Edward Bennett

Call: 2013

"Judges adore him because of his advocacy, which is strictly limited to what the court needs to hear."
Chambers UK Bar 2024

Edward’s practice focuses on international disputes concerning children or vulnerable adults.

Edward is one of the editors of the leading practitioner work Clarke Hall & Morrison on Children. He sits on the editorial board of the International Family Law Journal and was its General Editor from 2015 – 2020. He is a member of the Legal Working Group of the leading child abduction charity Reunite and of the Head of International Family Justice’s International Family Law Committee. In 2015, he was named Young Family Law Barrister of the Year at the Jordans (now Lexis Nexis) Family Law Awards. In 2023, he as shortlisted for International Family Lawyer of the Year at those same awards.

Edward previously trained as a solicitor in the London and Prague offices of Allen & Overy LLP. On qualification, he spent a year as the Judicial Assistant to the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Lloyd in the Court of Appeal and a further year as Legal Secretary to the Head of International Family Justice for England & Wales, the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Thorpe.

Outside the bar, Edward spent two years alongside his legal practice as a Research Assistant at the College of Arms.

Edward is also the Registrar of the British Indian Ocean Territory Court of Appeal. To contact the Registry, please email registrarbiotcourtofappeal@harcourtchambers.co.uk.

To instruct Edward or for more information…

Call: 020 7353 6961
Email: clerks@harcourtchambers.co.uk

Practice Areas

Edward has significant experience in cases of international children cases at first instance and appellate level.

Notable International Family Law cases

M v F [2024] EWHC 1689 (Fam)

Application by mother for summary return of child to Ukraine. Father’s defences of habitual residence, acquiescence and harm not made out, and return ordered.

Smolik, Elena (A Child) (Re Senior Courts Act 1981) [2024] EWHC 920 (Fam)

Edward represented the successful Applicant mother. Return of child from Slovakia ordered.

R v M & Ors (Hague Convention; Withdrawal of Application and Art. 16 (Parental Responsibility) [2024] EWHC 720 (Fam)

Application by step-father for return of children to New Zealand. Leave given to withdraw application.

Re AB (a child) [2024] EWHC 586 (Fam)

Proceedings exploring the interplay between adoption and surrogacy law. Case concerning a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement in the USA. Judgment considering whether adoption order made in the USA prevents the making of a parental order.

Natalie Dawn Kennedy v Philip Thomas [2024] EWHC 303 (Fam)

International Child Abduction/Committal Proceedings.

K v E [2023] EWHC 2890 (Fam)

International Child Abduction/consent and grave risk of harm defences.

Z (A Child) (1980 Hague Convention), Re [2023] EWHC 2696 (Fam)

International Child Abduction/child’s objections

D (A Child), Re (Abduction: Child's Objections: Representation of Child Party) [2023] EWCA Civ 1047

International Child Abduction/role of ‘solicitor-guardians’ in 1980 Hague Convention proceedings.

TMS v AVS [2023] EWHC 1620 (Fam)

International Child Abduction/Russian Federation.

Reported in Care Appointments.

N & A (1996 Hague Convention: Article 13) [2023] EWCA Civ 623

International Child Abduction/Ukraine/Lis Pendens.

Re B (children) (abduction: consent: oral evidence) (Article 13(b)) [2022] EWCA Civ 1171

Oral evidence in child abduction cases.

S (A Child : Costs), Re [2022] EWHC 2604 (Fam)

Costs/International Child Abduction.

Re S (A Child: Jurisdiction) [2022] EWHC 1720 (Fam); [2023] 1 FLR 290; [2022] 3 FCR 501

Antigua and Barbuda/International Child Abduction.

Re S (A Child) (1980 Hague Convention Stranding) [2022] 2 FLR 792

International child abduction/transnational spousal abandonment.

CC v ME [2021] EWHC 3506 (Fam)

International child abduction/calculation time period to engage the 1980 Hague Convention settlement ‘defence’.

WX v YZ and Another [2021] 1 FLR 118

International child abduction.

Re BS (A Child) (Child Abduction) [2021] EWHC 2643 (Fam)

International child abduction.

Z v D (Art 13 Refusal of Return Order) [2021] 1 FLR 210

International child abduction.

Re S [2020] EWHC 2940 (Fam)

International child abduction/recognition and enforcement.

Re PT (Abduction: Coronavirus: Grave Risk of Harm) [2020] EWHC 834 (Fam); [2020] Fam Law 822

Child abduction during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Re S (Abduction: Dismissal of Application) [2019] 1 FLR 354

International child abduction.

AH v AMH (Summary Return of Child to Sudan) [2018] EWHC 2981 (Fam)

Child abduction/first reported occasion a child returned to Sudan.

Re GP (A Child) (Abduction: Consideration of Evidence) [2018] 4 WLR 16

International child abduction.

Re H (A Child) (International Abduction: Asylum & Welfare) [2017] 2 FLR 527

International child abduction.

Edward has wide-ranging experience of all private law children matters including, serious medical treatment, international child custody, relocation, forced marriage and stranded spouse cases, and international commercial surrogacy.

Notable Private Law Children cases

Re AB (A Child) [2024] EWHC 586 (Fam)

International surrogacy/overseas adoption.

KN & Anor v RN & Ors [2023] EWHC 712 (Fam)

Recognition of foreign adoption at common law/human rights.

Re (A Child : Findings of Fact) [2022] EWCA Civ 1652 (15 December 2022)

Fact-Finding/Transnational Spousal Abandonment.


CS v FB [2020] COPLR 76

Interim capacity declarations.

V v M (Child Arrangements Order: International Relocation) [2020] 2 FLR 387

International relocation.

Re HK (Serious Medical Treatment) (No 3) [2018] 1 FLR 125

Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Whether there should be police presence at the bedside when withdrawal of treatment is carried out.

MS v PS C - 283/16

Court of Justice of the European Union – international child maintenance.

P v P [Case No 1 of 2016]

International relocation – the first international children’s case ever before the courts of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Re C & D (Children) (Parental Order) [2016] 2 FLR 446

International commercial surrogacy.

AA v TT (Recognition & Enforcement) [2015] 2 FLR 1 - 1980

European Custody Convention.

Edward has significant experience representing all parties in public law cases, in particular in relation to child protection cases with an international element, and those where questions of serious medical treatment arise.

Notable Public Law Children cases

Prospective Adopters v London Borough of Ealing & Ors [2023] EWFC 294 (B)

Final adoption hearing following leave to oppose having been granted.

Re X (Care Proceedings: Jurisdiction and Fact Finding) [2021] 2 FLR 449
Re T (A Child) (Association of Lawyers for Children and others intervening) [2021] UKSC 35; [2021] 3 WLR 643

Supreme Court appeal about the use of the inherent jurisdiction to authorise secure accommodation for vulnerable children.

Edward has significant experience in representing all parties, including Sovereign States, in Court of Protection cases and cases concerning vulnerable adults.

Notable Court of Protection and Medical Treatment cases

D (A Child: deprivation of liberty) [2015] COPLR 209

16/17-year-olds and deprivations of liberty.

Edwards accepts instructions in ecclesiastical law.

Having spent two years at the College of Arms, Edward is one of the few juniors of the bar to have experience of contested peerage and baronetage disputes, including appearing before the Lord Lyon in his non-judicial role.

Edward is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public under the Direct Access Scheme in appropriate circumstances.


What the directories say

"Edward Bennett’s rise in the family bar has been meteoric since his call in 2013. Clients include UHNWs and celebrities, all of whom have benefited from his advocacy and knowledge of the law. Bennett is a respected legal professional who focuses on international disputes concerning children or vulnerable adults. He trained as a solicitor at Allen & Overy LLP and was named Young Family Law Barrister of the Year in 2015."
Spears Top Recommended 2024, Family Law Barristers

"Edward Bennett is a very fine advocate with unrivalled knowledge of even the most niche areas of children and family law. His presentation is subtle and skilful." "He provides very clear, efficient, eloquent position statements to the court."
Chambers UK Bar 2024

‘Edward is an excellent advocate. The way he puts his client's case always sounds eminently reasonable, as though it must be the correct outcome, successfully persuading judges and magistrates alike to decide in his client's favour. His written submissions are also second to none.’
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2024

'the epitome of polite effectiveness'
Legal 500 UK Bar 2023

“Ed Bennett is a calm performer who is very responsive and accessible.”
Chambers UK Bar 2023

“Has good knowledge of the law and shows great empathy when working with emotional parent clients.”
Chambers UK Bar 2023

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Edward Bennett, instructed by Dawson Cornwell LLP, appeared on behalf of the successful Applicant mother in Smolik, Elena (A Child) (Re Senior Courts Act 1981) [2024] EWHC 920 (Fam); an application by…


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