Kathryn Hayes

Kathryn Hayes - Barrister at St John's Buildings

Kathryn read Law and Criminology at the University of Sheffield and did the BVC at Nottingham Law School. She was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in October 2000. After a number of years in private practice, she joined Chambers in January 2007.

Kathryn is able to accept instructions directly from the public across her practice areas and the reader is referred to the Direct Access section of her profile for further information.

Kathryn regularly provides interactive training on safeguarding, the family justice system, family law and court skills to local authorities, social workers and multi-disciplinary groups of public sector workers. She writes and delivers the Family Law module of the MA in Professional Practice for social workers at the University of Sheffield and has consistently had excellent feedback on this course.

Kathryn has also delivered training and workshops on civil procedure, contract and housing updates and written and delivered sessions on witness training for employees of commercial organisations and local authorities.

Outside Chambers, Kathryn enjoys: spending time with her 3 children; sport – she supports Barnsley FC and Castleford RLFC; swimming and walking (although not both at the same time!); music; and reading, especially historical fiction.


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Junior Counsel to the Crown


  • Accredited for Direct Public Access instructions


  • Family - Children

    Kathryn’s practice encompasses private and public law as well as FLA injunctions.

    Public Law

    In care cases she acts for local authorities, parents, children and intervenors/ additional parties, giving her a good understanding of issues across the spectrum. She works hard to ensure that parents, particularly vulnerable ones, have the best possible representation and takes time to explain to them what is happening in court and to their case in general. She has represented a number of parents with learning difficulties and is sympathetic when dealing with clients with addiction problems or those involved in relationships characterised by domestic abuse. When representing the local authority her aim is always to be “firm but fair” so that parents who face losing their children are dealt with in a professional and understanding manner.


    LA v W & S: Representing a local authority in a case taking 2½ years and involving 5 experts dealing with the father’s disability. This case then generated a civil damages claim brought by the father against the local authority. As Kathryn also has a civil practice she was able to draft the defence to this claim and advise the local authority on settlement and costs.

    LA v H & L: Representing a father in care proceedings involving 7 children; father was just above the Official Solicitor level and so required considerable time in explanation of his position and advice as to the way forward.

    LA v C, C & C: Representing a 15-year-old child in a second set of care proceedings following a three-year matter involving factitious illness, which the parents had initially won.

    LA v F and N: Representing a local authority in a five-day final hearing where father changed his position on numerous occasions and produced a mobile telephone recording of conversations he had set up with the mother to prove her involvement in breaching contracts of expectations.

    Private Law

    Kathryn undertakes both privately funded and legal aid work and aims to resolve as many disputes as possible by way of negotiation and agreement. Even where this is not possible she is mindful that parents will have to continue to work together after proceedings have ended and will look to ways in which communication can be improved and disagreements reduced. This will often involve lengthy discussions with litigants in person. She also acts for children on occasions when guardians are appointed.

    Kathryn undertakes FLA injunctions (non-molestation and occupation orders) and her children and associated financial relief practices enable her to offer advice and support across the whole spectrum of issues which might arise and to look to achieve an holistic solution for every set of circumstances.


    G v V: Representing a mother in a private law dispute which became care proceedings after discovery that her partner was on the Sex Offenders Register.

    N v B: Representing a French national mother in a residence dispute between two professional parents; father subsequently appealed the decision reached but eventually withdrew that appeal.

    S v P & C: Representing an 11-year-old child in a contact dispute where he was the only child of 8 living with his father and there were contact difficulties with his stepfather and his siblings

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  • Inquests

    Kathryn has a developing practice in inquests, with instructions coming mostly from her position as Junior Counsel to the Crown and largely involving deaths of long-term prisoners in custody. She brings a sympathetic and sensitive approach to cases where people are inevitably emotional and anxious.

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  • Public Access

    Kathryn accepts instructions directly from the public across all areas of her practice. Her time spent in-house means that she is used to dealing directly with clients, both individuals and commercial organisations, and she understands their need to have information and advice presented in a simple and no-nonsense matter with regular updates on progress throughout. Fees are agreed prior to any work being undertaken so there is no danger of unexpected large bills.

    Kathryn offers an initial view of the papers at no cost and will then respond with her advice as to what needs to be done and how much this will cost.

    There may be times when a case is not suitable for Kathryn to undertake without a solicitor being involved. On these occasions Kathryn will assist the client in locating a suitable solicitor and is happy to make initial telephone calls on the client’s behalf and thereafter to remain involved as much or as little as the client wishes.


    H v J: Breakdown of relationship where there were a number of shared assets as well as a business run in partnership. H had had default judgment registered against him in respect of contributions to the finance for one of the assets and wished to set this aside and bring a claim for the remainder of the assets and a share of the business. Default judgment was set aside and Kathryn then recommended a firm of solicitors for H to instruct and remained involved until the dispute settled the evening before the trial, following which she attended court to draft and have approved the ensuing settlement agreement.

    C v H: Ongoing private law family proceedings involving a contact dispute over the couple’s child. The client has provided her own witness statements and Kathryn has then been instructed to deal with each hearing as it arises.

    S v R: Advice in a dispute between a company which owned a vehicle and the respective vehicle dealership following repairs undertaken to the vehicle after a road traffic accident.

    L v JCL: Advice in a Sale of Goods Act dispute between a motorhome owner and the motorhome dealer following a failed gearbox. The motorhome was financed and there had been an intervening repair by a third party garage.

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