Committee members

Co-Chair: Siobhan Kelly

Siobhan is a specialist family practitioner and has extensive experience in all aspects of the law relating to children. Her main area of practice lies in acting for parents and children in public law proceedings. She is frequently instructed to represent young mothers within care proceedings.

Siobhan is regularly instructed on highly complex matters including those involving the death of children, extensive medical evidence, allegations of non-accidental injury and extreme sexual abuse. She has detailed knowledge of cases related to factitious illness by proxy and cases in which there are parallel criminal proceedings.

Siobhan has a particular familiarity with representing children in private law applications. She represents parents within any private law parental disputes, with a specific emphasis on applications for domestic and international relocation.

Siobhan is experienced in cases involving the international movement of children including both convention and non-convention abduction cases and other matters with an international element.

Siobhan also undertakes court of protection cases and is trained to undertake direct access work.


Co-Chair: Hannah Perry

Hannah is a solicitor and partner at TV Edwards LLP in London. 

She has been a member on the Law Society Children Panel since 2010. Hannah is also a Resolution Accredited Specialist in the areas of Children Private Law and Domestic Abuse. She regularly acts for both children and parents in complex care cases where children have suffered non accidental injuries, serious physical or sexual abuse, and those with international issues requiring transfer of proceedings between jurisdictions. 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 has been Vice Chair since November 2017.



Vice-Chair: Somia Siddiq

Somia is an experienced practitioner. She has practised exclusively in family Law since her qualification in 2008. She worked at Children and Families Law Firm for eleven years and then at Philcox Gray before recently joining ITN Solicitors.

Somia specialises in all areas of children law and has experience of advising on a range of issues in this area and has a particular interest in child protection and care proceedings. She has experience of representing parties including parents and children in highly complex proceedings including those involving non-accidental injuries, sexual abuse and radicalisation.

Somia is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel. She joined the ALC Executive Committee in 2017 and is a member of the Equality and Diversity and Legal Aid Sub-Committees.


Vice-Chair: Sharon Segal

Sharon specialises, at 1GC Family Law,  exclusively in cases involving children, both in private law and public law proceedings, which results in her being instructed in the most complex of cases within each area. Sharon was called to the Bar in 2000 and within the public law arena, has undertaken a range of cases involving vulnerable clients, allegations of abuse/neglect, non-accidental injury cases with complex medical issues; and, exceptional cases involving honour violence and wardship. Sharon has acted pro bono in a number of recent cases in the Court of Appeal where wider issues of policy in public law proceedings have arisen. She is consistently ranked in the legal directories as a leading junior barrister who is outstanding in her field, and her workload sees her regularly appearing in the High Court, as well as appearances in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.


Treasurer: Debbie Singleton

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. She joined the ALC Executive Committee in 2009 and is currently the Treasurer having been Co Chair from 2015-17.

Debbie lives in Cheshire with her partner and various rescue dogs and cats. She is a keen football fan and reluctant biker.


Secretary: Jamie Niven-Phillips

Jamie qualified as a solicitor in 2011 and works at Bindmans LLP. He is a children law specialist and has broad experience acting for parents, children and family members involved in both private and public law children cases. Jamie is a member of the Law Society's Children Law Accreditation scheme and was awarded the ALC’s 'Outstanding Newcomer Award' in 2016. He has a particular expertise in representing parties, including children, within complex care and placement for adoption proceedings in all levels of court up to and including the Court of Appeal. Jamie also has substantial experience in dealing with a wide variety of private children law matters, including complex child arrangements disputes where he acts for children subject to proceedings.

Jamie joined the ALC Executive Committee in 2018


Committee Member: Victoria Roberts

Victoria undertook a common law pupillage and initially practised in criminal, civil and family law. She now practises exclusively in family law and the Court of Protection. She specialises in the law relating to children and is highly experienced in both private and public law. Victoria advises and represents all parties. Careful to promote the needs of vulnerable clients and regularly represents older children directly she works collaboratively with professional clients, advising at the earliest stages of a case about experts and disclosure and adopting a problem-solving approach. A robust and meticulous advocate Victoria has a forensic knowledge of the papers in her cases and is unflappable when issues arise unexpectedly in court. Her cross examination is precise and deliberate, and she is skilled at running complex cases efficiently and sensitively. 9-11 Fulwood Place, London, WC1V 6HG Victoria has an excellent reputation in child protection cases appearing at all levels of the Family Court. She appears in the High Court both with and without a leader and has appeared in the Court of Appeal. Victoria is regularly instructed in the most complex care proceedings, including in cases involving alleged non-accidental injuries (fractures, shaking, bruising), fabricated induced illness, sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation, radicalisation, FGM, and forced marriage. In private law children matters, Victoria acts in cases involving international issues, such as child abduction and leave to remove applications. She is also instructed where there are serious allegations of domestic violence and abuse requiring fact finding hearings. Victoria also delivers lectures, seminars and training for solicitors and other professionals on matters relation to children proceedings. Victoria accepts instructions on a direct access basis in suitable cases. 


Committee Member: VyVy Lewis

VyVy is a dual-qualified UK/USA lawyer and qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales in 2005. VyVy specialises in representing children, parents, and extended family members in care proceedings.

VyVy undertakes her own advocacy and she has Higher Rights of Audience (Civil). As well as being a member of the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation Scheme (aka the Children Panel) she is an assessor and interviews applicants/marks re-accreditation applications. She has Specialist Resolution accreditation in the fields of Children Law (Public) and Domestic Abuse; she is a member of the London Committee of Resolution and she is a reserve Resolution assessor for the Children Law (Public) portfolio. VyVy is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Lawyers for Children’s as well as being a member of their Equality & Diversity Sub-Committee. She is also is a co-organiser of the London Children’s Lawyers.

VyVy has a Juris Doctorate and an LL.M from the University of Washington School of Law in the USA. VyVy remains an active member of the Washington State Bar Association. She worked as a trial lawyer in Seattle, Washington (USA) in the fields of Care, Juvenile Justice, Misdemeanours, Children-in-Need, At-Risk Youth, and Education law until she moved to the United Kingdom. She is also a member of the District of Columbia Bar.


Committee Member: Rebecca Stevens

Rebecca is renowned for her endless energy, drive and enthusiasm in dealing with her clients. She has gained her higher rights of audience which means she is able to conduct her own advocacy in the High Court and is recognised by the independent directory The Legal 500 UK as 'highly successful at achieving the very best outcomes, whether through a negotiated settlement or contested proceedings.'

Rebecca joined the ALC Executive Committee in November 2017 and is a member of the Communications sub committee. 


Committee Member: Justin Belcher


Committee Member: Martin Downs


Committee Member: Novlet Levy


Committee Member: Joanna Augustin

Joanna graduated with a Law LLB in 2009 from the University of Westminster and went on to complete her LPC at the College of Law in 2010. Joanna began her legal practice in 2012 as a paralegal in the children’s social care team at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and completed her training contract there, qualifying as a solicitor in April 2014.

Joanna qualified into the children’s social care team providing advice primarily on matters concerning radicalisation at the time from May 2014 onwards. Joanna has delivered a number of conferences and training for local authorities and partner agencies on the subject of radicalisation since November 2015; most recently at the Kent Family Justice Conference in November 2018. Joanna was shortlisted for Young Solicitor of the Year at the Family Law Awards in 2017.

Joanna started to work for Invicta Law in June 2018: Joanna has been a Principal Solicitor since February 2022. Invicta Law provide advice to the children's services departments of Kent County Council.




Committee Member: Lorraine Cavanagh QC


Lorraine is a Barrister practising from St Johns Buildings Chambers, Manchester and was called to the Bar in July 2000. Lorraine practises in all areas of children law, in the health and welfare law field of the Court of Protection and conducts judicial review and Human Rights claims with a focus on community care provision and the promotion/protection of the rights of children living with disabilities. Lorraine’s has acted in numerous cases relating to the withdrawal and withholding of life sustaining therapies and medical treatment cases for children. Lorraine has a keen interests in child rights law and she has been engaged to act for children in some of the leading cases that have shaped guidance and policy for children in care e.g. A & S v Lancashire CC (Freeing Orders: Human rights) [2013] 2 FLR 803: [2012] 15 CCL Rep 471.


Committee Member: Sarah Johnson


Sarah is a senior solicitor & team leader at HBPL which provides legal services to a number of local authorities. Sarah is responsible for a team of lawyers providing advice to children’s services in a local authority in Greater London and advises on all areas of law associated with this. Prior to working in a local authority, Sarah was in private practice for 7 years representing parents and children, and has been a member of the Children Panel for some years.

Sarah is responsible for running complex cases which have included serious injuries to children; child death and sexual abuse. Sarah has been involved with a number of cases involving reporting restriction orders which necessitated liaison with representatives of the media directly and also via the communications office.

Sarah is the legal advisor to internal panels, along with the Safeguarding Children’s Board and the Serious Case Review Panel when consideration is given to undertaking a serious case review.  Sarah also provides advice on policy and procedure in a variety of areas, and provides bespoke training for the client department on a regular basis.


Committee Member: Denise Gilling QC

Denise is a family law practitioner specialising in the law relating to children with a particular focus on complex public and private law cases appearing at all levels of court.  Denise is regularly instructed by local authorities, parents, guardians and for the separate representation of competent children in both public and private law cases.

She has particular expertise in the cases involving: Sexual abuse including cases involving children who are alleged abusers, Physical harm including Female genital mutilation, Non-accidental injury including head injury case, Care proceedings involving concurrent criminal proceedings such as child cruelty, neglect and sex offences, an International or cultural dimension such as suspected trafficked children, Serious emotional abuse and chronic neglect cases, Cases involving cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult, Fabricated/induced illness. Teenage parents, when they are both a subject child and teenage parent respondent; and Parents with learning disabilities or mental health problem.

Denise also specialises in adoption (including inter-country adoption), wardship/inherent jurisdiction and Court of Protection matters. 

Denise has worked with various charitable organisations in relation to children’s rights, conducted research in the voluntary sector, provided training to social workers and lectured on various legal topics.


Committee Member: Sophie Webb

Sophie graduated from the University of Sussex in 2013 with a First Class degree in Law (LLB), before completing her LPC at the College of Law in Bristol.  Sophie began her legal practice at a criminal defence firm, before becoming a paralegal in the clinical negligence team at RWK Goodman (then Withy King Solicitors).   Sophie qualified as a family solicitor in September 2018.  She is a children law specialist and advises parents and other family members involved in public law proceedings, including pre-proceedings, and private law cases including domestic violence cases and injunctions. Sophie is the Chair of our Young ALC Sub-Committee.


Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Martha Cover

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.


Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Maud Davis

Maud Davis

Formerly ALC Co-Chair, Maud is an associate at Bindmans LLP, a firm with a reputation for excellence and for being at the cutting edge of legal developments. 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 complex care cases, undertaking her own advocacy.


Maud is accredited by the Law Society' as a specialist in children law, and has rights of audience as an advocate in the higher civil courts. Maud is a member of the Family Justice Council, as well as a member of the Solicitors Association of Higher Courts Advocates, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, Resolution, and the London Children's Lawyers Group. She is also an associate member of NAGALRO. She currently co-chairs the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children. She is regularly asked to join advisory groups supporting socio-legal academics and researchers in their work, including research on repeat care proceedings, and on children’s privacy.


Maud is ranked in band 1 by Chambers UK Guide, and named as a leading individual in the Legal 500.

Formerly ALC Co-Chair, Maud is an associate at Bindmans LLP, a firm with a reputation for excellence and for being at the cutting edge of legal developments. 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 complex care cases, undertaking her own advocacy.




Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Nicola Jones-King

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.


Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Caroline Little

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.


Honorary Lifetime Vice-President: Liz Goldthorpe

Liz Goldthrope

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.