Shaun Spencer

Email: clerk@stjohnsbuildings.co.uk

Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of call: 2005

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Shaun was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 2005, having received a Shelford Scholarship and awarded the Helen Grindrod QC Scholarship. Shaun is a family law specialist, with a comprehensive family law practice, which encompasses both public and private law children cases. He also practises within the Court of Protection in relation to personal welfare matters.

“Always thoroughly prepared and able to give reassurance and detailed explanations, even to the most anxious client… He has that sometimes elusive balance of assurance and approachability” Cara Nuttall, Senior Family Law & Divorce Solicitor at Slater & Gordon Lawyers

Publications

‘Care Plans and Dual Planning’ – Local Government Lawyer (11 December 2014)

‘Realising the jigsaw does not resemble the picture on the box’ – Local Government Lawyer (8 January 2015)

Memberships

  • Family Law Bar Association (Regional Committee Member)
  • Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

Follow Shaun on Twitter: @Shaun__Spencer

Expertise

  • Family - Children

    Shaun is a family law specialist. He has extensive experience of proceedings involving complex issues of law and/or fact including cases involving allegation of serious inflicted injuries, sexual abuse and fabricated or induced illness. Shaun has particular expertise in relation to the use of the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court, for example, in relation to the use of Wardship or in relation to issues of Deprivation of Liberty.

    Shaun also has a broad private law practice with a particular emphasis on complex disputes often involving an international element (relocation/abduction), parental alienation, domestic abuse and cultural and religious issues. Shaun’s practice also includes cases involving surrogacy, co-parenting arrangements and issues arising out of the breakdown of same sex relationships.

    Cases

    Re A-F (Children) [2018] EWHC 138 (Fam)
    Representing the local authority. These were a number of test cases, listed in accordance with directions given by Peter Jackson J (as he then was) on 11 May 2017. This case raised various substantive and procedural questions in relation to the interface between care proceedings brought in the Family Court pursuant to Part IV of the Children Act 1989 and the requirements of Article 5 of the Convention. Specifically, the circumstances in which Article 5 is engaged in relation to a child in the care of the local authority and, where Article 5 is engaged, what procedures are required to ensure that there is no breach of the requirements of Articles 5(2)-(4).

    Re S (Child as parent: Adoption: Consent) [2017] EWHC 2729 (FAM)
    A decision of Mr Justice Cobb setting the relevant information that a child parent must understand to be competent to consent to the adoption of her child. The test is equally applicable to adults applying the Mental capacity Act 2005 principles.

    Re T (a child) v A Local Authority [2017] EWCA Civ 1797
    Appeal against a decision to make a placement order allowing for the adoption of one child in a sibling group of three, where all three children are to remain living together with the prospective adopters.

    Re JD, CG, JM et al (2017) [Report pending]
    Series of test cases considered by the President of the Family Division in relation to legal and procedural issues arising in regards to the Deprivation of Liberty of children by local authorities.

    RY v Southend Borough Council [2015] EWHC 2509 (Fam) (22 May 2015)
    Representing the local authority in a successful application for the return of a child who had been placed for adoption.

    Re CM v Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council [2014] EWCA Civ 1479 (Court of Appeal)
    Represented a mother in care proceedings at first instance and was led by Karl Rowley QC on the appeal against the making of a placement order in circumstances where the local authority proposed a concurrent search for both an adoptive and a long term foster care placement.

    Re B-B 2014 High Court, Birmingham District Registry
    Junior counsel representing a highly vulnerable mother (led by Frances Heaton QC) in care proceedings wherein the father had perpetrated significant sexual and violent abuse towards the mother and the children. It was successfully argued that the father should only have a restricted participation within the proceedings and have limited information disclosed to him.

    Re E 2014 High Court, York District Registry
    Successfully represented the father in care proceedings where it was alleged that he was the perpetrator of serious non-accidental injuries, which included a subdural haematoma and fractures to the ribs and legs. After a lengthy finding of fact hearing, at which the medical evidence was challenged, the court accepted the father’s account that the injuries were caused by a low level fall.

    W v P 2014 Wrexham County Court
    Represented the mother in an international abduction case (Brussels II Bis) wherein protective orders were obtained following the abduction of a sibling by the father to Greece.

    W v W 2014 Macclesfield County Court
    Represented the child in contested private adoption proceedings within which it was successfully argued that the child should be made subject to an adoption order as opposed to a special guardianship order, in favour of the maternal aunt and uncle.

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  • Court of Protection

    Shaun has a strong Court of Protection practice in which he regularly advises and appears on behalf of Local Authorities, Professional Deputies and individuals and their families.

    His experience includes disputes over capacity, personal welfare (residence, contact, care and treatment), deprivation of liberty and property and affairs.

    To his practice he brings an understanding of the sensitivities and challenges involved with applications to the Court of Protection and is able to identify the relevant issues and assist all those involved, in a measured way, so as to achieve consensus if at all possible.

    Due to the nature of the issues involved, Shaun is happy to advise on an urgent basis and to undertake advisory and drafting work to short timescales.

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