Profile

James has been a specialist family law barrister at Coram Chambers for more than 10 years working at all levels of Court up to the Court of Appeal, on a full-time basis, in family law. Coram Chambers is a leading family law chambers in the centre of London with a national reputation for excellence in advocacy and client care across all areas of family law.

He welcomes direct access clients because he believes in providing the best possible service for clients at an affordable cost.

In some cases, it may be possible to resolve your problem without going anywhere near the door of a court. But if the dispute continues, James has the advocacy skills to give direct access clients the best possible chance of securing the outcome they want.
He works very hard for his clients. He prepares properly. He believes in fighting for his client’s case.

James has extensive experience as an advocate in disputes between parents or family members or other carers over child arrangements. This means that he can advise and represent you in a dispute about:

– where your child or grandchild lives
– when and how much time he or she spends with you or with another relative or carer
– when and what other types of contact, such as phone calls, should take place
– what school your child or grandchild should go to, whether they should have a religious education and other questions about how he or she is being brought up
– any other decision about the child’s upbringing
– parental responsibility
– relocating with the child to a new home in England or Wales
– moving to live overseas
– special guardianship
– changing your child’s or grandchild’s first name or surname
– appeals against a Court decision

James has a strong professional and personal interest in cases that involve children with social, developmental and educational needs, especially Asperger’s syndrome, and children with specific learning difficulties such as dyspraxia. He was an accredited tribunal representative of IPSEA (the Independent Panel for Special Education Advice) from 2004 to 2007.

He has extensive experience of cases where a child has expressed hatred or strong dislike for one of its parents, making access by the rejected parent very difficult or even impossible. Where there are allegations that someone has been responsible for physical, emotional or sexual harm to a child, he can help you to prove or disprove these allegations at Court. Where a Court Order has been ignored, James can help you to enforce it.

He can help you to secure or to defend an application for a non-molestation order or occupation order.

James can also advise and represent you when a Local Authority has become involved with your family, or is threatening to become involved, because it is concerned about your child’s welfare. When this happens, it is vital to obtain good legal advice as soon as you can. James has particular expertise in cases involving:

– care or supervision orders
– placement orders
– secure accommodation orders
– emergency protection orders
– wardship cases
– the Achieving Best Evidence guidelines
– special guardianship
– allegations of neglect
– allegations of serious physical, emotional or sexual harm
– alleged non-accidental injury to a child

These are usually the most complex and most serious proceedings to be heard by the Family Court. James has wide experience of advising and representing families in such cases. He also has a very good understanding of the issues relating to children with special educational needs, including those on the autistic spectrum and children with specific learning difficulties and those who care for them.

What James can do for you:

– If you are the parent of a child or other family member, James can help you to understand the perspectives that are brought to bear upon decisions to initiate proceedings in the first place and to help you make the right choices and to take the right steps.
– He is able to represent you in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the County Courts and family proceedings courts.
– He can help and advise you in writing or in conference and negotiate on your behalf, which may mean that you can achieve your aims without having to take your case to court.
– He can negotiate on your behalf.
– He can prepare the formal written documents you may need.
– If your case requires a psychologist, psychiatrist or other expert, such as an expert on some aspect of the law in another country, he can advise you on the choice of a suitable expert and help you to prepare a letter of instruction.
– If you are considering an appeal, he can advise you on the procedure for lodging an appeal and draft the grounds of appeal.
– In relation to family law injunctions, he can assist you with an application for a non-molestation or occupation order.
– Where there are allegations that someone has been responsible for physical, emotional or sexual harm to a child, he can help you to prove or disprove these allegations at Court.
- If you are considering an appeal, he can advise you on the procedure for lodging an appeal and draft the grounds of appeal.

Testimonials:

“After two and half years of ongoing disputes concerning the arrangements for my children I felt that the problem was irresolvable and I was extremely stressed and despondent. I had also paid a considerable sum of money on solicitors’ fees which had had no impact on my wife’s intransigence.
I approached James as a direct access client, my wife having made an application to the court alleging emotional and mental abuse on my part towards my children.
I met James in conference and he immediately grasped the fundamentals of the situation and was able to direct me in my response by preparing a position statement for me and suggesting how the matter should be addressed in front of the Judge.
At the subsequent hearing James was able to negotiate an agreement with my wife which no one had been able to achieve before. The allegations were dismissed by the Judge due to James’ advocacy and an order agreed which was far better than I had hoped for.
James has now given to my children through his skill as a negotiator and advocate a shared care arrangement that both of them had wanted and which will most certainly work in their best interest.
Without James’ calm, intelligent and determined approach my children would still be caught up in a battle between my wife and I and restricted as to the amount and quality of time they now spend with me.
I cannot recommend James highly enough to those caught up in long protracted disputes.” – Mr C (2016)

“Thank you for all of your help. You were absolutely brilliant today and it’s all down to you that we got the result we wanted. I’ll be forever grateful.” – Ms S, the Respondent in a case about whether her children should divide their time between their separated parents or live with one of their parents and spend time with the other.

In the case of Re: S (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 249 (24 February 2017), an appeal brought by the mother of a young child following the making of a care order and an order authorising the child to be placed for adoption, Lord Justice McFarlane, giving the Judgment of the Court, stated that James had “conspicuously” represented the mother’s interests “both at trial and at appeal with great care, skill and insight.”

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