Mavis Amonoo-Acquah

Call: 2013

‘Mavis is very client-friendly, with a sympathetic ear and clear advice to guide clients through the difficulties of litigation both in the conference and at hearings. Her advocacy is clear and confident.’
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2024

Mavis’ practice encompasses all areas of Family Law – in particular Private children, International children, Surrogacy/ modern families, and Public children. Mavis’ practice includes a significant amount of High Court work and she has appeared in the Court of Appeal as a junior to leading Silks.

As an advocate, Mavis is tenacious, persuasive and maintains an authoritative presence in the courtroom. The air of calm Mavis conveys in court, and the rapport she quickly establishes with each client, always helps to put her clients at ease – even during the most emotionally charged cases.

Her meticulous preparation coupled with her robust written and oral advocacy, regularly achieves positive outcomes. With each case, Mavis seeks to provide considered and realistic advice as early as possible within proceedings, to ensure the strongest possible position can be advanced for every client.

Mavis is often invited to present training or attend as a speaker at Surrogacy Law seminars or conferences, thus making her an increasingly recognised practitioner in this area of law. Mavis also regularly gives legal talks on topics within in her other practice areas, and has been commissioned to write case analyses for Lexis PSL on leading judgments.

Prior to her career at the Bar, Mavis assisted with UNICEF and UN-commissioned research projects on International Children Law at the Coram Children’s Legal Centre. In addition, her experience as an advocate began with successfully conducting cases as a volunteer advocate with the Free Representation Unit, School Exclusions Project and Philadelphia Employment Advocacy Project.

Mavis is passionate about widening access to the legal profession and is regularly invited to speak in schools and at careers conferences as part of social mobility programmes.

To instruct Mavis or for more information…

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

Practice Areas

Mavis has considerable experience in Private Law work including applications for Child Arrangement Orders, Prohibited Steps Orders, Special Guardianship Orders and Specific Issue Orders. Her work in this area often involves highly contentious disputes where issues of parental alienation, significant harm and allegations of domestic abuse arise. Mavis has also acted in proceedings dealing with both international and internal relocation.

Mavis is regularly instructed in international children law proceedings before the Family Division of the High Court. Mavis’ wide experience in this area includes Hague and non-Hague abduction proceedings, international relocation, proceedings involving stranded spouses, the recognition and enforcement of orders, wardship and jurisdictional disputes, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Notable International Children Law cases


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.


KH v MB [2023] EWHC 3194 (Fam)

Child’s return ordered under the parens patriae jurisdiction.


WJV v SR [2021] EWHC 2303 (Fam)

As a Pegasus Scholar, Mavis undertook a period of secondment working for Vorzimer Masserman – a leading Fertility Law Firm in Los Angeles, where she advised the firm’s UK clients on issues pertaining to UK Surrogacy Law and obtaining Parental Orders. She thus has a thorough working knowledge of both UK Surrogacy Law and Californian Surrogacy Law.

Mavis has a particular interest in modern family arrangements and Fertility Law. She has experience of cases involving residence disputes arising from informal surrogacy arrangements, applications seeking declarations of parentage following fertility treatment, and obtaining parental orders after both internal and international surrogacy arrangements.

Mavis is able to provide advice to both solicitors and direct access clients at different stages of the surrogacy arrangement and court process. Alongside this, Mavis is often invited to present training or attend as a speaker at Surrogacy Law seminars or conferences, thus making her an increasingly recognised practitioner in this area of law.

Mavis has a keen interest in Surrogacy Law reform; she has published two articles on this subject matter, spoken at conferences and co-drafted the Bar Council’s response to the Law Commission’s 2019 Consultation Paper.

Mavis appeared in the leading case of Re C, the first case to consider the implications of s54(6) HFEA 2008.

Notable Surrogacy & Modern Families cases


Re: Z (Surrogacy: Step-parent Adoption) [2024] EWFC 20

This is a ground-breaking case – the first of its kind in dealing with a contested application for a step-parent adoption order from a non-biological parent to secure legal parentage of a child born after a traditional surrogacy arrangement.


C (Surrogacy: Consent) [2023] EWCA Civ 16

An appeal examining the principle of consent in surrogacy cases.

Within care proceedings, Mavis acts for parents, guardians, grandparents and Local Authorities and has particular experience representing vulnerable parties. Within her practice, Mavis has been instructed on a wide spectrum of matters, including cases which involve serious physical harm and NAI, sexual abuse, mental health issues, chronic neglect, applications for leave to oppose adoption orders and jurisdiction disputes.

Notable Public Law Children cases


GK & Anor v EE & Anor [2023] EWCOP 49

This was a case before MacDonald J, wherein the parents of a non-binary young person who was accommodated by the Local Authority, sought orders under both the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court and the Court of Protection.

The orders sought were to prevent the young person from undergoing any gender affirming medical treatment.

The application was opposed by the young person and the Local Authority, and was eventually dismissed by the court.


A (Children) (Pool of Perpetrators), Re [2022] EWCA Civ 1348

The correct approach in uncertain perpetrator cases.

Mavis’s analysis of the case can be read here.


W, X, Y and Z (children : welfare) [2020] EWFC 29

Mavis is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public under the Direct Access Scheme, and regularly does so for appropriate cases.

 

What the directories say

‘Mavis is very client-friendly, with a sympathetic ear and clear advice to guide clients through the difficulties of litigation both in the conference and at hearings. Her advocacy is clear and confident.’
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2024 - London Bar - Family: Children and Domestic Abuse - Tier 6

"Bright, knowledgeable and approachable, she is an accomplished advocate with a polite and calm manner which appeals to the court. Her cross examination is tenacious and well prepared and her written advocacy masterful. She offers clients realistic advice, rather than just what they want to hear, and refuses to be deflected by other advocates or witnesses in her pursuit of the best outcome."
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Related News

Mehvish Chaudhry, Edward Bennett and Mavis Amonoo-Acquah in R v M & Ors (Hague Convention; Withdrawal of Application and Art. 16 (Parental Responsibility)) [2024] EWHC 720 (Fam)

Edward Bennett, led by Christopher Hames KC, was instructed by Freemans to represent the Applicant step-father and Mehvish Chaudhry and Mavis Amonoo-Acquah, instructed by Dawson Cornwell, represented the 4th respondent biological father in R…

Mavis Amonoo-Acquah in KH v MB [2023] EWHC 3194 (Fam)

Mavis Amonoo-Acquah was instructed by Anthony Louca Solicitors for the Respondent in KH v MB [2023] EWHC 3194 (Fam); an application for summary return of a child from Algeria, after the…

Ruth Cabeza and Mavis Amonoo-Acquah, instructed on a pro bono basis by Natalie Sutherland and Shaili Gohil-Desai at Burgess Mee, represented the First and Second Applicant in Re: Z (Surrogacy: Step-parent Adoption) [2024] EWFC 20 (30 January 2024)

This case is a groundbreaking case – the first of its kind in dealing with a contested application for a stepparent adoption order from a non-biological parent to secure legal…

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