The High Court’s inherent jurisdiction in relation to children, including making a child a Ward of Court, is a vast power that the court has to protect children in areas where statutory remedies are inadequate. Our barristers are leading experts in this area of law, with experience at the highest levels, and have acted for clients in many of the leading authorities such as Re NY (A Child) [2019] UKSC 49.

The inherent jurisdiction is often used or considered in complex and ground-breaking cases, and we are proud to have been part of many of them. There is no theoretical limit to the issues which can be addressed by the court in this way, so long as they link to a child’s welfare. Some areas where Harcourt barristers have used the inherent jurisdiction include:

  • Child abduction – this is an area where the inherent jurisdiction is often used, and barristers at Harcourt are often involved in the highest profile and cutting-edge examples in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
  • Disputed medical treatment cases – these are tragic and sensitive cases, often involving life and death decisions, and usually involving contested medical evidence where Harcourt barristers have special expertise.
  • Children in need of protection where the Children Act does not apply – there are numerous areas of child protection law where, for one reason or another, the usual statutory remedies are not application, and Harcourt Chambers has wide-ranging expertise in such matters at all levels including the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
  • Disputes about children’s remains after death – these cases involve unrivalled sensitivity, and Harcourt barristers are often instructed to act for parents and others in such cases.

In addition to our advocacy experience, members of Harcourt frequently write articles and give lectures about the inherent jurisdiction, and our team includes academics who specialise in this area of law.

Featured cases:

For help and advice please contact our clerks.

Our clerking team is renowned for its friendly and pro-active approach.

Call: 020 7353 6961


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