Committee members

Co Chair: Deirdre Fottrell QC

Deirdre specialises in the law relating to children. She is also a leading practitioner in the field of surrogacy and assisted reproduction cases in which issues of legal parentage arise. She has appeared at all levels of court in the UK including the Supreme Court and she has litigated cases before the European Court of Human Rights.

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 1 Garden Court Family Law and took silk in 2015.  Deirdre joined the Executive Committee in 2015.

 


 

Co Chair: Noel Arnold

Noel Arnold is the Director of Legal Practice at Coram Children’s Legal Centre (London). He heads up a team of lawyers in the Centre's Legal Practice Unit (LPU) and 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 focus on advising and representing care experienced young parents.

He is a committee member on the Law Society’s Children Law Sub Committee and is a member of a number of other advisory and steering groups relating to children issues. Noel was the winner of the inaugural ‘Children’s Rights’ award at the 2015 Legal Aid Lawyers of Year Awards (LALYs) run by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.

Noel has provided training and run seminars for a number of organisations on children law issues. He has had several articles published in legal journals and contributed to books on children law. He was the sole author of Children and Families Act 2014: Family justice under the new law and has a number of reported cases on issues of importance for children. Noel was elected to the ALC’s Executive Committee at its AGM in 2010, became Vice-chair in 2015 and Co-chair with Deirdre Fottrell QC in 2017.


 

Vice 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.

Hannah is also a solicitor member of the Family Procedure Rules Committee and sits on the Resolution Legal Aid Committee.


 

Vice-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.


 

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: 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.


 

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.


 

Committee member: 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.


 

Committee member: Alice Winstanley

Alice practised as a barrister from 2008 to 2016 at St Philips Chambers in Birmingham, where she specialised in family law, particularly children and domestic violence proceedings. She has taken a sabbatical and stopped practising as a barrister in 2017 in order to complete an Immigration Law LLM at Queen Mary University of London and develop her interest in the relationship between children law and immigration law.

Alice previously studied a Law and French LLB at the University of Bristol and a Human Rights Law LLM at the University of Nottingham.

She was formerly 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 the theatre. She joined the ALC Committee in 2012 and is on the Conference and Communications Sub-Committees.


 

Committee Member: George Eddon

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: Richard Little

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 and is also a Children's Arbitrator. 

Richard joined the Committee in 2016


 

Committee Member: 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.


 

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. 


 

Commitee 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.


 

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 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’. "