Natalie Powell

Natalie Powell - Barrister at St John's Buildings

Email: clerk@stjohnsbuildings.co.uk

Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of call: 2017

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Before transferring to the Bar in 2017, Natalie practised as a Family Law Solicitor, undertaking her own advocacy at all levels. During her time in practice, Natalie developed a specialism in representing parties in public law care proceedings, including representing children through her accreditation as a Children Panel member.

Natalie also has experience of being employed by a Local Authority childcare department, undertaking her own advocacy in a wide range of public and complex private law proceedings.

Natalie has a highly committed and organised approach to her case preparation. She is friendly and approachable, ensuring a strong rapport with both lay and professional clients.

Expertise

  • Family - Children

    Natalie accepts instructions from all parties in all children law matters, representing local authorities, parents, relatives, interveners and children.

    Public Law

    Natalie has experience in representing all parties in public law proceedings involving wide ranging issues including:

    • Domestic violence
    • Non-accidental injuries
    • Neglect
    • Drug/alcohol abuse
    • Sexual abuse.

    Natalie also has experience in complex cases involving issues of radicalisation, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

    Natalie has regularly acted for the most vulnerable clients including receiving instructions from the Official Solicitor and representing clients with learning disabilities with the assistance of an intermediary.

    Natalie has experience of appearing against leading counsel, and has also been led by leading counsel in complex cases heard in the High Court.

    Private Law

    Natalie represents all parties in Children Act applications including complex proceedings involving allegations of physical and sexual abuse and implacable hostility, often when a 16.4 Guardian has been appointed.

    CASES

    A Local Authority v G (2021)
    Representing the Local Authority in composite Finding of Fact hearing/ Final Hearing to establish the cause of significant fracture to the femur of 15-month-old child.
    Findings made that either the father or step-mother inflicted the injuries, that both colluded to conceal a true account of how the injury was caused, and delayed seeking medical attention.
    Care and Placement Orders made.

    L and K (Children: Application for Care Orders) (2020)
    High Court proceedings before Mr Justice Hayden. Representing the Local Authority, led by Frances Heaton QC. 20-day Finding of Fact hearing to establish the cause of fatal injuries to the subject children’s younger sibling, aged 9 months.
    Involved complex medical evidence from a range of experts including a Pathologist, Neuropathologist, Histopathologist, Ophthalmologist, Neurosurgeon, Neuroradiologist, and Paediatrician.
    Findings made that the constellation of injuries were the result of a shaking and impact injury, and the father was the perpetrator.

    A Local Authority v N (2020)
    Care proceedings involving a Finding of Fact Hearing where leading counsel were instructed, to establish the cause of significant and possible life changing injuries to a 6-month-old child.
    Representing the father, who was not in the pool of potential perpetrators, but whom the Local Authority deemed had failed to protect.
    The elder siblings have remained in the care of the father throughout proceedings, which are ongoing, and subject to further assessment to establish whether the mother can safely return to the family home.

    W v B (2020)
    Representing the father at a Finding of Fact hearing in complex private law proceedings whereby mother alleged domestic abuse against the father, including physical abuse and rape. The father counter alleged alcohol abuse, mental health issues and fabrication on the part of the mother.
    The father was exonerated in respect of all allegations of the mother.

    A Local Authority v H (2020)
    Representing the children in care proceedings following an adoption breakdown, resulting in their long-term placement in foster care.
    Due to potential breaches identified during care proceedings, advice provided under the Human Rights Act to pursue damages for the children with regards to a failure to provide psychological input for the children, poor care planning and a failure to promote the issue of proceedings for a substantial period of time. The damages claim is ongoing.

    A Local Authority v H (2019)
    Representing the father in proceedings including a Finding of Fact Hearing to establish the cause of injuries to the half-sibling of the father’s two children, and allegations of domestic abuse made by the mother towards the father.
    The mother was represented by Queens Counsel. The father was exonerated.
    The findings with regards to injuries were successfully appealed, resulting in a re-hearing before Mr Justice MacDonald.
    At the re-hearing, led by Frances Heaton QC, the father was further exonerated.
    At disposal, the children were placed in the care of the father.

    A Local Authority v Z (2018)
    Represented the father in a 7-day Final Hearing where the final care plan for the child was for a Care and Placement Order to be made.
    Successfully argued for further assessment of the grandparents, and furthermore, against the parents being ruled out at an interim stage on a North Yorkshire basis, thus enabling the opportunity for further assessment and consideration of rehabilitation of the child to the parents’ care.

    A Local Authority v B (2018)
    Represented a sibling group of four children via their Guardian whereby it was proposed by the Local Authority that the youngest child be adopted, thus effecting a permanent separation from both his parents and siblings.
    Persuaded the court that further assessment of the mother was required in respect of her ability to care for the youngest child, as opposed to all four.
    Resulted in a care plan of rehabilitation following a successful ISW report.

    A Local Authority v B (2018)
    Represented the maternal grandmother, an Intervenor, in a Finding of Fact hearing, listed to establish the perpetrator of serious burn injuries to a two-year-old child.
    Resulted in no findings of perpetration being made against the grandmother.

    A Local Authority v A (2017)
    Represented a Local Authority in obtaining a Forced Marriage Protection Order against a father who had taken his 15-year-old daughter to the Yemen in order for her to be married.
    Secured the child’s return to the UK. A FMPO was made until the child reached 18.

    A Local Authority v B (2016)
    Instructed on behalf of two children via their Guardian, who had been found to have been victims of sexual abuse by their parents in earlier care proceedings, resulting in Care and Placement Orders being made.
    As a result of the children’s extensive emotional and behavioural needs, and subsequent failed adoption, the Local Authority sought to revoke the Placement Order. The parents made an application for contact with the children.
    Advocated strongly on behalf of the children, resulting in an order pursuant to s34(4) order being made for no contact between the parents and children, as well an order to change of the children’s middle name and surname, in order to protect their identity.

    A Local Authority v M (2016)
    Instructed by the mother in highly sensitive wardship proceedings before Ms Justice Russell in the High Court regarding assertions that the parents were attempting to take the children to Syria in order to be radicalised.
    Successfully argued that the children should remain placed with the parents, and following intricate and forensic examination of complex and voluminous disclosure, the Local Authority agreed to withdraw their application which resulted in the children remaining in the care of their parents with no order.

    W v W (2016)
    Secured a change of residence from mother to father in circumstances of implacable hostility, repeated breached orders and protracted litigation.

    A Local Authority v E (2015)
    Represented the respondent father, a Doctor, in proceedings involving purported Non-Accidental injuries to young son, who had suffered a skull fracture. Successfully argued against the removal of the child to foster care, securing a placement with family members with a high level of daily contact pending further investigation.
    A successful application was made for three medical experts, who concluded that, in accordance with the instruction of the parents, the injury was accidental, and accordingly the application of the Local Authority was withdrawn, the respondents exonerated and the child returned to the parents’ care with no order.

    A Local Authority v L (2015)
    Represented a father who had extensive caring responsibilities for his autistic son. Following an emotional breakdown resulting in hospitalisation, the son was removed to foster care.
    Following the father’s discharge from hospital, successfully argued against the continued separation of father and son, and secured rehabilitation of child to his father’s care on an interim basis.
    Proceedings concluded with a Supervision Order, ensuring appropriate level of support provided by the Local Authority and other agencies and professionals.

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