Esther practices exclusively in family law. She has a strong public law practice, and regularly represents the Local Authority, parents, Guardians and the Official Solicitor at all stages of proceedings including appeals. She has recently represented a vulnerable mother with severe learning difficulties in a complex 9-day hearing in the High Court that involved the Latvian Central Authorities, domestic violence, Latvian and Urdu interpreters and the non-consensual adoption of a foreign national child.
Esther also has valuable experience in the London and Gloucester Family Drug and Alcohol Courts representing clients addicted to prescription medication, illegal substances and with complex mental health problems.
Esther has a busy practice in financial remedies, including proceedings under TLATA and Schedule 1. She is a forceful negotiator at an FDR and balances the costs of further litigation in achieving the best outcome for her client. She has recently represented a client from start to finish in a complex case MFPA 1984 cases in the High Court following an overseas divorce involving applications for injunctive relief, non-disclosure, overseas assets, and a fact-find as to beneficial interests of the third party intervener.
Esther is regularly instructed in private law proceedings including injunctions, enforcement applications, fact-finding hearings and contested final hearings and has represented parties seeking Special Guardianship Orders and post-adoption contact. She has a particular interest in cases with an international dimension and has appeared in the High Court on several cases in matters engaging the Brussels II Convention (disputes as to jurisdiction and variation of foreign orders). She is currently in the High Court representing a father in a case of parental alienation.
Esther is a strong and committed advocate who always ensures that the client is comfortable and confident in her representation. She is rigorous in her case preparation, and swift to respond to those who instruct her. She also accepts instructions on a Direct Access basis.
Esther regularly provides training and leads seminars on topics including applications brought under ToLATA and Schedule 1, evidence in public law cases, public and private law case updates and child maintenance.
Esther is a frequent contributor to Family Law Week. Her recent case summaries include:
- Application to relocate to Utah opposed by father and Guardian but allowed by the court: M v F  EWHC 3194 (Fam) (Jan 2017)
- Application for parental orders under HFEA 2008 adjourned generally due to the respondent’s refusal to consent to the order being made: Re AB (Surrogacy: Consent)  EWHC 2643 (Fam) (Nov 16)
- Appeal allowed against the refusal to summarily return two children to the USA: M (Children)  EWHC 942 (Oct 16)
- Allegations made by the mother against the father of abusing the child were false; reference made to the guidance professionals should follow in such cases: AS v TH (False Allegations of Abuse)  EWHC 532 (Fam) (Sep 16)
- ECtHR Judgment finding that the delays in the mother’s enforcement proceedings against her former husband for unpaid child support constituted a breach of her Article 6 rights: Veiga da Silva Braga v Portugal (Application No. 39507/13) (Aug 16)
- Application for parental orders in respect of twins born conceived by way of IVF subsequent to a commercial surrogacy agreement entered into between the applicants (a British couple) and the respondent birth mother (a Thai national): Re F & M (Children) (Thai Surrogacy) (Enduring family relationship)  EWHC 1594 (Fam) (Jul 16)
- The separate representation of children in child abduction proceedings (FLW, January 2015) http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed142203
- Family Drug and Alcohol Court: A Practitioners’ and Judge’s Perspective (FLW, October 2014) http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed136182
- The Termination of Parental Responsibility (FLW, March 2014) http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed127998
- Facilitating the Return of Abducted Children: the ECtHR Judgment in Raw v France (FLW, March 2013) http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed112500
- The Detention of Children – the ECtHR Judgment in Popov v France (Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, Vol 26, No 4, 2012, pp 349 – 358)
Prior to practicing at the Bar, Esther at the AIRE Centre where she provided free legal advice and representation, ran training sessions on the rights of victims of human trafficking and drafted submissions to the ECtHR and CJEU. Previously Esther trained as a child protection officer with Save the Children where she worked with children, families, professionals and government officials in complex situations of abuse, violence and neglect in Liberia and India.
Membership & Appointments
- Family Law Bar Association (Treasurer, Western Circuit)
- Human Rights Lawyers Association
- Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (previously a Trustee)
Esther speaks French