Nick Goodwin QC

Call: 1995 / Silk: 2014

"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

Nick 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

Somerset County Council v Primary Cohort Children [2021] EWHC 3004

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 SX [2020] EWHC 1086

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 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

"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."
Chambers UK Bar 2021

"Is very thorough, forensic in his approach to cases." "He is a tenacious and meticulous counsel with superb knowledge of children and family law."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2021

"An extremely experienced silk who regularly handles public and private children law proceedings. He is highly regarded for his participation in cases concerning non-accidental injury and infant fatalities, while also advising adopters and local authorities in international adoption cases."
Chambers UK Bar 2020

"He's very approachable and very pragmatic." "He's meticulously well prepared but also understated and an absolute masterclass in cross-examination." "He's very calm and collected and has an excellent ability to recall facts."
Chambers UK Bar 2020

"An incredibly diligent barrister; when you have him as an opponent you know the judges will respect him. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge and is enormously experienced." "Nick is bright but wears his intelligence lightly. He's practical and is able to get complex arguments over to the judge in a straightforward manner."
Chambers UK Bar 2020

"Is very approachable, calm under pressure and a formidable advocate."
The Legal 500 UK Bar 2020

Related News

Nick Goodwin QC successful in the Court of Appeal in B (A CHILD)(Designated Local Authority) [2020] EWCA Civ 1673

Nick mounted a successful appeal under s.31(8) and s.105(6) Children Act 1989 against a Circuit Judge’s decision to designate the local authority he represented as being responsible for administering a…

Nick Goodwin QC instructed by the Attorney General to act as amicus curiae in the Court of Appeal

Nick Goodwin QC was instructed by the Attorney General to act as amicus curiae in the Court of Appeal in Her Majesty’s Attorney General v Akhter & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 122

The case…

Nick Goodwin QC successful in the Court of Appeal in Re D [2019] EWCA Civ 2302

At a fact-finding re-hearing a child was found to have suffered a penetrative anal injury inflicted by an unidentified male, the circumstances of the injury being known only to the…


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