David Williams QC
David Williams QC
David Williams QC has established himself as a go-to advocate for Hague Convention matters, and is particularly noted for his strengths in cases involving abductions and reciprocal enforcement. "A favourite for complex jurisdictional disputes, he knows the technical issues really well."
Chambers & Partners 2014
Year of Call: 1990
Year of Silk: 2013
David was called to the Bar in 1990 and for the first 10 years practiced in family, crime and personal injury cases. During this time he gained extensive trial experience (including successful defences at the Old Bailey) dealing with the most serious cases including big money divorces, sexual abuse, rape, serious brain injury and sexual abuse. In 2000 David moved to 4 Paper Buildings and began to specialise in Family Law, in particular cases with an international dimension. He was appointed Queens Counsel in March 2013. His approach combines rigorous analysis and preparation and an emphasis on seeking a consensual resolution where practical with a robust presentation of the case when agreement proves impossible. He has considerable experience in cases where expert evidence whether medical, legal, accountancy or otherwise is involved.
Over the last 13 years at 4 Paper Buildings David has developed a practice which covers all aspects of international family law; in particular relating to children. David has particular expertise in and advises and appears on behalf of clients in the following categories of cases,
- relocation (permanent and temporary),
- incoming abductions (Hague and non-Hague),
- outgoing abductions,
- jurisdictional conflict cases – covering children and divorce,
- reciprocal enforcement of orders and mirror orders,
- international aspects of public law cases, in particular issues connected with placements of children abroad,
- Forced marriage and stranded spouse cases,
- Private law disputes, in particular but not limited to those with some international dimension.
David also has experience of and can act in a wide range of other family cases including adoption, recognition of foreign divorces, surrogacy, 1984 Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act cases for financial remedies after a foreign divorce and Court of Protection matters.
He has particular experience in the operation of BIIR and other European Regulations, the 1980 and 1996 Hague Conventions and other international instruments. His practice has given him wide experience in the laws of many other countries, in particular countries where Sharia law applies. He is a Member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and through this and his practice he has extensive contacts with family lawyers from a wide range of other countries.
In the last 3 years he has appeared in the first family case from England to be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (Mercredi-v-Chaffe) and the first child abduction case to be heard by the UK Supreme Court (Re E). His work in these two cases led to him being awarded the Chambers and Partners Family Junior of the Year award in October 2011.
David is also a qualified mediator, including being trained in and being approved by the Ministry of Justice to conduct Mediation Information and Assessment meetings. He is able to mediate in not only in children cases but also in finance cases and indeed all issues cases. These will usually be conducted as a sole mediator but in accordance with the Hague Mediation Good Practice Guide David will co-mediate on abduction and on some re-location cases. For abduction and relocation cases David has arrangements with two mediators who have legal aid mediation contracts and so there is the opportunity to co-mediate these cases under legal aid cover.
David acts for parents and children, for local authorities and for charities and his practice covers most tribunals from the High Court to the ECHR. He represented the Applicant father in the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2010 and acted for the Plaintiff father in the House of Lords in Re M in 2007. He appeared for the Respondent mother in Re E in the UK Supreme Court in 2011 and was instructed as part of a team to file an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court. In 2002 he appeared for the Applicant in the ECtHR when that Court held that the UK was in breach of the ECHR in respect of its treatment of trans-sexuals. He regularly appears in the Court of Appeal and has appeared in many other reported cases with an international dimension. David has an interest and particular experience in representing children. He has been active in ensuring that an appropriate balance is struck in allowing their voice to be heard whilst seeking to protect them from adult disputes. He appeared in the leading cases in this field including Re M (in the House of Lords) Re C (Abduction: Separate Representation of Children)  2 FLR 6 and Re J (Abduction: Children’s Objections)  1 FLR 457.
As a result of his extensive experience he has been instructed to act in other countries as an expert on English family Law. Prior to being called to the Bar he worked for the Legal Services Commission for three years and he is committed to ensuring that publicly funded clients are able to compete on a level playing field.
David is a Consultant Editor of the International Children Law Information Portal and a Contributing Author to Butterworth’s Family Law Service.
David lectures and writes regularly. Recent lectures include one on the 1996 Hague Convention to the Family Division Judges and on habitual residence to the Judicial College. In April 2013 he is making a presentation on Preliminary References to the CJEU to Italian, Bulgarian, Croatian and Slovenian family judges at the European Research Academy. He spoke at the Centre for Family Law and Practice Inaugural Conference on International Family Law and regularly presents lectures and webinars on relevant topics. He has had articles published in International Family Law, Family Law, New Law Journal and others.
David is a member of the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar Standards Board.
His other interests include membership of the Society of Labour Lawyers, of which he is a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Family Law Group. Cycling, vintage motorbikes and history keep him out of trouble at weekends.
Family Law Bar Association
International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Alternative Dispute Resolution Group
Bar Pro Bono Unit
Has established himself as a go-to advocate for Hague Convention matters, and is particularly noted for his strengths in cases involving abductions and reciprocal enforcement.
Expertise: "A favourite for complex jurisdictional disputes, he knows the technical issues really well."
Recent work: Successfully handled a case in the Court of Appeal regarding the proper interpretation of 'habitual residence' in Hague Convention cases.
Chambers & Partners 2014
New silk David Williams QC combines 'a cerebral approach with encyclopaedic knowledge of both domestic and European points of law.'
Recommended as a New Silk in the area of Children Law
Legal 500 2013
David Williams has a fine reputation in the field of international children law, and tackles cases relating to Hague and non-Hague Convention abductions, reciprocal enforcement and relocation. Sources note his immense "enthusiasm and vigour" when tackling cases, and agree that he is a "very impressive and knowledgeable leading junior in abduction," who is "excellent with clients."
Recommended as a Leading Family Junior in Chambers & Partners 2013
(Ranked Band 1)
Recommended as a Leading Family Junior in The Legal 500 2012
The “extremely hard-working” David Williams, meanwhile, is praised as “one of the best junior child abduction barristers in the country.” He garners plaudits.
Recommended as a Leading Junior in Chambers and Partners 2012 (Ranked in First Tier)
David Williams is a ‘recognised expert’
Recommended as a Leading Family junior in areas of Children Law and Family Law The Legal 500 2011
David Williams, who has an ever-growing reputation for Hague Convention work.
Recommended as a Leading Family Junior in Chambers and Partners 2011
The ‘insightful’ David Williams ‘really knows his stuff’.
Recommended as a Leading Family junior in The Legal 500 2010
David Williams, a lawyer who has carved a niche for himself in Hague Convention matters. Williams has a large number of reported cases under his belt and is known his “extreme perspicacity.”
Recommended as a Leading Family Junior in Chambers and Partners 2010
Recommended as a Leading Family junior in The Legal 500 2009
David Williams is recommended for his burgeoning International child abduction practice. He is praised for his “calm and efficient” demeanor and his “sensitivity to clients’ needs.”
Recommended as a leading Family Junior in the area of Children in Chambers & Partners 2009
David Williams... ‘comes highly recommended’.
Recommended as a Family Law leading Junior in Legal 500, 2008
Re LC (Children) (2014)
 UKSC 1
Re LC (Children) (2013)
 EWCA Civ 1058
Re A (Children) (2013)
DL (Appellant) v EL (Respondent) & (1) Reunite International Child Abduction Centre (2) Centre for family law and practice (Interveners) (2013)
 EWCA Civ 865
Re Y (A Child) (2013)
Re Y (A Child) (2013)
 EWCA Civ 129
J (Habitual Residence) (2012)
 EWHC 3364 (Fam)
Re J (Children) 
 EWCA Civ 1511
JRG v EB 
 EWHC 1863 (Fam)
AJ (Appellant) v JJ (First Respondent) & (1) KK (2) JAJ (3) JUJ (By Their Solicitor NH) (Interveners) (2011)
 EWCA Civ 1448
Re H-K (Children) (2011)
 EWCA Civ 1100
Re E (Children) 
 UKSC 27
Re E (Children) sub nom (1) KE (2) TB (Appellants) v SE (Respondent) & (1) Reunite (2) Aire Centre (Interveners) (2011)
 EWCA Civ 361
Re X (2011)
Document No. AC9401023
Barbara Mercredi V Richard Chaffe (2011)
 2 FLR 515 :  2 FCR 177 :  Fam Law 584 : (2011) 108(13) LSG 21; EWCA Civ 272
Mercredi v Chaffe
Re A (Children) (Abduction: Interim Powers) sub nom EA v (1) GA (2) Westminster City Council (3) Salford City Council (2010)
 1 FLR 1;  EWCA Civ 586; Times, June 16, 2010
Re U (Abduction: Nigeria) 
 EWHC 1179 (Fam);  1 FLR 354
W v W (2009)
 1 FLR 1342 :  Fam Law 228 : (2010) 154(1) SJLB 28 :  EWHC 3288 (Fam)
Re R (A Child) sub nom DE L v H (2009)
 1 FLR 1229 :  Fam Law 328 :  EWHC 3074 (Fam)
De L v H 
 EWHC 3074 (Fam);  1 FLR 1229
LAB v KB (Abduction: Brussels II Revised) 
 EWHC 2243 ;  2 FLR 1664
K v K (2009)
 EWHC 132 (Fam)
Re Z (Abduction)
 EWHC 3473 (Fam);  2 FLR 298
A v B (Abduction: Declaration)
 EWHC 2524 (Fam)
Re E (Abduction: Intolerable Situation)
2008] EWHC 2112 (Fam);  2 FLR 485
B T v J R T (2008)
 EWHC 1169 (Fam);  2 FLR 972
MC (Claimant) v SC (Defendant) & CC & ORS (CHILDREN) (Interveners) (2008)
 EWHC 517 (Fam);  2 FLR 6
In re M and another (Children) (Abduction:Rights of Custody)
 3 WLR 975
MM v VM (AKA VRM) (2007)
 UKHL 55 (2008); 1 AC 1288 : (2007) 3 WLR 975 : (2008) 1 All ER 1157 : (2008) 1 FLR 251 : Times, December 6, 2007
Re L (Abduction: Consent)
 FLR (forthcoming.  EWHC 2181 (Fam)
Re L (Abduction: Consent) (2007)
 1 FLR 914;  EWHC 2181 (Fam)
Re M (Children) (2007)
 EWCA Civ 992
Re A, HA v MB (Brussels II Revised: Article (11)7 Application) (2007)
 EWHC 2016,  1 FLR 289 : Times, November 2, 2007
 2 FLR 364
X v X (Crown Prosecution Service Intervening)
 2 FLR 487
I v United Kingdom
 2 FLR 518
Re B (Disclosure to other Parties)
 2 FLR 1017