressly states that local authorities indeed have Continue reading


How often do we really stop, and I mean really stop….. and look at things ‘through the eyes of a child’. We use all the cliche phrases over and over again, all coming from I suggest perhaps a paternalistic and protecting stance.  We all know that the welfare of the child is paramount. When completing Continue reading

Case Law Update

Re S (Children: Party Status) [2022] EWCA Civ 1717 (per Peter Jackson, LJ) This appeal concerned whether the refusal of an application by the Appellant to become a party to care proceedings was wrong. The appeal was allowed. Relevant law on joining a party to care proceedings as set out by Jackson LJ: Family Proceedings Continue reading

Should the findings made in family courts be accessible to safeguarding agencies?

This article considers whether there would be a benefit to findings of fact made in public law family proceedings being centrally recorded and accessible to safeguarding professionals. Where the facts of a case are in dispute in family proceedings, the court may hold a fact-finding hearing to determine the factual matrix.  The findings made usually Continue reading

A junior practitioner’s brief guide to private law fact-finding hearings

Family law pupils and baby juniors deal with all types of hearing, but perhaps the most formulaic is the fact-finding hearing. This is the family court concept of deciding whether or not a disputed allegation of fact happened on the balance of probabilities. This article sets out a basic guide to preparing for and executing Continue reading

Special Measures and vulnerable litigants

The importance of ensuring vulnerable litigants and witnesses are protected by special measures and participation directions when they give evidence in family proceedings The vital importance of this was highlighted in this case, reported in FLW (reproduced below), in which the High Court allowed an appeal against a fact-finding hearing, which ordinarily requires a very Continue reading


In the recently reported case of T & R (Children)(Refusal of Placement Order) [2021] EWCA Civ 71, the Court of Appeal had to determine an appeal made by a local authority and guardian against the refusal of the trial judge to make placement orders in respect of two young children. The case is of particular Continue reading


S-F (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 964 (Leading judgment given by Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President) I was recently very helpfully reminded of this 2017 case which is perhaps not too well-known as it raises no new issues of law or principal and the issue on appeal was described as ‘clear and simple’— was the Continue reading

GROUND RULES – Vulnerable witnesses

We have a new Practice Direction 3AA which covers participation in proceedings for vulnerable person who will be required to give evidence, which is effective from February 2021 BRIEF SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT POINTS It is essential to seek a Ground Rules Hearing as early as possible in the proceedings. It is important to raise this Continue reading

Case Study N (Children: Interim Order/Stay [2020] EWCA Civ 1070

Case Study N (Children: Interim Order/Stay [2020] EWCA Civ 1070 Decision of Lord Justice Peter Jackson. A helpful reminder of some basic principles _______________________________________________________________________________________ This successful appeal by the mother was dealt with on 29 July 2020 during the current COVID 19 restrictions. The facts are not as important as the principles which were dealt Continue reading

New Guidance for Special Guardianship Orders

In June 2020 the Family Justice Council (“FJC”) published its report on how to achieve best practice with respect to special guardianship orders. The report arrives in a climate where in recent years, family courts have made more special guardianship orders than placement orders and the proportion of special guardianship order has risen whilst the Continue reading

Interim Separation During Proceedings

C (A Child) (Interim Separation) [2019] EWCA Civ 1998 (Judgement of Lord Justice, Peter Jackson) _______________________________________________________________________________________ We have all experienced cases, especially when representing a young mother who has been placed with the child, often a first child and a baby, in a mother and baby foster placement and that placement has broken down for Continue reading

A Reminder of the Need to Robustly Stand Up to Judical Pressure and the Important Distinction Between Sections 31 & 38 of the Children Act 1989

Re G (Children: Fair Hearing). [2019] EWCA Civ 126 On the first of these two issues this was a procedural appeal against interim care orders by a mother who stated that she was subjected to improper judicial pressure that led to orders being granted without opposition by her. The appeal was heard by Lord Justice Continue reading

Public Law Update – November 2018

CHILDREN & SOCIAL WORK ACT 2017 This Act received Royal Assent on 27.04.17 and, although most of it is not yet in force (except section 10 and Schedule 1, which deals with placement in secure accommodation outside England and Wales) Chapter 1, section 1 of the Act is a helpful reminder of the following “corporate Continue reading

Parents with learning difficulties – further guidance in a recent reported case dealing with the limits the courts will go to in applying Re D principles.

The President has issued further guidance on cases involving parents with learning difficulties: President’s Guidance Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability, 10th April 2018: He refers to the leading cases: Re D (A Child) (No 3) (2016) EWFC 1: and Re Guardian and A (Care Order: Freeing Order: Parents with a Learning Disability) Continue reading

RELOCATION and the impact of Re C (Internal Relocation) [2015] EWCA Civ 1305

This case has afforded an important decision as well as being an excellent opportunity to review and consider the principles to be applied in cases of relocation and the different approaches to internal relocation and international relocation cases. This was carried out by Lady Justice Black in her judgment which carefully reviews all the authorities Continue reading

Public Law Children Testimonials

“As always, we were very pleased that we had instructed Mr Pidduck. He always gives good feedback, supports the client and follows their instructions and is always superbly prepared.”

Miss S from solicitors instructing Adrian Pidduck – Oct 23

“Very happy today thank you…..Barrister was great, listened to me and put forward what he needed to”

Client instructing Chris Wall through Solicitors – July 23

“I wanted to say a very big thankyou to you, for all your hard work and help. I always found you very reassuring, your advice and guidance was very welcome. You listened to me and made me feel like I could trust you, which was particularly difficult during our case. Thanks to you and the efforts of those involved, myself and my children can remain together, for that there are not enough words or gratitude. I will always be so very grateful for all that you did for us.”

Ms R Instructing Adrian Pidduck through Solicitors – Mar 23

“Thank you so much Adrian …. and thank you for your advice, representation and support throughout. Superb. A very good outcome to a very tricky case.”

Miss S from Solicitors instructing Adrian Pidduck – March 23

“Sita is outstanding. I can always rely on her to go above and beyond on every case I instruct her on.”

Miss G from solicitors instructing Sita Cox – February 23

Mr. Worwood was recently instructed by myself and I was extremely satisfied with the service that my Client and I received. Mr. Worwood was extremely helpful and available to discuss matters. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough.

Solicitors Instructing Allen Worwood in Care Proceedings – May 2022

I can confirm that I was extremely pleased with the service of your Chambers and the representation of my Client by Ms Crawford.


Ms. Crawford’s communication was impeccable and I know it is a phrase employed by retail companies who ask for feed back these days, but Ms Crawford certainly did “go beyond” in her representation of my Client at both Hearings.


I would not hesitate to instruct Ms. Crawford again or arrange Counsel through your Chambers.

Solicitors instructing Marie Crawford for Public Law Proceedings – April 2022

Thank you for your determined and passionate representation of this vulnerable client and not an easy brief to pick up mid way through a trial!

I think she feels like we have all done everything we can for her and have looked after her with the human touch she didn’t feel was there previously.

It may mean little coming from me and we’ve never met but I’ve been very impressed with the detailed knowledge of the case you’ve amassed in such little time, and with everything you have done from the start, and our firm will certainly look to instruct you again.

Solicitors Instructing Sandria Murkin for Public Care Proceedings – December 2021

You have worked so very hard on the case – above and beyond as always – a huge thankyou

Solicitors Instructing Sandria Murkin for Public Care Proceedings – December 2021

Mike is excellent, as always.

Very prompt at dealing with everything and I appreciate that he stepped in late at night at very short notice due the court changing the date of the hearing.


Solicitors instructing Mike Batt in Care Proceedings – November 2021

“Thank you so much for all the hours put in to this case and for keeping in touch with the client and supporting her. Really very much appreciated.”

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Sandria Murkin – January 21

“Clive was great, took the bull by the horns and dealt with the matter with autonomy.”

Mr M from Solicitors Instructing Clive Styles – November 20

“Everything has been brilliant. Louisa has been very quick and clear coming back to me. You have also been a star.Thank you!”

Miss R from Solicitors instructing Louisa Adamson – June 19

“Louisa was great thank you, very helpful before the hearing and I received a very detailed attendance note that afternoon which is always appreciated.”

Miss S from solicitors instructing Louisa Adamson – May 19

“Both yourself and counsel have been very helpful. The service received has been very efficient”

Mrs W from solicitors instructing Michael Batt – May 19

“Mr Batt was as ever helpful and efficient. It is very helpful to receive prompt feedback from counsel after a hearing which I can always rely on Mr. Batt to provide.”

Miss W from Solicitors instructing Mike Batt – March 19

“Thank you very much for these and for representing Mr C throughout this matter. He is delighted with the outcome.”


Ms T from Solicitors Instructing Clive Styles – July 18

“I Thought Gayle Ashley was wonderful….Gayle was very informative and professional in representing me on the final day. I would highly recommend her.”

Mr B instructing Gayle Ashley through Solicitors – June 18

“Thank you v much indeed Marie for stepping in on this one and for being kind and caring and compassionate.”

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Marie Crawford – September 17

“Counsel was, as usual, fully available to us throughout the duration of the case, by telephone and email.  He explained everything clearly to a client, who had considerable difficulties, and obtained instructions from a client, who might have been perceived by others to have an ambivalent approach to the proceedings due to his difficulties.  He reported promptly by telephone post each hearing and provided detailed attendance notes.  He was fully committed throughout to securing the best outcome for the client possible.  Even other parties in the case commented on the level of legal representation that father received.

I have of course used Counsel in a number of cases and have always been extremely pleased with the level of representation and care provided by him to his professional and lay client.”

Ms C from Solicitors Instructing Michael Batt – August 17

“Thank you for being empathetic and understanding the stress of the Court process and doing an excellent job”

Ms M Instructing Sophie Gray through Solicitors – July 2017

“…The client has just asked me to relay her sincere gratitude to Mike Batt for everything that he has done today & told me that he was wonderful…”

Miss M from Solicitors instructing Mike Batt – June 16

“Please will you thank Sandria for another excellent job.”

Mrs S from firm of Solicitors instructing Sandria Murkin – March 16

“I do believe ( as result of this case)  and  have confidence that only you can the win the “un- winnable cases”  and that if you can’t then no one can. You have really instilled confidence in me about your capabilities.”

Ms K from Solicitors instructing Philip Newton – February 16

“Firstly may I say I have been meaning  to send you an email for a while and just have not had a chance to say how impressed I was in how you manged to exclude the evidence which was not something any other Counsel representing Mother managed to do.”

Ms K from Solicitors Instructing Philip Newton – January 16

“….the client has spoken very highly of him saying he’s never come across someone of “such high calibre” in his life before and he thinks Mike is “brilliant” that he listened and dealt with his difficult ex very well”

Ms K from Instructing Solicitors instructing Michael Batt – December 15