Julia Shillingford

Call: 2002

‘Julia is a tenacious, focused, and wise advocate. She is a constructive, but firm, opponent: she takes neither bad points nor prisoners.’
Legal 500 UK Bar 2021

Julia studied law at Oxford University. She is a specialist in all areas of private family law. She lives and is based in Oxford and has strong links with London where she was raised and educated. She is native French speaker and has basic working knowledge of Russian and Italian.

Julia accepts instructions in all areas of private law family work, including matrimonial and civil partnership finance, cohabitee disputes, applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, and all aspects of the Child Arrangements Programme.

In each case Julia is focused on giving practical and realistic advice to parties and striving to achieve settlement where possible. When matters cannot be resolved by negotiation and consent, Julia is a fearless and tenacious advocate. She has a forensic approach to documents and her preparation is thorough and conscientious.

To instruct Julia or for more information…

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

Practice Areas

Julia has extensive experience in all areas of private Children Act law, including disputes about:

  • With whom a child lives;
  • Contact with a parent or grandparent;
  • Specific issues and prohibited steps;
  • Special guardianship;
  • Removal from jurisdiction; and
  • Internal and external relocation

She deals with fact finding hearings in cases where allegations are raised of domestic abuse or of significant harm to a child including physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.

Julia has a particular interest in cases concerning specific issues such as the religious education of children, see Re C below.

Julia regularly represents parties in Family Law Act proceedings where parties allege domestic abuse and/or are seeking to exclude another from the family home. Her extensive experience in acting for both victims and alleged perpetrators has enabled her to gain an insight into the patterns and behaviours involved, and to establish a rapport with her clients. Julia is particularly experienced in dealing with vulnerable clients, and in supporting them through the court process and the rigours of giving evidence.

Cases involving allegations of coercive and controlling behaviour are of particular interest to Julia. These cases are notoriously delicate and difficult to shed light on, requiring subtlety and sensitivity of approach. In such cases, the evidence can often be obscured from the court’s view, and the victims’ confidence eroded over many years. Such parties require a high level of support and preparation and Julia is committed to providing her clients with the care this requires.

Notable Private Law Children cases


Re B (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 974

Julia appeared at first instance in this case concerning allegations of physical abuse to a four-year-old child, and subsequently prepared the skeleton argument and grounds for permission to appeal, which was duly granted.


Re C (Child: Involvement in Jehovah’s Witness Religion) [2017] EWFC B29

In this case concerning a child’s religious education, Julia acted for the mother throughout proceedings to their conclusion in 2020 – achieving an excellent result for her client.

Julia has a particular interest in financial remedy cases both upon divorce and dissolution of civil partnership. She has extensive experience in acting for parties at each stage of proceedings from first appointment, through financial dispute resolution and up to final hearing. Julia represents parties in applications for maintenance pending suit and variations of maintenance.

She is experienced in acting in cases involving high net worth individuals and complex assets including business assets, share holdings and investments, multiple real properties, development property, overseas assets and family trusts. She regularly acts in cases where income is comprised of bonuses and dividends, and where assets are asserted to be non-matrimonial, whether premarital, inherited or otherwise.

Julia also acts in difficult cases where assets are limited, or where conduct is alleged. She will consider representing parties on a pro bono basis in appropriate cases.

Notable Family Finance cases


Birch v Birch [2017] UKSC 53

Julia acted at all tiers up to the Supreme Court in this case concerning variation of an undertaking in a matrimonial finance case, where the wife sought to extend time for the sale of the matrimonial home.

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