Clerking team

Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty

Senior Clerk - Family and Court of Protection

Dan Johnson

Assistant Senior Clerk (Children)

Elizabeth Fagan

Junior Family Clerk

Simon read social sciences and later, Law at Leeds University. He was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1988.

Simon’s areas of expertise include:

  • Family (Children)
    • Public Law
    • Private Law
  • Divorce
  • Public/Administrative
  • Inquests

Children (Public and Private law)

Simon practises in all areas of child and adult protection/safeguarding including care proceedings, Court of Protection cases, Wardship, Inquests and Judicial Review (relating to the Children Act 1989 and allied legislation and regulations).

In relation to child protection work, as well as dealing with the familiar staple mix of cases, the more complex cases he readily and regularly undertakes involve issues such as international child trafficking and terrorism and inter gang rivalry. He has recently undertaken work linked to high profile arrests in sexual abuse cases. These are of particular interest to him given his historic involvement in Operation Cleopatra (i.e. the Greater Manchester investigation into the historic sexual abuse of children in care homes in the region) and in which he acted as Counsel for the Greater Manchester local authorities.

Simon regularly advises and represents local authorities in judicial review cases involving the interpretation of the Children Act 1989 and the allied legislation and guidance issued thereunder. He has a particular interest in those relating to allowances paid to different classes of carers and is instructed in a string of cases brought to determine the extent of a local authority’s obligations under section 17 to those who no longer qualify for mainstream benefits. Through such work, he receives instructions to draft policies for local authorities which accord with the applicable Law.

He also has a growing interest in Court of Protection work and is still no stranger to complex and high net worth financial settlement cases and private law children’s cases of complexity and/or with an international dimension.


Re R [2014] EWCA Civ 597: Appeal concerning adequacy of judgment handed down in care proceedings.

Re A [2013] EWCA Civ 611: Appeal by local authority concerning conditions attached to a placement order and how a Judge should proceed when adoption would only be in a child’s best interests if certain defined criteria are met.

Salford City Council v GJ and Ors [2008] EWHC 1097 (Fam): Procedure to be followed in deprivation of liberty cases for renewing authorisation where non-standard authorisations do not apply.

Re K (Secure Accommodation Order: Right to Liberty) 2001 2 WLR 1141: Despite its age, this remains the leading case on the use of secure accommodation.

Re T (Care Proceedings: Injunctive Relief) 2001 FAM 27: How the Court might go about protecting employees who are being threatened and harassed by a parent or parents.

Family finance

Inquests & coronial

He has been involved in a number of complex and high profile public Inquiries and Inquests including:

  • The Everall Inquiry – A Public Inquiry into the murder of two young people whilst in care
  • The Patterson Inquiry – An Inquiry into the death of a child by her mentally ill mother
  • The Inquest into the Death of Sabina Akhtar – Inquest into the unlawful killing of a mother by her partner amidst on-going multi-agency involvement
  • The Trafford House Fires Inquest – Inquest into the unlawful killing of a mother and some of her children after a deliberate arson attack on her home by a former partner amidst multi-agency involvement.

As well as a series of lesser publicised inquests (involving issues such as the corporate manslaughter, children/young person either in or linked to the care system who have died of unascertainable causes or in avoidable accidents).