Practice Profile

Nick’s practice covers the law relating to children and the Court of Protection as well as broader issues of family law.

 

Having studied at Oxford University he joined Harcourt Chambers in 1996 and quickly established a very busy practice in London, the South East and the Midlands before taking silk in 2014. Nick was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in January 2016 and elected as Head of Chambers in March 2018.

 

Practice

His public law children’s work has focused on cases involving allegations of serious non-accidental injury as well as child fatalities.  He acts for Local Authorities, parents, Children’s Guardians, members of the extended family, foster-carers and prospective adopters - in the Court of Appeal, High Court and County Court.  He also undertakes advisory work, in particular with Local Authorities and adopters.  His adoption cases have often involved an international dimension.

 

He has appeared in a series of cases involving allegations of infant head injuries caused by shaking, several cases in which a parent faced accusations of FII (Fabricated and Induced Illness) and in cases involving intra-familial sexual abuse with children making both genuine and false allegations against carers.  In 2013 Nick represented the siblings of Daniel Pelka, a Polish boy tortured and murdered in Coventry, in the care proceedings taking place before the High Court and at a further hearing before the Court of Appeal. In 2019 he represented the local authority at first instance and on appeal in a case involving the death of a 10 year old girl in suspicious circumstances at home, which is due to be re-heard in 2020.   Nick also appeared before the President in Re B (A Child: Post-Adoption Contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29, the first case relating to s.51A Adoption and Children Act 2002 to come before the Court of Appeal.

 

Nick is also regularly instructed in private law cases, usually in the context of difficult disputes as to where a child should live and how much time he/she should spend with the other parent. 

 

His private law cases often involve sensitive and serious allegations being made against one or other party.  He has great experience in contested applications to remove children from the jurisdiction as well as cases with other international dimensions.  He has undertaken surrogacy work in the High Court as well as private law cases involving medical issues – for example he appeared for the father in the case of F v. F [2013] EWHC 2683, successfully obtaining an order that the two children have the MMR vaccine against their own and their mother’s wishes.  In Re H (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 148, he appeared in the Court of Appeal in a complex and intractable contact case in which the mother alleged physical assault by the father both against herself and the child.

 

In 2019 Nick was instructed as the advocate to the court in a ground breaking case in which the Court of Appeal considered whether, on ECHR principles, Islamic marriages should be susceptible to a decree of nullity under s.11 MCA 1973.

 

Nick is also experienced in Court of Protection cases involving the Mental Capacity Act 2005, litigating ‘best interests’ decisions as well as resolving serious allegations of harm against the adults involved.

 

Nick was appointed a Recorder in 2009 and undertakes family and criminal work.  Nick was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2016. He has been authorized to sit on both private and public law family cases. 

 

Endorsements

Nick has been ranked in Chambers and Partners for the last 9 years. Currently Nick is described as “a meticulous barrister with a strong following” and “an excellent financial and children barrister”. Previously he has been described as “brilliant...very, very good with clients and very good with medical evidence ..."He is incredibly user-friendly and extremely well prepared". He is meticulous and thorough in preparation and applies a firm and persuasive style of advocacy in court.

 

"An incredibly diligent barrister; when you have him as an opponent you know the judges will respect him. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge and is enormously experienced." "Nick is bright but wears his intelligence lightly. He's practical and is able to get complex arguments over to the judge in a straightforward manner." Chambers UK Bar 2020 London
 
"He's very approachable and very pragmatic." "He's meticulously well prepared but also understated and an absolute masterclass in cross-examination." "He's very calm and collected, and has an excellent ability to recall facts." Chambers UK Bar 2020 South Eastern
       
A relatively new addition to silk who maintains a broad family law and Court of Protection practice. His caseload includes financial remedy matters as well as public law children issues, in which he appears both on behalf of parents and guardians and the local authority. He sits regularly as a Deputy High Court Judge. "He has a brain the size of a planet, and is very clear thinking. His cross-examination is excellent." Chambers UK Bar 2019 London
 
An extremely experienced silk who regularly handles public and private children law proceedings. He is highly regarded for his participation in cases concerning non-accidental injury and infant fatalities, while also advising adopters and local authorities in international adoption cases. "Extremely skilled in court. He is very well respected by the judges and his drafting is impeccable." "Clients feel very confident in him. He is well prepared and has exceptional knowledge." Chambers UK Bar 2019 South Eastern
 
"A tenacious and meticulous counsel with superb knowledge of children and family law" Legal 500 UK Bar 2019 London
 
"Is very approachable, calm under pressure and a formidable advocate" Legal 500 UK Bar 2019 London
 
"An absolutely outstanding advocate" Legal 500 UK Bar 2017 London
 
"A silk who always provides a platinum-level service" Legal 500 UK Bar 2017 South Eastern
 
“A relatively new addition to silk who maintains a broad family law and Court of Protection practice. His caseload includes financial remedy matters as well as public law children issues. He was recently appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge.” Chambers UK Bar 2018
 
"He's clever, he's hard-working, he's got good judgement, and he's always incredibly well prepared." Chambers UK Bar 2018
 
“An extremely experienced silk who regularly handles public and private children law proceedings. He is highly regarded for his participation in cases concerning non-accidental injury and infant fatalities, while also advising adopters and local authorities in international adoption cases.” Chambers UK Bar 2018
 
"He would be my first choice of QC in every available circumstance. He has the most exceptional brain for remembering detail and conjuring up that information under pressure." "He is a smooth operator who is top-notch in his paperwork and advocacy, and very popular with clients." Chambers UK Bar 2018
 
‘Very experienced in adoption and serious injury cases.’ Legal 500 UK Bar 2017

 

 

Notable Cases

Her Majesty's Attorney General v Akhter & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 122

 

Re C (Children: Fact Find medical Presentation) (Rev 1) [2020] EWFC 

 

Re D (Fact-finding appeal) [2019] EWCA Civ 2302  

 

Re A (No.2) (Children: Findings of Fact) [2019] EWCA Civ 1947

 

Re M (Deprivation of Liberty in Scotland) [2019] EWHC 1510 (Fam)

 

Re B (A Child: Post-Adoption Contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29

 

Re B-P (Children) (Adoption or Fostering) [2018] EWCA Civ 2042

 

Re GP (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 1677

 

Hayatleh v Mofdy [2017] EWCA Civ 70 

 

Re T-B-N [2016] EWCA Civ 1098

 

Re AB (A Child)(Deprivation of Liberty) [2015] EWHC 3125

F v. F [2013] EWHC 2683

Re H (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 148

Re L-R [2013] EWCA Civ 1129

Re W-P (Fact-Finding Hearing) [2009] EWCA Civ 216

Re B [2009] EWCA Civ 1243

Re A [2008] 1 FLR 959

Re J (Application for a Shadow Expert) [2008] 1 FLR 1501

Re H (Residence Order: Placement Out of Jurisdiction) [2006] 1 FLR 1140

Oxfordshire CC v S [2004] 1 FLR 426

Re ET (Serious Injuries: Standard of Proof) [2003] 2 FLR 1205

Re M (Adoption: International Adoption Trade) [2003] 1 FLR 1111

Re A (Contact: Separate Representation) [2001] 1 FLR 715

Oxfordshire CC v L (Care or Supervision Order) [1998] 1 FLR 70

 

 

 







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