Practice Overview

Called in 2003, Emily has a reputation for keen attention to detail, forensic cross-examination and a sensitive approach with vulnerable clients. Experienced in complex child protection cases, Emily represents local authorities, parents or children via their guardians. Emily has been instructed in cases involving radicalisation, sexual abuse, non accidental or inflicted injury, mental health issues, violence, drug and alcohol misuse and foreign elements, in county court and High Court. Emily has also represented parents in private law proceedings, particularly where there are allegations of harm or parental alienation.

Emily advises on Human Rights Act applications arising from family proceedings, and alleged deprivation of liberty, special guardianship, placement or relocation of children overseas, foreign adoptions, judicial review of local authority decisions and forced marriages. Local Authority instructions: she has represented parents accused of inflicting injury, with learning difficulty/disability and those who lack capacity, as well as those with addictions and cases with an international element. She also deals with cases involving residence or contact disputes to a high level.

Emily has a strong background in criminal law, having practiced this to a high level earlier in her career. She specialised in sexual offences and cases involving children. This practice lends support to her family work given the frequent overlap in issues between the jurisdictions.

  • Children (Public Law)

    Recent Local Authority instructions:

    Sexual abuse: Emily successfully sought findings of sexual abuse perpetrated against a 5-year-old child by family members, as well as threshold findings against the parent beyond those admitted by them. Heard by HHJ Madeleine Reardon at ELFC.

    Radicalisation: Before HHJ Carol Atkinson sitting at the RCJ, Emily represented a London Borough in a High Court radicalisation case, involving three families in care cases running concurrently. The parents pleaded guilty to terrorism offences at Central Criminal Court and served prison sentences. Emily advised on the process and material required to be disclosed from the criminal investigation. A leading silk was instructed for the London Borough of Redbridge in the connected family case, involving relatives residing in another borough. The Local Authority instructed Emily due to her experience of managing / handling huge volume of disclosure (thousands of pages) of highly sensitive material including telephone data.  Skill was required in distinguishing criminal offence, threshold facts and prejudicial comments.

    Non-Accidental Injury: Emily was instructed to lead Elizabeth Stevens, her former pupil, in a complex case involving findings of inflicted injuries (rib fractures), which required cross-examination of several medical experts on the issue of furosemide weakening of bones and genetics. The father was represented by a preeminent silk. Three children had suffered injuries, one with a constellation of health difficulties.  Skill was required in cross- examining the parents who had cognitive difficulties, were non-English speakers and were illiterate. Emily successfully sought findings that Mother had caused injuries.

    Re M (2019): Oxford CC case involving a severely disabled child where threshold, care order (versus EHCP/ long term s 20) and residential versus foster care plan in dispute.

    Re W (2016): Successfully represented a London Borough in care proceedings involving 3 children, including a 16-year-old whose wish was to return home to her mother, was absconding placement and had separate representation as a result.

    Guardian instructions:

    Emily regularly represents and has established relationships with several children’s solicitors and Guardians.

    In 2019, before HHJ Tolson QC, I represented a young girl who had been placed with her father after a ruling that mother made false allegations of him sexually abusing his daughter. In fresh proceedings after the child was placed with her father for some time, concern was that she had been exposed to sexual behaviour by the father, as the mother had originally feared. Emily was instructed due to her experience in forensic analysis of complex criminal investigations involving child sexual abuse. I was instructed by the Guardian to seek findings (beyond those sought by the Local Authority) that the child was at risk of sexual abuse from her father. Emily succeeded, in that the original findings of alienation were reversed and the child was returned to her mother.

    Emily is experienced at dealing with sensitive cases, and has appeared as amicus curiae to the court, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor in order to cross examine a child alleging sexual abuse against an unrepresented family member.

    Parents’ instructions:

    Emily has represented parents accused of inflicting injuries on their children, or with learning difficulties/disabilities and those who lack capacity, as well as those with addictions or an international connection.

    In 2022, Emily successfully opposed findings sought by the mother of a child against his father, who was a convicted paedophile. Emily successfully sought a preliminary ruling that the findings should not be adjudicated within the care proceedings.

    In 2020-2021, Emily was instructed to lead John Schmitt representing a father accused of inflicting injuries on his daughter, and raping her mother. The child had sustained 98 injuries between the ages of 2-4. At the fact finding, before Her Honour Judge Madeleine Reardon, expert evidence included a paediatric haematologist, paediatrician, forensic analyst and doctors from 5 child protection medicals. Two leading silks represented two other parties, Nkumbe Ekaney QC leading Steven Ashworth and Sam Momtaz QC leading Sandra Fisher. 

    Emily has represented a father with learning difficulties whose first child was going to be placed for adoption; and in another case a father, with a background of addiction, seeking the return of his baby to his care and grandmothers seeking further assessment in the context of placements applications.

    In 2014, Emily represented the father of a young baby in care proceedings, where the mother alleged he had raped her and seriously assaulted her whilst she was pregnant. Emily successfully argued that not only should all the findings not be made, but that the mother had intentionally fabricated the allegations against the father. The baby was moved to his father’s care.

    Emily has practised criminal law to a high level earlier in her career, specialising in sexual offences and cases involving children. This practise has strengthened her family work given the frequent overlap in issues between the jurisdictions.

    In particular, Emily has prosecuted:

    • five defendants in a conspiracy to kidnap and rape (Operation Collywobbles) before HHJ Barrie at Isleworth CC.
    • a rape where the complainant lacked consent;
    • a campaign of rape by a man of his daughter over 10 years, resulting in the birth of a child. He also sexually abused his niece aged between 9-12;
    • a foster carer for rape and sexual abuse of two girls in his care many years before;
    • a father for raping his 10-year-old daughter whilst her mother was abroad.
  • Children (Private Law)

    Emily deals with cases involving residence or contact disputes to a high level, including parental alienation and complex intractable cases.

    Emily is instructed in international cases and has succeeded in having children returned to their father in Pakistan under a private order from the High Court, following allegations of abduction by their mother to the UK.

  • Court of Protection

    Emily accepts instructions in all aspects of Court of Protection work. She can represent family members in contested deputyship applications and advise and draft grounds for Mental Capacity Act cases. Emily has frequently dealt with Deprivation of Liberty cases concerning children. 

    Due to her multi-disciplinary background, Emily is able to use her knowledge from both family, criminal and personal injury/clinical negligence cases when Court of Protection cases straddle these areas. Emily’s family, and particularly her Local Authority work, includes welfare proceedings and often the issue of capacity is raised. Emily is very experienced in representing and advising vulnerable clients and their families, which lends itself to the Court of Protection work.

  • Notable Cases

    Re N (2021)

    Representing father at lengthy fact finding, leading John Schmitt; allegations of injuring his child and raping her mother.

    Re W (2019)

    8 day final hearing for LA successfully arguing against delaying Placement Orders and s 26 Contact orders.

    Re H (2019)

    12 day final hearing for Guardian involving analysis of toxic trio MH, DV and drug and alcohol use and whether further assessments of mother and her partner were required.

    Re O (2019)

    Instructed for LA in High Court radicalisation case. The parents were sentenced to custody for terrorism offences at Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey). Three other families were involved in linked cases running concurrently. 

    Re G (2018-2019)

    Instructed to lead Elizabeth Stevens her former pupil, in a complex case involving findings of inflicted injuries (rib fractures), which required cross-examination of several medical experts on the issue of furosemide weakening of bones. The father was represented by an eminent silk. 

    Re S (2019)

    Final hearing for Guardian regarding a child who had previously been moved from mother to father due to findings of parental alienation, which were subsequently reversed and child was returned to mother’s care. 

    Re R (2019)

    Representing Guardian in private proceedings involving parental alienation of the most severe kind observed by the experts involved. 

    Re S (2019)

    Represented the LA in a 7 day final hearing involving contested HST results.

    Re M (2019)

    Oxford CC case involving a severely disabled child where threshold, care order (versus EHCP/ long term s 20) and residential versus foster care plan in dispute. 

    Re S (2019)

    Representing a father accused of inflicting injuries on his baby, where the parents applied for the case management judge to recuse himself due to bias. 

    Re H (2016)

    Representing a father in rehabilitation for an addiction, and seeking return of his baby to his care.

    Re M (2016)

    Successfully represented a London Borough in a complex case involving three concurrent proceedings arising from the 15-year-old mother and two of her children.

    Re W (2016)

    Successfully represented a London Borough in care proceedings involving 3 children, including a 16-year-old whose wish was to return home to her mother, was absconding placement and had separate representation as a result.

    Re C (2016)

    Emily represented a father with learning difficulties whose first child was being placed for adoption after failing assessment at St Michael’s Fellowship, and investigated an alternative support couple that came forward at the 11th hour.

    A (2014)

    Representing the father in care proceedings. Mother found to have fabricated allegations against father of rape and serious violent assault whilst pregnant and baby placed in father’s care.

    M (2010)

    Representing Congolese father in contested adoption final hearing in case of child with developmental delay.

    H (2009)

    Instructed by Tsol for Cafcass on disclosure hearing.

    Nottingham County Council v R & H (2008)

    Instructed by Tsol to cross-examine a child alleging sexual abuse.

    X v Met Police (2008)

    Successfully defended appeal by way of case stated in the High Court regarding a SOPO.

Legal 500

Leading Junior

2022

Legal 500

Leading Junior

2021