Private Law (Child Arrangements Programme)

If you and the other parent have separated and/or are divorcing, we have a number of barristers who can help and support you throughout proceedings relating to arrangements for your children. Our experienced Family Law team frequently deals with disputes between parents or other family members where contact has broken down, and we can provide advice and representation in all cases concerning arrangements for children (which used to be known as contact and residence).

Resolving disagreements

If you have already separated or are in the process of separating, and cannot agree, for example, who your children should live with or how and when they should spend with the other parent, we can help resolve the disagreement.

We can also represent you if you (or the other parent) want to move abroad or to another part of the country with your child, or if you disagree with how your child is being educated or over matters of religion.

Serious allegations

Sometimes these circumstances also involve allegations against a parent of domestic violence, physical, emotional or sexual abuse or of alcohol or substance abuse. Whether the allegations are about you or the other parent, we can help by advising and representing you.

These are emotive issues, and our Family Law team members pride themselves on their experience and their ability to give practical and objective advice and support. These cases often involve many complex levels of allegations and counter-allegations, and emotions can run high. It’s not unusual for the relationship between you and your former partner to have become extremely hostile and it might feel as though reaching agreement is impossible.

Many of our Barristers who specialise in these areas have children themselves, and have built their reputations on their sensitive approach resolving these arguments involving the future care and wellbeing of children.

Our expertise:

  • Adoption
  • Disputes over schooling
  • Enforcing visiting rights
  • International relocation applications
  • Medical treatment
  • Name-change
  • Parental orders
  • Shared care agreements
  • Supervised visiting arrangements.

Case Studies

Representing grandparents in application for a CAO

Melanie successfully represented the grandparents in an application for permission to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order. The matter was listed for a fully contested hearing. The fully contested hearing was vacated and a final Child Arrangements Order was negotiated and agreed by consent.

Helping a Mother vary contact to ensure supervision

Marie acted for a Mother in an application where her former partner, the Father of their child, had made an application to enforce a CAO for him to spend time with the child, made by consent last year.   The order provided for contact to be ‘supported’ at a contact centre, however, the Mother was Continue reading

Supervised contact with a Father with alcohol misuse issues

Marie represents the Mother in a case where the children have been seeing their Father on a supervised basis over a number of years, after the end of the parties’ relationship. This was as a result of concerns about his alcohol misuse, as well as domestic abuse allegations. At the FHDRA the court listed the Continue reading

Maintaining CAO against a history of domestic violence

John acted for the respondent Mother following threats to the safety of the parties and the child. His representation involved him in liaising with the Police, the opponent, the Local Authority, and schools. He successfully negotiated a favourable settlement on behalf of his client.

Private Law (Child Arrangements Programme) Articles

What is a ‘shared care’ or ‘lives with/lives’ child arrangement order and what does it mean in practical terms?

Introduction One of the areas that I am most often asked about by my clients is the concept of shared care order or lives with /lives with child arrangement order. There are many myths about it and what it means and often people are quite confused about the implications. Custody/ residence / ‘lives with’ orders Continue reading

Private Law (Child Arrangements Programme) Testimonials

I just wanted to say a big thank you for the last couple of days. You have been amazing. We appreciate it is a difficult situation and would be really happy if you could represent again for the next hearing.


Ms M Instructing Clive Styles through the Direct Access Scheme – November 2021

I just wanted to send a quick message to say thank you for all your help and your clerks during this process. I couldn’t have done it without you

Mr A Instructing Clive Styles through the Direct Access Scheme – October 2021

From zero experience with proceedings of any kind, I’ve gone to actually gaining custody of my son!

I really appreciate that result which I didn’t even think was possible. You kept me grounded about the low likelihood of that success but also really focussed my mind about what I wanted out of the Court process.

I just wanted to say thanks again. You represented me impeccably.

Mr M Instructing Louisa Adamson through the Direct Access Scheme – September 2021

Ms Andrews has supported me through a very long and difficult court process. Ms Andrews always put me at ease during meetings, on the phone and in court.  She is supportive, honest and her advice always centred around the best for my child. Ms Andrews was sensitive to my case and really took the time to understand my family situation, she went above and beyond. She was always clear with her advice and always took the time to answer any questions and explain the court process.

I couldn’t of got through the process without her! I would highly recommend her services.

During the process I also had regular contact with Ms Andrew’s clerk Arron Smith, I always found Arron very efficient and always willing to help. He was very quick with his responses and nothing was too much trouble. This made the very stressful court process easier. I can’t thank them enough!

Ms P Instructing Melanie Andrews through the Direct Access Scheme – July 2021

I instructed Kevin for my final hearing. There were lots of issues and some new issues. It seem impossible to cover all the issues in one day. Kevin was able to understand my case, give child friendly advise and was able to separate real issues from those that don’t matter. I got a satisfactory out which will bring long term stability for my Son. Thank you Kevin

Mr B instructing Kevin Jackson through the Direct Access Scheme – March 2021

“I am extremely happy and satisfied with the service I have received from Mr Jackson Counsel and the Clerks. Very professional and extremely supportive and helpful. I would recommend Becket Chambers, Mr Jackson to anyone in need of Counsel.

I cannot thank Mr Jackson enough for his dedication to the case, his work and his Clerks also. I have felt very listened to, guided and hugely supported during a very difficult time. Mr Jackson, I know has gone above and beyond in order to explain the legal system to me and work in the most cost effective way for me, for that I am extremely grateful.

Thank you very much for your professional and outstanding service”

Mrs H Instructing Kevin Jackson through the Direct Access Scheme – December 20

“I would like to say how pleased I am with the work that Mr. Kevin Jackson provided for me. Not only was Mr. Jackson efficient and helpful, he also helped me feel at ease on a very stressful day and had an extensive legal knowledge which helped provide me with a favourable outcome at court. I would recommend Mr. Jackson to anyone looking for a barrister”

Mrs W Instructing Kevin Jackson through the Direct Access scheme – December 20

“For what was the most stressful period of my life, Mr Styles was able to provide a reassuring presence.and I always believed he would achieve the best outcome for my family.  The case involved a particularly belligerent litigant in person, yet he was handled firmly, but fairly.

Under the direct access scheme, dealing with the court paperwork can still be quite onerous, but Mr Styles was on hand  to explain things to me, which saved me the additional costs of using a solicitor.  English is not my first language, but Mr Styles was very clear in his discussions with me.

I always felt that Mr Styles was in control of the situation no matter how difficult the other party tried to make it. He managed my expectations throughout, and often came up with pragmatic and workable solutions, including saving further costs by persuading the Judge to cancel the second day of the final hearing.

Now that I have come out the other side of the process, I am glad that I was your client.

I would be happy to recommend you and your firm to handle family proceedings.”

Ms S Instructing Clive Styles – April 2018

“Thank you so much for your help in getting this all agreed today.

I appreciated your views, advice and suggestions-they helped to take the stress out of this as it is emotional.”

Ms R Instructing Louisa Adamson through DPA scheme – March 18

“Without you we would not have got as far as we did.

It has been a pleasure working with you and as I said I will be recommending you to anyone that needs your help.”

Mr F Instructing Edward Kenny through DPA scheme

“I can not thank Marie enough, she was very friendly and knowledgable and I could not be happier with the outcome.”

Mr G Instructing Marie Crawford through DPA scheme – January 18

“We have been having Mike Batt on direct access acting for us in private law proceedings.  Mr Batt has been very professional in all his work in acting for us. Mr Batt has acted for us before in child proceeding’s and he knew the case, so for us we wanted him to see the case through. We would like to take this chance to also Thank Mike Batt for all his hard work and seeing this through to the end and hopefully put closure to it. We would highly recommend him to anyone in the same situation and would certainly use him again if the need arose.

Thank you once again.”


Ms S Instructing Michael Batt – October 2017

“I sought the services of Mr Jackson for my final Child Arrangements hearing via the Direct Access Scheme and found his representation to be invaluable. His professionalism and knowledge of the court is without question. From the outset, Mr Jackson demonstrated a solid understanding of the key issues surrounding the case and provided me with sound advice and clarity of direction that ultimately facilitated a successful outcome of equal, shared-care. I found his direct and honest approach to be unambiguous and reassuring, helping me to make some sense of; and; to take some stress out of the process. In short, his advice was right on the mark. I would wholeheartedly recommend Mr Jackson’s services for anybody experiencing the child arrangements process.”

Mr H Instructing Kevin Jackson – April 17

“Following an acrimonious separation, I sought the representation of Louisa for my FDHRA and Second Child Arrangements hearing via the Direct Access Scheme. The court process is very stressful and the system can be quite complex. However, I found Louisa’s support to be invaluable, helping me to make sense of the process and find a way forward to protect the interests of my daughter, pending a final outcome. Throughout the process, Louisa offered me clarity and understanding. As a true professional, she listened to my concerns and worked hard to take the heat out of matters, whilst putting the interests of the child foremost at all times. Overall, I felt she went above and beyond what I expected in providing support and direction to me and would recommend her services to any parent experiencing the court system.”

Mr H Instructing Louisa Adamson – April 17

“Thank you so very much for today, I was very happy with the outcome. I felt as though my voice was heard, it is such an important matter to me, thank-you.”


Ms T Instructing Clive Styles through DPA scheme – March 17

“I am very grateful indeed for all of your efforts in this business. And to the solicitor who recommended you. She said you were the man she would want on her side if she was in a jam like this. And she was quite right. If I ever meet anyone who needs your help I shall be sending them your way.”

Mr B instructing Philip Newton through DPA scheme – February 17

“….Excellent in all areas….financially it was less expensive….I personally felt that because I was able to have direct contact with the barrister that communicating was easier, I felt in control of what was said and put across, essentially it was cutting out the middleman….definitely worth it….”

Mrs S Instructing Louisa Adamson – August 16

“Thank you so much for your help with this. You certainly had a calming and reassuring effect  throughout the process. I am immensely grateful for the overall outcome …”

Ms C Instructing Kevin Jackson – September 16