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Law Research

Centre for Child and Family Law Reform

About us

nullThe Centre is sponsored by The Law School of City, University of London. The Centre’s purpose is to scrutinise existing family law and to facilitate reform where appropriate. The Centre’s Committee, chaired by His Honour Michael Horowitz QC, is comprised of academics, judges and practitioners (both barristers and solicitors). The Committee meets quarterly to discuss recent developments in family law and proposals for reform.

Recent projects

Recent projects include:

  • Family Arbitration: The Centre was at the forefront in developing the scheme for the extension of arbitration to family financial disputes under the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. The Centre is represented on the IFLA Board as well as the Advisory Committee. 

    On 30th March 2017 The City Law School hosted a lecture by His Honour Judge Donald Cryan on Family Arbitration - The First Five Years and its Future, explaining the genesis of formal family arbitration in this jurisdiction and the role of the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform in this process. You can read the full text of the lecture and watch the video on City events page.

  • Forced Marriages: The Centre has been involved since 2001 when it produced its first Paper setting out proposals. Up to and after the bringing in of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 on 25 November 2008 that involvement has continued. It has been involved in all public consultations on the topic and produced a further Paper in 2011.
  • Secure Accommodation Orders: The Centre produced a Paper in 2012 advocating a more constructive and child-focused approach to the use of Secure Accommodation Orders.
  • Child Trafficking: The Centre has worked on proposals for encouraging local authorities to apply for care orders in respect of unaccompanied children from overseas, in contrast to the Department of Health’s guidance that such children be merely accommodated under Section 20. This follows concern that such vulnerable children are often targeted and subsequently go missing from care, in circumstances where neither parents nor local authorities hold parental responsibility.
  • The Centre has also responded to numerous Consultations commissioned by both the Law Commission and the Government, on such topics as Intestacy, Cohabitation, Domestic Violence, Matrimonial Property.

Members

The Honourable Mr Justice Baker

The Honourable Mr Justice Baker was appointed to the High Court Bench in November 2009 and assigned to the Family Division.  He was formerly Head of Harcourt Chambers from 2004 until his appointment.  He was Called to the Bar in 1978 and took Silk in 2001.  His entire career at the Bar was in Harcourt Chambers, where he has been a leader in the family law field with a number of publications to his credit.

Simon Blain

Simon Blain is a partner at Penningtons Manches LLP, having qualified 15 years ago as a solicitor at a leading legal aid practice. He is a qualified family mediator and a collaborative lawyer, and his practice encompasses both financial cases, and those involving children, including surrogacy.  Simon has a long-standing interest in reforming the family justice system, to make it more flexible and responsive to the needs of its users. He has been a member of Resolution since he qualified and has been a member of that organisation’s Children Committee for many years. He is now also a member of Resolution’s Executive Committee, and the organisation’s treasurer. He has contributed to many of Resolution’s responses to proposed legislative and procedural developments, including LASPO, the amendments to Section 1(2) of the Children Act (parental involvement), and privacy and reporting in the family courts.

Duncan Brooks

Duncan Brooks is a barrister, arbitrator and Deputy District Judge and has a wealth of experience of the court process from the lawyer’s and the judge’s perspective. He has been a barrister at QEB since 2000. He is known as “an excellent lawyer with superb client care skills” who deals with “very complex matrimonial finance proceedings and children law matters” (Chambers UK). He is “one of the very leading technical lawyers; a smart tactician and persuasive advocate” (Legal 500).  Duncan has been a Family Arbitrator (MCIArb) since 2013. At the time of writing, he has been appointed as the arbitrator in nine arbitrations.  He was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2010 and sits in county and family courts across London hearing family and civil cases. He predominantly sits in the Central Family Court.

Frances Burton

Frances Burton is a specialist Family Law Academic whose particular interests are Family Finance and Property, Status, Comparative Law and the current lack of a normative regime in English Law for Cohabitation (which was the subject of her doctoral thesis). These interests owe their development to many years' practice at the Chancery Bar, in particular in the context of international families, alongside teaching on both mainstream academic and vocational law courses including for the Bar and Law Society qualifications, and devising atypical teaching and learning for a variety of institutions.  She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Law in the small new Law Department at Buckinghamshire New University at High Wycombe, and also Co-Director of the independent International Centre for Family Law, Policy and Practice, which specialises in drawing together Family lawyers and professionals in a range of associated disciplines, so as to collate Family Law academic  and practitioner perspectives in both common law and civil law jurisdictions worldwide, and is Editor of ICFLPP’s on line journal Family Law, Policy and Practice.  Frances has a keen interest in legal education, particularly in the interface between Law and Practice, having been at various times a Research Fellow at London Metropolitan University and Convenor of two of the Society of Legal Scholars' specialist subject sections (Practice, Profession and Ethics, and Family Law)  besides teaching both Family Law and  the Chancery based subjects of Property and Commercial Law at various institutions, with a view eventually to convincing commercial lawyers that they are dangerous to their clients if they do not also understand Family law.  Frances is also a retired Judge of the Upper Tribunal of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, an experienced Mediator, a Family Arbitrator, member of both the Board and Advisory Committee of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and author of several books on Family Law. She has an ongoing interest in Law Reform.  Her most recent projects have included designing and establishing modules in the theory and application of Dispute Resolution on the International Commercial Law Masters’ Degree at Buckinghamshire New University, and establishing a Family Law option in the Law Department of Aston University Business School.

Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell is a barrister at QEB and practises in all areas of family law including financial, children and domestic violence cases.  Prior to starting pupillage, Andrew worked as a paralegal in a leading firm of solicitors dealing with crime, extradition and prison law and he has a particular interest in family law cases that feature allegations of criminal behaviour.  Before coming to the Bar, Andrew gained commercial experience working in market research, evaluating and presenting survey data.

Nick Crichton CBE

Nick Crichton CBE was a solicitor in private practice for 15 years.  He was a District Judge for 27 years and the Resident District Judge at the Inner London Family Proceedings Court from its opening in April 1997 until it closed early in 2014. He then retired, but continues to sit as a Deputy DJ.  He is a passionate advocate for children’s rights and chaired the Voice of the Child sub-committee of the Family Justice Council for many years. He has been instrumental in setting up the Family Drug and Alcohol Court – a project providing intensive support to families with serious drug and alcohol problems in the hope of enabling them to retain or recover the care of their children.  He has worked overseas on various projects in the field of child protection – in Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Ethiopia, Namibia, Australia, New Zealand, and most notably Bulgaria where he has been working for 17 years including spending 5 years working on a project in which he has visited all 28 family courts and visited many specialist institutions. He is currently engaged on a project which seeks to develop model family courts in Bulgaria, linked into support services for families. He is a trustee of Lumos, a charity set up by JK Rowling, the purpose of which is to get children out of institutions around the world. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, both in the UK and abroad. He has 5 grandchildren. When he can he spends time at his house in Shetland, photographing birds and otters.

His Honour Judge Cryan (Hon) LLD

His Honour Judge Cryan (Hon) LLD was Called to the Bar in 1970, developing a wide-ranging practice, which included Family Law and civil and criminal litigation. He was appointed a Circuit Judge and authorised to sit as Judge of the High Court, Family Division in 1996. Judge Cryan became a member and then chairman of the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform, a research and study centre sponsored by The City Law School. He remains a member of the Centre in an emeritus capacity. He accepted the Chairmanship of The City Law School’s Advisory Board in 2009, and was granted an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2012.  In 2012, Judge Cryan was one of the founders the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. He became the Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Institute and helped establish the first schemes for both child and financial arbitration in England and Wales.  He was appointed the Reader of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 2015 and became Treasurer (Chairman) of the Inner Temple for 2016.

Jo Delahunty QC

Jo Delahunty QC practices from 4 Paper Buildings. Jo returns to the Family Division having represented 75 bereaved families in the Hillsborough Inquests in 2014/5. Jo specializes in contentious and complex family cases at High Court level and above involving the death of/catastrophic injuries to a child; sex abuse; ritualized abuse and disability issues. She has a portfolio of ISIS/radicalism cases that are progressing through the High Court, alongside which she is advising organizations on risk review/child protection procedures in connection with The Goddard Inquiry into historic sex abuse. NAI/medical cases remain the anchor of her practice and, moving on from her ground breaking work exposing the significance of Vitamin D deficiency /Rickets (cf Al Alas/Wray) in fatal NAI baby cases Jo is sought after in cases which explore the degree to which genetic conditions and biological disorders can masquerade as inflicted injury. Alongside her public law work Jo has developed  a niche practice acting for high net worth clients/celebrities in cases involving allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect (alcoholism/ psychiatric issues) giving rise to transfer of residence and contact disputes. Jo is ranked as a ‘Top Ranked Silk’ by Chambers and Partners and as a ‘Top Tier ‘Leading Silk by The Legal 500 in successive editions of both publications.  Concurrent with her work in the Hillsborough Inquest Jo was Finalist Family Silk 2014 by The Legal 500 having been named Winner of Jordan’s Family Silk 2013 and Finalist of Chambers and Partners Silk 2013.  Jo is a Recorder (Public/Private Family: S.E Circuit); was made a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2013; is a member of the Child and Family Law Reform Committee and is a Steering Group Member of the Middle Temple Women’s Forum. Jo is a Patron of AMEND (Association for Endocrine Disorders).

Dr Carmen Draghici

Dr. Carmen Draghici is Senior Lecturer in Law at The City Law School, City, University of London, where she joined in 2009. She teaches European Human Rights Law and Family and Child Law at undergraduate/ graduate-entry level. She was formerly a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program (2015), a Visiting Research Scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (2012), and a Leverhulme Visiting Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, University of East London (2008). She also acts as a Visiting Professor in Public International Law at the Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona (since 2009). Dr. Draghici holds a PhD degree in International Law and Human Rights from the University of Rome ‘Sapienza’ (awarded in 2007). Her main research interests concern the judicial interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the responsibility of States and international organisations for breaches of human-rights obligations; her work has focused in particular on the right to respect for private and family life, non-discrimination, freedom of expression, the protection of civil liberties in the context of counter-terrorism, and the relationship between the Convention and domestic law. Her publications include articles and chapters published in UK, US and European journals and edited collections, as well as a book titled 'The Legitimacy of Family Rights in Strasbourg Case Law: ‘Living Instrument’ or Extinguished Sovereignty?' (Hart Publishing, 2017). Dr. Draghici is also a member of the policy-oriented Centre for Child and Family Law Reform (since 2010); in that capacity she has contributed to responses to Law Commission consultations.

Visit Dr Draghici's academic profile

Rebecca Foulkes

Rebecca Foulkes was called in 2001 and practises at the family bar from 4 Paper Buildings in London.  She is a specialist in children law, both private and public, with expertise in legally and factually complex and challenging cases.  She has represented clients in all levels of court, including the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and has appeared in many reported cases. She has particular expertise in high conflict private law disputes and in public law non-accidental injury cases which involve complex medical evidence.  She was appointed as a Recorder in 2016.

His Honour Michael Horowitz QC

His Honour Michael Horowitz QC practised in London family law chambers until his appointment to the circuit Bench in 2004. Michael dealt principally with family cases and was a nominated Judge in the Court of Protection. He retired in 2013. He has been a contributing editor to family law textbooks on jointly owned property and human rights and family law. He is a qualified mediator and an arbitrator under the IFLA scheme.

Grant Howell

Grant Howell is an experienced family law practitioner and is recognised as a leading individual in the legal directories. He has a busy domestic and international caseload as a partner with Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. He has been a member of the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform since 2009 and co-ordinated and wrote that Committee's response to the Law Commission's consultation on certain aspects of s.25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

In addition:

  • Grant has been involved throughout his career in other family law organisations at the forefront of legal training and reform; for 20 years, he was a member of Resolution's Training Committee and spent 5 years on Resolution's National Committee; he was also a member of the Family Justice Council's Education and Training sub-committee; .
  • On a regular basis, he writes and lectures on family law subjects; he is a General and Consultant Editor of various legal textbooks (e.g. Butterworths Family Law Service; Halsbury's Laws) and a co-author of the regular series of Financial Updates published in Jordan's Family Law; he frequently speaks at conferences, both at home and abroad; he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
  • He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.
  • He has trained as a collaborative lawyer and is member of both Collaborative Family Law and Creative Divorce.
  • He has a MBA in Legal Practice and was Managing Partner of Charles Russell LLP between 1999 and 2007.
  • Since its inception in 2012, he has been centrally involved in family law arbitration. As one of the first arbitrators, he suggested setting up the Forum of Family Arbitrators for all similarly qualified and was the Forum's first Chair for over 4 years remaining on the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators Advisory Committee.

Philip Marshall QC  

Philip Marshall QC is Joint Head of Chambers at 1 King’s Bench Walk, Temple. He has extensive experience of complex "big money" matrimonial disputes at all levels, many with an international or jurisdictional element, and appeared in both White and Miller and McFarlane in the House of Lords. He is named as a Matrimonial Finance Leading Queens Counsel in both Chambers & Partners UK Directory and Legal 500. Philip is the national Chairman of the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA), a Bencher and former vice-chairman of the Advocacy and CPD Committee of Gray’s Inn, a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and an associate member of Resolution.

James Turner QC  

James Turner QC has practised from 1 King’s Bench Walk since 1976 when he was called to the Bar. He has a wide and varied practice that encompasses all areas of family law, criminal law, medical disciplinary work and administrative law. He has appeared in over 150 reported cases, including a number of cases in each of his major fields of practice in the House of Lords or Privy Council – see the download below for a full list.  He took silk in 1998 and is a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple. He is recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Directory as a Leading Silk in Family work and he has for very many years been a contributing editor of “Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice”.

Naomi Wiseman

Naomi Wiseman is a barrister practising at Garden Court Chambers.  Naomi has a wide experience of financial remedies and has also been instructed in applications under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 and ToLATA. Naomi also undertakes a full range of children law cases including internal and international relocation and child arrangements applications. Naomi has represented parents and grandparents in public law proceedings including special guardianship applications and has experience of representing vulnerable clients in securing injunctive relief under the Family Law Act.  Prior to practising as a barrister, Naomi worked in a range of roles in Westminster and spent time on the Obama campaign in North Carolina in 2008. As a political aide Naomi worked for MPs in the last Labour Government, as well as assisting in the management of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the African Great Lakes. Naomi worked as a policy advisor for a leading children’s charity, the National Children’s Bureau and ran the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children. Naomi continues to brief both MPs and Peers in relation to relevant family law issues.

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