John Vater QC – Associate Member

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Email: clerk@stjohnsbuildings.co.uk

Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of Silk: 2012

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John is a specialist Children Law practitioner, with wide experience in both public and private children’s work. He represents parents, Local Authorities and children in public law proceedings, and has wide experience of such cases including at appellate level. In the private law context, he is particularly experienced in the more sensitive and anxious cases, involving issues of identity, alienation and implacable hostility. He also has experience of cases with an international dimension, whether involving re-location or abduction. In addition, John has experience in undertaking work for vulnerable adults and Local Authorities in the Court of Protection, as well as satellite litigation relating to children’s work (judicial review, human rights claims).

Expertise

  • Family - Children

    Public Law:

    John has particular expertise in cases involving highly complex medical and scientific evidence, and has been recognised for my skill in challenging controversial medical evidence. He is an acknowledged specialist in cases involving alleged abusive head injuries (so called ‘shaken baby’), sudden infant death, factitious or induced illness, and serious sexual abuse of children. He has a track record of winning cases involving complex medical evidence.

    Private Law:

    John undertakes the full range of private law children’s litigation, which includes typical contact and residence disputes. He has particular experience of cases involving implacable hostility and alienation, having appeared in some of the most anxious and sensitive cases of recent years. John also has experience of cases involving issues around identity (artificial reproduction cases, for example donor insemination) including cases with same sex parents. Increasingly, he is instructed in cases with a foreign element: he has wide experience of re-location cases and child abduction.

    Notable Cases:

    John has appeared in the following notable cases in recent years:

    • Re B (Interim Care Order) [2010] 2 FLR 283 (Court of Appeal)
    • Oxfordshire CC v X and others [2010] 2 FLR 355 (Court of Appeal)
    • Re S (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 325 (Court of Appeal)
    • Re T-J (Children) [2010] EWCA Civ 934 (Court of Appeal)
    • Warwickshire CC v TE and others [2010] EWHC B19 (Family Division).
    • Re CA (A Baby) [2012] EWHC 2190 (Family Division).

    Publications:

    • Co-author (with Pressdee, Judd QC & Baker QC) of The Public Law Outline: The Court Companion (Family Law, 2008).
    • Co-author (with Pressdee, Judd QC & Baker QC) of Contact: The New Deal (Family Law, 2006).

    Lectures/Papers:

    John has delivered many papers at national and local seminars/conferences. In 2012, he was Chair of the Jordan’s Children Law and Practice Conference in London, and a contributor in Jordan’s Expert Evidence in Children’s Cases Conference. He has delivered papers on: Parental Alienation, Non- Accidental Head Injury, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, the Issue of Identity in Children’s cases, the Forensic Presentation and Preparation of Alleged Sexual Abuse Cases, and case – law updates. He is the invited Chair for the Jordan’s Expert Evidence in Children’s Cases in 2013.

    Recommendations:

    John Has been identified as a ‘leader at the Bar’ by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 since 2005. Recent recommendations include:

    ‘one of the most gifted cross – examiners you will see in a courtroom’
    Chambers and Partners, 2009

    ‘will fight your corner tooth and nail’
    Chambers and Partners, 2010

    ‘recommended for advocacy and ability to decipher complex medical issues….is extremely intelligent and handles demanding clients very well.’
    Chambers and Partners, 2011

    Professional Memberships:

    Member of Gray’s Inn, the Family Law Bar Association, the Association of Lawyers for Children and the Legal Action Group.

    Personal Interests:

    Life-long and well travelled supporter of Liverpool Football Club.

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