Direct Access

In appropriate cases Senate House Chambers offers Public Access to clients without the need to instruct a solicitor first.

Under the Public Access rules, members of the public seeking legal advice in relation to either a specific piece of work or full representation in proceedings can instruct a barrister directly.

Full details of the scheme are available on the Bar Council’s website.

This may include advice, representation or a written opinion on a specific issue. We tailor our service by providing a suitably qualified and experienced barrister to meet your specific needs whilst ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum.

Such is the dramatic impact of government cuts to legal aid that few people will now qualify for funding in most private family law applications. We understand that careful management of the privately funded costs of proceedings is essential for public access clients. The members of our Public Access team are specialists in their areas of law, and the benefit of instructing us directly is that we can provide the support, advice and assistance to guide you through the legal process in a cost effective way. Our specially trained public access clerks are responsible for the efficient management of this important part of our business.

Our barristers cannot conduct litigation for you, unless they are specifically trained to do so. Litigation involves issuing applications at court, filing and serving documents such as statements and court bundles. However, our Public Access barristers can provide assistance and guidance drafting these documents.

In the majority of cases we charge a fixed fee for each piece of work undertaken, which is payable in advance and outlined in the Terms of Business sent to you when instructions have been confirmed.

The table below sets out an estimate of the range of fixed fees which vary depending upon the complexity of your matter and the seniority of the barrister you would like to instruct.

First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment/Dispute Resolution Appointment Final Hearing Final Hearing Refresher (subsequent days) Hourly rates / Conferences
£450 – £2,000 £850 – £5,000 £450 – £2,500 £125 – £350 per hour

The above fees are not inclusive of VAT, and the rates charged will depend on the matters such as the individual barrister’s level of experience and the issues in the case. These matter will be discussed with you before a fee is confirmed and agreed.
Any additional fees will be set out in the Terms of Business. An example of additional fees may include assistance with drafting some types of documents, completion of court forms or travel to a Court more than 40 miles outside the radius of Senate House Chambers.

As a rough guide, proceedings under the Children Act 1989 can take six to twelve months to resolve. This does not include possible appeals and there are exceptional cases were matters may take longer to conclude. We are obliged to make you aware that a barrister cannot undertake legal aid work under the Public Access Scheme unless a solicitor has instructed that individual. If you wish to obtain clarification as to whether you are eligible for legal aid before instructing us we would recommend that you consult a solicitor for the purpose of carrying out a legal aid eligibility check.

We would refer you to the Government’s online guidance for further information.

Prior to accepting instructions, it will be necessary for us to have an initial meeting with you in order to assess whether your case is suitable for the Public Access scheme.

To instruct a barrister, please contact Chambers either via e-mail on or by telephone 01604 210 979. You will then be asked to provide a brief summary of your case setting out how we may be of assistance.

Get In Touch

  • Stuart Yeung
    Stuart Yeung
    Year of Call: 1989
Stuart Yeung
Year of Call: 1989

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Year of Call: 1989
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children, Matrimonial Finance

Family law:
Stuart practises in all areas of family law, with a particular emphasis on proceedings involving children. For many years, Stuart maintained a high-level general common law practice, from which he gained invaluable experience, and which remains relevant to his current practice. His work included both the prosecution and defence of serious and complex criminal cases, as well as personal injury matters. In recent years, he has concentrated his practice exclusively in the field of family law.

Stuart is regularly instructed by local authorities, parents and children. Acting on behalf of local authorities often involves several parties and complex issues relating to serious non-accidental injury and/or death and complex medical issues. He has good case management skills and an ability to identify key issues and communicate effectively with professional and lay clients alike.

In private law proceedings, his practice comprises child arrangement work (formerly residence), contact issues, including cases of implacable hostility between parents.
Stuart is regularly instructed in financial remedy cases, including applications for maintenance pending suit, freezing injunctions as well the full range of hearings from First Appointment, through to Financial Dispute Resolution and Final Hearings.

In his approach to his work with clients, he is highly adaptable, has a sensitive and positive manner, takes pride in his work, seeks to work in partnership with both the lay and professional client in order to achieve the best possible outcome in a case, and aims to provide continuity of representation throughout. He is noted for his meticulous attention to detail.

Public Access Scheme:
Stuart is able to take instructions under the Public Access scheme.

Appointments and memberships:
• Stuart is a registered pupil supervisor
• Family Law Bar Association
• Inner Temple
Midlands Circuit

Reported cases:
A County Council v Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) [2019] EWHC 2369 (Fam)

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  • Rachel Watkins
    Rachel Watkins
    Year of Call: 1998
Rachel Watkins
Year of Call: 1998

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Year of Call:
Inn of Court: Middle Temple
Education: LLB (Hons)
Practice Areas:

Specialist family law practitioner with particular experience in serious and complex private law and public law cases involving allegations of non-accidental injury, incest and honour based violence often with the added complexity of concurrent criminal proceedings.

Regularly instructed by Local Authorities and on behalf of other professional clients such as the Official Solicitor and Children’s Guardians. Accepts instruction from parents, children and wider family members. Represents individuals who have either sought to be joined or have been directed to intervene within proceedings. Accepts direct instructions from clients who are unable to secure the services of a solicitor or who would prefer to be directly represented by senior counsel.

Considered to be very grounded in approach, works methodically in a calm and thoughtful manner, unflustered by those taking a less constructive approach. Client focussed, with the ability to diffuse tensions at court and in particularly difficult cases known to attend court with biscuits which invariably assist.

A busy practitioner in demand to work at all levels regularly, representing clients in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Public child law

– Non-accidental injuries
– sexual abuse
– incest,
– Domestic violence
– Forced marriage
– Jurisdiction and international considerations
– Secure accommodation
– Deprivation of Liberty
– Chronic neglect
– Mental health and litigation capacity (acting for clients directly and through the Official Solicitor)
– Children beyond parental control
– Parents with learning difficulties

Private child law

– Child Arrangement orders
– Specific Issue orders such as the permanent removal of children from the jurisdiction of England and Wales, the changing of a child’s name or school
– Prohibited steps orders
– Domestic violence including non-molestation orders and occupation orders


– Direct Access work undertaken
– Registered Pupillage Supervisor

Reported Cases:

S-L (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 1022 (Court of Appeal)
Y and E (Children) (Sexual Abuse Allegations) [2019] EWCA Civ 206 (Court of Appeal)

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  • Elizabeth Gooderham
    Elizabeth Gooderham
    Year of Call: 2001
Elizabeth Gooderham
Year of Call: 2001

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Year of Call: 2001
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LL.B (Derby)
Practice Areas: Public Law Children (Care and Adoption), Private Law Children and Criminal law

After beginning her career with a broad-based general criminal and family practice Elizabeth now predominantly specialises in Family law.

Family law:
Elizabeth’s family law practice covers all aspects of Children Act applications, from complex care cases involving allegations of serious sexual abuse, NAI and neglect to private law disputes.

In public law matters Elizabeth regularly appears for Local Authorities and Children/Guardians. She has a reputation for her thorough preparation, hard work and diligence and her approachable nature.

Elizabeth has extensive experience and a sensitive approach in representing clients with mental health and learning disabilities, addiction difficulties and particularly young clients.

Criminal law:
Elizabeth has over a decade of experience both prosecuting and defending in the Criminal courts.
An experienced and effective trial advocate, Elizabeth is particularly adept at cases involving young defendants or child witnesses.
Elizabeth is known for being a thorough and proficient advocate and for her articulate and persuasive style.

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  • Jenna Allen
    Jenna Allen
    Year of Call: 2002
Jenna Allen
Year of Call: 2002

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Year of Call: 2002
Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn
Degree: LL.B (Hons) Leicester
Practice Areas: Criminal law, Family.

Upon being called to the Bar in 2002, Jenna practised general common law for 3 years where she enjoyed a strong criminal practice, with emphasis on defence work, as well as accepting instructions in Private Family Matters and Care Proceedings. Having joined the CPS in 2006 Jenna spent 7 years developing her skills as a Senior Crown Prosecutor and Crown Advocate.

The last 9 years of criminal practice have earned her a deserved reputation amongst solicitors and the judiciary as a formidable advocate. Her wealth of experience extends across the whole range of criminal proceedings form the Magistrates and Youth Court, the Crown Court and Court of Appeal. An experienced jury trial advocate, Jenna is well versed in the full range of criminal offences, from driving misdemeanours, dishonesty, serious violence – including armed robbery and multi-defendant s.18 matters, drugs offences, including production and conspiracy, POCA proceedings and sexual offences.

Jenna left the CPS in 2013 as a level 3 prosecutor to return to Chambers, and the last 3 years have seen her expand and develop her criminal practice alongside a return to family law. As a result of her background in criminal law, Jenna is a particularly popular choice when cross-examination is required, such as for lengthy fact-finding and final hearings.

Jenna’s extensive experience both in private practice and with the Crown Prosecution Service establish her as a diligent, committed and effective advocate. She has a flourishing practice, where her vast knowledge and skill, together with her assured and approachable nature, prove a huge asset to Chambers.

Public Access Scheme:
Jenna is able to take instructions under the Public Access scheme.

Appointments and Memberships:
Criminal Bar Association
Lincoln’s inn
Midland Circuit
Jenna is a registered pupil supervisor

Jenna enjoys a busy home life as a mother and wife. She is always keen to ensure a healthy home/work/life balance, by making time to see family and friends, cooking, gardening and keeping fit.

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  • Samantha Dunn
    Samantha Dunn
    Year of Call: 2008
Samantha Dunn
Year of Call: 2008

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Year of call: 2008
Inn of Court: Middle Temple
Degree: LL.B. Law First Class (Hons)
Bar Vocational Course: Nottingham Law School: Very Competent (Outstanding in Professional Ethics)
Practice areas: Family Law specialist (Public, Private and Matrimonial Law)

Samantha is an experienced and established family law practitioner that has specialized primarily in care proceedings. She has experience representing a number of Local Authorities, Guardians, parents and other family members in cases involving:
• Serious non-accidental injuries (fractures – including baby-shake cases, bruising, sexual abuse cases);
• Physical and sexual abuse of children and / or adults;
• Chronic neglect, emotional and psychological abuse;
• Adults or children with learning difficulties and / or disabilities; and
• Cultural or religious elements;
• Care proceedings that involve Human Rights Act claims.

In private law practice, Samantha has experience dealing with:
• Complex finding of fact hearings where allegations of sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse are determined;
• Cases where Rule 16.4 Guardians are appointed to represent the child’s interests;
• Implacably hostile parents;
She is frequently instructed in complex cases where applications for expert assessments are necessary.

Samantha provides her clients with frank and sensitive advice throughout her involvement with the case. She is tenacious as an advocate and always presents cases persuasively, obtaining the best possible results for her clients.

Member of the Midland Circuit
Member of the Family Law Bar Association.
Member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

Notable cases:
T (A Child: Fact Finding) [2014] EWFC B115 (12 September 2014)
NCC v L & Anor [2014] EWHC 4828 (Fam) (21st July 2014)

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  • Charlene Henderson
    Charlene Henderson
    year of Call: 2009
Charlene Henderson
year of Call: 2009

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Year of Call: 2009

Inn of Court: Lincoln’s Inn

 LL.B Law (Hons), University of Sussex

Bar Vocational Course:
 BPP Law School, London

Practice Areas: Family Law
 (Public and Private Law Children)

Profile: Charlene practices exclusively in children matters, covering all aspects of private and public children’s work in the family field. Charlene began her practice in both crime and family; her mixed practice has equipped her with knowledge of the crossover between the criminal and family jurisdictions. Charlene conducted her last ever criminal case in the Court of Appeal.

Charlene has experience in representing local authorities, parents, interveners, related parties, children’s guardians and competent children at all stages of care proceedings. She appears before all levels of the judiciary, including in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Her work in this field includes:

• Fact finding hearings comprising serious non-accidental injury (‘shaken’ baby allegations, multiple fractures and multiple bruising).
• Fact finding hearings involving sexual abuse allegations.
• Re-litigation/challenge to historic findings.
• FDAC proceedings.
• Mental illness.
• Serious domestic violence.
• Chronic neglect.

Charlene has a particular interest in handling difficult and complex cases where her clients have mental health issues or learning difficulties, including when the client is represented by the Official Solicitor. She is a popular choice for representing young clients given her pragmatic yet sensitive approach.

She also accepts instructions to act for applicants and respondents in applications for child arrangements orders under the Children Act 1989 and for injunctions under the Family Law Act 1996.

Charlene takes a dedicated approach to all of her cases and has a reputation for representing clients with passion and conviction. She has a fierce tenacity in the courtroom and has been described as an “impressive advocate” with an “astonishing command of her case”. Her knowledge, preparation and organisation of papers has been referred to as “exceptional”.

Upon completion of her studies at Sussex University, Charlene volunteered at the Free Representation Unit, she worked as a Freelance County Court Advocate and worked as a Convener and Lecturer of the ILEX course at Bedford College.

Public Access scheme:
Charlene is able to accept instructions under the Public Access scheme.

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  • Daniel Sheridan
    Daniel Sheridan
    Year of Call: 2008
Daniel Sheridan
Year of Call: 2008

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Listed as a leading junior in Family and Children Law in the legal 500
He has fantastic client care skills

Year of Call: 2008
Inn of Court: Inner Temple
Degree: LL.B (Hons) Law (University of Sheffield)
Bar Vocational Course: Manchester, Very Competent (Outstanding in Professional Ethics)

Practice Areas:

Family Law (Public and Private Law Children)


Daniel specialises in the law relating to children. He accepts instructions in all aspects of private and public law children proceedings. His main practice is in public law work, in respect of which he represents parents, local authorities, interveners, Children’s Guardians, and children capable of being represented in their own right.

Daniel appears before all levels of the judiciary; and has appeared before the High Court (Family Division) in respect of complex combined Finding of Fact/Welfare Hearings involving issues of serious sexual abuse, applications for child witnesses to give evidence and disclosure issues in respect of concurrent criminal law proceedings.

Daniel has expertise in dealing with cases involving: chronic neglect, hearing impaired parents, mental health problems, non-accidental injury, physical, sexual and emotional harm, drug and alcohol misuse [including FDAC proceedings], cases with an international element, and Human Rights Act claims arising from public law proceedings.

Daniel’s strong advocacy style, preparation and positive approach are underpinned by his organisational skills and a sound knowledge base. His clear focus on the needs of the client is often described as “going beyond the call of duty” and “child focused”. He has a reputation for his attention to detail and his personable approach with professional and lay clients alike. Daniel’s work ethic and case preparation has enabled him to lead in complex matters beyond his year of call.

His expertise in private law children work involves cases which have entailed serious allegations of domestic violence, sexual abuse, intractable contact disputes and matters with an international element.

Earlier in his practice, Daniel conducted immigration appeals on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, via the Treasury Solicitor’s Department; and, he conducted criminal trials, which better equips him to deal with crossover issues involving those jurisdictions.

Public Access Scheme:

Daniel is able to take instructions under the Public Access Scheme.


Committee Member of National Family Law Bar Association 2018-2019.

President Inner Temple Junior Bar Association, December 2015 – September 2016.

Out of London Bar Secretary for the Midland Circuit (Inner Temple Junior Bar Association), 2014 – 2015.

Reported cases:

A Local Authority v A Mother & Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 799 (09 May 2019)

Northamptonshire County Council v M and N [2018] EWFC 82

Milton Keynes Council v A, B, X and Y (Muslim children, Special Guardianship) [2014] EWFC B102 (14 May 2014)

OCC v B & T [2015] EWFC B73 (18 June 2013)


In his spare time, Daniel enjoys travelling and looking after Basil, his Basset Hound. Time permitting, as a lover of the great outdoors, he retreats back to his roots in North Wales to get back to basics where his family lives near the gateway to the Snowdonia National Park.

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  • Andrew Duncan
    Andrew Duncan
    Year of Call: 2011
Andrew Duncan
Year of Call: 2011

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Bar Professional Training Course (VC)

LL.M International Law

LL.B (Hons) Law

Call: 28th July 2011

Inn of Court: The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

Practice areas: Family

Profile: Andrew has developed a specialist Family Law practice, including public, private law and matrimonial finance proceedings.

Andrew has established a practice far beyond his year of call and has achieved a particularly strong reputation for his work in public law cases.

Andrew is an approachable and down to earth barrister. He is also a straight talker, who will quickly put clients at ease. Recognised as a team player, Andrew is valued by his professional clients as someone who will always go the extra mile.

Andrew has developed a successful direct access practice for private children work and receives many referrals from his clients. Andrew is a resolute advocate and members of the judiciary have often commented on his ability to forensically cross-examine to great effect.

Andrew is a member of the Family Law Bar Association.

Notable Cases:

Re P (2019)
Andrew acted for the children where he sought the transfer of living arrangements of two children who were living with the mother to their father’s care. This was a complex parental alienation case where the mother had previously made serious allegations of abuse against the father. The children were successfully transitioned at the conclusion of the case.

Re RJ (2018)
Andrew represented a father in a “parental alienation case” who faced twelve allegations of physical abuse against his child made by the mother. The court found none of those allegations proven and went on to find that the mother had alienated the child from the father and that the child was at risk of significant harm in the care of the mother.

Re PD (2018)
Andrew successfully sought an order for no direct contact to father after cross examining a consultant psychiatrist, community psychiatric nurse, and CAFCASS officer who had all recommended that there be direct contact between the father and the child.

Re EE (2017)
Andrew represented two children in a “parental alienation case” where the mother had unsuccessfully sought findings of sexual abuse against the father. The court had to the contrary made findings of implacable hostility and alienation against the mother. Andrew successfully sought the transfer of the children’s living arrangements to the father and a “no contact order” for the mother.

Re HW (2017)
On behalf of a father, Andrew successfully appealed the decision of the lower court to make care and placement orders following a final hearing. The appeal consisted of two days of legal argument and was opposed by both the Local Authority and the children’s guardian. The appeal was allowed and the matter listed for re-hearing.

Re EW (2016)
Andrew, acting for the Local Authority, successfully appealed the decision of a District Judge to adjourn care and placement order applications for a further six months to allow time for the mother to engage in further therapy. This was following a fully contested seven-day trial. The appeal consisted of two days of legal argument and was opposed by legal teams for both the mother and the father.

Re JB (2016)
Andrew successfully opposed three interim removal hearings sought by the Local Authority. At the conclusion of the proceedings, two of the three children remained in the care of Andrew’s client.

Re P (2016)
Andrew successfully sought multiple findings on behalf of a mother who had been subjected to coercive and controlling behaviour by the father, who used the interpretation of religious scripture as a defence.

Re BK (2015)
Andrew successfully sought the return of three children made subject to police protection orders during on-going proceedings. The children were returned to the interim care of the parents that day, before the 72 hour PPO time limit expired.

Re K (2015)
Andrew, on behalf of a child in private law proceedings, successfully sought a transfer of residence to the father and the imposition of supervised contact to the mother. This was following the mother originally making allegations of child sexual abuse against the father that were not proven. On the contrary, findings regarding the mother’s harmful psychological state were made against her.

Re C (2015)
Andrew successfully sought findings of enduring, systemic and compulsive lying against a prima facie credible father. It was found that these lies were likely to effect the long term emotional welfare of the child concerned and the case concluded with a ‘no contact’ order.

During his years as a student, Andrew won the first year Mooting Competition at the University of Sussex. During the same year, he won the University Negotiating Competition, was placed first in the South Region finals and went on to the UK National Finals.

During his second year Andrew mooted at Lewes Crown Court, competed in the ESU Mooting competition, and at the National Finals of the Telder International Moot Court competition. In the same year he was elected as President of the University’s Student Law Society, managing a committee of 25 and a membership body of 600 students. Andrew scored the highest mark for Civil Advocacy in his year, whilst studying the BPTC at the BPP Law School, London.

A passion for the countryside, you will find him engaged in most country pursuits, from skiing and scuba diving to fly fishing for salmon.

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  • Ayesha Bell-Paris
    Ayesha Bell-Paris
    Year of Call: 2012
Ayesha Bell-Paris
Year of Call: 2012

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Year of Call: 2012

Inn of Court: The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

BA (English); University College London
Graduate Diploma in Law; Kaplan Law School, London
Bar Professional Training Course; Kaplan Law School, London

Scholarships and Awards:
Lord Denning Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
Winner of the Crowther Shield Advocacy Competition (Lincoln’s Inn)

Appointments and Memberships:
Denning Society (Lincoln’s Inn)
Midland Circuit
Family Law Bar Association

Practice Areas: Family Law

Public Access scheme: Ayesha is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public.

Ayesha accepted an offer of tenancy at Senate House Chambers in 2014 after the successful completion of pupillage.

Ayesha has since developed her expertise in all areas of family law and enjoys a varied practice. Ayesha is regularly instructed in both public and private law children proceedings, Family Law Act 1996 applications as well as proceedings relating to the breakdown of a relationship. Ayesha has a particular interest in matrimonial finance cases and proceedings involving Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) applications.

Ayesha has a balanced practice and has represented local authorities, parents, extended family members, intervenors and children’s guardians. She has been instructed in cases at all levels of allocation (including in the High Court) and in all hearings from First Appointments to Appeal Hearings. Ayesha also has experience in Wardship proceedings and cases involving an international element.

Ayesha is renowned for her impeccable preparation of cases and outstanding written work. Her sensitive and pragmatic approach has been commended by lay clients and Judges alike. Ayesha also appreciates the importance of being able to work as a team alongside her professional clients.

Ayesha often acts for vulnerable clients, such as those for whom English is not their first language or those represented by the Official Solicitor. Ayesha is regularly instructed in cases involving parental alienation, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic violence and non-accidental injury.

Recent Cases:

B v P [2015 & 2018] – TOLATA proceedings culminating in a final hearing at which Ayesha successfully obtained an order for sale of a jointly owned property and a favourable division of the equity. Ayesha was instructed in the subsequent enforcement proceedings in which a possession order was obtained and costs awarded.

Re H-C [2017] – Ayesha represented the applicant Local Authority in care proceedings involving a 5-day final hearing at the conclusion of which Care and Placement Orders were granted. Ayesha also dealt with a consequent application for a specific issue order against a respondent in relation to their use of social media.

Re R-T [2017] – Ayesha represented a mother in care proceedings who was accused of inflicting significant bruising upon her young child. No findings of inflicted injury were made during the fact finding hearing and the proceedings concluded with both subject children being rehabilitated home pursuant to a Supervision Order. Ayesha received the following feedback from her instructing solicitor: “Can I also thank you very much for all your hard work in this matter – it has been greatly reassuring to have Counsel in this matter that I have been able to completely rely upon”.

Re D-K [2017] – Ayesha represented a mother in care proceedings. The Local Authority’s application for interim removal of a new-born baby was successfully opposed and the proceedings ultimately concluded with the child remaining in the mother’s care.

Other interests:

Ayesha is a certified scuba diver and enjoys travelling to foreign climes so that she can make new underwater friends. When on dry land, Ayesha enjoys cooking, going to the theatre, electronic music and all equestrian pursuits.

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