Direct Access

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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 clerks@senatehousechambers.com 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

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

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements

Profile
Stuart Yeung is an experienced child law practitioner specialising in public and private law proceedings. Stuart acts on behalf of local authorities, parents, children and intervenors on the Midlands Circuit. Acting on behalf of local authorities usually involves numerous parties and complex issues arising out of serious non-accidental injury and/or death and complex medical issues. Stuart employs a proactive, careful and sensitive approach to his preparation, has good case management skills and the ability to identify key issues and communicate effectively with professional and lay clients alike.

Stuart’s experience and current practice includes cases involving:

• Serious non-accidental injury
• Fabricated and/or induced illness, including hospital intervenors
• Female Genital Mutilation
• Sexual abuse
• Concurrent criminal proceedings
• Human Rights Act claims arising from public law proceedings
• Chronic neglect
• Drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC proceedings)
• Adoption
• Special Guardianship
• Domestic Violence
• Child arrangements (formerly residence and contact) disputes, including intractable contact disputes

Education
University:
Leicester Polytechnic (1988) LL.B (Hons)
Law School:
Inns of Court School of Law (1989)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Inner Temple
Midlands Circuit
Stuart is able to take instructions under the Public Access scheme.
Stuart is a registered pupil supervisor

Cases
A County Council v CAFCASS [2019] EWHC 2369 (Fam)

Northamptonshire County Council v AB & CD [2019] EWHC 1807 (Fam)

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

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence

Profile
Rachel Watkins is a family law specialist with extensive experience in complex and serious public and private law proceedings. Rachel’s expertise spans the full range of child related matters including those involving non-accidental injury, incest, and honour based violence with many cases having the added complexity of concurrent criminal proceedings.
Rachel is regularly instructed by local authorities, the Official Solicitor, parents, children’s guardians, children who require separate representation, intervenors and other persons seeking orders in respect of a child. Rachel also accepts instructions on a direct access basis.

Cases feature:
• Serious non-accidental injury
• Incest
• Forced marriage
• Deprivation of liberty
• Mental health and litigation capacity
• Honour based violence
• Chronic neglect
• Children beyond parental control
• Clients with learning difficulties
• Child arrangement orders including protracted disputes in relation to contact
• Removal from the jurisdiction of England and Wales
• Changing of a child’s name or school
• Domestic violence including non-molestation and occupation orders

Memberships

Middle Temple
Registered pupillage supervisor

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

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence

Profile
Elizabeth Gooderham is a very experienced advocate who, after an early career at the bar undertaking both criminal and family law now specialises solely in all aspects of child-care law.

Elizabeth specialises in public and complex private law proceedings. Elizabeth is a thorough and detailed advocate with an ability to get to the heart of the matter. She has a sensitive and understanding approach when dealing with vulnerable clients, including those with mental health difficulties, young parents and competent children.

Elizabeth acts on behalf of local authorities, parents, children’s guardians, competent children and intervenors in a wide range of cases, including:

• Serious non-accidental injury
• Sexual abuse
• Concurrent criminal proceedings
• Chronic neglect
• Drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC proceedings)
• Parents with mental health difficulties
• Adoption
• Special Guardianship
• Domestic Violence
• Child arrangements disputes
• Parental alienation

Education
University:
University of Derby (2000)

Law School:
Inns of Court School of Law (2001)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Inner Temple
Midland Circuit

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

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence

Profile
Beginning her career in the Criminal Courts, and later expanding and developing her practice to specialise in Public (Care) and Private Law Children matters, Jenna has earned her a deserved reputation amongst solicitors and the judiciary as a formidable advocate. Her wealth of experience extends across all tiers of the judicial system, from the Magistrates and Youth Court, through the Crown and County Court to the High Court and Court of Appeal.

As an advocate for Parents, Intervenors and Children/Guardians, Jenna is adept at handling cases involving:

• Domestic Abuse – representing both victims and perpetrators
• Sexual Abuse
• Severe Neglect
• Vulnerable parents, including those with learning disabilities
• Drug/alcohol addictions and dependency issues
• Intractable contact disputes

Education
Leicester University, LLB Hons (2001)
Nottingham Law School; Bar Vocational Course – Very Competent (2002)

Appointments and Memberships
Lincoln’s inn
Midland Circuit
• Bar Council’s Direct Public Access scheme
• Jenna is a registered pupil supervisor

What our clients are saying
Jenna is a diligent, committed and effective advocate who always strives to achieve the best outcome for those she represents whilst giving well-founded and realistic advice. She is known for her ability to effectively deal with conflict and potential hostility. A particular strength is her ability to skilfully challenge expert and professional witnesses.

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  • Grant Keyes
    Grant Keyes
    Year of Call: 2007
Grant Keyes
Year of Call: 2007

01604 210 979


Specialist areas
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Adoption and Special Guardianship

Profile
Grant is an experienced specialist family law practitioner in public and private children law. Grant always fights for the rights of his clients and has the ability to disseminate the most complex cases into the key facts in a calm manner, whilst providing clear and realistic advice. Grant uses his forensic approach to complex cases and skilled advocacy whilst maintaining a calm and warm manner with his clients. Grant has the experience of working with the most vulnerable individuals who have suffered significant trauma in their lives, and regularly works with intermediaries on particularly emotionally charged and complex cases.

Grant acts on behalf of parents, children’s guardians, children and intervenors in a wide range of cases:

• Serious non-accidental injury
• Fabricated and/or induced illness
• Sexual Abuse
• Domestic Violence
• Chronic Neglect
• Drug and Alcohol Abuse (including FDAC proceedings)
• Adoption including Revocation of Adoption
• Special Guardianship
• Secure Accommodation/Deprivation of Liberty
• Child arrangements disputes, including intractable contact disputes

Education
University:
University of Leicester (BA)
Warwick Business School (MBA)

Law School:
BPP London (2005)

Memberships/Scholarships
Family Law Bar Association
Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
– Richard York Scholarship (2006)
– CPE Scholarship (2005)

What our clients are saying
Grant has a reputation for his high level of advocacy, demonstrating his forensic ability to find the ‘needle in the haystack’ and to always fight for his client. He is truly client focused and robust in his approach, whilst remaining calm in the ‘eye of the storm’. He cares about his clients and will do what is right whilst always being professional providing advice in a straightforward and direct style. Grant represents clients in the County Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.

Cases
Re H-B-S [2020] EWCA Civ 1027 (Court of Appeal – Judge had been wrong to discharge interim care orders in the middle of a fact finding)

Re S [2020] EWHC 217 (Fam) – (High Court – Fabricated Illness, Sexual Abuse – Finding of Fact – client exonerated)

Re T (A Child) sub nom OCC v (1) A (Mother) (2) B (Father) (3) T (BY Guardian) (4 & 5) C & D (Paternal Aunt & Uncle) (2017) (Successful challenge to Foster to Adopt – child returned to the family)

Re S [2015] (non-reported) – (Non-accidental injury (fracture) to a 6 month old baby – Finding of Fact hearing –child returned home to family)

Re P (a child) NCC v (1) LC (2) GA (3) P (a child) 2015
[2010] EWCA Crim 1348

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

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence

Profile
Samantha Dunn is an experienced and established family law practitioner that has specialised primarily in care proceedings. Samantha provides clients with frank but sensitive advice enabling them to make informed decisions throughout the duration of the case. Samantha thoroughly cares about the work that she undertakes and will often go ‘above and beyond’ for the benefit of her lay and professional clients. She is a tenacious and persuasive advocate adept in both negotiation and court room advocacy skills.

She has experience representing a number of Local Authorities, Guardians, parents and other interested parties / intervenors 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;
• Fabricated and/or induced illness;
• Female Genital Mutilation;
• Chronic neglect, emotional and psychological abuse;
• Drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC proceedings);
• Adults or children with learning difficulties and / or disabilities;
• Domestic Violence / Domestic Abuse (including honour-based violence);
• Adoption;
• Special Guardianship;
• Child arrangements disputes, including intractable contact disputes and alienation;
Samantha is qualified to accept instructions on a Direct Access basis.

Education
University:
University of Derby (2007)

Law School:
University of Nottingham (2008)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Middle Temple

What our clients are saying
Samantha is renowned for her no-nonsense straight-talking approach. She has excellent client care skills and will provide clients with firm but sensitive advice to ensure they are equipped and empowered to make the right choices throughout their litigation.

Cases
T (A Child: Fact Finding) [2014] EWFC B115 (12 September 2014)

NCC v L & Anor [2014] EWHC 4828 (Fam) (21 July 2014)

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

01604 210 979


Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence

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.
• Drug and alcohol abuse, including FDAC proceedings.
• Mental illness or learning difficulties, including when the client is represented by the Official Solicitor.
• Representation of young clients.
• Serious domestic violence.
• Chronic neglect.
• Removal from jurisdiction.
• High conflict cases (parental alienation and malign influence).
• Appeal hearings.

Public Access scheme:
Charlene regularly accepts instructions under the Public Access scheme.

Education
University:
University of Sussex (2008)

Law School:
BPP London (2009)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Lincoln’s Inn

What our clients are saying
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”.

Cases
Re Z (A Child: Committal Proceedings) [2020] EWFC B5

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

01604 210 979


Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence

Profile
Daniel Sheridan is an experienced child law practitioner specialising in public and private law proceedings. Daniel takes a compassionate and focused approach to his lay and professional clients. Daniel places the upmost importance on giving balanced, clear, evidenced-based advice to empower clients to make informed, mindful decisions. In the often emotionally charged and stressful environment of the Family Court, clients should feel enabled to make the right choices for their case.

Daniel acts on behalf of local authorities, parents, children’s guardians, competent children and intervenors in a wide range of cases:

• Serious non-accidental injury
• Fabricated and/or induced illness, including hospital intervenors
• Female Genital Mutilation
• Sexual abuse
• Concurrent criminal proceedings
• Human Rights Act claims arising from public law proceedings
• Chronic neglect
• Hearing impaired families
• Drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC proceedings)
• Adoption including adoptions with international elements
• Special Guardianship
• Domestic Violence
• Child arrangements disputes, including intractable contact disputes

Education
University:
University of Sheffield (2007)

Law School:
Manchester Metropolitan University (2008)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Inner Temple
The Medio-Legal Society

What our clients are saying
Daniel Sheridan is described as going beyond the call of duty and is a child focused and robust advocate. He has a reputation for his attention to detail and has fantastic client care skills. Daniel is listed as a leading junior in Family and Children Law in the legal 500.

Cases
Z (A Child), Re [2020] EWFC B13

A (fact finding, rib injuries), Re [2019] EWFC B89 (30 September 2019)

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)

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

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence
Financial Remedy Proceedings

Profile
Andrew has developed a strong reputation in all areas of Family Disputes. He is regularly instructed in complex private and public law cases. He has developed a reputation as a fearless advocate who dispenses with advice in a frank and down to earth manner.

Professional clients can expect Andrew to be a team player, who goes the extra mile and values the importance of working together. Andrew is instructed across all levels of court allocation. He regularly deals with complex physical and sexual abuse allegations, and within the private law sphere has developed a trusted reputation for cases involving complex parental alienation.

Andrew represents Parents, Local Authorities, Children (directly or through their guardian), intervenors, grandparents and divorcees. Andrew without doubt has an ability to get straight to the point, he is a strong negotiator, and a resolute cross examiner.

Andrew is regularly instructed in cases involving complex issues such as; international relocation, parental alienation, significant substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic violence and non-accidental injury.

Andrew has participated as both Appellant and Respondent in many appeal hearings. A number of those appeals have resulted in re-hearings being directed.

Andrew also regularly accepts instructions directly from members of the public under the Direct Access scheme and sees many referrals as a consequence of his successes.

Education
University:
University of Sussex LL.B (Hons) Law (2009):
University of Edinburgh LL.M Law (2010)
Law School:
BPP Law School (London)
Bar Professional Training Course (2011)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

What our clients are saying
Andrew is well known for getting results and having a strong presence in the court room. Known for good communication skills, robust advice, and a forensic cross examiner.

Cases
Re B (A Child) [2020] EWFC 34

Re CE (2020)
Andrew appeared for a mother, accused of parental alienation as assessed by a psychologist. Andrew was instructed late in the proceedings when a fact find, and welfare hearing were listed. His advice, and representation brought about agreement to the proceedings and resulted in the vacating of the fact find hearing and the child remaining in the care of his client.

Re B (2020)
On behalf of the children, Andrew successfully opposed an appeal brought by the parents and the children were removed into foster care and the conclusion of the appellate process.

Re TE (2020)
Andrew represented a father who faced a number of allegations of domestic violence over a decade. Following the fact find hearing the court found those allegations not proven and went on to find the mother was the aggressor in the relationship.

Re J (2020)
Andrew appeared as junior for a father to the sibling of a murdered child in the High Court. The case involved complex issues of non-disclosure, significant police disclosure, and a forensic enquiry into the conduct of foster carers at the welfare stage.

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 H (2019)
Andrew appeared for a mother who made allegations of significant domestic violence and coercive control, including gaslighting and influence of the child. The proceedings had jurisdictional issues and the court ultimately found all the allegations made by the mother proven.

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 these allegations proven and went on to find that the mother had alienated the children from the father and that the child was at risk of significant harm in the care of the mother.

Re PD (2018)
Andrew appeared on behalf of the mother and successfully sought an order for no direct contact between a child and her father. The court made the order sought by Andrew following his cross examination of 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 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 rehearing.

Re EW (2016)
Andrew, acting for a 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 theory. This was following a fully contested 7-day trial. The appeal consisted of two days of legal argument and was opposed by the legal teams on behalf of the mother and father.

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

01604 210 979

7Ayesha-Bell-Paris

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Domestic Violence
Financial Remedy Proceedings

Profile
Ayesha is regularly instructed in cases following the breakdown of a relationship and offers a holistic wrap-around service; whether that be resolving the arrangements for children, or the parties’ financial affairs. Ayesha also has significant experience in care/public law proceedings and applications arising from the Family Law Act 1996.

Ayesha has a balanced practice and has represented Local Authorities, parents, extended family members, intervenors, cohabitees, divorcees, same sex couples, and children (both directly and via a Guardian). She has been instructed in cases at all levels of allocation, including in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Ayesha has also assisted clients at mediation, resulting in the resolution of matters without the need for proceedings to be issued.

Ayesha is regularly instructed in cases involving complex issues such as; international relocation, parental alienation, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic violence and non-accidental injury.

Ayesha also accepts instructions directly from members of the public under the Direct Access scheme.

Education
University College London – BA English (2010)
Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
Denning Society

What our clients are saying
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 and recently received the following feedback from an instructing solicitor: “It has been greatly reassuring to have Counsel in this matter that I have been able to completely rely upon”.

Cases
W-C-T (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 845

Re B [2019] – Ayesha represented a father at a multi-day final hearing in care proceedings in which all other parties supported Care and Placement orders being made in relation to two children. Ayesha successfully persuaded the court to resist making final orders and to direct an independent social work assessment of her client.

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

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 to her care pursuant to a Supervision Order.

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