Helen specialises in family and employment law. Helen is ‘calm, collected and focussed’, she ‘quickly gets to grips with complex facts’ and is a ‘fierce and tenacious advocate’. During her first ten years of practice Helen developed a broad mixed common law practice, which reflected the multidisciplinary ethos of chambers. Helen has significant experience of criminal, commercial and clinical negligence work. The skills she developed in these diverse areas complement her current practice.
In her family practice Helen is regularly instructed in the most serious cases, involving traumatic injuries and allegations of FII. Her clinical negligence experience makes her comfortable approaching and challenging complex medical evidence. Helen is a formidable cross-examiner and her submissions are clear and concise. She often represents very vulnerable clients and is sensitive and re-assuring.
In her employment practice Helen is regularly instructed in legally complex and challenging cases. She provides strategic insight at all stages and gives clear and tactical advice. Helen applies the same conscientious and thorough approach to all her cases. Helen represents both individual and corporate clients. She tailors her approach to best suit the needs of each client and the case.
Outside of her work in chambers, Helen gives talks, writes articles and offers training. In February 2023, Helen was appointed as a barrister member of the Council of the Inns of Court Disciplinary Pool. In May 2023, Helen was appointed as a Recorder to sit in Family on the South Eastern Circuit.
Helen is qualified to accept instructions directly from clients and is registered under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme, meaning 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 more information please visit our Direct Access page here.
Helen is regularly instructed in both public and private Children Act proceedings. Helen’s client base includes, local authorities, parents and guardians, as well as intervening grandparents or other family members. Helen has considerable experience of lengthy care proceedings which investigate allegations of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. Helen is instructed in cases of traumatic brain injuries and FII. As a result of her clinical negligence and inquest work Helen assimilates and processes large amounts of complex medical information and conducts incisive cross-examination.
Helen is an extremely approachable advocate who builds a good rapport with those she represents. She is aware that all proceedings involving children are distressing for the parties and require great sensitivity. She provides robust advice whilst being sympathetic to the issues raised. Helen frequently works with vulnerable clients, often with learning and mental health difficulties. Helen fearlessly defends their interests.
Examples of Helen’s cases in 2022 include:
Helen successfully represented the appellant in the Court of Appeal against the refusal to grant the appellant party status. The Court of Appeal joined the appellant as a party and noted Helen’s advocacy to be ‘concise and effective'.
Helen represented the father as junior counsel in a fact-finding involving allegations that the parents or maternal grandmother had caused the child deliberately inflicted injures including subdural haemorrhages and rib fractures. The father was exonerated.
Helen represented (as junior counsel) the mother in a fact-finding hearing in the High Court where the parents were accused of FII. The mother was exonerated in respect of all allegations of direct harm to the children.
Helen represented the guardian in a 11-day composite hearing. This case involved consideration of an application for a cross-border kinship placement. There was a dispute between the local authority and the guardian as to the nature and robustness of the assessments and planning. The court supported the position of the guardian.
Helen successfully represented the mother in a fact-finding hearing where a child has sustained significant facial bruising. The mother was exonerated and at the welfare hearing the children returned to her care.
Helen represented the mother in a nine-day final hearing involving allegations of extreme domestic violence.
Helen represented the father in a 12-day composite final hearing involving traumatic head injuries to children. There was evidence from numerous experts, including a Paediatric Neuroradiologist, Paediatric Neurosurgeon and a Paediatric Ophthalmologist.
Helen represented the children in a five-day final hearing in which there was a dispute between the professionals as to the outcomes for the children. The judge agreed with the guardian and made orders in line with his recommendations.
Helen represented the mother in a final hearing at which the Local Authority was seeking adoption of her daughter. At the outset of the hearing Helen applied for an adjournment and further assessments due to gaps in the evidence. Following five days of cross-examination the Judge granted the applications and the case was adjourned for further assessments.
Helen successfully represented a grandmother in a nine-day case where the Local Authority alleged that the grandmother, with whom the children were residing, were at risk of harm. Case resolved with children remaining in her client’s care.
Helen represented the children in a High Court case involving multiple experts and allegations of fabricated illness.
Helen is very experienced in Employment Law. She has acted in many lengthy Tribunal hearings on behalf of claimants and respondents. Helen has been instructed to appear in the EAT on a number of occasions. Helen is very familiar with the Equality Act 2010 and has acted for both claimants and respondents. She has undertaken work involving all aspects of equality legislation and is attune to equality and diversity issues. She has been involved in claims against service providers under the Equality Act and has provided advice in such matters.
Helen has considerable experience representing local authorities. She recently represented Nottingham Council in a five-day reasonable adjustments and unfair dismissal claim. Helen succeeded in the EAT for Leicester City Council and also recently worked for the council for two days a week. This role involved advising and managing a wide range of cases from the earliest stages, affording her practical experience in case preparation and negotiation. She was frequently required to review and draft settlement agreements and contracts.
Recent examples of Helen’s cases include the following: In December 2022 Helen advised a client on a whistleblowing claim and merits of an interim relief application. The case settled for over £200,000. In September 2022 Helen successfully represented a charitable education trust. The claims against the trust of unfair dismissal, direct race discrimination and victimisation were all dismissed. In March 2020 Helen succeeded in a five-day case representing a forensic scientist in her claims for constructive unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination. The claimant secured over £80,000 in compensation. This case was reported in the national press. Helen’s other cases include successfully representing a claimant in a nine-day direct race discrimination and victimisation case. The claimant was awarded more than £55,000 in damages, a large proportion represented the Claimant’s injury to feelings and psychiatric harm following his treatment at work. Helen successfully represented an accountant in her claim against an accountancy firm for automatically unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction from wages. The claimant received over £40,000 following a contested remedy hearing.
Helen successfully represented the respondent, a charitable education trust, in an unfair dismissal, direct race discrimination and victimisation claim. The claims were all dismissed.
Helen represented the respondent in five-day pregnancy discrimination and victimisation claim.
Helen represented the claimant, a postal worker, in a three-day unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim.
Helen successfully represented a forensic scientist in her claims for constructive unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination. The claimant secured over £80,000 in compensation.
Helen represented the respondent in a five-day trial which concerned allegations of pregnancy discrimination and automatically unfair dismissal.
Helen successfully represented a teaching assistant in a five day case alleging direct disability discrimination.
Helen successfully appeared on behalf of the respondent in a sex, age and race discrimination claim and secured costs due to the claimant’s unreasonable conduct.
Helen successfully represented the claimant in a six-day unfair dismissal, and unlawful deduction of wages claim.
Helen successfully represented the claimant in a nine-day direct race discrimination and protected disclosure case against a major hotel chain. The claimant secured over £55,000 in respect of injury to feelings, personal injury and aggravated damages.
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