Clerking team

Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty

Senior Clerk - Family and Court of Protection

Dan Johnson

Assistant Senior Clerk (Children)

Elizabeth Fagan

Junior Family Clerk

‘Clare is a reassuring and calming presence, including for very vulnerable clients who are reassured by and gain confidence from her very capable representation and assistance.’

Legal 500, 2024

Strengths: “Clare is a friendly and approachable counsel who is capable of putting a client at ease while giving straightforward, appropriate advice. She is an experienced advocate.”

Chambers UK Bar, 2024

Clare practises in all areas of family law. She began legal practice with an interest in discrimination law and combines a high level family practice at the Bar with sitting as a judge in the Employment Tribunal.

Clare is accredited for Direct Public Access instructions by the Bar Council and has advised and represented a number of individuals on this basis. She accepts instructions on this basis in Financial matters on divorce and in the Child Support Appeals Tribunal, and– private law disputes regarding child arrangements.

Children (Public and Private law)

Family (Public Law Proceedings)

Public law proceedings – care proceedings particularly involving child death and injury cases. Brain injury, drowning, shaking injuries, other “non- accidental” physical injury, burns and neglect.

Sexual harm, CSE and grooming cases and emotional harm. Clare has particular expertise in the Advocates gateway procedures regarding vulnerable witness “cross examination”. Clare has attended the Bar Council Advocates Gateway training and conducted cross – examination of children and Re W applications.

Clare has experience of forced marriage protection order cases and FGM cases.

Clare is a qualified legal representative.

Clare is instructed by Local Authorities, parents and Guardians, the Official solicitor and Cafcass Legal and can view a case from all angles to give advice on tactical approach as well as substantive law.

Clare has experience of many Special Guardianship applications and disputes within the family post placement. Foster parent regulatory disputes including the “employment” and financial aspects of the same. Complex adoption applications including with a foreign aspect. Secure Accommodation Orders and deprivation of liberty applications.

Family (Private Law Proceedings)

Private law Child arrangement order applications including shared parenting and removal from the jurisdiction cases and intractable contact disputes including parental alienation cases and cases where mental capacity may be relevant.

Clare represents both mothers and fathers through the maze of post separation child rearing to secure the upbringing of stable and confident children and to obtain the best legal and practical framework for that to work for the benefit of the children.

The breadth of Clare’s practice in private law is shown in the reported private law cases listed below.

Other family related matters

Professional negligence claims arising from family law matters.

Reported cases

Clare represented the mother in an application by the press to report evidence and procedure usually considered private in the family proceedings. Lieven J determined that the Lay Magistrates and the Legal Advisor in the lower court  could be named in public.

LV17C00867 VBC V AGM, AGF, AM, AF, AA, AB & AC (L)

LV17C02751 VBC V BM, BF, BA & BB and others [2019] EWFC 64

Sir Mark Hedley. Clare was led by Mr Paul Storey KC in this complex multi-handed public law litigation which appears to be the largest public law family case ever been litigated in England and Wales. 15 care cases were heard together by Sir Mark Hedley relating to grave sexual abuse allegations in respect of children. Clare and Paul led the submissions at half time inviting the Court to end the litigation for their client at that point. Sir Mark Hedley decided the principle of whether there was a power for the Family Court to stop a case “at half time” and if so the test for it to be exercised (appendix 2 of the Judgment). The legal argument on behalf of the Respondents also traversed the approach to exoneration of a person who has been the subject of an allegation that could not be proved against them. Clare and Paul’s client was exonerated.

Im the Matter of a Child (L) [2015] EWCA Civ 901. On appeal from HH Judge Kevin Barnett

Court of Appeal appeal in which Clare successfully persuaded the court in the skeleton argument that there was no flaw in the Judge’s reasoning at first instance after a heavily contested care case.

Wigan Borough Council v Fisher and Thomas – and – A (by her Children’s Guardian) [2015] EWFC 34MH13C00175  Jackson J

Wigan Borough Council v Fisher & Ors v Fisher & Thomas (fact-finding)  [2013] EWHC 3770 (Fam) Jackson J

Clare was led by Miss Frances Heaton KC for the Local Authority in this fact finding and final hearing regarding the death of a child and the placement of the sibling. The second judgment concerned the publication of the judgment.

Re E (A Child) MA12P00714 Manchester 23/05/2014  HHJ Hernandez

Clare acted on a direct access basis for a father seeking contact to his child in difficult circumstances.

In the matter of Re: U (Children) [2014] EWHC 4535 (Fam)  Mostyn J

Clare acted for a mother who was seeking to limit the contact of the father who was overseas and was seeking the return of the mother to her homeland. The hearing was conducted in part by telephone through interpreters.

Re T (Children) [2014] EWFC B116 13 August 2014

The Circuit Judge described Clare’s submissions as “extremely helpful” and that she put her case “with admirable clarity”. The proceedings concerned a sibling contact application where the LA had not taken care proceedings but where the young adult child was in hospital and matters were particularly protracted.

Lancashire CC v C (Allegations of Abuse; HHJ Duggan)

Case No. PR14C00015  8th December 2014

Clare acted for the Local Authority in proceedings where there were serious sexual abuse allegations.

Re A and D (Children: religious upbringing)  2011 1 FLR 615 Baker J

Clare acted for the children in proceedings concerning how the religious persuasion of the children should be reflected in circumstances where the mother was non practising Christian and father was a Muslim.

Re D (A child) 2011 EWCA Civ 684 Court of appeal

Case concerning legal professional privilege in family cases

Re N: Recognition of Foreign Adoption order   [2009] EWHC B29 (Fam) Bennett J 

Case concerning adoption of 17 year old boy.

Lancashire CC v D and E [2008] EWHC 832 Fam

Case concerning brain injury to baby returned to parents care.

Re K (A child) (Secure Accommodation Order: Right to Liberty) 2001 1 FLR 249

Original authority concerning compatibility of SAO s and Human Rights Act

Re L (Minors) (Document: Non – Party Disclosure) 1995 2 FCR 12 

Original authority regarding police disclosure in care cases.

Family finance

Financial disputes including especially in cases which overlap with the employment field.

Recent cases include asset portfolio over £4million in properties, company and pension after medium length marriage with children, conduct issues and fair division. Cases involving disputes over the family business and attempts to hide assets.

Short marriage no children capital being sought by wife claiming concluded agreement.

Case involving significant pension provision in the public sector.


  • National Family Law Bar Association
  • Member of Regional Committee of Greater Manchester FLBA 2013-2020
  • Family Law Bar Association Committee representative training and education 2013-2020
  • Northern Circuit


  • Fee Paid Employment Tribunal Judge 2003
  • Appointed Person- Gang masters Licensing Authority Appeals
  • Accredited for Direct Public Access instructions


  • Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training