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 member of the Law Society’s Children Panel (since 1998) and is a Resolution accredited specialist (in public law and adoption). She trained as a Resolution mediator and is committed to helping clients match the legal process best suited to their needs, avoiding court proceedings where that is possible.
Samantha advises parents about family creation, surrogacy and parental orders and has been involved in a number of cases where errors in the actions of fertility clinics have led to difficulties with legal parentage, resulting in court applications for declarations of parentage. She has also represented applicants in international surrogacy cases including two involving Iran.
In Chambers UK (2019) Samantha is described by one source as "top of the tree." Another source notes that "She is exceptionally knowledgeable in all areas of children law, and applies that knowledge with great analytical skill". She specialises in children issues such as declaration of parentage, surrogacy, and both domestic and international adoption. Interviewees praise her "extremely good judgement" and note that "she has this wonderful combination of being both forceful and flexible".
Samantha is ranked as a leading individual in The Legal 500 (2019) and described as a "brilliant children’s lawyer whose ‘knowledge is second to none".
She 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 a member of Resolution’s Legal Aid Committee and she provides training on children law issues for Resolution. She is a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children and speaks at the annual conference on legal aid issues.
She joined Russell-Cooke in 2000 and has been a partner since 2004.
- 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
- 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 case where a complex issue arose regarding evidence to be given by a vulnerable witness and the use of intermediaries in the Family Court
- 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
- She is "extremely bright, very good at client care and has an enormous work ethic," according to sources. She specialises in children issues such as declaration of parentage, surrogacy, and both domestic and international adoption. Interviewees praise her "extremely good judgement" and note that "she has this wonderful combination of being both forceful and flexible", Chambers UK (2018)
- Chambers UK (2017) say she is "extremely experienced solicitor and advocate" in the public law and international adoption space, and is considered "a real leader in this field". Market commentators say she is "a superstar care practitioner" and "an excellent tactician".
- Recognised in The Legal 500 (2017) as a 'leader in her field'. Described as "gets to grips with complex cases very quickly, and has been involved in the groundbreaking set of cases involving errors at fertility clinics. She deservedly has a superb reputation for hard work and sensitivity"
- Accredited to the Law Society's Children Panel since 1998
- Member of the ALC (Association of Lawyers for Children)
- Member of Resolution (formerly the Solicitors' Family Law Association)
- Listed in the Thomson Reuters 'London Super Lawyers' lists 2014 and 2015
- Chambers UK (2015) comment that "sources admire her dedication to her clients' interests in difficult cases".
- Described as "a superb lawyer who works tirelessly for clients" and "clear thinking and client focused" Chambers UK (2014)
- Chambers UK (2013) note that she is "a hard-working and highly able lawyer who is empathetic and professional"
- Noted as being a "very sensible and committed children lawyer who is a joy to work with" Chambers UK (2012)
- Described as being "completely committed to her clients and is flexible and imaginative in the way she handles cases" Chambers UK (2011)
- The Legal 500 (2016) comments that she has “vast experience of complex children cases”
- The Legal 500 (2014) praised her "empathy and intellectual rigour"
- Recommended by The Legal 500 (2013) who describe her as "one of London's "go-to" specialists for complex children's issues"
- Previous winner of the Family Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in 2008
- Studied law at the University of Birmingham and completed her legal training in London in 1993