Practice Areas

Dispute Resolution

Direct Access

Direct Access

“He’s a heavyweight in children matters who is empathetic, expert in his field, knowledgeable and powerfully persuasive.”
Chambers and Partners 2018


Year of Call: 1991
Year of Silk: 2015


Campbell College, Belfast
Liverpool University, LLB (Hons) 1990


John’s practice encompasses both private law and public law proceedings relating to children.   He is experienced in the most complex cases and he regularly appears in high profile and complex matters. His experience (in both the private and public fields) includes cases involving sexual abuse, the death or injury of a child (including very complex medical evidence), intractable parental disputes, press injunctions, human rights applications, adoption and the inter-relationship with the judicial review jurisdiction. John represents all parties in such cases.  He is experienced in lengthy and complex trials.

In private proceedings John is experienced in proceedings with intractable issues, internal and external relocation of children and serious and complex allegations.  John is often instructed in the most difficult cases requiring expert inter-personal skills.

John is experienced in media management and applications for press reporting restrictions orders.  This experience has included some of the most high profile cases in recent years and has included the “Baby P” litigation and the “Little Ted’s Nursery” scandal.  Such issues often include both the national and international media.

John regularly advises local authorities on issues of policy and is often asked to draft such policies within a team of professionals.   He enjoys such collaborative work.

John appears in Judicial Review proceedings that include issues of family law.  Such issues include local authority policy, educational issues and the inter-relationship between the limits of the Court’s jurisdiction and the role of the local authority.

John has been continuously recommended by Chambers and Partners as a leading junior in the field of children law for a decade.

John does undertake direct access work.

John writes a quarterly updating article for Family Law Week

Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Midlands Circuit
Inner Temple


Has expertise in both public and private children proceedings. He possesses great experience of handling complex cases concerning abuse and relocation matters at the most serious end of the spectrum. He is particularly good at matters concerning fabricated allegations, risk assessment and medical issues.
Strengths: “He’s a heavyweight in children matters who is empathetic, expert in his field, knowledgeable and powerfully persuasive.”
Chambers & Partners 2018


Has expertise in both public and private children proceedings. He possesses great experience of handling complex cases concerning abuse and relocation.
Strengths: “Tenacious, hardworking and willing to push the boundaries for his clients.” Chambers & Partners 2017

Equally adept at dealing with both public and private law children cases. His expertise includes serious physical abuse and child abduction matters. He is respected by his peers for his work ethic and tenacity.
Strengths: “He is a very capable opponent, who is a good cross-examiner and persuasive in negotiations. He’s a very reasonable opponent and a good person to do business with.” “Dedicated and tenacious. He will leave no stone unturned.”
Chambers & Partners 2016

Deals with both public and private law proceedings, including cases of serious or fatal injury or sexual abuse, or those concerning challenging medical evidence.

Expertise: “He believes in them and will fight for them however hopeless the case seems.”
Chambers & Partners 2015

Represents children, parents and local authorities, among others, in complex and high-profile care cases, and enjoys a fine reputation for his work on matters pertaining to death, injury and sexual abuse.

Expertise: “He is focused and tenacious – a real fighter and an excellent advocate.”
Chambers & Partners 2014

The “charming and well-prepared” John Tughan is a well-respected specialist in care proceedings and private law matters such as contact and residence.
Chambers & Partners 2013

John Tughan “wastes no time in getting to the gist of the matter,” and stands out for his impressive public law children practice. He represents children, parents, interveners and the local authorities in the most complex matters.
Chambers and Partners 2012
John Tughan, meanwhile, is highly regarded for representing local authorities in public children law proceedings.

Chambers and Partners 2011

John Tughan’s advocacy is clear, persuasive and direct, and he is well liked in the profession.

Chambers and Partners 2010

John Tughan is described as a “no nonsense barrister” with public and private law proceedings at the heart of his practice.
Chambers and Partners 2009

His “firm but approachable style” and “ability to smooth the waters” has won him a loyal following of many solicitors [Chambers & Partners 2005].  John is described as “excellent in both advocacy and substantive law.”
Chambers & Partners 2008

[2015] EWHC 2630 (Fam)
[2015] EWCA Civ 119
[2015] EWCA Civ 119
[2012] EWHC 3069 (Fam)
[2009] EWHC 140 (Fam), [2009] 2 FLR 1312, Hedley J.
[2007] EWHC 2742 (Fam); (2008) 1 FLR 1252
2 FLR 50, CA [2007] EWCA Civ 196