Clerking team

Dan Johnson

Assistant Senior Clerk (Children)

Elizabeth Fagan

Junior Family Clerk

Ciarece Brown

Junior Family Clerk

Clodagh is an experienced family law barrister with a particular emphasis on children work.

Clodagh read Sociology at the University of Salford, achieving a First-Class Honours degree for which she was a recipient of one of the year prizes. She completed the Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) and the Bar Vocational Course (very competent) in Manchester. She received a Michael Hodge scholarship award and was called to the bar in 2003 by the Inner Temple.

Children (Public and Private law)

Clodagh has extensive experience in care proceedings.

With a combination of sensitivity and pragmatism, she is able to identify and analyse the issues in complex cases and to undertake multi-day and multi-week hearings including those involving contested expert evidence.

Clodagh has successfully completed the FLBA Advocacy and the Vulnerable training course [2022].

Clodagh’s expertise includes issues of:

  • Linked care and criminal proceedings
  • Physical Injuries/ Non-accidental injuries (NAI) involving expert evidence as to causation, including shaken babies
  • Death of a child by overlaying whilst co-sleeping
  • Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child cruelty
  • Chronic neglect
  • Deprivation of Liberty (children)
  • Adoption
  • Discharge of care orders
  • Forced Marriage prevention orders
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Private Law children

Clodagh is experienced in complex Private Law cases, including finding of fact hearings, specific issue and prohibited steps applications and applications for temporary and permanent leave to remove from the jurisdiction.

Recent Cases

2024

  • Appeared for a mother against whom findings of Fabricated/Induced Illness had been made in respect of her child having undergone several unnecessary and invasive medical procedures. The child was ultimately removed from the mother’s care and placed with the father as a result of the findings. However the child was able to continue to have overnight contact with the mother, including contact at weekends and extended contact during the school holidays. This was subject to the drafting of agreed prohibited steps and specific issue orders in order to ensure that the father, and not the mother, have responsibility for any future decisions as to medical appointments and medical treatment for the child.
  • Appeared for a Local Authority in a case where the court upon making a placement order additionally made an order under Section 26 Adoption and Children Act 2002, for a two year old child being placed for adoption to have ongoing face-to-face contact with his elder siblings, both of whom were to be placed in long-term foster care. Post-adoption contact with his siblings had been assessed to be in the child’s best interests. The court additionally directed that the guardian shall be appointed under any application for an Adoption Order for the two year old. As a result, the court will be able to review Post-Adoption contact plans for the sibling group prior to the child being placed for adoption.
  • Represented a grandmother at final hearing who sought an adjournment for assessment by an independent social worker (ISW) following a negative local authority assessment. The application for further assessment was successful after hearing contested evidence. The resulting ISW assessment was positive and the Local Authority plan therefore changed, guided by the positive assessment, to a plan to place the child with the grandmother. The plan for the child would otherwise have been adoption, in the absence of any other positively assessed family members.

2023

  • Finding of fact hearing representing a father facing allegations of shaking a baby causing internal head injury and of inflicting fractures namely of the arms, ribs and leg.

2022

  • Composite final hearing, led by Tim Parker KC. Successfully challenged allegations of sexual abuse against the father in care proceedings. This required detailed challenge to the evidence as to the circumstances of the sequence of events in recording the allegations. A number of flaws in the ABE process were identified, in accordance with the approach to allegations of sexual abuse as set out in re P [2019]. The father was able to return to the family home, having undergone a lengthy absence pending the outcome of these linked criminal and family proceedings.
  • Finding of fact hearing for a local authority in which extensive CYFOR phone evidence of messages sent to the children was considered and reduced to a schedule. Findings were made against the stepfather/father of grooming of the children and of alienation of the children from the mother.
  • Two-counsel finding of fact hearing representing a mother in a case in which the children provided ABE interviews alleging sexual abuse against the stepfather/father. The mother vehemently disputed findings sought by the local authority that she had induced or fabricated the children’s allegations. A balance of robust advice and sensitivity was required.

Family finance

Clodagh continues to accept instructions in matrimonial finances.

Professional Memberships

  • FLBA (Family Law Bar Association)
  • ALC (Association of Lawyers for Children)
  • Child Concern

Education

  • Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training