Francesca practices at the very highest level in both Private and Public Law Children Act cases, particularly where there are profoundly serious allegations against the parties.
Prior to joining the Family Bar, she specialised in Criminal and Human Rights Law and as a result, much of her work covers the crossover between the family and criminal jurisdictions. This includes very many cases where there is a need for fact-finding and consequential or concurrent applications and investigations in criminal proceedings. Francesca specialises in cases where clients or other parties have been accused of murder, attempted murder of their children or partners, sexual abuse, paedophile rings, trafficking, radicalisation, and other very serious offences. Such cases often require medical and factual cross-examination of the highest calibre.
Francesca has a further interest in matters involving underlying medical issues for children and adults, ranging from underlying genetic, bone and vascular disorders to factitious disorders and cases where an opposing party may have profound, yet undiagnosed personality and mental health difficulties.
She is also regularly instructed in cases where addiction is an issue within a family and instructed in cases of parental alienation where recruitment of children against a parent has led to false allegations. Francesca is well known for her expertise in fact finding in private law cases.
Francesca also undertakes inquests-based work internationally as well as having a significant on-going interest in human rights-based work in the UK and internationally and has been instructed in Kenya, The Falkland Islands and Mozambique.
Awarded the grade of MCIArb by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and able to also provide Early Neutral Evaluations, Francesca readily commends these alternatives as well to litigation and welcomes all instructions in the same.
Children (Private Law)
Francesca is an expert in representing parents in the most difficult and intractable Private Law matters, some of whom are victims of life changing allegations from their partners and / or children to stop contact. Clients have often been separated from their children for significant periods of time or find themselves falsely accused of serious criminal offences against their ex-partners and children. Such cases often involve disputed facts requiring fact-finding, in which she is particularly experienced.
Francesca is also frequently instructed in the most sensitive contact disputes including cases where addiction in the family may be an issue as well as cases where parents have hitherto undiagnosed mental health and personality difficulties impacting upon the litigation and the approach taken to the children. Her clients include very high-profile individuals and professionals including doctors, lawyers, celebrities and many whose professional bodies require allegations made against them to be urgently resolved, often in order to continue to work.
Notable cases in this area include:
Children (Public Law)
Parents, grandparents, carers, Guardians and Local Authorities regularly instruct Francesca in the most serious Public Law cases at High Court and Appellate level. In particular, she specialises in cases involving very significant injuries and/or the death of children in disputed circumstances, as well as child sexual abuse, trafficking, radicalisation and forced marriage. Often, in these cases, the police have not prosecuted or are awaiting charging decisions. She often undertakes cases involving serious head injuries, where there may be potential genetic and other underlying blood and bone disorders present, as well as those in which the medical evidence is so complex that the experts cannot agree.
Notable Cases in this area include:
Re J (Child Giving Evidence)  EWHC 962 (Fam) 2 FLR 1080
International Family Law
Francesca specialises in cases both in Private and Public Law which have an international element. She regularly undertakes cases where one party seeks to relocate out of the jurisdiction and has been involved in cases involving Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle and Far East.
Francesca represented the children of the Falkland Islands over several years and represented Lord Monson in relation to the death of his son Alexander in Kenya.
Francesca is a qualified Arbitrator of many year's experience and brings her experience as an advocate and parent to the task of assisting parties to settle cases without resorting to court. She maintains a strong emphasis on avoiding ‘blood-letting’, avoiding damaging litigation and assisting parties to move forward in their co-parenting relationship, despite difficult separations.
What the Directories Say
"She is robust and no-nonsense; she fights for things that really matter and has a clear sense of justice. For a QC she's very approachable and empathetic, and is creative in her approach." "Her knowledge of children law and her skills with the client are second to none. Fierce as an advocate and sees things in ways others don't." Band 3 - Chambers and Partners, 2022
"A powerhouse of an advocate with a fearless and brave style. Her work in the parental alienation sphere is second to none. Francesca is loved by clients and a joy to work with." Tier 2 - Legal 500, 2022
"Is astonishingly bright, fearless and effective both in and out of court." Tier 3 - Legal 500, 2020
"She has the complete command of the court room and judges seem in awe of her." Legal 500, 2019
"A robust advocate, who is extremely bright and provides defined strategies." Legal 500, 2017
"An outstanding barrister." Legal 500, 2015
Brighton and Hove City Council v X and Others (Leave to Withdraw Care Proceedings) (25 April 2017)
Re J (Child Giving Evidence)  EWHC 962 (Fam) 2 FLR 1080
Representation of very many professionals, high net worth individuals and celebrities in private law cases, including where there are allegations of child or spousal abuse.
Relocation applications by parties for children both nationally and internationally.
Representation of a father accused of the murder of his daughter.
Representation of several mothers accused of attempted murder and murder of children.
Representation of different local authorities where parents are accused of murder, attempted murder, GBH and sexual abuse.
Representation of several clients accused of causing serious brain injuries, grievous bodily harm, sexual abuse of babies and children.
Representation of parties in cases where allegations of human trafficking are raised.
Representation of parties where allegations of radicalisation are raised.
Representation of many parents in care and private law where allegations of rape, coercive control and domestic abuse are raised.
22 October 2021
Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2022 – Top Ranked Set in Family: Children
1GC Family Law is pleased to announce that we are again ranked as a leading set in Family: Children Public and Private Law in the 2022 edition of Chambers & Partners.
30 September 2021
The Legal 500 2022 – Leading Set in Children Public and Private Law
1GC Family Law is pleased to announce that we are again ranked as a leading set in Children Public and Private Law in the 2022 edition of Legal 500.
02 October 2020
The Legal 500 2021 – Leading Set in Children Public and Private Law
1GC Family Law is pleased to announce that we are again ranked as a leading set in Children Public and Private Law in the 2021 edition of Legal 500.
Chambers and Partners
Tier 3 - 2022
Tier 2 - 2022
Tier 3 - 2021
Tier 3 - 2020