Practice Profile

Alicia is a well-respected family lawyer with wide-ranging experience of all aspects of family law.


Called to the Bar in 1982, she has been a member of Harcourt Chambers since 1983.





Public law: care proceedings and adoption


Alicia was a member of a parliamentary Adoption Forum, advising on the development of the Adoption & Children Act 2002, and has subsequently lectured widely on the Act and its implementation to Cafcass officers and solicitors.


She regularly represents parents, Children’s Guardians and local authorities, at High Court and County Court hearings, ranging from one to fifteen days, often against Leading Counsel.


She brings together her experiences of representing the different interests of each of those types of party, either to mediate realistic compromises of disputed issues or –  if that is not possible – to fight vigorously to establish her clients’ interests. She is especially sensitive to the special needs of some clients and regularly assists those who have learning difficulties, mental health issues, or psychological problems. She often represents those for whom English is not their first language, against a background of foreign law or immigration complications. In many of her cases, drug or alcohol abuse are important factors.


She deals with all aspects of significant harm:  sexual abuse, including paedophile rings; emotional abuse, including factitious illness allegations; and physical abuse, including skull and limb fractures; burns and bruises. Many of her cases involve large families and have complex social work histories.


Her parallel practices in personal injury and medical negligence law give her invaluable experience in testing and challenging medical evidence, which she has frequently used to great effect.


She is well-known for her detailed chronologies in complex cases. (Her original academic studies in archaeology have helped her to reduce the most convoluted set of lever-arch files of hand-written documents to a clearly stratified table.)


She has secured residential assessments for parents with a view to rehabilitation, against the recommendations of local authorities or guardians; and in other cases, when representing local authorities or guardians, has successfully resisted similar applications by parents.


She also provides written advice on difficult areas of adoption and care law.



Private law: residence, contact disputes, removal from the jurisdiction and domestic violence


Alicia is the author of Tough Love: a critique of the Domestic Violence, Crime & Victims Bill 2003 (Policy Exchange) and has investigated the long-term effects of domestic violence on residence and contact issues.


She represents mothers, fathers, grandparents and, increasingly, children through their rule 9.5 Guardian, in High Court, County Court and Family Proceedings Court hearings.


She has a particular interest in cases involving removal from the jurisdiction and the return of children who have been wrongfully taken abroad.


When tempers get frayed in such cases, her calm good sense frequently achieves positive results for her clients.



Ancillary relief proceedings and cohabitee financial disputes


Alicia regularly deals with complex ancillary relief cases and cohabitee financial disputes, including those where issues of trust law arise.  She has lectured on cohabitee property law.


She has good mathematical and statistical skills, and brings to such cases her experience in reducing large volumes of data to manageable proportions in tabular form.


She frequently is called upon to analyse company accounts, deeds and land holding records, in such disputes.


She always endeavours, having established her clients’ priorities, to broker a solution to the financial dispute as early as possible in the proceedings, with an eye to keeping costs down. If that proves impossible, she will fearlessly fight on her client’s behalf. Because of her wide experience, she is able to give the client a clear understanding of their range of options in any given case, which can help them to understand at an early stage what is, and is not, possible.  



Inheritance and disputed will cases


Alicia has represented many clients, both successfully challenging and defending testamentary dispositions or intestacy.


She has a particularly interest in the effects of age, illness and mental health in such cases.





Re. Y & E (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 206 





She was educated at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, obtaining M.A. and M.Phil. degrees, and is a Harmsworth Scholar of Middle Temple.


She has been a member of the Bar Council and has served on the Bar’s Professional Conduct Committee.


In her spare time she has written the book, Politics for Partners: how to live with a politician (2007, Politicos Media), which gained national publicity.


Alicia is Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Gloucester





Family Law Bar Association.


Association of Lawyers for Children.


2 Harcourt Buildings
Dx 373 LDE
Tel 0207 353 6961


Churchill House
3 St Aldate's Courtyard,
38 St Aldate's, Oxford
Dx 96453 Oxford 4
Tel 01865 791559


0207 353 6961


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