Edward Devereux QC

Call: 2001 / Silk: 2017

"One of the most impressive advocates at the family bar, commanding respect from judges and opponents alike. A fearless cross-examiner with a penchant for seeing cases in a way that few others do, which more often than not find favour with judges."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2021

Edward was the youngest specialist family barrister to be appointed a QC in the last twenty years and he remains the youngest family law QC in England and Wales. He is widely regarded as one of the leading barristers of his generation.

He has a wide-ranging practice in family law with a particular emphasis on cases with an international dimension. Many of the cases in which Edward has argued (whether at trial or at appellate level) have significantly changed the law in the UK or around the world.

Over the course of his career, he has appeared before, or presented submissions to, a large number of national and international courts, including the UK Supreme Court (on ten occasions between 2019 – 2019), the House of Lords, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights and the United States Supreme Court. He has appeared in over 75 cases reported in the Family Law Reports.

Edward acted for Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s son, Rocco, in Madonna Ciccone v Guy Ritchie and Rocco Ritchie [2016] 4 WLR 60 and Madonna Ciccone v Guy Ritchie and Rocco Ritchie (No 2) [2016] 1 WLR 3545 and, in the Court of Appeal, for the recipient of the largest ever reported monetary award in the UK in a case involving an unmarried couple: In re A (A Child) (Financial Provision: Wealthy Parent) [2015] 3 WLR 48.

In 2018, he acted for the mother of a child with global brain damage seeking to resist applications by a Hospital trust to withdraw life support for that child: see, Re HK (Serious Medical Treatment), Nos 1, 2 and 3 [2018] 1 FLR 1241, 1251 and 1256. In that case, he drafted the guidance which was endorsed by the court as to how the child’s and the family’s rights should best be given respect and dignity in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the child’s life sustaining treatment.

Edward has also appeared as sole counsel for the United Kingdom before the Court of Justice of the European Union in a number of important cases in recent years. In December 2019, he was the principal author of an Amicus Brief for Reunite International Child Abduction Centre in the matter of Monasky v Taglieri (No.18-935) before the United States Supreme Court. He represented one of the parties in the landmark alternative dispute resolution case of AI v MT (Alternative Dispute Resolution) [2013] 2 FLR 371.

A full list of his reported cases can be found here.

To instruct Edward or for more information…

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

Practice Areas

For many years, Edward has been regarded as one of the leading barristers in the country practising in international family law. The Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession has described him as “a leading expert in the international movement of children” and has said of him that “he has been involved in landmark cases that have shaped the country’s laws…his extensive knowledge of EU law is impeccable. He has a great strategic mind.”

Edward has appeared in many of the most important international family law cases in the UK in recent years.

He principally practises in the following areas: 

  • The international movement of children (with a particular focus on cases engaging the 1980 Hague Convention and/or the 1996 Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention cases)
  • International disputes relating to children or divorce jurisdiction
  • Proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction
  • Proceeding involving European Regulations
  • Complex private law Children Act 1989 proceedings involving an international dimension such as temporary or permanent relocation or disputed jurisdiction
  • Care and adoption proceedings involving an international dimension

Notable International Family Law cases


Monasky v Taglieri (No. 18-935), (2020), (United States Supreme Court)
Hampshire County Council v C.E. & Another [2019] 1 WLR 2019, C-325/18 PPU and C-375/18 PPU (Court of Justice of the European Union)
Re W (A Child) (Return Order: Power to Set Aside) [2018] 4 WLR 149 (Court of Appeal)
OL v PQ, C-111/17 PPU, June 2017 (Court of Justice of the European Union)
Re C-W (A Child) (Contact Overseas: Risk of Non-return) [2017] 4 WLR 51 (Court of Appeal)
Re J (A Child) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre & Others Intervening) [2016] AC 1291 (United Kingdom Supreme Court)
Re D (A Child) (Supreme Court: Jurisdiction) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre and another intervening) [2016] AC 1117 (United Kingdom Supreme Court)
Ciccone v Ritchie (No 1) and (No 2) [2016] 1 WLR 3545 and [2016] 4 WLR 60 (High Court)
E v B (Case C-436/13) [2015] Fam 162, (Court of Justice of the European Union)
Re LC (Children) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre Intervening) [2014] 1 AC 1401 (Supreme Court)
Re K (A Child) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre Intervening) [2014] 1 AC 1401 (Supreme Court)
AI v MT (Alternative Dispute Resolution) [2013] 2 FLR 371 (High Court)
Re A (Family Proceedings: Electronic Tagging) [2009] 1 FLR 891 (High Court)

Edward represents all parties (including parents, grandparents, and the children themselves) in disputes relating to children. Such disputes include matters relating to whom a child should live, how much time a child should spend with a parent and under what conditions they should spend such time, and whether a child should travel abroad either permanently or on a temporary basis. Often the cases with which Edward deals have complex facts and/or medical evidence, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse, or allegations that one party has alienated the child from, or is negatively influencing the child against, the other party. Edward has a particular specialism in representing, or questioning, children in court (see, for example, the leading case on Judges meeting with children: In Re KP (Abduction: Rights of Custody)[2014] 1 WLR 4326 (Court of Appeal)).

Notable Private Law Children cases


Re G & Another (Children) (Jurisdiction: Presence in England and Wales) [2018] 3 WLR 1679

Jurisdiction in a children’s case.


S v S (Relocation) [2018] 1 FLR 825 (High Court)

Permanent relocation.


Re C-W (A Child) (Contact Overseas: Risk of Non-return) [2017] 4 WLR 51 (Court of Appeal)

Temporary relocation.


Re D (A Child) (Supreme Court: Jurisdiction) [2016] AC 1117 (Supreme Court)

Recognition of a foreign order.


Re W (Jurisdiction: Mirror Order) [2014] 1 FLR 1530 (Court of Appeal)

Recognition of a foreign order.


Re KP [2014] 1 WLR 4326

Guidance for Judges meeting with children.


C v S [2011] 2 FLR 19

Divorce jurisdiction.

For many years, Edward has undertaken heavy-weight public law cases involving serious injuries to children, and/or disputed medical evidence, and/or complex facts. He acts for local authorities, parents, grandparents, family members accused of serious allegations and children. In 2019, he acted in a lengthy trial lasting about three months which concerned allegations involving endemic sexual abuse within a family and a community in the North East of England. Often he is brought in to argue cases on appeal – whether before the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court – involving difficult issues of law.

Notable Public Law Children cases


Re Q (A Child) [2019] 2 WLR 1161 (High Court)

How long can a care order last for.


Re L (Children: Care Proceedings: Judge's Reasons) [2017] 4 WLR 141 (Court of Appeal)

Was the permanent removal a child from a mother justified.


Re N (Children) (Adoption: Jurisdiction) (Aire Centre & Others Intervening) [2016] 2 WLR 1103 (Supreme Court)

Adoption and transfer of proceedings abroad.


A v A (Abduction Children: Interim Care Order) [2014] 2 FLR 265 (High Court)

Interim care order.


Islington London Borough Council v E [2011] 1 FLR 1681 (High Court)

Should a care order or another order be made to facilitate the placement of a child abroad.

Edward acts in a range of different matters before the Court of Protection including matters concerning the assessment of capacity, the deprivation of liberty, and the international abduction of vulnerable adults.

 

What the directories say

"One of the heavyweights of family law. He is a phenomenal advocate and terrifying to the other side when he cross-examines. He absolutely demolishes experts and can turn cases on their head."
Chambers UK Bar 2021

"Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2020

"An erudite silk."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2019

"A leading expert in the international movement of children…a superb and formidable barrister."
Chambers UK Bar 2018

"He has a compelling style of advocacy, which is delivered with sheer eloquence."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2018

"Renowned family junior considered to be a leading expert in the international movement of children, particularly through abduction. He has been involved in landmark cases that have shaped the country’s laws…His extensive knowledge of EU law is impeccable. He has a great strategic mind and will have a good plan from day one. He is probably now the leading junior in international children’s work."
Chambers UK Bar 2017

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