Co-Chair: Martha Cover
One of the foremost children law barristers in the country, Martha has been a child law specialist since 1990. Martha is Head of Chambers at Coram in London. She has extensive experience representing parents and children in cases of serious death and injury to a child, and of concurrent criminal and care proceedings. She appeared in the "Miracle Baby" case, and has a particular interest in allegations of emotional harm where children are being brought up in unusual belief systems. She also specialises in international and domestic adoption, wardship, and intractable disputes between parents over contact and residence.
Martha regularly speaks and writes on children law matters. She has written for the Times and been interviewed on radio and television to discuss adoption and the wider policy issues affecting care proceedings in the aftermath of the death of Baby P.
Co-Chair: Debbie Singleton
Debbie has specialised in family law since she qualified in 1994. She joined the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS), a UK charity providing children's rights and socio-legal services in 2003 and has been a Director of Legal Services since 2008. Debbie extensive experience of representing children in private law proceedings. She is committed to promoting the rights of children and ensuring that the voice of the child is heard in all matters affecting them both inside and outside the court arena.
Debbie is a member of the Children Panel and a member of the Cheshire Family Justice Council. She joined the ALC Executive Committee in 2009 and is Student Co-ordinator.
Debbie lives in Cheshire with her partner and four cats and a rescue German Shepherd. She is a keen football fan and reluctant biker.
Vice Chair: Noel Arnold
Noel Arnold is the Head of Legal Practice at Coram Children’s Legal Centre (London). He joined the organisation in December 2012. He specialises in all areas of children law including care proceedings, other public law proceedings initiated by local authorities, private law proceedings and adoption work. Noel has a particular interest in local authority duties towards looked after children and children leaving care.
He regularly writes for legal journals, has provided training to various organisations and contributed to books on the area of children law. He currently writes the ‘Family (Children) Update’ for the Solicitor’s Journal. He sits on the Law Society’s Children Law Sub-Committee.
Noel was previously seconded to the Ministry of Justice in November 2008 for 3 months where he focused on changes to case management of care cases. He has an interest in policy developments in children law.
Policy Officer: Dr Julia Brophy
Julia is a Senior Researcher Fellow in socio-legal studies at the Centre for Family Law and Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford. She has directed several studies on public law proceedings with major awards from The Department of Health, The Ministry of Justice and the Nuffield Foundation. She sits on several advisory committees including the national Family Justice Council (Diversity Sub-Committee), Thames Valley Family Justice Council, the BAAF Research Advisory Committee and the National Youth Advocacy Service.
Julia has been an active and longstanding member of the ALC and brings with her an unrivalled knowledge and passion for family law. Her major fields of interests are public law Children Act proceedings, use of experts and the interface of clinical/health, welfare and legal practice, availability, training and accountability of expert witnesses, human rights in the family jurisdiction, voice of the child and the position of parents in care proceedings, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in the child protection arena, interdisciplinary research and education, access to justice and specialist representation for children and parents, cross-jurisdictional issues in family proceedings, transparency and accountability in family justice systems, the developing role of judges and case management issues, socio-legal theory and methods.
Editor: George Eddon
George was admitted as a solicitor in 1988 and has been a local authority child care lawyer since 1991. He is currently Senior Solicitor for City of York Council. This role involves managing and presenting care and Court of Protection cases and giving generic advice to Children’s and Adults Social Care. George has been involved with the Committee since 2004 and was Treasurer between 2005 and 2006.
In addition to the day job, George sits as a Deputy District Judge (Civil) in the North East, dealing with civil and private law children cases.
Since joining the Committee, George has been involved in responding to a number of consultations, for example in relation to the introduction of increased court fees and was part of the Children Working Party of the Family Procedure Rule Committee. He has also written numerous articles for the Newsletter and on behalf of the ALC for Family Law and other publications. He is a regular contributor to the case law reviews in Seen and Heard.
George lives on Teesside and is married with two sons.
Committee member: Elizabeth Cape Cowens
Elizabeth obtained a BA in Politics and Legal Studies, Cum Laude, from Brandeis University in Massachusetts before moving to England in 2007. She joined Bindmans Family department in 2009, and qualified as a solicitor in March 2012. Elizabeth has a particular interest in children matters with an international element and completed an LLM in legal practice with a focus on the practical repercussions of international child abduction. She frequently acts in cases involving the use of the inherent jurisdiction of the court and international regulations such as Brussels II Revised.
She advises on a wide range of issues relating to children including cases involving domestic abuse, contact and residence disputes, special guardianship and social services involvement with families.
Elizabeth was awarded the ALC’s Outstanding Newcomer in the Field of Children Law Award in June 2014.
Committee member: Maud Davis
Formerly Co-Chair, Maud is a partner with TV Edwards LLP the largest family law firm in London. Maud qualified as a solicitor in 1990 having already specialised in family law during her training. She has gone on to focus on children work, in particular dealing with care cases and representing parents and children in complex cases. Maud is a member of the Law Society's children panel as well as being qualified as a "Higher Rights" advocate. Maud is a member of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, Resolution, and the London Children's Solicitors Group. She is a committee member of the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children. She is also a member of the London Designated Family Judge’s advisory group.
Maud lectures on family law to a variety of audiences, including other family lawyers and family magistrates. The Legal 500 2010 edition states Maud "is commended for her ‘knowledge of children law and clarity of thinking’. "
Committee member: Nicola Jones-King
Formerly Co-Chair, Nicola is a partner with McMillan Williams, a 9 partner, 10 office firm in South London, Surrey and Sussex. She has been a member Law Society Children Panel since 1997 and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in the areas of Domestic Abuse and Private Law. The majority of her caseload is in Public law for both children and parents but she maintains a significant practice in Private Law cases.
Nicola has provided training to CAFCASS, SSAFA and the Institute of Child Health.
Nicola has been a member of the ALC Legal Aid sub-committee and Private Law and CAFCASS sub-committees. Over the last few years, Nicola has focussed her contribution to the ALC on drafting and responding to Legal Aid consultations.
Nicola lives in a 16th Century cottage in Surrey with her husband and has been a Guide Guider with Girlguiding UK for over 15 years. In the limited time left, Nicola enjoys walking, attempting to keep the garden tidy, traditional crafts, fine dining and entertaining friends.
Committee member: Hannah Perry
Hannah is a Children Panel Solicitor within the family department of TV Edwards LLP, the largest family law firm in London.
Hannah qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and became a member the Law Society Children Panel in 2010. Hannah is also a Resolution Accredited Specialist in the areas of Children Private Law and Domestic Abuse. The majority of Hannah's work is representing parents and children within care proceedings, but she also handles a significant number of private law children and domestic abuse cases and has a particular interest in forced marriage protection.
Hannah joined the ALC Executive Committee in 2010 and is part of the conference planning team. Hannah is also a member of the Resolution Standards Committee.
Committee member: Alice Winstanley
Alice is a barrister at St Philips Chambers in Birmingham, where she specialises in family law, particularly children and domestic violence proceedings. Alice has experience of representing children, parents, extended family members and local authorities in both private and public family law cases. She is also an Accredited Family Mediator.
Alice studied Law and French at the University of Bristol and Human Rights Law at Master’s level at the University of Nottingham.
She is a former Midland Circuit Representative to the Young Barristers’ Committee of the Bar Council and a Joint Chair of its Family Team.
Alice has a fondness for all things French, the great outdoors and, like many barristers, amateur dramatics. She joined the ALC Committee in 2012 and is part of the conference planning team.
Committee member: Lucinda Wicks
Lucinda joined Coram Chambers as a pupil in 2008 and was invited to join Chambers as a tenant in 2009. Prior to commencing her pupillage, Lucinda had direct exposure to Child Law work though her role as a paralegal for the head of the Children’s department at Fisher Meredith Solicitors LLP.
Lucinda has also spent time working within the Probation Service during which time she worked directly with offenders of all backgrounds; including those convicted of extreme violence towards others and those who offending was linked to long–term drug and alcohol issues.
Lucinda has spent time working as a volunteer with the Personal Support Unit assisting Self – Represented Litigants in the Royal Courts of Justice and the Principal Registry of the Family Division.
Publications: Co-Author of “Children Law Update 2009: Private Law  Fam Law 1172
Committee member: Emma Kendall
Emma came to the legal profession in 2007 following degrees in history at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She obtained a commendation in the Graduate Diploma of Legal Studies and a distinction in the Legal Practice Course. Emma commenced a training contract at Warwickshire County Council in 2009.
Emma qualified as a Solicitor in January 2012 and specialised in public law children proceedings.
In 2012 Emma was awarded the Outstanding Newcomer in the Field of Children Law by the Association of Lawyers for Children.
Emma undertook the Higher Courts (Civil Advocacy) Qualification in 2013 and received recognition in 2014. She was called to the Bar and joined St Philips Chambers in 2016
Emma’s interests include travelling, eating out and good books!
Committee member: Oliver Millington
Oliver was called to the Bar in 2003 and is a barrister at 9 Gough Square (Chambers of Andrew Ritchie QC) in London where he practises in both civil and family law. . The focus of Oliver’s family practice is on public law proceedings in which he represents local authorities, parents, extended family members, prospective adopters and children via their guardians. He is regularly instructed in cases concerning serious non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and complex mental health issues, as well as general neglect cases.
Oliver joined the Executive Committee in 2014. He is also a member of the Family Law Bar Association and is a contributing author to The PLO Explained, a practitioners’ handbook to the Public Law Outline 2014 published by 9 Gough Square.
Committee member: Deirdre Fottrell QC
Before being called to the Bar in 2001, Deirdre was formerly a university lecturer specialising in international human rights law and from 2002 - 2014 she was a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York.
She practices at One Garden Court Family Law Chambers and took silk in 2015. She retains an interest in the use and application of human rights principles and international law in the UK courts.
Deirdre joined the Executive Commitee in 2015.
Committee member: Mark Senior
Mark first appeared as an advocate in a family court in 1989. He qualified as a Solicitor in 1993 and subsequently became a member of the Law Society Children Panel, developing a specialism acting for parents and children in private and public law proceedings. Having been appointed as a partner in a Merseyside firm which specialised in family proceedings, he moved to the Bar in 2002 . He is a member of St John's Buildings and has continued to specialise in applications concerning children acting for children, family members and local authorities. He has also been involved in continuing professional development in the local area, lecturing to legal and social work professionals through the Merseyside and Cheshire Family Justice Council and is regularly invited to lecture to police officers as part of the specialist training they receive in Merseyside as members of family crime investigation units.
Away from law, he obtained an MA in Contemporary English Literature in 1999 and spends as much spare time as he can on his obsession of acquiring and playing as many guitars as his long suffering wife will agree to!
Committee member: Poonam Bhari
Poonam was called to the Bar in 1999 and is a barrister at St Philips Chambers, specialising in all aspects of family law. Prior to joining the Bar, Poonam was a primary school teacher and a special educational needs co-coordinator.
Poonam has experience of undertaking public and private law children cases and of working with clients who have mental health and learning difficulties and clients from minority ethnic groups.
Poonam has been a member of the Bar Council Management Committee, the FLBA Committee and Chair of Legal Action Group’s board of trustees and is a trained Mediator.
She joined the Committee in November 2015.
Committee member: Sarah Pope
Sarah was admittted as a solicitor in 1994 and became a member of the Law Society Children Panel in 1998. She co-founded Wilkinson Pope, a specialist child law practice based in Islington, in 2002. In 2006 Sarah transferred to the Bar and became a tenant at Fourteen (formerly 14 Gray's Inn Square). After relocating to the West Country Sarah, joined Albion Chambers in Bristol, where she specialises in public and private law Children cases and Court of Protection work.
Sarah is also an Independent Costs Assessor for the Legal Aid Agency, a member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association and the FLBA. She is married with 1 daughter.
Sarah joined the Executive Committee in 2015.
Committee member: Rebekah Wilson
Rebekah has practised as a barrister since 1998 first at Tooks Chambers and now at Garden Court Chambers. In addition to practice Rebekah has taken sabbaticals to work with the United Nations in Nepal and NGOs in Jamaica, Uganda and The Hague. Her career has been driven by her commitment to the rights of the most vulnerable in society.
Rebekah joined the Committee in November 2015.
Committee member: Richard Little
Richard is a barrister at 42 Bedford Row Chambers in London. He was called to the Bar in 2000. Richard’s undertakes public children law work where he represents children, parents and local authorities. He also advises and represents parties in private children law matters. Richard has taught and written on a variety of Family Law topics.
Richard joined the Committee in 2016
Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Liz Goldthorpe
Liz is a former Chair of the ALC and a retired Judge with the Tribunals Service.
Liz was the first person to be appointed to the honorary post of Lifetime Vice-President in recognition of her contribution to the Association.
Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Caroline Little
Caroline has been a member of the ALC since its beginning, and was Co-Chair between 2006 and 2009. Her tenure was instrumental in advancing the status and reputation of the ALC. Caroline has also played a key role in training, development of policy and promoting children’s participation in the court process
Caroline is a consultant solicitor for Hanne & Co in London and is a specialist child care Solicitor Advocate. She has been on the Law Society Children Panel since 1985 assesses and interviews new candidates to the Children Panel.
Caroline is the second person to be appointed to the honorary post of Lifetime Vice-President in recognition of her contribution to the Association.