Vanessa Meachin

Vanessa Meachin

Call 1990

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Vanessa was called in 1990. She is a family law specialist and has developed a practice in which she enjoys the considerable mix of care, adoption, family finance and private law children act applications. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal at regular intervals in her career. Since 2009 she has been a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit (Family and Civil). She is a pupil supervisor and regular speaker at seminars. She is a member of ALC, CoramBaaf and FLBA. She is an affiliate member of Resolution. She accepts instructions under direct access.

Care and Adoption - Public Law

Vanessa is experienced in complex public law cases under the children and adoption legislation. She has 26 years of experience of appearing for parents, other relatives, local authorities and children. She routinely appears in the High court in relation to cases relating to the death of a child by various mechanisms (including shaking, suffocation, possible consumption of drugs or infection caused by starvation). In other cases, where the child has not died, she has considerable experience of allegations of serious physical abuse (burns, bruising, head injuries, multiple fractures and attempted suffocation) sexual abuse (parent and or sibling), emotional abuse (including allegations of demonic possession), neglect, domestic violence and factitious illness. These cases will routinely involve the cross examination of a number of medical experts from multi disciplines.

She has acted in cases where the welfare of the children has required exploration and assessment of relatives abroad. This has included consideration of jurisdictional issues as between England and Wales and countries such as Iraq, Latvia and Lithuania.

She has acted in such cases involving Human Trafficking and cases involving the use of the Inherent Jurisdiction to enable a child to be securely accommodated in another country.

Her practice has included protective orders for young females encompassing forced marriage, female genital mutilation, declarations that a marriage was unlawful (coercion and rape) and reporting restriction orders.

She has represented parents from differing economic, cultural, social background and ages. Some may have issues such as drug, alcohol dependency, mental health difficulties, language difficulties or a combination of these problems.


Over the last 26 years Vanessa has accumulated extensive experience in applications arising in financial remedies, Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and more recently disputes involving civil partners. Her financial remedy work has included applications to set aside consent orders and presenting or opposing appeals. She is required routinely to conduct cases involving parties of medium to high net worth, business accounts, forensic expert reports and pension issues. Some interesting points have included consideration of the implications for a Wife following a foreign divorce, the consequences following a spouse's bankruptcy, an application to enforce maintenance arrears once the Husband’s mortgage fraud was identified and the approach to a personal injury award as a resource for the Husband.

Vanessa will often be instructed at an early stage when attempts are being made to resolve the financial aspect of separation, before court proceedings have been issued.

Vanessa has also been instructed to deal with other matters within the parties’ dispute including successfully resisting applications to set aside entitlement to decree nisi in two separate cases.

Her clients have been from a wide background including those with physical or mental disability. These have involved instructions being taken from a Deputy acting for the protected party (P) or from the Official Solicitor.

Private Law

Vanessa has wide experience in private law applications, including cases where serious allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse (against either the partner and or the child) or emotional abuse (against either the partner and or the child) and parental alienation have featured.

These cases have often included other issues such as the local authority becoming involved with the family, consideration of the child or children being separately represented and implacable hostility being shown by one parent to the other post separation. Vanessa has been involved in cases where the court has contemplated and changed the child’s living arrangements following a determination that the parent with care has been attempting to alienate the child from the other parent.

Vanessa has also been involved in cases featuring permission for children to travel out of the jurisdiction whether permanently or temporarily. Her cases have involved such varied countries as Kenya, Thailand, Australia and Spain.


Vanessa is ranked in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. In more detail:

Chambers and Partners

“Absolutely excellent, her preparation is second to none and her advocacy is excellent” “Forensic, detailed and good with clients” (2017)

"She is a very good and thorough advocate who can argue a point clearly in court and is willing to fight those 50/50 cases". "She is very good at finance cases - very experienced, thorough and prepared" (2016)

“A well-prepared and robust advocate, very client friendly and skilled at cross examination”. “she does everything in family law and handles it brilliantly” (2015)

"She's really good on a case where you've got a real fight on your hands" (2014)

“Vanessa Meachin in hailed for her committed and dogged approach and clients are particularly pleased to find a barrister who fights their corner with such vigour. Her practice encompasses care, matrimonial finance and private law children act applications” (2013)

Vanessa Meachin “draws praise as an excellent and knowledgeable barrister who is really good with clients and court staff. Her broad experience allows her to undertake work relating to child care and adoption as well as matrimonial finance” (2012)

“She specialises in high net worth ancillary relief and has particular experience in cases involving business assets” and “her knowledge, experience and gravitas puts clients at ease” (2011)

Legal 500

Vanessa is ranked in family and children as a leading junior (ranked tier 1)

“Her practice spans care, adoption, finance and private law children cases” (2016)

"Extremely competent and well versed in the law and procedure" (2014)

The "client-friendly" Vanessa Meachin has an "encyclopaedic knowledge of the law" (2013)

“Vanessa Meachin is a strong advocate who also has a keen eye for settlement opportunities” (2012)

“Vanessa Meachin’s sensible approach often assists settlement but she is prepared for a contest if necessary” (2011)

“Vanessa Meachin consistently delivers quality advice and representation in a personable but business-like manner” (2010)

Notable Cases

Re C (a child) [2016] EWFC B110

A local Authority V AB and others [2015] All ER (D) 14

A Local Authority v X and a Child [2013] EWHC 3274 (Fam)/ [2014] 2 FLR 123

Birmingham City Council v AG and A [2009] EWHC 3720 (Fam)/[2010] 2 FLR 580

Re B (Appeal: lack of reasons) [2003] EWCA Civ 881/ [2003] 2 FLR 1035

Re D [2015] All ER (D) 136

Re D (Appeal: Procedure: Evidence) [2015] EWCA Civ 409/ [2016] 1 FLR 249

Re G (Leave to Appeal: Jurisdiction) [1999] 1 FLR 771

Re K (A child: Therapy) [2013] All ER (D) 367

Re K (Wardship: Publicity) [2014] 1 FLR 548

Re K (Wardship: Publicity) (No 2) [2013] EWHC 3748 (Fam)/[2014] 2 FLR 310

Re R (Placement order) [2007] EWHC 3031 (Fam) [2008] 1 FLR 1259

Re W (a child) (removal at birth: contact) [2013] All ER (D) 254

Professional Bodies

  • ALC
  • BAAF
  • FLBA