Kate Spence

Kate Spence - Barrister at St John's Buildings

Kate graduated from the University of Manchester in 2012 with an LLB Law (Hons) degree. In 2013, she completed the BPTC at Manchester Metropolitan University with a “very competent”. Kate was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in October 2013.

Kate returned to the University of Manchester in 2013 to complete an LLM in Healthcare Ethics and Law, where she achieved a Distinction.


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • North Eastern Circuit
  • Personal Injury Bar Association


  • Family - Children

    Kate practises in child law matters and Family Law Act 1996 proceedings.

    Public Law

    Kate is regularly instructed on behalf of local authorities, parents and children at all stages of public law proceedings, including final hearings, fact-finding hearings and appeals. Kate also has experience of acting for local authorities in fact-finding hearings regarding non-accidental injuries.

    Kate has experience of drafting case summaries, detailed threshold documents, skeleton arguments and schedules of findings.

    Kate is frequently instructed to represent local authorities, parents and children at urgent interim care order applications at short notice in cases involving serious neglect, non-accidental injuries and domestic violence.

    Kate writes regular Public Law Updates for clients.

    Download the May 2019 edition

    Download the August 2019 edition

    Recent cases:

    A Local Authority v P (2019): Advised a local authority in a case concerning the deprivation of liberty of children.

    A Local Authority v B (2019): Represented the local authority in a case involving issues of international law and assessments abroad.

    A Local Authority v D (2019): Represented the local authority in a case concerning a non-accidental injury to a child.

    A Local Authority v D (2018): Represented the respondent in an appeal against a decision of a lay bench to decline an application for a residential assessment.

    A Local Authority v B (2018): Represented the local authority in an application for a secure accommodation order.

    A Local Authority v W (2018): Represented the Local Authority in a case concerning a non-accidental injury to a child. Kate pursued findings despite significant opposition from all of the other parties. All of the findings Kate pursued were made.

    Private Law

    Kate regularly acts for parents in disputes over contact and residence. Kate has experience of acting in applications for child arrangements orders, specific issue orders (e.g. to change a child’s surname) and prohibited steps orders.

    Kate is particularly passionate about resolving disputes and attempting to agree practical arrangements that are workable for the parties going forwards.

    Kate has represented applicants and respondents in cases involving allegations of serious domestic violence, child abuse and sexual violence.

    Recent cases:

    R v W (2019): Appeared on behalf of a mother at a fact-finding hearing involving allegations of serious sexual abuse, physical violence towards a child and domestic violence. Kate secured all of the findings sought by the mother.

    R v W (2019): Appeared on behalf of a mother and obtained a substantial costs award against a respondent.

    M v D (2018): Appeared in the High Court to represent a father in a dispute between the parents regarding whether the child should receive medical treatment.

    M v T (2018): Appeared on behalf of a father seeking parental responsibility for and contact with his child. Kate obtained the orders sought. Within these proceedings, Kate also successfully argued that a specific issue order should be made to change to the child’s surname.


    “Kate is a very approachable barrister and when confronted with a rather difficult private law case handled it with ease. With so many issues to resolve, the time taken by Kate in preparing before each hearing was very impressive. The level of detail included in her preliminary documents ensured that her position was set out very clearly and backed up with relevant legal knowledge. We would not hesitate to recommend and use Kate in the future” – Instructing Solicitor.

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  • Personal Injury

    Kate has experience of representing claimants and defendants at civil applications, Infant Settlement Hearings, MOJ Stage 3 hearings and Small Claims where liability and/or quantum is in dispute. Kate regularly appears in cases involving disputes over credit hire.

    Kate regularly appears for claimants and defendants in Fast Track trials.

    Kate is regularly instructed to provide written advice on liability and quantum in fast-track and multi-track matters. Kate is also regularly instructed to draft schedules of loss.

    Prior to pupillage, Kate was employed by a multi-national law firm where she handled fast track occupier’s liability claims. Kate also assisted with multi-track occupier’s liability, public liability and road traffic accident claims.

    Recent cases:

    J v CL (2019): Kate represented a Claimant in a claim against their former employer regarding an accident at work. Kate appeared at the trial of this matter and secured a significant damages award for the Claimant.

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