Barrister Barbara Connolly

Barbara Connolly QC

Year of call: 1986  Silk: 2011


“A very hard-working and supremely intelligent barrister”

Chambers & Partners 2019



“She is a very experienced and impressive advocate.” Chambers & Partners 2018

“She has unrivalled knowledge at silk level of surrogacy and cases involving alternative family structures.” Chambers & Partners 2017

“An adroit advocate with great presence both in and out of the courtroom.” Legal 500 2019

“Exceptionally meticulous in her preparation and a formidable cross-examiner.” Legal 500 2017

Also described as a “highly skilled advocate”, “with plenty of tenacity and a healthy degree of realism” “meticulous in preparation”, and “always approachable for advice”. In cases in which she is instructed Barbara Connolly QC combines specialist expertise with innate common sense and an understanding of the practicalities involved. She is tenacious and fearless on behalf of those she represents.

Barbara Connolly QC has been a specialist in Child and Family Law for over 20 years, she undertakes disputes concerning children (including surrogacy), financial remedies, and cases in the Court of Protection involving both welfare and financial issues. Having spent many years practising across all areas of family, mixed common law and crime, Barbara continues to do some non family civil work, including cases involving allegations of child abuse, particularly historic claims against local authorities. She also has experience of judicial review, public enquiry work and the Care Standards Tribunal. As Co-Chair of the Family Law Committee of the International Bar Association and a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, Barbara has a keen interest in international family law issues and has written and spoken at international conferences and seminars on a variety of subjects affecting family law around the world.

Public Access:

Barbara is qualified to accept instructions direct from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme. This means that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to her. In addition, she welcomes instructions from solicitors, in-house law departments, qualified foreign lawyers, and clients licensed by the Bar Council to give instructions direct to barristers under the Bar Council’s Licensed Access Scheme.

For further information please contact our Clerks.

Child & Family

Child & Family

Barbara has extensive experience in extremely sensitive and highly complex care proceedings, representing local authorities, parents, children and intervenors, ranging from the most serious cases of non accidental injury involving the death of a child, to intra familial sexual abuse. She has considerable experience and skill in both representing and cross examining children, including victims of abuse as well as alleged child perpetrators. She has developed particular expertise in dealing with extremely complex medical evidence, both in the family courts and the Court of Protection. She has appeared in cases involving honour based violence and forced marriage, requiring special measures, heightened confidentiality and sensitivity, including the use of “closed hearings”.

In private law children cases, Barbara is instructed in applications for specific issues/ prohibited steps orders, child arrangements (residence and contact), removal from the jurisdiction and relocation cases. She also acts in cases of international child abduction, including the unlawful removal from the jurisdiction of children in care. She regularly advises in family cases on issues concerning publicity and the media, representing both local authorities and individuals in high profile cases in applications for, and lifting of Reporting Restriction Orders. She provides guidance and advice to local authorities and others and acts in judicial review hearings in respect of decisions relating to local authority responsibilities towards children and families, and vulnerable / incapacitated adults.

Barbara has advised and acted in cases involving issues of medical treatment, both in the family courts and the Court of Protection, including withdrawal of life sustaining medical treatment. She also undertakes other best interests / welfare, and financial and property applications in the Court of Protection.

She has a specialist interest in cases involving surrogacy and assisted reproduction (including issues of parenthood and disputes following separation) particularly those with an international element. In addition to advising and representing clients in court, she has lectured extensively on these issues in the UK and internationally.


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • International Academy of Family Lawyers
  • Association of Lawyers for Children

Child & Family Cases

  • Re D (A Child) (Leave to oppose making of adoption order) [2013] EWCA Civ 1480, [2014] 1 FCR 602: Application for leave to oppose the making of an adoption order, post decision in B-S.
  • M v H (Legal Paternity) [2013] EWHC 1901, [2014] 1 FLR 352: Disputed legal paternity where married woman and ‘sperm donor’ meet via internet.
  • S & Others (by their Children’s guardian) v Nottingham CC & Others [2013] EWCA Civ 771, [2014] 1 FLR 739: Where child suffered non accidental injuries but no findings made against parents, court should have investigated welfare questions before giving the local authority permission to withdraw its s31 application.
  • Re G (Interim Care Order) [2011] EWCA Civ 745, [2011] 2 FLR 955: Judge wrong to approach interim care order as if making final orders.
  • Re TT (Surrogacy) [2011] EWHC 33 (Fam), [2011] 2 FLR 392: Surrogacy arranged via the internet. Surrogate refused to give up child. Judge alarmed at the lack of insight into the child’s emotional needs demonstrated commissioning couple and potential dangers in using the internet in this way.
Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Barbara Connolly QC has extensive experience of medico legal work, particularly in the Family Courts and Court of Protection. Having conducted public law children work for over 20 years and regularly advised local authorities on child protection issues and their statutory duties towards children, their families and vulnerable adults, she is well placed to deal with claims arising from these issues.

Abuse Court of Protection


Barbara Connolly QC has been involved in a number of leading cases in this area, both in the Court of Appeal, see Durham CC v Dunn regarding the duty of disclosure by a public authority, and at first instance. Her many years experience in public law children cases and advising local authorities on child protection issues and statutory duties towards children, their families and vulnerable adults, makes her particularly suited to this work, especially in relation to claims for failure to remove. In one such claim involving a sibling group, she negotiated what was at the time the highest damages settlement.

She also has experience of very large group actions, in one case involving hundreds of claims of historic child abuse spanning several decades.

Court of Protection

Barbara Connolly QC undertakes best interests cases including those involving medical treatment issues in both the Court of Protection and Family Courts (for those under 18 and particularly 16 and 17 year olds who do not lack capacity and therefore to whom the Mental Capacity Act 2005 does not apply). She also conducts financial and property disputes in the Court of Protection. Recent cases include disputed Gillick competence and forced treatment for HIV / AIDS, and contested welfare and financial and property issues arising from the unlawful removal from the jurisdiction of an elderly woman suffering from dementia.

Personal Injury Cases

  • Durham CC v Dunn [2012] EWCA Civ 1654, [2013] 1 WLR 2305:  Duty of disclosure in a civil action for damages arises under the Civil Procedure Rules. Where a public authority seeks to withhold sensitive confidential information on public interest grounds, the issue of public interest immunity in the strict sense does not necessarily arise, rather, provided the test of relevance is satisfied, the issue falls to be determined by balancing the competing common law and article 6 right to a fair trial against rights to privacy or confidentiality under article 8 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Public Law

Public Law

Barbara Connolly QC has extensive experience in dealing with public authorities, particularly local authority social workers and other professionals involved in child protection roles arising from over 20 years practice in the area of public law children cases. She also represents claimants in child abuse claims, principally against local authorities and other public bodies, including church run establishments. She has represented a senior social work manager in a lengthy public inquiry into management failures to identify widespread physical and sexual abuse in a local authority’s children’s homes over 20 years.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Barbara Connolly QC has over 20 years experience in public law children cases and advising local authorities and other professionals in relation to child protection and other related matters. She has represented a variety of individuals in connection with professional regulations and in the Care Standards Tribunal, including social workers and osteopaths.

Sports Law

Sports Law

Barbara Connolly QC has over 20 years experience specialising in family law, with particular emphasis on public law children cases and child protection issues, including cases of physical and sexual abuse. She has regularly advised and given guidance to local authorities and other professionals in connection with these issues and represented professionals accused of unsuitability to work with children, and represented a social work senior manager in a lengthy public inquiry into management failures to identify widespread physical and sexual abuse in a local authority’s children’s homes over a 20 year period. She is thus well placed to advise on child protection issues relevant to sport.

How to get in touch

For more information please contact our clerks by calling +44 (0) 20 7242 3555 or by email.

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Privacy Notice

Barbara is committed to protecting and respecting the privacy of individuals. In order to provide legal services, including advice and representation services, Barbara needs to process personal data. This will include client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the course of any matter upon which she is instructed.

Barbara will process personal data in accordance with her Privacy Policy.

Please click here to see how Barbara will, absent any other arrangement with those instructing him, fulfil any Joint Controller responsibilities he may have under relevant data protection legislation.

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