Steven Howard is a family practitioner and specialises in all aspects of public and private children law acting for parents, local authorities, guardians, extended family members, intervenors, and the Official Solicitor. He has appeared at all levels of the Family Court, in the High Court, and in the Court of Appeal.
Steven also represents parties in family injunctions, and can accept instructions in family proceedings under the direct public access scheme.
He is known for thorough preparation, being a pragmatic and practical advocate, and for his client care skills when dealing with vulnerable, demanding, and difficult clients.
Public law team
Steven Howard represents clients at all stages of care proceedings. He regularly acts for parents, local authorities, guardians, extended family members (such as grandparents), intervenors, and the Official Solicitor. He is known for thorough preparation, being a pragmatic and practical advocate, and for his client care skills when dealing with vulnerable, demanding, and difficult clients.
Steven has a particular interest in NAI cases, and has appeared in cases involving brain and skull injury, rib fractures, limb fractures, and extensive bruising. He has also appeared in cases involving novel injuries such as injury to the throat of a baby.
A growing area in which Steven has experience is that of cross-jurisdictional care cases. He has advised in cases involving family members abroad, and cases where the children are foreign nationals living in this jurisdiction.
Steven is experienced in representing parties in care cases involving:
- Jurisdictional issues
- Non accidental injury
- Expert / medico-legal issues
- Chronic neglect, drug and alcohol addiction
- Domestic violence and sexual abuse / offending
- Serious mental health problems
- S.38(6) assessments
- Adoption / Special Guardianship / Wardship
- Parents or children with special needs / cognitive impairment and capacity issues
- Revocation of placement orders / discharge of care orders
Re S (A Child) (Interim Care Order: Residential Assessment) (Note)  1 WLR 925, sub nom Re S (Parenting Assessment)  2 FLR 575
Acted for the guardian before Sir James Munby (President of the Family Division) in a matter which set out the circumstances in which the 26 week time limit in care proceedings may be extended.
Recent cases include:
Re K  (unreported)
Acted for a guardian in a neglect case involving Polish and Korean parents. Issues of jurisdiction were resolved, and following assessment of the parents the child was rehabilitated to the care of the parents.
Re S  (unreported)
Acted for a local authority in a case involving a mother and father with learning difficulties and mental health problems who were unable to meet the needs of their baby. A SGO was granted in favour of a family member.
Re J  (unreported)
Led by Miss Branigan QC, acting for a local authority in a NAHI case where a child had suffered brain injury, and fractured ribs. Following a finding of fact hearing it was determined that the father caused the injuries to the child who was rehabilitated to the mother’s care.
Re B  (unreported)
Acted for a mother suffering from cerebral palsy and with learning difficulties who was in a relationship with a Schedule 1 offender who had committed serious sexual offending against children. The mother was represented through the OS before regaining capacity during the proceedings. Following assessment of the father, the mother did not oppose the making of care and placement orders.
Re W (Children)  EWFC B67
Acted for the local authority in a matter involving parental deceit, and the ability of a mother to protect her children from the harm presented by sexual offenders. Care and placement orders were granted.
Re H  (unreported)
Acted for a father where one of his children had a broken rib alleged caused by the parents. Following a 5-day fact-finding hearing it was determined that the father caused the injury and the mother was exonerated. The children were rehabilitated to the care of both parents after expert assessment of the father.
e G  (unreported)
Acted for an Achenese mother, with limited English, in care proceedings involving allegations of persistent physical abuse of 4 children, and cross allegations of domestic abuse between the parents. The mother alleged the father had raped her on multiple occasions. Following an 11 day fact-finding hearing the matter proceeded to a 6 day disposal hearing where 2 children remained with their father and 2 were made subject to Special Guardianship Orders.
Re T (A child)  Lexis Citation 129, EWFC B79
Acted for the guardian in care proceedings involving domestic violence and the propensity for the maternal family to collude, minimise or otherwise mislead the court and the local authority. Care and placement orders were granted in accordance with the guardian’s recommendations and analysis.
Private law team
Steven Howard represents clients at all stages of private law children disputes. He regularly represents parents and rule 16.4 guardians in disputes about the living arrangements for children, disputes about contact arrangements, and disputes about the exercise of parental responsibility. Steven is known for thorough preparation, being a pragmatic and practical advocate, and for his client care skills when dealing with vulnerable, demanding, and difficult clients.
Steven is experienced in representing parties in cases involving:
- Entrenched / intractable disputes
- Split hearings / finding of fact hearings
- Domestic violence and abuse including serious sexual abuse / offending
- Mental health problems and substance abuse issues impacting on child arrangements
- Removal from the jurisdiction
- Abduction and international issues
Re L (Costs of Children Proceedings)  EWCA Civ 1437,  1 FCR 477
Acted for the father at first instance with orders being granted for the children to live with him, for him to administer the children’s trust funds, and an order that the mother pay the costs of the proceedings. Thereafter acted for the father on an appeal brought by the mother in respect of the trust funds and the costs order. The mother’s appeal was allowed.
Recent cases include:
Re A  (unreported)
Acted for the father in High Court proceedings involving relocation of 2 children to New Zealand following the unexpected death of their mother in England. The father had lived in New Zealand for a number of years and his relationship with the children had faltered. Allegations were made against the father of serious domestic abuse including towards the children, and counter allegations were made by the children against the late mother’s partner of physical abuse. Both sides of the matter accused the other of attempting to influence the children and alienating them. Following a 7-day hearing it was ordered that the children would live with the father and permission was given to him to remove them permanently to New Zealand.
Re K  (unreported)
Acted for a father seeking contact with his young son. The mother alleged serial rape, domestic abuse, and made allegations that the father had an interest in and had accessed child pornography. Following a 4-day fact finding hearing at which all the allegations were dismissed save for minor admissions by the father, and findings were made against the mother of fabricating the allegations, a programme of re-introduction of contact progressing to staying contact was ordered.
Re F  (unreported)
Acted for a father and successfully prevented removal of a child to Ethiopia.
A frequent feature of Steven’s cases is domestic violence, often associated with other issues such as substance abuse or mental health problems.
Steven is experienced in advising in respect of non-molestation orders and occupation orders, and has appeared for applicants and respondents throughout these applications, from ex-parte application to final hearing. He has also appeared in applications to enforce those orders.
Steven is qualified to accept cases under the direct public access scheme. He accepts direct access instructions in suitable family cases to advise generally in respect of proceedings or proposed applications, to assist in the preparation of paperwork, and to represent clients at Court.