Chambers and Partners 2015 Directory

31st October 2014

We are delighted to announce that we are ranked as the only Family Set in Band 1 for our Children work and in Band 2 for our Financial Remedies work.

4 Paper Buildings is a renowned set of chambers dealing with the most complex children law proceedings. Both private and public law children matters are accounted for, and members are expert in everything from paternity disputes to international abduction, parental authority, and serious injury to children cases. Members of the public, local authorities and solicitors all beat a path to its door in order to avail themselves of the superior representation on offer here. The set also has four experienced silks and a number of juniors who handle finance work. They have been involved in leading recent cases, including Young v Young.

Client service: Led by Michael Reeves, “the clerks are immensely helpful. They are realistic and honest and they always try to do what they can.”


Henry Setright QC
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.

Alex Verdan QC
Negotiates a highly touted children law practice, and receives great praise from his peers. He has more than two decades’ experience in both private and public law proceedings, and has handled numerous cases involving complex international considerations, allegations of significant physical injury, and the death of children.
Expertise: “He’s a gifted advocate who can turn the impossible into the possible.”
Recent work: Represented appellant parents in the Supreme Court in a case relating to risks of future psychological and emotional harm.

Charles Hale QC
Deals with both very high-value matrimonial finance proceedings and complex children law matters. He is regularly sought out for cases pertaining to cross-border children disputes and for his advice to alternative families.
Expertise: “Charles is the ultimate negotiator. If there is a good deal to get, he will get it.” “When he speaks people are drawn to what he says; he’s a very persuasive and powerful advocate. His bedside manner is great, and he captures the trust of a client instantly.”

David Williams QC
A specialist in international law relating to children, who is particularly strong on complex cross-border abductions and relocation cases involving both Hague and non-Hague jurisdictions.
Expertise: “He is just superb. He’s got a very good manner with clients and solicitors, and when it comes to overall tactical skills he’s very good.”
Recent work: Was instructed in the first appeal to the Supreme Court in a Hague Convention case relating to the ‘best interests’ of children under Article 13.

Catherine Wood QC
Has a deeply respected children practice focusing principally on complex and very contentious private law proceedings. Her cases often relate to the relocation and abduction of children.
Expertise: “She is very sharp-witted and her advocacy is very skilful. She’s a rising star and a lot of people here like her approach.” “She has a fantastic bedside manner with clients, and an incredible eye for detail. Also, in the nicest possible way, she can destroy someone in cross-examination.”

Jo Delahunty QC
A dedicated children lawyer who focuses on difficult public law matters and care proceedings concerning allegations of sexual and emotional abuse. Also handles cases involving the death of children.
Expertise: “A first port of call for care work,” “she is extremely hard-working, knowledgeable and very committed to the client that she represents. Jo is a very tactical and effective advocate, who is good to observe and learn from.”

Teertha Gupta QC
A widely respected barrister who deals with the most complex and testing multi-jurisdictional matters. Child abduction cases are his strong suit.
Expertise: “A very smooth operator with gallons of charm and a great mind to match.” “We appreciate Teertha’s considerable experience and his ability to understand the nuances of each specific case and advise accordingly. He is both approachable and pragmatic, and clients always warm to him.”

Marcus Scott-Manderson QC
Enjoys a position of authority as a respected private law practitioner dealing with cross-border children law work.
Expertise: “I’ve done a lot with him on international work. He has a genuine passion for that type of work. He also has an incredible brain for it and is able to use that brain power to the best effect.”

Michael Sternberg QC
Highly recommended by peers for his work on both high-level matrimonial finance disputes and contentious children law matters.
Expertise: “He’s very proactive. If you’ve got a case on with Michael you know all the t’s will be crossed and the i’s will be dotted. He’s very demanding of his solicitors and he’s excellent in his preparation.”

Jonathan Cohen QC
Lauded for his skill in the field of very high-value financial disputes. He regularly handles cases with complex jurisdictional matters attached to them.
Expertise: “Jonathan combines a fierce intellect with a depth of experience and a quiet authority. He commands the respect of his clients, peers and the judiciary.”


Justine Johnston
Has a wide practice dealing principally with complex private law children proceedings and overlapping matrimonial finance disputes, including high-value ancillary relief cases and international relocation matters.
Expertise: “She’s relatively junior and up against people a lot more senior than her. A tenacious advocate, she’s very strong in court, and can go up against anyone.”

Samantha King
Tackles a broad range of public and private law children work, including cases involving complex issues of surrogacy, non-accidental injury and the examination of complicated matters of medical evidence.
Expertise: “She has a confident and reassuring manner.” “She has a wonderful hands-on approach to cases, and is a joy to work with.”

Barbara Mills
Has great experience and a deservedly strong reputation for her work in private law children proceedings. She deals principally with international relocations and cases relating to same-sex families.
Expertise: “She clearly knows the law well and has a good, sensible down-to-earth approach. She works very well with clients.” “She’s measured and sensible, and tells it how it is.”

Alison Grief
Has a broad practice that encompasses complex areas of public and private law children matters, including allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the death of children and international relocations.
Expertise: “Has the ability to grasp complex medical evidence and get straight to the issues. Alison is very experienced in complex cases, particularly those involving deaths of children. She is extremely hard-working, thorough and very approachable.”

Christopher Hames
Maintains a strong private law children practice, and works in cases relating to residence, relocation and abduction in both Hague and non-Hague jurisdictions.
Expertise: “Brilliant for complex, difficult cases. Great on the attention to detail, he’s very thorough, good with clients and highly personable.”
Recent work: Instructed before the High Court in a case pertaining to the abduction of five children by their father.

Joy Brereton
Undertakes both private and public law children proceedings, and has a particular affinity for cases with an international angle to them, particularly those concerning international abduction, relocation and serious injury to children.
Expertise: “Very sensible, very realistic and incredibly effective as an advocate.”

Michael Gration
A rising presence among juniors at the Family Bar who handles complex international children law cases, including those concerning abductions, relocations and forced marriages in Hague and non-Hague jurisdictions.
Expertise: “He is a towering presence, both literally and figuratively, who is very strong on jurisidictional points and has a very good client manner.”

Mark Jarman
An experienced advocate in both private and public law proceedings, whose practice has a particular focus on cases relating to the international movement of children. He regularly handles leave to remove matters in both Hague and non-Hague jurisdictions.
Expertise: “An unsung hero who is very self-effacing and just gets on with his work. Good in a crisis, he’s very experienced and a safe pair of hands.”

Judith Murray
An accomplished junior who tackles both matrimonial finance and complex children law proceedings, and garners praise from peers and solicitors alike.
Expertise: “She’s a real client favourite who has got what it takes to be a silk one day.”

Jacqueline Renton
Has a specialised private law children practice dealing with cross-border disputes pertaining to international custody and abductions.
Expertise: “A ball of energy who is going to go far. She’s certainly doing work well above her call, and is one of the leading people on abduction outside of silk.” “Jacqueline’s appreciation and understanding of the complexities of child abduction cases ensure quick and client-focused outcomes.”
Recent work: Represented the mother in a wardship dispute concerning children who were wrongfully retained in Russia by their father.

John Tughan
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.”

Brian Jubb
An experienced advocate who focuses on all aspects of private and public children law, as well as community care law. He is particularly strong on cases where there are allegations of sexual abuse or questions of parental authority and competence.

Hassan Khan
Manages a strong practice dealing principally with private law children matters, including surrogacy and parental authority cases.
Expertise: “Immensely helpful and very approachable.”

Samantha Woodham
A rising junior dealing with high-value financial disputes and contentious private law children matters.
Expertise: “A pleasure to work with and someone who is very on top of the facts. She’s very good with clients.”

Stephen Lyon
Practises exclusively in the sphere of matrimonial finance, and is strong on cases concerning complex jurisdictional disputes.
Expertise: “He’s got a terrific ability to get to the heart of a problem, and has exceptional reserves of common sense.”
Recent work: Represented the husband in a much-publicised case in which the ex-wife commenced a high-profile relationship with international footballer Cesc Fabregas.