All members of Senate House Chambers take on privately and publicly funded work at every level of court. Our barristers provide a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience.

International Child Law

Our specialist children’s law barristers deserve their reputation for providing expert advice and advocacy in international child law proceedings. All parties, including local authorities, parents, children, and CAFCASS, have benefited from their expertise.

Our barristers respond promptly to regular urgent calls for advice and representation in this critical sector. We understand that timing is everything and can make all the difference to the child or children in question. This applies to applications for injunctions, recovery and Wardship.

Our members undertake cases across all elements of international child law including:

  • care proceedings with issues pertaining to jurisdiction
  • child abduction – both internal and external
  • the international movement of children – including requests for ‘leave to remove’ children to permanently live aboard
  • enforcement of international orders
  • international adoption
  • forced marriage
  • child trafficking

Our international children’s law team have a detailed knowledge and understanding of all relevant international treaties, including The Hague Convention and Brussels II.

Our practitioners in this area also provide a dedicated out of hours advice and advocacy service in light of the need to ensure effective representation in cases such as these where time is so often of the essence.

For advice or representation that is timely, thorough and effective, contact us:
Tel – 01604 210 979
Fax – 01604 622 283
Email – clerks@senatehousechambers.com

Senate House Chambers International Child Law Team

Penny Van Spall
Year of Call: 1998

01604 210 979

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

Profile
Penny Van Spall is an experienced child law practitioner specialising in both public and private law proceedings. Penny comes from a previous background of being a social worker and also a probation officer. Penny is able to deal with empathy and clear advice to those who struggle with capacity or mental health issues as well as those who are professional and articulate. Penny will work in an open fashion with clients and their instructing solicitors, assisting clients to understand the process and issues whilst also listening carefully to their respective instructions.

Penny 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
• Fabricated and/or induced illness
• Female Genital Mutilation
• Sexual abuse
• Concurrent criminal proceedings
• Children/ families where special educational needs
• Chronic neglect
• Drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC proceedings)
• Adoption including adoptions with international elements
• Special Guardianship
• Domestic Violence
• Child arrangements disputes, including both live with and contact disputes

Education
Sunderland Polytechnic…BA(Hons)Communications Studies
Sheffield University…CQSW and Post Graduate
Diploma in App Socio Studies
Nottingham Law School…CPE
Nottingham Law School….Bar Vocational Course
Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Midland Circuit
Gray’s Inn

What our clients are saying
Penny Van Spall is described as an experienced advocate who is skilled at dealing with difficult issues in a straight forward manner. Penny is a child focused and empathetic advocate who will give difficult advice when required. Penny works hard to explain matters to clients.

Cases
F v F (2007 EWHC 2543 [FAM]

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Lianne Murphy
Joint Head of Chambers
Year of Call: 2001

01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Representation of Children

Profile
Lianne Murphy is a highly experienced child law practitioner specialising in public law proceedings. She is adept at communicating with lay clients of all ages and cognitive abilities, managing each case with care and compassion. She works hard to ensure a level playing field for all clients, enabling them to fully engage with the legal process. Lianne’s highly developed forensic skills and medico-legal knowledge make her well suited to the rigorous demands of Non-Accidental Injury and Fabricated and Induced Illness cases. She is regularly led by Queen’s Counsel and often acts as a Leading Junior Counsel in more complex proceedings.

Lianne represents 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
  • Concurrent criminal proceedings
  • Human Rights Act claims arising from public law proceedings
  • Chronic neglect
  • Drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC proceedings)
  • Special Guardianship

Education
Inns of Court School of Law (2001)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Lincoln’s Inn

What our clients are saying
Lianne Murphy is described as having ‘A first-class mind whose attention to detail in medical cases is second to none.” She is renowned for her in depth knowledge of Human Rights.

Lianne has consistently been listed as a leading junior in Family and Children Law in the Legal 500.

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

P (A Child), Re [2018] EWCA Civ 720 ([2018] 1 WLR 4486, [2018] 2 FLR 893, [2018] 3 FCR 9, [2018] EWCA Civ 720, [2018] WLR 4486, [2018] WLR(D) 228;

M (Care Proceedings: Finding of Fact Hearing: Fractures) [2017] EWFC B50 (14 July 2017)

Northamptonshire County Council v AS and Others [2015] EWCH 199

Devjee v Patel [2006] EWCA Civ 1211

Pro bono work
Lianne is very much committed to pro bono representation and is willing to continue to represent clients in circumstances were funding is no longer available and the interests of justice require continued representation.

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Lucy Fairclough
Year of Call: 2005

01604 210 979

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

Profile
Lucy Fairclough is an experienced advocate specialising in child law. Prior to specialising in family law, Lucy also practised at the criminal bar prosecuting and defending offences including serious sexual offences and domestic violence This background has provided Lucy with invaluable experience, skills and knowledge that is particularly beneficial in cases involving and issues of sexual abuse, non-accidental injury, domestic violence and in cases requiring cross examination of a child. In the court room Lucy is a robust and tenacious advocate; with her clients Lucy is able to give firm and clear advice whilst remaining compassionate and sympathetic.

Lucy 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 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (2003)

Law School:
Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University (2005)

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Grays Inn
Midland Circuit
Women in Family Law

What our clients are saying
Lucy has a strong reputation for being a professional, accomplished and dedicated advocate who has particular skill in client care. Lucy is particularly adept in cases involving an intermediary and at managing vulnerable and challenging clients.

Cases
ED, RE [2015] EWFC B84 (29 May 2015)

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Hannah Mettam
Year of Call: 2006

hm@senatehousechambers.com | 01604 210 979

Specialist areas
Adoption and Special Guardianship
Care Proceedings
Child Arrangements
Representation of Children

Profile
Hannah has been ranked in the Legal 500 as a Leading Junior in Children cases since 2018.

Hannah has significant experience and expertise in Public Law Children matters, and some private law children in cases where serious allegations are made. A specialist in complex proceedings, Hannah regularly appears in cases involving the most serious of allegations and has a wealth of experience both in being led by Queen’s Counsel and in leading other junior members of Chambers. Hannah regularly appears in High Court proceedings.

Hannah acts on behalf of Local Authorities, parents, children and intervenors in a wide range of cases including:

• Cases involving child death
• Serious non-accidental injury
• Fabricated and induced illness
• Admission of children to hospital for treatment
• Sexual abuse

Education
University: Nottingham Trent University (LLB 1st Class)
Law School: Nottingham Law School

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Inner Temple

What our clients are saying
Hannah is routinely requested in cases when a detailed and forensic approach is required. Her advocacy style is described as formidable and she is an extremely popular choice, for lay and professional clients alike, where cases require expert cross-examination. Hannah’s client-care skills are second-to-none.

Legal 500 – “A redoubtable advocate who inspires confidence in clients.”

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

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

O (A Child): Interim Care Order [2019] EWCA Civ 583

H-L (Children: Summary Dismissal of Care Proceedings) [2019] EWCA Civ 704
([2019] 4 WLR 70, [2019] EWCA Civ 704, [2019] WLR(D) 240; From England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

P (A Child), Re [2018] EWCA Civ 720 ([2018] 1 WLR 4486, [2018] 2 FLR 893, [2018] 3 FCR 9, [2018] EWCA Civ 720, [2018] WLR 4486, [2018] WLR(D) 228

ES (A Child), Re [2017] EWFC B96 (03 November 2017)

ED, Re [2015] EWFC B84

X County Council v AB & CD [2015] EWFC 98

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

Cooke, R (on the application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2008] EWHC 2703 (Admin) (2008) 172 JP 596, [2008] EWHC 2703 (Admin), [2008] MHLR 348

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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
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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Adam Gulliver
Year of Call: 2016

01604 210 979


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

Profile
Adam regularly represents parties in Public and Private Children’s Law and Family Law Act matters, both at an interim stage and within final hearings. Adam has significant experience of representing a range of parties in such matters, including parents, local authorities, children (with or without a Children’s Guardian) and grandparents and regularly deals with cases that concern the following issues:

• Chronic Neglect
• Substance Misuse (including FDAC proceedings)
• Adoption proceedings
• Special Guardianship
• Domestic Violence
• Intractable contact disputes
• Child Arrangements cases with an international element
• Prohibited Steps and Specific Issue Orders

Education
University:
Bangor University (2014) – LLB – 1st Class
Law School:
BPP Manchester (2016) – BPTC – Outstanding

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Middle Temple

What our clients are saying
Adam is noted for his ability to bring a considerate and client-focused approach to his work, whilst ensuring that his clients still receive the pragmatic, clear, evidence-based guidance that they deserve. Adam has a reputation for his thoroughness, both in terms of his preparation and his ability to give advice to lay and professional clients alike.

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Paul Froud
Year of Call: 2013

01604 210 979

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

Profile
Paul has a busy and diverse family law practice, with an emphasis on public law Children Act proceedings. He acts for parents, local authorities, guardians and interveners and has appeared at all levels of the Family Court and the Court of Appeal. Paul’s practice includes cases involving non-accidental injuries, FII, neglect, substance misuse, mental health, physical & sexual abuse and domestic abuse.

Paul is qualified to accept instructions, in suitable cases, on a Direct Access basis.

Education
Law LLB (Hons) University of Sussex (2012)
BPTC Kaplan Law School (2013)

Languages
French – Proficient
British Sign Language – Basic

Memberships
Family Law Bar Association
Middle Temple

What our clients are saying
I particularly singled out Mr Froud for his efforts. […]. In cross-examination and in submissions he did all he could to argue her case, fairly and with sincerity.
HHJ Vincent, Family Court at Oxford

Cases
P (A Child), Re [2018] EWCA Civ 720 (11 April 2018)

Re X [2018] EWFC B25

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