The Family Law Group in chambers is committed to providing a comprehensive, specialist and accessible service to solicitors and clients.

We offer a wealth of experience in all areas of Family and Child-Care Law and related work, giving expert advice and representation in both the Public and Private law jurisdictions. Urgent matters can be dealt with by way of telephone advice, where necessary.

Members of the group practise both in the local Courts and off-circuit. All our practitioners are members of the Family Law Bar Association and keep abreast of the latest developments in this growing legal field by regular attendance at conferences and seminars.

The work undertaken includes:

  • Adoption
  • Ancillary Relief
  • Appeals
  • Care Proceedings
  • Child Abduction
  • Cohabitee’s Property Disputes
  • Contact and Residence
  • Divorce, Nullity and Judicial Separation
  • Domestic violence and Applications under the Family Law Act 1996
  • Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Injunctions
  • Judicial Review
  • Mental Health
  • Parental Responsibility Applications
  • Paternity Disputes
  • Property and Financial Provision
  • Wardship

Christine Riley
Head of the Family Law Group

What the Legal Directories say:

Legal 500 - 2024

The members of 9 St John Street handle a wide range of matters, from contested adoption, allegations of physical and sexual abuse, and deprivation of liberty, to Article 15 Brussels disputes, parental alienation, and the relocation of children. Its members represent all the parties involved in children law cases, including applicants and respondents, intervenors, local authorities, guardians and grandparents, children, and those represented by the Official Solicitor or a litigation friend. Kalsoom Maqsood specialises predominantly in public law proceedings, and has appeared at all levels of court up the Court of Appeal. Sarah Kilvington‘s practice encompasses serious abuse of children, fabricated and induced illness, gender distress in children, and complex sexual abuse.

Legal 500 2024

Chambers and Partners - 2024

9 St John Street impresses with its substantial expertise in public and private children law cases. Members are experienced in handling cases concerning domestic and sexual abuse, shaken baby cases and adoption matters. Its barristers are also frequently instructed in cross-jurisdictional cases.

Chambers and Partners 2024

Legal 500 - 2023

The Chambers are always professional and courteous. The Chambers have many barristers with a wealth of experience and expertise, particularly in family law.

The Chambers have a great depth of professionals which makes any necessary switching due to other commitments much easier. All counsel are easy to work with and understand the pressures local authorities face. They all report back promptly and you are never left waiting on an order or wondering what has happened. They are all willing to work out of usual hours to be provided with instructions at the last minute.

Legal 500 2023

Legal 500 - 2022

9 St John Street has a 'number of excellent barristers' and advises across the full spectrum of matrimonial, finance, and children law. Joanne Barnett has a strong background representing local authorities, the Official Solicitor, the National Youth Advocacy Service, and childrens' guardians. Sarah Kilvington is a 'powerfully persuasive advocate' and an 'exceptional children lawyer'. On the public law side Kilvington advises on serious abuse of children cases, and has expertise handling.  Kalsoom Maqsood has extensive experience handling public law cases involving fatal injury and catastrophic injuries to children. Rachael Heppenstall was appointed a circuit judge.

'I am impressed with 9 St.John Street, the clerks are equally approachable and will try to accommodate a request for particular counsel and if this proves impossible will make every effort to identify a suitable substitute.'

'I have known Ped McKinstry for a long time and he has been an ever-present and helpful clerk who has seen the Family Team at 9SJS build up into a formidable force over the last few years. There are a number of impressive barristers who can get the job done.'

Legal 500 2022

Chambers and Partners - 2022

9 St John Street impresses with its substantial expertise in public and private children law cases. Recent matters handled by its barristers include cases concerning domestic and sexual abuse, shaken baby cases and adoption matters. Its members are also frequently instructed in cross-jurisdictional cases. One interviewee comments: "I am very impressed with this chambers in terms of the service provided by the barristers."
Client service:
"The clerks are brilliant. They're very organised and even during lockdown the phones have always been answered quickly. They always update things and deal with hearings being changed at short notice." "The service is delivered in a very personal way." Peadar McKinstry is the team leader responsible for the family team.

Chambers and Partners 2022

Chambers and Partners - 2020

9 St John Street has a growing presence in the North of England due to the calibre of its family law experts, whose practice ranges from matrimonial finance through to both public and private law children cases. They regularly act for parents, children and local authorities on matters involving non-accidental injury, chronic neglect and abduction. Members of the set also advise on financial proceedings involving substantial personal and commercial assets. "They are one of the first sets of chambers that I contact due to the fact that the whole team is strong," comments an interviewee.

Chambers and Partners 2020

Legal 500 - 2020

9 St John Street's strong contingent of family law juniors continue to represent a range of parties in complex cases across the region, with one solicitor referring to them as a 'go-to', for family work. Particular areas of specialism include serious non-accidental injury or sexual abuse, handled by the set's 'excellent care team', as well as allegations of domestic or sexual abuse in private law proceedings.

Legal 500 2020

Chambers and Partners - 2019

Successful chambers that has a prestigious profile in children law proceedings, including abduction, relocation and care cases involving serious allegations and jurisdictional considerations. The set also has notable expertise in financial remedy proceedings concerning pensions, inheritance and trusts. A source compliments the set's "excellent team" of barristers.

Chambers and Partners 2019

Chambers and Partners - 2018

A highly regarded set with barristers able to advise on all aspects of family law, that particularly excels in children law matters. It has recognised expertise in international children issues such as abduction and removal from the jurisdiction. One solicitor enthuses: "They are very professional and are eager to try and assist, including with very urgent instructions. They are very good in terms of communication, and all of their family counsel are very good in terms of experience and feedback after hearings." 

Chambers and Partners 2018

Legal 500 - 2015

“9 St John Street's team is known for representing parties such as local authorities, parents, children and interveners in complex care cases.”

Legal 500 2015

Legal 500  - 2014

"9 St John Street’s team predominantly handles public law children care cases. A number of members are experienced in financial remedy, and this is an expanding area for chambers."

Legal 500 2014