Rachael Heppenstall

Rachael Heppenstall

Year of call:

1997, Middle Temple


Rachael Heppenstall

Scholarships and Prizes:

Middle Temple Winston Churchill Prize 1997


Family Law Bar Association,
Child Concern


BSc (Hons) Law & German, University of Surrey


Recorder (2015)



Rachael completed a specialist family pupillage and practiced on the North Eastern Circuit until joining 9 St John Street in December 2000. A care and adoption specialist, she focuses on cases involving non-accidental injury and significant abuse.

She acts for local authorities, parents/interveners (in particular vulnerable adults, including those with significant learning difficulties and mental health issues), children (including those who are able to give their instructions directly rather than via a children’s guardian), and the Official Solicitor.

Rachael has appeared at all levels up to and including the Court of Appeal. She has considerable experience in cases involving serious non-accidental injury and complex medical evidence (including shaken baby), sexual assault, factitious illness disorder, and immigration/jurisdictional issues.

In private law proceedings Rachael acts for local authorities, parents and special guardians in applications for special guardianship orders.

She is also instructed on behalf of Police Authorities/Local Authorities and NHS Trusts in disclosure and public interest immunity applications in both the family and criminal jurisdictions.

Rachael is regularly involved in advising in cases pre-proceedings and takes a hands-on approach to the conduct of cases throughout the life of the court proceedings.

Rachael has been and continues to be involved in accredited training for Solicitors and Local Authorities.


Greater Manchester Chief Constable v KI & Anor (Children) & Ors [2007] EWHC 1837 (Fam)

Re K (Children: Care and Placement) [2015] EWFC B117


External Examiner - Bar Standards Board – 2013

Middle Temple Winston Churchill Scholarship 1996

BSc (Hons) Law and German - 1996


Family Law Bar Association

Child Concern


Rachael Heppenstall is a practising barrister, who is regulated by the Bar Standards Board. Details of information held by the BSB about Rachael Heppenstall can be found here.

Rachael Heppenstall's clerks will happily provide no obligation quotations for all legal services that she provides. Their contact details can be found here. It is most common for Rachael Heppenstall to undertake Court services  for a brief fee plus additional refresher days. Rachael Heppenstall also accepts instructions on legal aid rates where those are available, details of which can be found here. For advisory work including paperwork and conferences it is most commonly charged at an hourly rate. Rachael Heppenstall will typically return paperwork within 14 days, however professional commitments, complexity and volume of documentation can affect these approximate timescales.


For further information please contact the Civil & Family Clerk, Peadar McKinstry on  0161 955 5104.

Family/Matrimonial – Northern (Bar):
"Her advice and representation has been thorough and robust, she is skilled with case preparation and always gives an excellent level of service."

Chambers and Partners 2021

Family and Children Law: Leading Junior Band 3
"Provides clear advice to clients and presents a robust case in court."

Legal 500 2020

Family/Matrimonial (Northern Bar) Band 3
"She is an extremely competent barrister, and is a very calm and safe pair hands."
"She is fantastic: very experienced, confident, flexible and calming around clients. She is also good at solving complex legal problems."

Chambers and Partners 2020

Family and children law – ranked Tier 1
“Recommended for cases involving non-accidental injuries.”

Legal 500 2019

Family/Matrimonial – Northern (Bar): Leading Barrister (Band 3)
"She has a very good way with clients."

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2019

"A very capable and knowledgeable advocate."

Chambers and Partners 2018

'Experienced in cases of non-accidental injury and serious abuse.'

Legal 500, 2017

“Specialises in matters regarding childcare, and also has a solid reputation for her skill in handling claims of factitious illness and physical and sexual assault”

Chambers and Partners 2017

‘A specialist in care and adoption proceedings.’

Legal 500, 2016

"Has a solid reputation in all areas of public and private childcare work, with specific experience in adoption matters, factitious illness, serious injury and sexual abuse. Acts for interveners, local authorities, parents and children. 'She is approachable, formidable when necessary, realistic with the client's expectations and sensitive to their situation.' 'She has a good rapport with the clients.'"

Chambers and Partners 2016

"She is thoroughly reliable and very sympathetic in care proceedings. Very down to earth."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"A care specialist who is well regarded by local authorities and solicitors alike."

Legal 500 2014


Legal 500 2012

"Excellent in cases involving children and vulnerable clients"

Legal 500, 2010 & 2011

"Is hands on and very good with vulnerable clients"

Legal 500 2008

Rachael Heppenstall "Is a very experienced and respected children law practioner"

Legal 500, 2007

Rachael Heppenstall "Has an excellent way with clients' and has developed her children practice well"

Legal 500 2006

Specialist Areas of Practice:


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Family CV [PDF]

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