Practice Areas

Awards

Gray’s Inn: Bedingfield Scholarship
City Law School: Academic Scholarships for GDL and BPTC
Bar Council: 1st Prize, Law Reform Essay Competition
Harvard-UNICEF: Child Protection Certificate
New College, Oxford: Academic Scholarship

Experience

Year of Call: 2019

Education

City Law School: Graduate Diploma in Law and Bar Professional Training Course
Harvard University: Human Development, Psychology and Child Advocacy, M.Ed
University of Oxford: Experimental Psychology, BA (First Class Honours)

Profile

Clarissa joined chambers as a tenant in October 2020 after successful completion of her pupillage under Nicholas Fairbank, Sally Bradley, and Jacqueline Renton.

Clarissa has a busy practice across all of chambers’ core areas, including public, private and international children cases and proceedings for financial remedies.

She recently appeared in the Court of Appeal as junior counsel in Re H-N and Others [2021] EWCA Civ 448 – the conjoined appeal to the Court of Appeal reviewing the application of PD12J in cases involving allegations of domestic abuse.


Public children

Clarissa represents local authorities, parents and children at all stages of care proceedings. In addition to representing clients at Interim Care Order hearings, Case Management Hearings, Issues Resolution Hearings and final hearings (including applications for special guardianship, placement and care orders), Clarissa has experience of applications for deprivation of liberty of a minor, applications for summary dismissal of proceedings, and applications to the High Court for passport orders and port alerts under the inherent jurisdiction.

She was recently led by Cyrus Larizadeh QC in a 2-week fact finding involving allegations of non-accidental injury to infant twins with highly complex medical presentations.

She has assisted in training expert witnesses at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Private Children and Domestic Abuse

Clarissa represents mothers and fathers at all stages of private children proceedings including fact finding hearings involving complex allegations, including allegations of serious domestic abuse and substance misuse. Clarissa has successfully represented applicants and respondents in applications for Child Arrangements Orders, Prohibited Steps Orders, Specific Issue Orders, and Non Molestation and Occupation Orders.

Clarissa has been instructed in cases involving same sex parents and non-traditional family structures, and also has experience of applications for declarations of parentage and cases involving instruction of a Rule 16.4 Guardian to represent the child.

International Children

Clarissa is building a practice across the spectrum of international children law. She has experience of applications for summary return under the 1980 Hague Convention and under the inherent jurisdiction, and applications by parents for permission to relocate abroad with a child.

Clarissa has been instructed as junior counsel in a range of international cases: she was recently led by Chris Hames QC, defending an application to relocate to Hong Kong; by Jacqueline Renton pursuing an application to relocate to Italy; and by Michael Gration seeking a summary return to the USA under the 1980 Hague Convention.

Financial Remedies

Clarissa represents both applicants and respondents in applications for financial remedies at First Directions Appointments, Financial Dispute Resolution hearings, and final hearings. Clarissa has been instructed to advise and represent clients in cases involving a range of issues including identification and valuation of overseas property and business assets, disputes as to the veracity of loan agreements, non-matrimonial property (inherited property and pre-/post-matrimonial accrual), and material non-disclosure.

Court of Protection

Clarissa has experience of applications to the Court of Protection for deputyship, in disputes as to capacity in relation to both issues of welfare and property and financial affairs and in cases where the Official Solicitor has been instructed to represent a vulnerable party.

Other experience

Before joining chambers, Clarissa was a Director of the School Exclusion Project. She provided pro bono representation for parents at appeal hearings. She also volunteered with the National Centre for Domestic Violence, drafting applications for injunctive relief for victims of domestic abuse.

Clarissa spent a year at Harvard studying the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, neural development, and the experience of children in the justice system. She subsequently won the Bar Council’s Law Reform essay prize, arguing for removal of the “reasonable punishment” defence to common assault of children.

In her spare time, Clarissa enjoys reading, live music, and trying out new recipes.

Publications

Businesses on divorce: how does the sharing principle apply? Nicholas Fairbank and Clarissa Wigoder, June [2020] Fam Law

 

Professional Memberships

The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
Family Law Bar Association
Women in Family Law