Since the enactment of the Children Act 1989, more than 30 years ago, Harcourt has been at the forefront of the development of Public Children Law. We are now widely recognised as one of the leading Chambers in the country in the field, with members appearing in the most significant cases at all levels. Our members also publish and lecture widely across the spectrum of issues routinely engaged in these acutely difficult and sensitive cases.
Our public law specialists have reached the highest levels in the profession: we are home to some of the country’s leading Silks, and former members have been appointed to the senior judiciary – Judd J and Baker LJ were both public law specialists when with us at Harcourt. Many of our team bring their experience of sitting as part time judges (Deputy District Judges, Recorders and Deputy High Court Judges) to their advocacy. Our reputation is built not only on our skill as advocates, but also on our ability to provide an efficient and approachable service to our professional and lay clients.
We provide a broad expertise in these cases, recognising that they each engage and require a range of skills from every advocate: technical legal ability (including children law but also the many other related areas), an understanding of social work practice, an ability to empathise, understand and work with vulnerable clients, and insights into controversial areas of medical science. Every case is complex, and our barristers have the experience and expertise to apply a bespoke approach to every case. We all appear for every kind of party to Public Law Children proceedings: Local Authorities, parents from every corner of society, children through their Guardians, children directly, alleged perpetrator children, the Official Solicitor, grandparents and other relatives, foster carers, adopters, and other intervening parties, such as the Secretary of State, health authorities, police authorities, and representative charities and organisations. We are particularly proud of our reputation for vigorously advancing our clients’ cases, whoever they may be, and whatever accusation they bring or face, fearlessly and in the finest traditions of the independent Bar.
As a group we embrace information technology and paperless working. Our specialists were involved in the first entirely paperless public law trial held before a High Court Judge and we are familiar not only with the evolving technology but also with conducting complex paperless litigation.