Family Law


In ancillary relief Stephen represents wives, husbands and civil partners in financial remedy applications; dealing with parties who have modest assets as well as those who hold more complex assets in multiple

Stephen also handles financial applications for children under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. He regularly advises and represents clients with claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act.


Stephen is member of the Court of Protection Team at Garden Court Chambers. He is ideally placed to work on all applications concerning vulnerable adults in the Court of Protection, drawing on his expertise in children and family law for families and local authorities. Both areas of law are based on the ‘best interests’ jurisdiction and involve the application of parallel principles, in which Stephen is fully experienced.

Stephen has dealt with applications with contentious and sensitive issues including applications concerning forced marriage, the giving of medical treatment, deprivations of liberty, care, contact with family members where there are allegations of sexual or physical abuse and/or neglect, access to the community unescorted, injunctions to e.g. remove persons from their home or prevent family members returning them to the family home.


In his international family law practice, Stephen also deals with child abduction cases involving the removal of children to and from the jurisdiction to both Hague Convention and non Hague Convention countries.

Illustration of parents with two children

Child Law

Stephen’s experience in private law children work covers contact and residence applications including
contested final hearings where there are serious allegations of sexual abuse and violence. His strength is
always keeping the focus on the welfare of the child regardless of the issues that adults in the case seek to litigate.

In relation to his public law children practice, Stephen has experience representing parents, Guardians, local authorities, grandparents and parties making special guardianship applications, and is regularly instructed in cases which involve issues of neglect, drug misuse, mental health, domestic violence, physical and emotional abuse.

Direct Access

A direct access barrister will be able to give immediate advice but will not necessarily expect to undertake any additional work. The benefit to clients is a proper understanding of where they stand, what their options are and what steps might be taken without committing to ongoing legal expenses.

Clients generally need immediate advice when a relationship ends to understand their rights and obligations regarding their children and their former spouse or partner. They need advice on how their joint assets might be divided and on how to manage financially in the meantime. Some will need advice about a situation that may be dangerous or abusive or on how to get their ex out of the family home. Some people will need urgent advice to prevent their children being removed.

With advice clients can act to resolve their situation directly with their ex and need to take further advice only if they cannot reach an amicable agreement. In that case they can return to their direct access barrister to:

  • Discuss applying for court orders
  • Seek advice about any court action their ex may be taking against them
  • Receive help with drafting statements and other court documents
  • Be represented at court hearings