“Among the international children cases, he’s God basically. He is utterly pre-eminent in what he does.”
“An absolute class above. His tactics are second to none.”
Chambers & Partners 2015
Star Individual

Experience

Year of Call: 1979
Year of Silk: 2001

Appointments

Recorder
Deputy High Court Judge (Family Division)

Profile

Henry Setright QC was called to the English Bar in 1979 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2001. He has for many years specialised in international children’s and family work at the highest level, including cases in the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights, the House of Lords, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court, and as lead English counsel in two cases on Amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court.


He has (so far) appeared in more than 130 leading cases reported in the English Family Law Reports, a total not to date equalled by any other member of the Bar. His work to date has included (for example) consideration of issues relating to acquiescence, adoption, asylum, attempted assassination, care proceedings, children’s representation, children’s views, conflict and transfer of jurisdiction in public and private law cases, custody rights, diplomatic privilege, forced marriage, habitual residence, domestic violence, human rights, immigration, marriage, relocation, risk of harm, Sharia law, settlement, international and domestic surrogacy, and welfare in the context of international family litigation.

International work at the highest domestic level has since 2005 included 5 cases in the House of Lords and 8 cases in the UKSC, four of which – A v A [2013] UKSC 60, KL [2013] UKSC 75, LC [2014] UKSC 1, and K [2014] UKSC 29  – have been heard in the last 12 months.

In October 2009 he appeared in Re: I UKSC 10 [2010], on jurisdiction and the interface in a non EU (Anglo-Pakistan) case with the Brussels II revised regulation – it was the first Family case in the UK Supreme Court.

He led an English team presenting a brief in the landmark rights of custody appeal of Abbott v Abbott, the first 1980 Hague Convention case to be heard in the United States Supreme Court (judgment in USSC 17th May 2010), and in the subsequent Hague Settlement case of Lozano v Alvarez, also in the USSC, judgment 5th March 2014 .

He has also appeared in Hague Convention cases in the ECtHR, notably Ignaccola-Zenide v Romania, Carlsson v Switzerland, and, leading an English team, in the landmark Grand Chamber case of X v Latvia, judgment 26th November 2013.

He appeared in the first family case referred by the English Court of Appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union (Mercredi v Chaffe Case C 497/10 PPU judgment 23rd December 2010) on habitual residence in children’s cases. He appeared in May 2014 in a second CJEU case referred by the English Court of Appeal, E v B, judgment currently awaited.

The 2014 Family Law Reports (as of early June 2014) feature nine of his recent cases.

Other cases include Chief Constable and Another v YK and others [2010] EWCA Fam 2438) in relation to disclosure and the conduct of forced marriage hearings, on marriage/immigration policy R (Bibi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department) [2011] UKSC 45 EWCA Civ 1482, and In addition to his court appearances, he lectures regularly in England and internationally at conferences and seminars. He is the author of numerous articles on international family law, and is co-author of International Parental Child Abduction (Jordans/Family Law).

He is one of the originators of, and sits on the steering group of, the Reunite/Nuffield Foundation pilot scheme for mediation in child abduction cases, and assisted in the drafting of the Forced Marriages Bill introduced by Lord Lester of Herne Hill in late 2006, and now passed into law.

Directories

A name that immediately springs to mind when one talks of cross-border children cases. Peers respect him due to his utter command of the area.

Strengths: “He is a star. There it is. Full stop.” “For difficult international cases he is the top dog at the Bar.” “He’s really looked to by judges when they need an explanation of what’s going on. He’s an absolute repository of knowledge.”
Chambers & Partners 2016
Star Individual


Simply the best in international child abduction matters.
Legal 500 2015
Top Tier

Revered for his talents in the field of abduction law. He is frequently involved in the most significant and ground-breaking children law cases at an international level.

Expertise: “Among the international children cases, he’s God basically. He is utterly pre-eminent in what he does.” “An absolute class above. His tactics are second to none.”

Recent work: Instructed in a landmark international case on the approach to the 1980 Hague Convention. The matter marked a major change in human rights law.
Chambers & Partners 2015
Star Individual

Henry Setright QC ‘Pre-eminent in the field of child abduction and international work.’
Legal 500 2014
Top Tier

Henry Setright QC continues to be regarded by market sources as pre-eminent in international children matters, especially child abudction cases.
Expertise: “Superb and very good with clients.”  “He is excellent in cases requiring technical aspects of the law.”
Recent work: Appeared in Qulia Bibi and Aguila v SSHD, a watershed case in the Supreme Court concerning forced marrigae and restrictions on marriage for under-21s.  The case has been instrumental in changing English law, causing the abandonment of UK immigration policy regarding restrictions on entry for that class.
Recommended as a Leading Silk in Chambers and Partners 2014
(Star Individual)

Henry Setright QC is ‘the best advocate around’.
Recommended as a Leading Family Silk in the area of Children Law
Legal 500 2013 Top Tier

Henry Setright QC is “undoubtedly amongst the best there is” on international children’s cases and child abduction, relates one admiring source. Recent cases have included Quila Bibi and Aguila v the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, a landmark case on forced marriages and restrictions on marriages for under-21s. His record in cases of such importance led one interviewee to remark that “he is a very long way ahead of the second best barrister in international children’s disputes.”
Recommended as a Leading Silk in Chambers and Partners 2013
(Star Individual)

Henry Setright QC is ‘among the best practitioners in child abduction and other international cases’.
Recommended as a Leading Family Silk in the Legal 500 2012 (First Tier for Children Law)

When it comes to cross-jurisdictional children disputes, Henry Setright QC “is amongst the best advocates in the market.” He was recently involved in Mercredi v Chaffe, the first family case referred by the English Court of Appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Sources say that “he is tactically astute and has excellent cross-examination skills.
Recommended as a Leading Silk in Chambers and Partners 2012 (Star Performer)

‘Devastating advocate’ Henry Setright QC is ‘unrivalled in this area’.
Recommended as a Leading Family Silk in the Legal 500 2011 (First Tier for Children Law)

Henry Setright QC is a leading expert in cross-jurisdictional children disputes. He recently represented the interveners in Re I (A Child), the first family law case to be heard in the Supreme Court. According to sources, “he is an unbeatable cross-examiner with an encyclopaedic knowledge of international law.”
Recommended as a Leading Silk in Chambers and Partners 2011 (Star Performer)

Recommended as a Leading Family Silk in the Legal 500 2010

“Setright is a distinguished figure in the field of international abduction”.
Recommended as a Leading Silk in Chambers and Partners 2010

‘Henry Setright QC is the go-to man when it comes to international work’as ‘there isn’t anything he doesn’t know’, according to market sources. A ‘formidable advocate’, he is a ‘wonderful tactician with a sharp analytical mind’ who applies his skills to a high-profile practice focusing on international children and family work.
Chambers & Partners 2009

4 Paper Buildings recently welcomed international family law specialist Henry Setright QC.
Recommended as a Leading Family Silk in the Legal 500 2009

A very impressive advocate at the peak of his powers… Henry Setright QC routinely argues several cases a year in the Court of Appeal and/or the House of Lords – most but not all of these relate to international child abduction or other cross-border child issues falling under Brussel II regulations. ‘Very notable in the area, and justifiably so’, he sets the tone for many of the juniors in the set.
Chambers and Partners 2008

Henry Setright QC is ‘your man in child abduction’ matters due to his ‘unrivalled knowledge of abduction law’. In addition to his sterling international children law practice, he has also ventured into the field of forced marriages.
Chambers and Partners 2007

Henry Setright QC has been in over 80 reported family cases (more than anyone else at the bar) and has ‘accumulated more knowledge and kudos than many could hope for in a lifetime.’ International child abduction is his strong suit in a practice that takes in children matters generally. He has further been a pioneer in the area of forced marriages.
Chambers and Partners 2006

Henry Setright QC is rated as a leading Silk by Chambers Directory. His particular bent is towards legal matters pertaining to child abduction, an area where few can effectively challenge him. ‘The most experienced and well-regarded international child abduction barrister – he is a wonderful tactician.
Chambers and Partners 2005

06/08/15
[2015] EWCA Civ 888
17/07/15
[2015] EWCOP 48
04/07/14
[2014] EWHC 2225 (Fam)
13/11/13
[2013] EWCA Civ 1434
21/08/13
[2013] EWHC 2970 (Fam)
03/07/13
[2013] EWHC 1867 (Fam)
23/05/13
[2014] 1 FLR 307; [2013] EWHC 1383 (Fam)
27/03/13
[2013] EWHC 646 (Fam)
25/03/13
[2013] EWHC 647 (Fam)
25/01/13
[2014] 1 FLR 5; [2013] EWHC 88 (Fam)
24/01/13
[2013] EWCA Civ 204
15/06/12
[2012] EWHC 1640 (Fam)
14/03/12
[2012] UKSC 10
28/11/11
[2012] 1 FLR 1259 : [2012] Fam Law 399; [2011] EWHC 3255 (Fam)
12/10/11
[2011] UKSC 45; [2012] 1 AC 621 : [2011] 3 WLR 836 : [2012] 1 All ER 1011 : [2012] 1 FLR 788 : [2011] 3 FCR 575 : [2012] HRLR 2 : [2011] UKHRR 1347 : 33 BHRC 381 : [2012] Imm AR 135 : [2011] INLR 698 : [2012] Fam Law 21 : (2011) 108(41) LSG 15 : (2011) 155(39) SJLB 31 : Times, October 20, 2011
05/08/11
[2011] EWHC 2425 (Fam)
17/03/11
[2011] 2 FLR 515 : [2011] 2 FCR 177 : [2011] Fam Law 584 : (2011) 108(13) LSG 21;[2011] EWCA Civ 272
14/05/10
[2010] EWHC 1179 (Fam); [2011] 1 FLR 354
12/05/10
[2010] 2 FLR 1165 : [2010] Fam Law 787 : [2010] EWCA 520 Civ
25/11/09
[2010] 1 FLR 1211 : [2010] 1 FCR 114 : [2010] Fam Law 130 : (2009) 153(45) SJLB 28 : [2009] EWCA Civ 1254
30/07/09
[2010] 1 FLR 1146 : [2010] Fam Law 23 : [2009] EWCA Civ 1021
05/12/07
[2007] UKHL 55 (2008); 1 AC 1288 : (2007) 3 WLR 975 : (2008) 1 All ER 1157 : (2008) 1 FLR 251 : Times, December 6, 2007
31/07/07
(2008) 1 FLR 699; [2007] EWCA Civ 1059
27/03/07
(2007) 2 FLR 72; [2007] EWCA Civ 260
16/11/06
[2006] UKHL 51; (2007) 1 AC 619 : (2006) 3 WLR 989 : (2007) 1 All ER 783 : (2007) 1 FLR 961 : Times, November 17, 2006 : Independent, November 21, 2006
25/07/06
(2007) 1 FLR 627; [2006] EWHC 2199 (Fam)
04/07/06
[2006] EWHC 1794 (Fam)
06/06/06
(2007) 1 FLR 57 : [2006] EWCA Civ 1115; Times, July 19, 2006
18/05/06
(2006) 2 FLR 1180 : [2006] EWCA Civ 630; Times, July 3, 2006 : Independent, May 24, 2006
25/01/06
(2006) 2 FLR 305; [2006] EWCA Civ 146
27/05/05
(2005) 2 FLR 759; [2005] EWHC 848 (Fam)
04/05/05
(2005) 2 FLR 878 : [2005] EWHC 733 (Fam); Times, May 17, 2005
06/07/04
(2005) 1 FLR 727; [2004] EWCA Civ 1366
28/05/04
(2004) 2 FLR 499; [2004] EWHC 1247 (Fam)
05/04/04
(2004) 2 FLR 64 : [2004] EWCA Civ 428; Times, April 12, 2004
02/04/04
(2004) 2 FLR 85 : [2004] EWCA Civ 417; Times, April 14, 2004
09/09/02
(2002) 1 WLR 3208 : (2002) 2 FLR 1042 : [2002] EWHC 1864 (Fam): Times, October 14, 2002
03/07/02
(2002) 1 WLR 3355 : (2002) 2 FLR 815 : [2002] EWCA Civ 908: Times, July 15, 2002
28/05/02
(2002) 1 WLR 2548 : (2002) 2 FLR 465 : [2002] EWCA Civ 843 : Times, June 3, 2002
24/04/02
(2002) 2 FLR 437 : [2002] EWHC 816 (Fam); Times, May 9, 2002
10/04/02
(2002) 2 FLR 252;
18/02/02
(2002) 1 FLR 1008
15/02/01
(2001) 1 FLR 951 : [2001] EWCA Civ 186 ; Times, March 2, 2001
18/05/99
(1999) 4 All ER 954 : (1999) 2 FLR 542 : Times, June 16, 1999
23/04/99
(1999) 2 FLR 478 : Times, May 14, 1999
05/03/97
(1997) 2 FLR 702 : Times, June 24, 1997
19/12/96
(1997) 2 FLR 690
21/11/96
(1997) 1 FLR 767 : (1997) 37 BMLR 172
31/07/95
(1996) 1 WLR 25 : (1996) 1 All ER 24 : (1996) 1 FLR 1 : Independent, October 16, 1995
09/02/95
AC0002049 Times, February 16, 1995
01/08/94
(1995) 2 WLR 233 : (1995) 2 All ER 417
13/06/91
(1991) 2 AC 476 : (1991) 3 WLR 68 : (1991) 3 All ER 230 : (1991) 2 FLR 262 : (1992) FCR 45 : (1991) Fam Law 227 : (1991) 141 NLJ 891 : (1991) 135 SJLB 52