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UK Guide

Children: Public Law Matters — London (Firms)


Bindmans LLP - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Industry leaders in all matters relating to children law, both public and private, engaging in the most pressing current issues in this area. Houses a burgeoning matrimonial practice that acts for clients in high-value, contentious divorce proceedings. Expertise extends to complex international issues from both financial and children cases.

Strengths One source states: "It really takes a special firm to be one that I recommend to my nearest and dearest. I regularly do recommend them for the whole panoply of services and across the different price brackets that individuals are willing to pay, as they have such depth in their partners and juniors."

Interviewees highlight the firm's "combination of a specialist expertise in children's cases with an absolutely rigorous and completely thorough approach to each and every matter."

Notable practitioners

Katherine Gieve is one of the most respected names in children work, offering decades of experience across public law and private international work. Sources describe her as "the golden standard that we all aspire to," adding: "Her reputation is second to none. She is quite simply inspirational."

Liz Dronfield is highly experienced in children work and maintains a strong reputation for her handling of serious public law issues. "She is hugely experienced. It is very hard to think of someone who would go further for a client," report interviewees.

Amy Rowe "came to family law fully formed and she just keeps getting better," say impressed commentators, adding: "She is astute and knows the law inside out. She is outstanding." She maintains a stellar reputation in the area of international children law.

Jamie Phillips is increasingly recognised for his public law children work, which includes matters involving international elements. Interviewees say: "He's very bright, extremely able technically and also really creative with the way approaches cases."

Department profile by Bindmans LLP

Our award winning lawyers provide tailored, individual advice across a broad range of areas concerning relationships, children and international matters. The breadth of our family services means we have a wealth of experience to draw on, which informs our understanding of what are often complex and difficult situations.

We offer legal advice to help you decide the best approach for you. Whether you are entering into a legal agreement with your partner or your relationship is breaking down, our family law experts can work with you and offer comprehensive advice. When children are involved we are always sensitive to both their needs and yours as a parent/guardian. We offer a professional and sensitive approach to resolving family disputes because we understand how stressful it can be.

We approach cases in a constructive, non-confrontational way, always considering whether agreement can be reached, through mediation or negotiation. Our pragmatic and cost effective approach means our clients often avoid the stress and uncertainty of going to court, and are always firmly in the driving seat. When we do litigate on behalf of clients, we are strategic, effective and highly professional. 

Our services include

  • Child Arrangements
  • Surrogacy and Adoption
  • Same Sex Relationships
  • Child Abduction
  • International and Jurisdictional Disputes
  • Relocation
  • Medical Treatment
  • Divorce and Relationship Breakdown
  • Financial Remedies
  • Pre/Post Nups
  • Child Protection and Care Proceedings
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Court of Protection

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Bindmans’ Family law team are established experts in international family law and our award winning lawyers can provide specialist advice to individuals on all aspects of international family law including:


• relocating with children to/from the UK;
• jurisdictional disputes;
• Recognition and enforcement of foreign orders;
• locating and securing the return of children who have been unlawfully removed from the UK to foreign jurisdictions;
• locating and securing the return of children who have been unlawfully removed from foreign jurisdictions to the UK;
• divorce and financial remedy proceedings involving other jurisdictions and/or foreign assets;
• public law proceedings with an international element;
• advising and representing foreign governments in relation to public law proceedings and the placement of children and vulnerable adults in this jurisdiction;
• the potential complexities that may arise during, and after, the Brexit process and how this may impact on the remedies currently available through the English family justice system.


Creighton & Partners - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

What the team is known for Public law specialists offering parents, guardians, children and local authorities advice on the full spectrum of complex children cases. Also handles other sensitive matters relating to family and mental health.

Strengths Sources say: "All the lawyers are of a consistently high standard and they are known for their thorough preparation. They are always very visible and deliver a very high standard of work."

Interviewees state: "They have depth, experience and some great family lawyers."

Notable practitioners

Louise Creighton is a respected name in the field of public children law and adoption. She is instructed by local authorities in the most serious of cases, including those involving non-accidental injury and sexual abuse.

Emma Hall is "an excellent lawyer," say sources, adding: "She's very thorough and extremely reasonable. She gives very good, realistic advice to her clients." She focuses on public law children issues, particularly those involving non-accidental injury.

Tony McGovern's broad children work expertise includes Children Act matters, childcare proceedings and private law issues. Sources say: "With his great instincts, charisma and enviable capacity for work, he has the trust of judges and the unwavering faith of clients."

Department profile by Creighton & Partners

Department profile not yet provided by Creighton & Partners. Please see their firm profile.

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Freemans Solicitors - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Robust offering in the cross-border and public children spheres, with noted strength exhibited in international issues, particularly in child abduction and leave to remove cases. Committed to representing vulnerable individuals and making its services affordable. Acts across an impressive range of cases, from the most serious radicalisation and abuse allegations to lower-scale matters.

Strengths Sources state: "They are very organised. It's a really tight team there and very supportive. It's a really nice atmosphere because they have that support. It's a proper team."

Clients highlight the firm's "excellent customer service" and describe it as "friendly, firm and on top of issues."

Notable practitioners

Nina Hansen is "a leading light" who is "hugely experienced, hugely respected and hugely pleasurable to work with," according to sources. She is held in high esteem for her depth of expertise in public and cross-border children matters such as relocation issues, parental alienation and abuse allegations.

Laura Coyle is a children's practitioner who earns praise for her work across both public law and cross-border matters. She has particular expertise in Hague Convention issues such as the interplay with immigration and the recognition of foreign orders. Interviewees praise her "all-round judgement and drive" and describe her as "super-tenacious and intelligent."

Hilka Hollmann brings a background in public law work to her flourishing cross-border children practice. "She works really hard for her clients and really does go the extra mile," say sources, adding: "She is tactical in her approach but never loses sight of what is important to the people she is representing."

Department profile by Freemans Solicitors

Department profile not yet provided by Freemans Solicitors. Please see their firm profile.

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Goodman Ray - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Well-regarded children practice that handles serious cases relating to non-accidental injuries and abuse, often requiring technical medical examination. Also engaged in significant international children cases in developing areas of law, including surrogacy and adoption. Expertise extends to a range of matrimonial finance issues.

Strengths Sources say: "The team as a whole offer a high-quality service. They are dedicated and will always do their utmost to provide the best solution for their clients."

Commentators add: "They're a fantastic boutique practice. They punch consistently above what you might consider their weight. They are equal to any of their competitors. They're clear, concise and efficient."

Notable practitioners

Peggy Ray is a widely respected name in children-related matters. She is held in particularly high regard for her excellent work in public law issues, and also handles adoption and radicalisation cases. One source calls her "one of the doyennes of family law," adding: "When you have something that's really difficult, she's going to be top of your list."

Emma Sherrington is experienced in dealing with a range of public law children cases. Interviewees report: "She's very bright, she's very astute and she really fights for her clients." Her expertise includes allegations of fictitious illness, domestic violence and sexual abuse, among other serious issues.

Kevin Skinner specialises in cross-border children matters, and has a particular focus on Hague and Brussels II proceedings. He is also accomplished in dealing with public law matters. Sources say: "He's very knowledgeable and always gives his clients sensible, proper advice. He's well prepared, and his advocacy is always thorough and well considered. He's a very respected lawyer."

Janet Broadley is a cross-border practitioner who has earned a strong reputation for her work in wardship, Hague Convention and Brussels II proceedings. "She has in-depth knowledge of international law, plus a lot of experience representing children. Her preparation is meticulous and her skills in handling litigation are very well honed," according to interviewees.

Jemma Dally has extensive knowledge in the developing area of adoption and surrogacy as well as a range of cross-border children issues. "In her surrogacy and alternative families practice, she is one of the best people one could go to for very knowledgeable advice," according to one source. She has particular expertise in artificial insemination work.

Trudi Featherstone heads the firm's divorce and matrimonial finance team. Her practice encompasses complex finance and private children work. She is described as "a standout practitioner, and consistently so," as well as being "sensible, pragmatic and good at looking for solutions."

Department profile by Goodman Ray

Goodman Ray, is one of the leading children and family law firms in the UK, with a national and international reputation for its work in children and family law. Goodman Ray, offers a first-class service across the full spectrum of family law, including matrimonial finance, cohabitation, international adoption, surrogacy, child abduction, forced marriage injunctions and children law. The firm represents high-net-worth and international clients, whilst remaining committed to delivering a cutting-edge service to its legally-aided clients.

Goodman Ray’s, straightforward and innovative approach is welcomed by clients and is demonstrated by its lawyers’ involvement with other professional organisations. Clients are assured of expert representation by lawyers who will fearlessly fight their corner while sharing the firm’s child-centered ethos and promoting alternative dispute resolution where appropriate.



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Hodge Jones & Allen LLP - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Committed public law practice representing adults and children in matters of the highest sensitivity, often involving an international element. Noted for its pro bono contributions and dedication to helping individuals receive access to justice. Fields strong connections with local social service providers such as Galop and Rights for Women.

Notable practitioners

Bharti Shah is a key contact at the firm.

Department profile by Hodge Jones & Allen LLP

​Who we are:

At Hodge Jones & Allen, our family law specialists passionately believe that sensitivity, realism and a careful approach must come first with any family matter. We understand when it comes to family disputes – whether it is a divorce, a family breakdown, a civil partnership or problems with children – you will want answers, assurances and support through what can be a very difficult time.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Divorce and separation

  • Domestic abuse

  • Child care and adoption

  • Disputes involving children

  • Financial and property disputes

  • Same sex/alternative family matters

  • Prenuptial/post nuptial and cohabitation agreements

  • Child abduction

  • Mediation and collaborative law

  • Forced marriages and female genital mutilation orders

  • International surrogacy

Our specialist solicitors have acted for mothers, fathers, children, wives, husbands and partners in the UK, Europe and further afield. Fighting for what is right; it’s built into our DNA.Some of our reported cases include:

Chief Constable and another v YK and others [2010]  -  This case concerned a family proceeding in regards to forced marriage. 
Hertfordshire County Council v M. and Ors [2007] -The matter concerned applications for care and placement orders by the local authority in respect of one child. 

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Russell-Cooke - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Versatile, well-regarded family department representing clients in issues ranging from high-value financial disputes to serious public law children matters. Possesses noted expertise in public care and safeguarding work, including forced marriage. Also experienced handling international child relocation and adoption cases, both international and domestic. In-house strengths in areas such as immigration and education further enhances its offering.

Strengths One source comments: "I unhesitatingly recommend them. The advice they give is accurate and client-focused, and their clients are well served, both in private and public law. Their integrity is excellent and their services are efficient and caring."

Interviewees state: "The firm offers very good advice at reasonable prices. They know who to instruct on a case and work tirelessly for their clients. They are strong team workers."

Notable practitioners

Samantha Little is "extremely bright, very good at client care and has an enormous work ethic," according to sources. She specialises in children issues such as declaration of parentage, surrogacy, and both domestic and international adoption. Interviewees praise her "extremely good judgement" and note that "she has this wonderful combination of being both forceful and flexible."

James Carroll is highly regarded for his work in matrimonial dispute resolution. He is also noted for his experience as a mediator and for his handling of financial issues such as Schedule 1 matters. Sources say: "He is a complete delight and clients love him. He's a good lawyer, a good strategist and knows where a case is going."

Sarah Richardson is a dedicated children law practitioner and mediator whose experience spans public, private and adoption matters. Interviewees report that "she's a really strong advocate and a real fighter for her clients. She gives people very clear, robust advice."

Kate Hamilton is a respected family law practitioner who is adept at handling both matrimonial finance and private children law issues. Sources particularly commend her even-handed approach: "She always seeks a constructive outcome and is a pleasure to deal with."

The "absolutely brilliant" Fiona Read is a highly experienced lawyer who also sits as a District Judge and arbitrator. Interviewees hold her in high regard, stating: "She is very seasoned and absolutely knows what she is doing." She is noted for her expertise in matrimonial finance work.

Camilla Thornton is a family mediator and collaborative lawyer who frequently acts on complex matrimonial finance disputes, including those involving tax and trust matters. Commentators praise her "really easy and productive working approach."

Department profile by Russell-Cooke

Department profile not yet provided by Russell-Cooke. Please see their firm profile.

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TV Edwards LLP - Family/Matrimonial

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 23 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Large team offering clients support across a wide range of family issues, including nuptial agreements, ancillary relief and private law children proceedings. Exhibits notable strength in public law care work, with deep expertise in abuse and adoption cases. Remains committed to taking legal aid-funded cases. Notable experience in both domestic and international child abduction work.

Strengths One client reports that "the entire service, from reception staff to my lawyer, was affable, respectful and always made you feel as though your business was valued. Another strength is the overall ethos I experienced: respect, honesty and good communication."

Sources say: "They are excellent - they have great expertise and they specialise in this work. They have a big team and they always have capacity to work. They prioritise their clients, represent them well and think about the issues. They are good lawyers and they are good to work with as well."

Notable practitioners

Maud Davis is a widely respected name in public law children work. "She is always incredibly efficient. Her knowledge of the law is great. She can be relied upon and her presence creates a calm atmosphere which assists in complex or challenging cases," say sources. Her recent work includes advising on policy and law affecting children.

Alison Leivesley is a specialist children practitioner who has particular expertise in 'honour'-based violence, FGM and domestic violence more generally. Interviewees state: "She is totally committed to clients and to the community and to her work. She sees things in the round. She looks at the context of whatever is going on in the family and has a very good understanding."

Hannah Perry is a rising presence in public law children work and is also well versed in private children matters. Her expertise includes adoption and domestic abuse issues, and she frequently represents vulnerable parties such as children. "She is an excellent solicitor and advocate. She is meticulously prepared and always on top of the issues," say sources.

Department profile by TV Edwards LLP

Department profile not yet provided by TV Edwards LLP. Please see their firm profile.

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Senior Statesmen

Bindmans LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Katherine Gieve is one of the most respected names in children work, offering decades of experience across public law and private international work. Sources describe her as "the golden standard that we all aspire to," adding: "Her reputation is second to none. She is quite simply inspirational."

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Band 1

TV Edwards LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Maud Davis is a widely respected name in public law children work. "She is always incredibly efficient. Her knowledge of the law is great. She can be relied upon and her presence creates a calm atmosphere which assists in complex or challenging cases," say sources. Her recent work includes advising on policy and law affecting children.

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Band 1

Freemans Solicitors

From the Chambers UK guide

Nina Hansen is "a leading light" who is "hugely experienced, hugely respected and hugely pleasurable to work with," according to sources. She is held in high esteem for her depth of expertise in public and cross-border children matters such as relocation issues, parental alienation and abuse allegations.

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Band 1

Russell-Cooke

From the Chambers UK guide

Samantha Little is "extremely bright, very good at client care and has an enormous work ethic," according to sources. She specialises in children issues such as declaration of parentage, surrogacy, and both domestic and international adoption. Interviewees praise her "extremely good judgement" and note that "she has this wonderful combination of being both forceful and flexible."

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Band 1

Goodman Ray

From the Chambers UK guide

Peggy Ray is a widely respected name in children-related matters. She is held in particularly high regard for her excellent work in public law issues, and also handles adoption and radicalisation cases. One source calls her "one of the doyennes of family law," adding: "When you have something that's really difficult, she's going to be top of your list."

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Band 2

Creighton & Partners

From the Chambers UK guide

Louise Creighton is a respected name in the field of public children law and adoption. She is instructed by local authorities in the most serious of cases, including those involving non-accidental injury and sexual abuse.

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Band 2

Philcox Gray

From the Chambers UK guide

Sheila Donn is the co-head of the family team at Philcox Gray & Co. She has significant experience in public law children issues, which includes a focus on matters where children need separate representation. Her practice also includes private law matters. Interviewees describe her as "very clever, astute and creative; she will think outside the normal options."

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Band 2

Dawson Cornwell

From the Chambers UK guide

Zoë Fleetwood is an accomplished public law children's lawyer whose experience includes international child placement, serious non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and trafficking allegations. Sources highlight her "clarity of thought, and supportive and engaging manner," as well as her "very strong commitment to ensuring that the very best possible outcomes are achieved for children."

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Band 2

Blake Morgan

From the Chambers UK guide

Flora Grossman joined Blake Morgan from Bindmans in October 2017. She is recognised for her strong matrimonial finance and public law children practice. She is well equipped to deal with cases that straddle complex money and child-related issues. Sources describe her as an "excellent advocate" as well as noting that she is "hugely experienced and sensible, and will think outside the box."

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Band 2

Creighton & Partners

From the Chambers UK guide

Emma Hall is "an excellent lawyer," say sources, adding: "She's very thorough and extremely reasonable. She gives very good, realistic advice to her clients." She focuses on public law children issues, particularly those involving non-accidental injury.

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Band 2

TV Edwards LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Alison Leivesley is a specialist children practitioner who has particular expertise in 'honour'-based violence, FGM and domestic violence more generally. Interviewees state: "She is totally committed to clients and to the community and to her work. She sees things in the round. She looks at the context of whatever is going on in the family and has a very good understanding."

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Band 2

Creighton & Partners

From the Chambers UK guide

Tony McGovern's broad children work expertise includes Children Act matters, childcare proceedings and private law issues. Sources say: "With his great instincts, charisma and enviable capacity for work, he has the trust of judges and the unwavering faith of clients." 

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Band 2

Russell-Cooke

From the Chambers UK guide

Sarah Richardson is a dedicated children law practitioner and mediator whose experience spans public, private and adoption matters. Interviewees report that "she's a really strong advocate and a real fighter for her clients. She gives people very clear, robust advice."

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Band 2

Goodman Ray

From the Chambers UK guide

Emma Sherrington is experienced in dealing with a range of public law children cases. Interviewees report: "She's very bright, she's very astute and she really fights for her clients." Her expertise includes allegations of fictitious illness, domestic violence and sexual abuse, among other serious issues.

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Band 2

Osbornes Law

From the Chambers UK guide

Bridget Thompson is lauded by market commentators for her strength in handling children law matters, noting: "She's really experienced and gets good results." She is particularly recognised for her public law expertise, while also offering experience across a range of private law matters.

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Up and Coming

Wilson Solicitors LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Michelle Flynn of Wilson Solicitors LLP is recognised for her experience in public law children matters, which forms part of her broader children law practice. One source states: "She provides an exceptional level of representation to her clients. When I work with her, I know the party involved will be well represented." 

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Up and Coming

TV Edwards LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Hannah Perry is a rising presence in public law children work and is also well versed in private children matters. Her expertise includes adoption and domestic abuse issues, and she frequently represents vulnerable parties such as children. "She is an excellent solicitor and advocate. She is meticulously prepared and always on top of the issues," say sources.

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Star Associate

Freemans Solicitors

From the Chambers UK guide

Laura Coyle is a children's practitioner who earns praise for her work across both public law and cross-border matters. She has particular expertise in Hague Convention issues such as the interplay with immigration and the recognition of foreign orders. Interviewees praise her "all-round judgement and drive" and describe her as "super-tenacious and intelligent."

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Star Associate

Bindmans LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Liz Dronfield is highly experienced in children work and maintains a strong reputation for her handling of serious public law issues. "She is hugely experienced. It is very hard to think of someone who would go further for a client," report interviewees.

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Associates to watch

Bindmans LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Jamie Phillips is increasingly recognised for his public law children work, which includes matters involving international elements. Interviewees say: "He's very bright, extremely able technically and also really creative with the way approaches cases."

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