“An incredible advocate; his ability to analyse the evidence and present his client’s case in the most forensic way is outstanding.”
Legal 500 2020

Experience

Year of Call: 2010

Education

University of Bristol, History (BA Hons) (First Class, placed first in year overall)
City University, GDL (Distinction)
BPP Law School, BVC (Very Competent)
Exhibition Award and Poland Prize (Inner Temple)

Profile

Michael is a specialist in international children law, particularly child abduction, leave to remove and jurisdictional disputes. He regularly appears in the High Court and has appeared in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

He appears regularly in private law cases involving leave to remove (domestic and international), allegations of sexual abuse and parental alienation.

He is currently representing the intervener in the Akhter v Khan and another [2020] All ER (D) 88 (Feb), the leading case on the validity of marriage; the case has generated significant media coverage.

Michael has also appeared in inquests and inquiries, including:

  • The investigation by IICSA into sexual abuse allegations against Lord Janner
  • The inquest into the death of Ellie Butler.

In February 2016, Michael was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown. He advises and represents Government Department in family law matter. He is the only family practitioner to be appointed to the C Panel.

In January 2018, Michael was appointed as a Special Advocate. This enables him to appear in the most serious cases involving issues of national security.


International

Michael has appeared as junior counsel in a number of international cases in the Supreme Court, including:

  • Re KL (a child)(abduction: habitual residence: inherent jurisdiction) [2014] 1 All ER 999
  • Re J (a child)(1996 Hague Convention: cases of urgency) [2016] 4 All ER 1048
  • Re B (a child)(habitual residence) [2017] 1 All ER 899
  • Re N (children)(adoption: jurisdiction) [2017] 1 All ER 527
  • Re C (children: Anticipatory Retention) [2018] 3 All ER 1
  • Re NY (a child) [2020] 1 All ER 923

And in the Court of Appeal:

  • Re KP (a child)(abduction: rights of custody) [2014] 1 WLR 4326
  • Re J (Children: Relocation) [2019] 3 FCR 217
  • RJ v Tigipko [2019] 3 FCR 470

He represented the applicant father in the long-standing Tigipko proceedings which generated widespread national news coverage, following the mother’s abduction of the children to Ukraine.

He appears on a daily basis in the High Court.

Inquests / Inquiries / Child protection

Michael has appeared in a number of high profile inquests and inquiries, including:

  • IICSA – representing a local authority with Alex Verdan QC in the investigation into allegations against Lord Janner
  • Ellie Butler – representing the local authority with Alex Verdan QC following the death of Ellie Butler. The case generated significant media interest

He has also appeared in a number of long-running child protection cases involving the death of a child.

  • Re A (Death of a Baby) [2011] EWHC 2754 (Fam) (with Alison Grief QC)
  • A Local Authority v DB & Others [2013] [2013] EWHC 4066 (Fam) (with Alison Grief QC)

Michael has particular expertise in the cross-over between private and public law proceedings, where child protection authorities become involved in families’ lives because of particular safeguarding concerns.

Private law

Michael represents parents and children in disputes about children’s upbringing, especially international and internal relocation cases. He has appeared in a number of ‘intractable hostility’ cases and where one parent has made allegations of violence and sexual abuse against the other.

Sports law

Michael has expertise in child protection in sport. He holds BASL post-graduate certificate in sports law from the British Association for Sport and Law (BASL). He has advised a number of sports governing bodies, including the FA, on child protection.

Other experience

In 2014, Michael was awarded a Pegasus Scholarship from the Inner Temple to work in Sarajevo, Bosnia, for a human rights charity, TRIAL. He spent three months working on war crimes trials with a particular focus on sexual violence cases. He continues to assist TRIAL from London.

Michael previously worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Michael represented the Bar of England and Wales in the Lawyers’ Cricket World Cup in Delhi in October 2013.

Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for Children
Inner Temple
Resolution (Affiliate Member)

Directories

Children law junior with a growing international practice, who has handled a number of highly complex abduction cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. His practice spans a broad range of private and public law proceedings involving international issues.

Strengths: “Very pleasant to deal with and can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. He’s able to find positives in any case and he’s got a relaxed style that helps keep people calm and measured. Michael is good at keeping the temperature down and coming up with a constructive way forward. Clients always have confidence in him because he argues their cases as well.” “He’s intelligent and effective as an oral advocate.”

Recent work: Appeared before the Supreme Court in a case concerning the voluntary accommodation of children by local authorities.
Chambers & Partners 2020

‘An incredible advocate; his ability to analyse the evidence and present his client’s case in the most forensic way is outstanding.’
Legal 500, 2020


Children law junior with a growing international practice, who has handled a number of highly complex abduction cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. His practice spans a broad range of private and public law proceedings involving international issues.
Strengths: “A very persuasive advocate. He has an enormous breadth of experience for a barrister of his seniority, and puts that experience to extremely good use in a number of different cases.”
Recent work: Led by Alex Verdan QC for the London Borough of Sutton in the widely publicised inquest into the death of Ellie Butler.
Chambers & Partners 2019

‘A walking encyclopaedia.’
Legal 500, 2019

Children law junior with a growing international practice, who has handled a number of highly complex abduction cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. His practice spans a broad range of private and public law proceedings involving international issues.
Strengths: “He’s fabulous. His client care is brilliant for somebody of his call and his knowledge is outstanding.”
Recent work: Led by Alex Verdan QC in an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse on behalf of Leicestershire. The matters centred on allegations made against Lord Janner relating to care homes in Leicestershire in the 1970s.
Chambers & Partners 2018

Children law junior with a growing practice, who has handled a number of highly complex abduction cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. His public law practice consists of the most sensitive and severe cases concerning matters such as infant death and abuse.
Strengths:  “A rising star with a packed diary of complicated children cases. He’s a bright, well prepared and thoughtful advocate.”
Chambers & Partners 2017

Draws glowing reports from peers, who regard him as someone with “a bright future.” He has a broad-based practice that takes in private and public children law proceedings, including those with an international element.

Strengths: “It is unusual for such a young advocate to be instructed in cases so complex. He is instructed because he can be trusted, has a very strong intellect, and has a capacity for compassion.”
Chambers & Partners 2016

10/05/18
[2018] EWCA Civ 1372
26/07/13
[2013] EWHC 2261 (Fam)
13/10/11
[2012] 2 FCR 325; [2011] EWCA Civ 1774
14/07/11
[2011] EWCA Civ 1230