“Impeccably prepared with a great legal mind; awesome, understated and effective cross-examination skills.”
Legal 500 2020

“Absolutely spectacular in public children law and devastating in cross-examination. She is understated but deadly.”
Chambers and Partners 2021

Experience

Year of Call: 2000
Year of Silk: 2020

Education

MA Law (Cantab)
Qualified Collaborative La

Languages

French, Italian

Profile

Cleo is a specialist children’s law barrister and public law barrister, who represents parents and children in all levels of court. She is widely recognised for her expert handling of difficult cases involving complex evidence, allegations of violence or abuse and cases involving an international element, including removal from the jurisdiction.  Her sensitive manner with clients combined with her advocacy, described in the directories variously as “awesome”, “tenacious”, “effective” and “devastating”, enable her to support her clients successfully through domestic and international litigation.  Cleo is also in demand within public law, particularly in cases where the local authority is involved, including those with complex factual backgrounds and significant allegations of harm.  Cleo also has a significant public inquiry practice, representing parties in long-running and complex public inquiries.


Cleo represents parents and children in disputes concerning children’s living, contact and specific arrangements both domestically and internationally.  She brings strategic thinking and a calm but firm approach to contentious cases, and has considerable experience of cases involving allegations of violence, harm, or those involving disputed medical evidence.  Her case load is both domestic and international, and she is experienced in dealing with cross-jurisdictional issues, including international adoption, applications to remove children from the jurisdiction and child abduction. Cleo speaks French and Italian.

In her public inquiry practice Cleo has acted in the following long running public inquiries and investigations:

Cleo acted as leading counsel in the following matters:

  • For the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in Child Protection in Religious Organisations and Settings (IICSA) From 2017 – 2020.
  • For the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in Accountability and Reparations (IICSA) from 2017 – 2018.
  • For the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks from 2017 – 2020.

And as junior counsel in the following inquiry:

  • For Lambeth Council in the Lambeth Council investigation (IICSA) from 2016 – 2020.

In her public law practice Cleo is recognised for her skilful and professional handling of complex cases.  She represents children, parents and local authorities, and deals with cases involving intricate legal issues, including international and domestic adoption, child fatalities and significant abuse, including historical sexual abuse or multiple injuries.  She also has expertise in cases concerning radicalisation and in particular families returning from IS controlled Syria.

 

Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for Children
Gray’s Inn
South Eastern Circuit
Resolution

Directories

Her broad children practice spans both public and private law cases domestically and abroad. She has experience of representing both parents and children in disputes including those concerning non-accidental injury, and also has a growing practice in radicalisation cases.
Strengths: “A robust, no-nonsense advocate. She gives clear and practical advice, and is excellent at managing a client’s expectations.” “Absolutely spectacular in public children law and devastating in cross-examination. She is understated but deadly.”
Recent work: Acted for Lambeth County Council in the inquiry into failings which allowed children in the care system to be subjected to sexual abuse from 1960 to 2000.
Chambers & Partners, 2021

‘Is a persuasive and tenacious advocate and will be a great success in silk.’
Legal 500, 2021


Her broad children practice spans both public and private law cases domestically and abroad. She has experience of representing both parents and children in disputes including those concerning non-accidental injury, and also has a growing practice in radicalisation cases.

Strengths: “Incredibly bright and a very good advocate. She approaches things with a healthy degree of realism and double-checks everything we’re dealing with. Cleo achieves results for her clients that are going to be workable and meaningful for them.” “She’s a hard worker and somebody who clients can rely on to put forward their case.”
Chambers & Partners 2020

“Impeccably prepared with a great legal mind; awesome, understated and effective cross-examination skills.”
Legal 500, 2020

Her broad children practice spans both public and private law domestically and abroad. She has experience of representing both parents and children in disputes including those concerning leave to remove applications, and also has a growing practice in radicalisation cases.
Strengths: “She is always impeccably prepared, and is a subtle and effective advocate in court.” “She’s a very calming and charming practitioner.”
Recent work: Led by Alex Verdan in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, representing the London Borough of Lambeth.
Chambers & Partners 2019

Her broad children practice spans both public and private law domestically and abroad. She has experience of representing both parents and children in disputes including leave to remove applications.
Strengths: “She is tactically astute, eloquent in court and it goes without saying she’s completely on top of her papers. She’s extremely committed to ensuring that her clients have the best representation and get the best results.”
Chambers & Partners 2018