Samantha is a Partner and Head of the Children Law Team, advising clients on all aspects of children law. She is experienced in assisting a range of clients including vulnerable adults and children and handles cases in an empathetic yet practical manner.
Samantha has Higher Courts (Civil Proceedings) advocacy rights and is an experienced advocate, representing children, parents and family members in court. She is a Resolution trained Mediator and is committed to helping clients match the legal process best suited to their needs, avoiding court proceedings where that is possible.
She has been described as being "completely committed to her clients and is flexible and imaginative in the way she handles cases" (Chambers 2011) and a "very sensible and committed children lawyer who is a joy to work with" (Chambers 2012). Chambers 2013 note that she is "a hard-working and highly able lawyer who is empathetic and professional." She is described as "a superb lawyer who works tirelessly for clients" and "clear thinking and client focused" (Chambers 2014). Samantha is also recommended by Legal 500 (2013) who describe her as 'one of London's "go-to" specialists for complex children's issues'.
Samantha's experience includes:
- Advising parents and family members in cases concerning residence and contact disputes and any aspect of a child's upbringing where there is a disagreement, for example where one parent wishes to take a child abroad to live, or where a parent wishes to change the child's name or school or take the child for a medical operation or course of treatment.
- Acting for children in complex cases concerning disputes between their parents or family members about contact and residence and other matters.
- Adoption cases where family members wish to adopt children within the family or where people wish to adopt children from care. She has also assisted foster carers who wish to adopt the children in their care. Samantha has experience in inter-country adoption and recently successfully completed a case where an American couple based in the USA applied to adopt a family member living in the UK.
- Acting for children upon their direct instruction in care cases where there is a divergence of views between the child and the Child's Guardian.
- Acting in a recent case where a complex issue arose regarding evidence to be given by a vulnerable witness and the use of intermediaries in the Family Court.
- Samantha has a wealth of experience in public law care cases (where the local authority intervenes in family life to protect children).These are often difficult cases - for example, where there are issues of parental drug and alcohol addiction, a mental health or learning difficulty or where there are allegations that a child has been harmed by a parent.
Samantha is experienced in assisting clients at all stages of the case, from initial advice (often in emergency situations) to representation in Court, undertaking her own advocacy in many cases.
Samantha is accredited to the Law Society's Children Panel (since 1998) and is a member of the ALC (Association of Lawyers for Children) and Resolution (formerly the Solicitors' Family Law Association). She does committee work and training for Resolution and is a member of the Surrey Local Family Justice Board and assists with training for the Board. Samantha has lectured this year on case law updates and on the recent legal changes.
Samantha won the Family Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in 2008.
She studied law at the University of Birmingham and completed her legal training in London in 1993. She joined Russell-Cooke in 2000 and has been a Partner since 2004.