Nick Goodwin KC

Call: 1995 / Silk: 2014

"His style of advocacy is so persuasive because it is so calm; judges end up eating out of the palm of his hand. He's also clearly entirely on top of his papers and therefore has the confidence of that knowledge to meet any challenge thrown at him by the judge."
Chambers UK Bar 2024

Nick Goodwin KC is a leading family law silk with a substantial first instance and appellate practice, primarily in the law relating to children.

His advocacy is measured, subtle and firm. Out of court he is noted for his thorough paperwork and excellent client relationships.

He took silk in 2014 and now routinely appears in the most complex and serious cases typically involving allegations of inflicted injury and abuse. He undertakes increasing amounts of appellate work in the Court of Appeal often with technical argument on difficult points of law.

In 2016 he was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge, sitting exclusively in the Family Division, having previously sat as a Recorder since 2010. The legal directories (see below) note the respect he commands from judges and opponents alike, as well as his meticulous preparation, careful paperwork and skill as an advocate.

To instruct Nick or for more information…

Call: 020 7353 6961

Practice Areas

Nick represent parents, children and local authorities in public law proceedings involving allegations of homicide, inflicted injury, sexual abuse and factitious/induced illness. He has an excellent grasp of the medical issues arising in such cases and has acquired particularly extensive experience in the cross-examination of pathologists and experts in inflicted head injury. He has appeared in many adoption cases where there are competing arguments for the child to be brought up within the birth family. In 2018 this side of his practice included an appeal regarding post-adoption contact under s.51A Children Act 1989 – the first time the Court of Appeal considered this new statutory provision.

Notable Public Law Children cases

Nottingham City Council v AZ & Ors [2023] EWHC 3513 (Fam)

Fact-finding in care proceedings, concerning in particular allegations that the father had sexually abused the oldest child. Application re: recusal. Final hearing.

A Council v An NHS Foundation Trust & Ors [2024] EWHC 874 (Fam)

Application by local authority for leave to withdraw medical treatment from child in care who had suffered severe brain damage.

Re J (Care Plan for Adoption) [2024] EWCA Civ 265

Appeal by mother against a care order made in respect of her 9 month-old son.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea v NM & Ors [2024] EWFC 48

Hearing to determine whether there should be a fact-finding with respect to allegations made by the mother against social worker.

Re N (Children: Findings Against a Professional Witness: Joinder or Intervention) [2024] EWFC 17

Care proceedings. Judgment considering the position of medical expert who the local authority asserted had been manipulated by the mother.

Birmingham City Council v M & Ors [2023] EWHC 3312 (Fam)

Care proceedings in the High Court in respect of two children issued following allegations by Mother’s two older daughters that their Father had sexually assaulted them.

Re AB (A Child: Diabetic Care) [2023] EWFC 149

Mother accused of fabricated and induced illness by covert and chronic insulin maladministration.

N (Children: Revocation of Placement Orders), Re [2023] EWCA Civ 1352

Appeal by mother from the dismissal of applications to discharge placement orders and for the instruction of an independent social worker. Appeal dismissed.

T (Fact-Finding: Second Appeal) [2023] EWCA Civ 475

Second appeal by LA from decision by circuit judge allowing an appeal against findings made by a deputy district judge in care proceedings involving 4 children. Appeal allowed.

Re M (adoption - notification of birth father) [2023] EWFC 17

Adoption application in which court ordered that birth father be notified, but birth mother refused to reveal his name, and he could not be identified.

Re C & Ors (Care Proceedings: Fact Finding) [2023] EWCA Civ 38

Represented a local authority and successfully opposed a parent’s appeal against findings of fact made in care proceedings.

Birmingham City Council v CD & Ors [2023] EWHC 748 (Fam)

Before Lieven J investigating the circumstances surrounding the alleged multiple injuries (head injury, multiple fractures), neglect and death of an 11 week old baby.

Re W-A (Children) [2022] EWCA Civ 1118, [2022] 3 WLR 1235

An appeal against a decision that foreign convictions were admissible in evidence and carried presumptive weight that the offence had been committed in fact-finding in children’s cases.

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

The correct approach in uncertain perpetrator cases.

Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group & Ors [2022] EWFC 31

Nick advised and represented Somerset County Council in protracted High Court litigation relating to breaches of the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 (AAR 2005) – specifically a failure by its Agency Decision Maker to adhere to the regulations relating to the provision of medical reports from the Agency Medical Adviser. In this final judgment, it was decided by the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, that although breaches of AAR 2005, reg 15/17 had occurred, an application for a declaration as to the validity of existing placement orders or adoption orders was not required or appropriate, because (a) such orders remained valid unless and until overturned and (b) in most cases where these occurred, there would rarely be a health issue, both significant yet unknown to the ADM and/or the court, that could undermine the orders’ validity.

Re T (No.2) (Care Proceedings : Fact-Finding : Genital Injuries : Supplemental judgment for publication) [2021] EWFC 101
Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group & Anor [2021] EWHC 3004 (Fam)

Nick advised and represented Somerset County Council in protracted High Court litigation before Roberts J. relating to breaches of the Adoption Agency Regulations 2005 – specifically a failure by its Agency Decision Maker to adhere to the regulations relating to the provision of medical reports from the Agency Medical Adviser.

Re YY (Children: Conduct of the Local Authority) [2021] EWHC 749

A twenty day High Court public law children case in which the court principally examined a local authority’s failings in relation to 4 children placed in foster-care. There were systemic and individual failures within the local authority that meant that the children’s false beliefs about their maternal family had not been corrected but instead became more entrenched, thwarting the restoration of contact. Keehan J. made comprehensive findings against the local authority.

Re R (Children: Control of Court Documents) [2021] EWCA Civ 162

Court of Appeal guidance on the family court’s power to control the distribution of its judgments and other sensitive material – in the present case to a serving offender.

A County Council v M [2021] EWFC 35

Order of Judd J authorising a local authority to proceed with an adoption favoured by the parents without first assessing the paternal grandmother as a potential carer.

A Local Authority v Mother & Ors [2020] EWHC 1086 (Fam)

Nick acted on behalf of the local authority in a case involving the killing of a 2 month old infant. This was one of the first reported judgments on the use of a remote hearing platform in a case of this nature.

B (A CHILD)(Designated Local Authority) [2020] EWCA Civ 1673

Successful appeal under s.31(8) and s.105(6) Children Act 1989.

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

Appeal against findings made of sexual assault and homicide in respect of a 10 yr old girl found deceased in her bedroom with neck and genital injuries. The Court of Appeal remitted the case for an unprecedented third fact-finding hearing before a (third) High Court judge.

Re D (Fact-Finding Appeal) [2019] EWCA Civ 2302

Successful appeal on behalf of a mother before the Court of Appeal against first instance findings of complicity in sexual abuse.

Salford City Council v NV & M (Deprivation of Liberty in Scotland) [2019] EWHC 1510

Legal argument regarding the lawfulness of a placement in Scotland of an English child under the inherent jurisdiction where the child had been deprived of her liberty and the Scottish court had yet to determine whether the nobile officium jurisdiction could be exercised.

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

First Court of Appeal authority in relation to the provisions of s.51A Adoption and Children Act 2002 relating to post-adoption contact.

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

Successful appeal on behalf of a local authority against a first instance refusal to make a placement order.

Nick is also much in demand for private law cases involving issues of custody, contact, international relocation and allegations of abuse.

Notable Private Law Children cases

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

Appeal by mother in private law proceedings from findings of fact arising from allegations of domestic abuse, including transnational marriage abandonment.

Re M [2019]

Contact proceedings involving allegations of sexual abuse made against the mother’s partner and a long history of hostility and obstruction by both parents.

Re Z [2019]

Contact proceedings initiated through the Central Authority pursuant to Article 21 of the 1980 Hague Convention.

Re S [2019]

Successful application for contact on behalf of a father in the face of implacable hostility by the mother and an adverse CAFCASS report.

Re R [2018]

Complex international relocation case involving polygamous marriage, allegations of coercion and grooming.

F v F [2013] EWHC 2683

Successful application on behalf of a father for an order permitting the children to have the MMR vaccination in the face of opposition from the mother.

Nick accepts instructions in all aspects of international family law.

Notable International Family Law cases

Re A and B (Rescission of Order: Change of Circumstances) [2021] EWFC 76

Application before Cobb J on behalf of two children to have an order rescinded under s 31F(6).

Re R [2018]

Complex international relocation case involving polygamous marriage, contempt of court and allegations of coercion and grooming.

Re GP (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 1677

Case in the Court of Appeal involving 1980 Hague Convention defence under Article 13(b) – grave risk that return order would expose child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable position, where the abducting parent had already been sentenced to imprisonment in her home country for a previous abduction and the first instance court had insufficiently analysed the practicalities of a return order on the child.

Nick accepts instructions in cases involving legal argument about nullity/divorce and wider jurisdictional problems.

Notable Family Finance cases

HM Attorney General v Akhter v Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 122

Acted as amicus curiae to the Court of Appeal in a landmark case concerning the availability of a decree of nullity after an Islamic marriage. Complex legal argument required with detailed analysis of the Marriage Acts 1753 to 1949 and applying principles of domestic and European Law under ECHR.

Hayatleh v Mofdy [2017] EWCA Civ 70

Court of Appeal case regarding the validity in English law of a marriage conducted in Syria and whether a decree of nullity should be granted, alternatively a declaration of ‘non-marriage’.

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


What the directories say

"Nick Goodwin is sublime and succinct in his drafting and always so well prepared." "Nick Goodwin KC is excellent; he has the ear of the court and his advocacy is very persuasive." "Nick Goodwin is a very strong, capable advocate." "Nick Goodwin is a charming, persuasive advocate. He is also clearly entirely on top of his papers and has therefore the confidence of that knowledge to meet any challenge thrown by the judge." "Nick Goodwin is stellar. He is really clever, his advocacy is excellent and he is a joy to listen to." "Nick is one of a kind, approachable, clear-thinking and incredibly intelligent." "Nick has a phenomenal combination of incredible intellect and being hard-working." "Nick is phenomenally bright and extremely hard-working. He is a very polished advocate, he is one of the best."
Chambers UK Bar 2024

‘Nick is an intellectual powerhouse and has an enviable ability to jump around the papers to pull the rabbit from the hat to drive an argument home. His ability to marshal fact and law to the most powerful effect is a silk masterclass.’ ‘phenomenal with complex cases where there are contested scientific or medical issues’ 'Nick is an incredibly able barrister. He is always thoroughly prepared for his cases. He has a calm and amiable manner in court.'
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2024

“Nick Goodwin KC is an exceptional advocate for clients in the most difficult circumstances, who provides an exceptional service and support throughout litigation.”
Chambers UK Bar 2023

'Nick is the best children’s KC and well respected by judiciary, opponents and clients. Behind his intellect and excellent advocacy, he is also incredibly approachable, insightful and wonderfully human.'
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2023

"A silk of persuasive advocacy and on-point insights." "He has a vast intellect, is a phenomenal advocate and has a wonderful manner - Nick is able to put clients at ease and disarm opponents in an instant."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2022

"Suave and dangerously effective in court." "He is silver-tongued, persuasive, and someone who can argue very difficult cases." "His attention to detail is second to none - nothing escapes him." "Is very thorough, forensic in his approach to cases." "He is a tenacious and meticulous counsel with superb knowledge of children and family law."
Chambers UK Bar 2021

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