Michael Kennedy

michael kennedy

Email: clerk@stjohnsbuildings.co.uk

Phone: 0151 243 6000

Year of call: 1985

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“Experienced in sensitive public law children cases”. Legal 500 2016

Michael read Law at Bristol University and was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1985. He is a Family Law specialist practising exclusively in all areas of children work but principally within the public law field.


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Merseyside Medico-Legal Society


  • Family - Children

    Michael is a Family Law specialist. He has a particular interest in public law children cases although he has a wide experience of all other areas of children work. Michael regularly appears in the Family Court before all tiers of the family judiciary (Lay Justices, District/Circuit Bench and High Court Bench). In recent years he has appeared increasingly before judges of the High Court in a significant number of the most serious and complex of public law cases. His practice is evenly divided between representing local authorities, parents/extended family members and children, whether directly or through their Guardians.

    Michael has extensive experience of public law cases involving a wide range of issues including: child death, complex medical evidence relating to non-accidental injury, bone disease and vitamin D deficiency, bleeding disorders, suspected fabricated or induced illness, child neglect, children with special health needs, sibling attachment needs, children with behavioural and attachment disorders and sexual/emotional abuse.

    Michael also undertakes children work in the private law field. He has experience of private law cases concerning disputed residence, implacable opposition to contact, alleged domestic violence, alleged sexual/emotional abuse, parents with mental and physical health difficulties, disputed relocation (both internal and external), disputed schooling and religious preferences and parents with complex foreign/international considerations (lingual, ethnic and cultural).

    As a corollary to his interest in public law cases Michael has a wide experience of proceedings brought under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, wardship proceedings and proceedings brought under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

    Michael has an active interest in the development of Family Law and is both a regular speaker and attender at conferences and seminars organised internally by Chambers and externally by the FLBA and Family Law publishing companies.


    Cumbria County Council v KW [2016] EWHC 26 (Fam) (12 January 2016): A fact finding hearing in respect of head injuries to an infant with complex medical issues –  benign enlarged subarachnoid spaces

    Re K (A Minor) [Family Court – Judge of High Court] [2014]: As a led junior counsel represented a parent in care proceedings relating to the death of a child as a result of alleged non-accidental injury perpetrated by one or both of his parents. The case involved consideration of complex medical evidence from a multiplicity of experts from a wide variety of disciplines and occupied three weeks of hearing time.

    Re M / Re W (Minors) [Family Court – Judge of High Court] [2014]: Two separate cases. As a led junior counsel represented a local authority in the first case; and without a leader a parent in the second case; in care proceedings relating to children with serious and debilitating medical conditions where health professionals had raised serious concerns as to suspected fabricated or induced illness on the part of one or both of the parents.

    Re L (A Minor) [Family Court – Judge of High Court] [2014]: As a led junior counsel represented a parent in care proceedings against whom serious allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse had been made by more than one child. The case involved a detailed and critical evaluation of the evidence relied upon by the local authority from a variety of sources including consideration of evidence from a number of child witnesses and occupied three weeks of hearing time.

    Re H (A Minor) [Family Court – Circuit Judge] [2013]: Represented children through their Guardian in care proceedings. The case involved a range of sensitive and difficult issues relating to the future placement of the children including the level of the children’s emotional needs, the birth family’s capacity to meet those needs, the children’s needs for contact with the birth family and with each other, the nature and quality of the sibling attachment and an analysis of the benefits/detriments of adoption v long term fostering as potential outcomes for the children.


    Legal Directory Recommendations

    “Primarily known for his strength in public law children cases.” - Legal 500 2015

    “Focuses on Public Law Children Act matters” – Legal 500, 2014 edition

    “An experienced and well followed children law practitioner” – Legal 500, 2013 edition

    “An experienced senior junior, best known for his difficult Children Act and Care cases” – Legal 500, 2012 edition


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  • Public Access

    Michael is accredited to receive instructions directly from members of the public through the Public Access scheme.

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