Families are becoming increasingly international and our members are frequently involved in complex cases with international elements, many involving jurisdictional issues.
We are also specialists in matters relating to alleged parental alienation and intractable child arrangement disputes (where the parent with care is opposed to any form of contact between the child and the non resident parent). We are often instructed in complicated “fact finding hearings” and have particular expertise where there have been allegations of abuse of the child but police and social services have “closed the case”. We are also highly experienced with vulnerable parties and those who have mental health difficulties or who are significantly affected by the stress of proceedings.
With the increasing importance courts place on the “voice of the child” in private law disputes, members often act for the child, either directly or through a Rule 16.4 Guardian.
More broadly, Chambers has a recognised reputation for work undertaken in the field of international movement of children. We receive instructions in applications to permanently remove children from England and Wales or to relocate within it, as well as applications for temporary leave to remove. Child abduction work (where a parent has unlawfully removed a child from England and Wales or retained him or her in another jurisdiction) is also important and increasing.
Members have acted in cases involving a number of foreign jurisdictions, including those within the EU, the Americas, Oceania and across Africa and Asia. In addition several members have gained experience working in foreign jurisdictions, particularly in North America and the Caribbean and a number of the team can speak foreign languages including Turkish, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Farsi and St Lucian Creole either fluently or conversationally.
With increased pressure on the court system, alternative dispute resolution is becoming an increasingly significant part of our work. We were at the forefront of the development of arbitration as a binding but less formal way of resolving disputes in children cases. Several members are qualified arbitrators who undertake arbitrations within the scheme devised by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. We also offer mediation as a means of dispute resolution and early neutral evaluation, through which parties are advised as to the likely outcome of a court process, with a view to assisting them to negotiate a resolution. Click here to discover more about our dispute resolution expertise.