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3 St Aldate's, Oxford
Dx 96453 Oxford 4
Tel 0844 561 7135

James Dove

Print Profile

Called: 2006


James has predominantly practised in Family law since he completed his pupillage in 2007.  James has extensive experience of all types of Family proceedings from financial remedies and private children act applications to complex care proceedings and applications under the inherent jurisdiction including child abduction and medical treatment.


James has appeared at all levels of first instance tribunal and is a seasoned trial advocate.  James is used to being the Applicant in complex care proceedings involving many parties and therefore has developed the skills required to manage difficult cases.  James is used to cross examining experts including psychiatrists, psychologists and neuro surgeons.


James is sensitive to the stress and anxiety that all those concerned in family proceedings are likely to be feeling.  He knows how important it is to put his clients at ease.  He also knows the importance of providing robust advice to clients to ensure that they receive the best possible outcome in their circumstances.


Public law children


Acting on behalf of local authorities, parents and Guardians in complex care proceedings.  James has also advised on and drafted Grounds for Judicial Review and appeared in Judicial Review proceedings on behalf of individuals and public authorities.


Notable Cases


LB L v N (2014 - 2015)


Acting on behalf of a local authority in ongoing complex proceedings involving allegations made by the mother of ritual abuse, forced marriage, rape and murder against the father of one of the children.  The proceedings also raises issues of jurisdiction and disclosure from the French authorities of police and social services investigations.  All findings sought by the local authority made.  Opponents included June Venters QC and John Tughan QC.


LB R v N (2014 - 2015)


A 16 year old girl made allegations of rape and ongoing sexual abuse by her stepfather and subsequently the mother made allegations of anal rape and domestic violence.  The mother and the step daughter retracted their allegations.  Care proceedings were issued in respect of the girl and her three younger siblings.  Acted on behalf of the local authority which sought findings on the retracted allegations made by the 16 year old and her mother.  All the findings were made.  The local authority now seeks an inherent jurisdiction injunction against the step father to prevent future contact with young girls as there will be no criminal prosecution.


LB WF v G (2013 - 2015)


Acted for mother of three month old, at time proceedings were issued, who was severely abusing alcohol.  Following robust advice and personally finding the details for the mother to attend her local alcohol treatment centre (which had not been provided by the local authority), the mother provided negative hair strand test results for alcohol for the first time and the court was persuaded to grant a psychiatric assessment.  Obtained a court direction to use SCRAM monitoring (a continuous alcohol detection device attached to the body) of the mother's alcohol use which proved that the mother had not been using alcohol whilst a parenting assessment was undertaken.  Child returned to mother's care under supervision order.


LB S v W (2014)


Counsel for the local authority in a non-accidental injury case.  Mother and maternal aunt denied causing facial bruising and injury to arm of a 6 month old boy.  Judge found mother and maternal aunt to be possible perpetrators and approved local authority's care plan to place child with paternal aunt.


LB WF v B (2014)


Counsel for the local authority in care proceedings following two unexplained rib fractures being noticed by the hospital on a 10 week old baby.  The parents could not explain the injuries.  Father was proven to be the perpetrator at the fact finding hearing. 


LB TH v B (2013 - 2014)


Serious allegations of physical abuse were made by a 15 year old against her brothers and father,including being burnt on her breast with an iron.  Acted as Counsel for the local authority at the fact finding and welfare hearings.  All of the most serious findings were made and care plans of long term foster care for all three children approved.


SCC v B (2013)


Acted on behalf of a mother in care proceedings were issued following multiple bone injuries to one of a pair of twins aged one year old. The twin had a rare genetic disorder called CHARGE syndrome and it was suspected that the twin may be being victimised by the parents.  The injuries were unexplained and a paediatrician wrote a report concluding the injuries were non accidental.  An application was made for further assessment by a bones' expert based on the poor quality of the paediatrician's report and one of the two world experts on CHARGE syndrome was instructed to prepare a report on the effects of the disorder on bone density.  Following the reports, the local authority withdrew the proceedings.


LB E v Z (2012 - 2013)


Acted on behalf of a local authority in a case involving allegations of physical abuse made by the eldest of six children against step father.  A fact finding followed and those allegations were proven.  Following the fact finding however before the welfare hearing the eldest child retracted the allegations.  The mechanism for dealing with the retractions proposed by the local authority and followed by the court at first instance was the subject of an appeal to the President (following advice to instruct a QC Roger McCarthy QC took over the appeal).  The President approved the course that had been adopted by the judge at first instance.


Inherent jurisdiction


Notable cases


Re B (2013)


Representation of devoutly religious parents of a one a year old against Great Ormond Street Hospital.  The hospital sought a do not resuscitate order because it was medical opinion that due to the child's complex heart condition it was not in the child's best interests to be resuscitated, were the child to suffer a heart attack.  The child died after an interim order was made.


Private children proceedings


Acts for parents and children in all types of private children cases including abductions, removal of parental responsibility from a father and leave to remove from the jurisdiction.


Family finance


Acts in matrimonial finance cases and Schedule One of Children Act 1989 cases.  Also instructed in respect of enforcement and giving effect to court orders and maintenance.




Bar Vocational Course, ICSL, City University             2005 - 2006

LLB, Durham University                                                2002 - 2005




Co-author of The PLO Explained (2014) Published by 9 Gough Square


Co-author with John Vater QC of Who Guards the Guards, forthcoming article accepted for publication in Family Law (2015)




Association of Lawyers for Children

Family Law Bar Association