Family Law

Public Law Children - Nicholas is regularly instructed in complex care proceedings. He has a particular interest in cases involving disputed medical evidence (including suspicious death, factitious and induced illness, shaking and sexual abuse), jurisdictional and international issues, cultural/religious issues, human rights issues, and interfaces between the Family Court and the Court of Protection.

Private Law Children - Nicholas represents family members across the spectrum of private law disputes and has a particular interest in relocation cases.

Medical Treatment and ‘End of Life’ - Nicholas provides advice and representation, often at short notice, for NHS Trusts, local authorities and family members where the treatment plan for a child or vulnerable adult is in dispute.

Forced Marriage - Nicholas provides advice and representation, again often at short notice, for local authorities and family members in cases involving alleged forced marriage.

Matrimonial Finance - Nicholas has a particular interest in cases involving high net worth and/or hidden assets.

Safeguarding and Policy - Nicholas is regularly instructed by local authorities and other public authorities to advise on safeguarding and policy issues in connection with the discharge of responsibilities towards children and vulnerable adults. Recent instructions have involved serious case reviews, safeguarding adult reviews and financial support for family carers.

Court of Protection 

Court of Protection - Nicholas represents vulnerable adults (by litigation friends including the Official Solicitor), local authorities and family members. He has a particular interest in cases where the Court of Protection jurisdiction overlaps with the care or forced marriage jurisdictions. In September 2015, Nicholas chaired the Court of Protection Practitioners Association (CoPPA) annual national conference in Leeds.


  • Bencher (Middle Tempe) 2021
  • Authorised to sit as a Judge of the High Court under s.9(1) Senior Courts Act 1981 (2019)
  • Family Court Recorder 2016
  • Queen's Counsel 2015
  • Bar Standards Board Professional Conduct Committee 2014-2020


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • North Eastern Circuit


Nicholas is a lecturer at the Judicial College and provides regular updates on the law relating to children.
Nicholas regularly gives seminars for lawyers and safeguarding professionals, either on his own or in collaboration with other speakers. Recent topics have included ‘Advocacy and the Vulnerable’, ‘When Cultures Collide – When If Ever Should the State Intervene?’, ‘Re W and Nothing Else Will Do', ‘Jurisdiction Issues in Public Law, Private Law and Financial Remedy Cases', ‘The Perils of Social Media in Family Cases’, ‘Concurrent Care and Court of Protection Proceedings’ and 'The Care Act 2014 - Welfare and Safeguarding'.


  • 1993 Inns of Court School of Law
  • 1992 University College London, LLB (Hons)
  • 1982-1989 St Cuthbert’s High School, Newcastle Upon Tyne


Born and educated in Newcastle, Nicholas moved to London to read law and attend Bar School. He undertook pupillage and practised in specialist family law chambers in London before moving back to Newcastle in 1996 to join Trinity Chambers. 

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Clerking team

Steven Preen

Lead Family Clerk

0191 245 9551

Family & Immigration Clerk

0191 245 9531

Family Clerk

0191 245 9530


01642 247 569

Direct Access Clerk

01642 247 569
  • "His breadth of legal knowledge is impressive. He is a calm presence." "Nicholas is really well prepared and good on the law. He is a big leader on the circuit because he is well respected." "A superstar who is really bright, prepares well for his cases and produces excellent written work"

    Family, Chambers & Partners 2024

  • "A silk who is measured and persuasive in court, and always well prepared."

    Legal 500 2024

  • "Nicholas is a compelling advocate. He is thoroughly prepared, an impressive and effective advocate and is very thoughtful and considerate when dealing with vulnerable clients." "Nicholas is the go-to silk and has a stellar reputation both in the North East and nationally." "He is a well-rounded advocate "

    Family Law, Chambers UK 2023

  • "An iron fist in a velvet glove who reads the court well. His cross-examination in difficult cases is fantastic."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "An impressive silk - meticulous in preparation and persuasive in court. He is a personable and intelligent leader"

    Legal 500 2022

  • "He is an absolute joy to work with. His preparation is second to none." "He's extremely able, industrious and very popular with the entire Bar in Newcastle." "He is probably the best silk on the North Eastern Circuit. He is very personable, easy to work with and methodical as well as meticulous"

    Chambers & Partners 2022

  • "Stonor is widely admired for his work on complex child care proceedings. He holds a strong track record acting in the public sphere on cases involving complex medical, religious and cultural issues, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation. He is likewise experienced in private law children matters" ". “He is absolutely marvellous. He's really measured, clients really like him, and he's always really well prepared and great on his feet." "An excellent, persuasive advocate who works hard for his clients." "Nick is measured and forensic."

    Chambers & Partners 2021

  • "Leads in highly complex care cases."

    Legal 500 2021

  • "He has a really nice manner - not aggressive or confrontational but fights the case. As an advocate, he is really together."

    Chambers & Partners 2020

  • "Excellent to deal with and excellent in court. His client care shines through. Pleasant, professional and well prepared." "Very approachable and client-focused."

    Chambers & Partners 2019

  • "Highly recommended for public law children cases."

    Legal 500 2019

  • "He is magnificent! His bedside manner, the way he deals with the clients, is very special. He is a wonderful barrister." "One of the most able, pleasant, professional and well-prepared barristers on the circuit. A joy to watch in action!"

    Chambers & Partners 2018

  • "He is highly intelligent, conscientious and relates brilliantly to clients"

    Legal 500 2017

  • "Head of the family group, he is widely admired for his work on complex childcare proceedings. He regularly acts in the public sphere on cases involving complex medical, religious and cultural issues, including forced marriage. In addition to this, he also advises on divorce and private law children matters.” ”He is a superb performer, his preparation is fantastic and his manner with everyone is excellent: frankly, he's your dream silk!" "Such an excellent advocate, he's always thoroughly prepared and he offers fantastic courtroom presence and excellent cross-examination skills."

    Chambers & Partners 2017

  • "An expert in cases with complex medical evidence."

    Legal 500 2016

  • "He is remarkable: a fantastically well-prepared lawyer..." "He takes a very incisive line of questioning"

    Chambers & Partners 2016

  • "He is very approachable and extremely hardworking"

    Legal 500 2015

  • "Demonstrates specialist expertise in cases that have particularly complex medical components to the evidence. He frequently acts on behalf of guardians and family members, and is praised for his ability to establish an easy rapport with his clients. "He pays close attention to detail, and is always forensic and thorough in his preparation. He is a formidable adversary who is unfailingly courteous.""

    Chambers & Partners 2015

  • "Extremely calm and reassuring in the most trying of circumstances"

    Legal 500 2014

  • "Has particular expertise in cases involving complex medical evidence, including those involving shaking injuries and serious sexual abuse. He regularly receives instructions from family members, guardians and local authorities. "He is approachable and great with clients, and does an excellent job on very complex cases.""

    Chambers & Partners 2014

Re R (A Child) [2021] EWCA Civ 1019 (Moylan LJ, Baker LJ and Nugee LJ)

Acting for appellant local authority resulting in remission of child care proceedings for a rehearing. Appeal decision underlined the importance of undertaking a thorough balancing exercise and ensuring the test of ‘nothing else will do’ is not a short cut test as outlined by McFarlane LJ in Re W [2017] 2 FLR 31.

Re F (A Child) (Fact-Finding Appeal) [2019] EWCA Civ 1244 (Underhill LJ, Irewin LJ and Moylan LJ)

For father appealing against finding that he had smothered/compressed his child. The appeal involved complex medical evidence and issues relating to the status of a treating doctor giving expert evidence.

Re G-P (A Child) [2019] EWCA Civ 56 (Peter Jackson LJ, Leggatt LJ, Moor J)

Representing the mother resisting an appeal where the trial judge (at the conclusion of a 4 week fact-finding involving allegations of inflicted injury, sexual abuse, FII and neglect) had found that the intervener was responsible for inflicting serious head, hymenal and other injuries on the subject child.

Re AB (A Child) [2018] EWFC 3 (Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division)

Representing parents of child with life-limiting condition. Court of Appeal allowed appeal against care order. Guidance from President as to how local authorities should approach cases involving disputes in relation to medical treatment.

Re B (Children) EWCA Civ 23/08/17 (McFarlane, Thirlwall and Moylan LJJ)

For appellant local authority where trial judge’s interventionist approach had “crossed the line”.

Re WM [2017] EWCA Civ (17/03/17) (McFarlane LJ; Burnett LJ)

Representing 16 year old child appealing child arrangements order made by High Court Judge allowing child’s father to remove him to Australia.

Re A, B, C ,D, E and F (Children) [2017] 2 FCR 103 EWHC 35 (Fam) (Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division)

Representing the children in linked adoption applications following Scottish permanence orders. Guidance from the President as to resolution of ‘cross-border’ issues.

GD and others v. Wakefield MDC, West Yorkshire Police and Intervener [2016] EWHC 3312 (Cobb J)

Representing the children in care proceedings involving serious human rights breaches.

P v Local Authority [2016] EWHC 2779; [2016] 4 WLR 180 (Keehan J) [2017] 1 FLR 1589

Representing the local authority in connection with alleged human rights breach concerning Ward of Court. Guidance from Keehan J as to procedure and impact of statutory charge.

Re W (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 793; [2016] Fam Law 1213; [2017] 1 WLR 889 (Jackson LJ, McFarlane LJ, Lindblom LJ) [2017] 2 FLR 31 

Representing the child in appeal where High Court Judge had dismissed adoption application in favour of placement with family members. Guidance from the Court of Appeal as to true meaning of “nothing else will do” and overall welfare test.

Re H (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 921 (McFarlane LJ, Lindblom LJ)

Representing the father appealing care order made in relation to 10 year autistic child with complex needs.

County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust v. SS [2016] EWHC 535; [2016] Fam Law 685 (Cobb J)

Represented NHS Trust in application under the inherent jurisdiction for declarations relating to the medical treatment (including potential non-resuscitation) of a 7 year old child; treatment plan opposed by parents.

North Yorkshire County Council & Another v. MAG [2016] EWCOP 5; [2016] COPLR 346 (Cobb J)

Representing the local authority appealing the refusal of an application for the authorisation of the deprivation of liberty of a 35 year old man with autism, a learning disability and other complex difficulties, at the home where he had lived since 2006.

Re S (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 83; [2016] 3 FCR 40; [2016] Fam Law 441 (Black LJ, Gloster LJ, Vos LJ)   [2017] 1 FLR 1476

Representing the children in appeal against sexual abuse findings made in care proceedings.

Re C (Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Orders Relating to Children) [2012] EWHC 907; [2012] 2 FLR 1191 (Moylan J)

Representing the local authority in care proceedings where a Belgian court had ordered that the child should be summarily returned to Belgium.

M-W (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 12; [2010] 2 FLR 46 (Thorpe LJ, Wall LJ, Patten LJ) 

Representing the child supporting local authority’s appeal against decision to dismiss care proceedings.

Northumberland County Council v. Z, Y, X (By Her Children’s Guardian) and the Government of the Republic of Kenya [2009] EWHC 498; [2009] 2 FLR 696 (Munby J) 

Representing the local authority in care proceedings concerning a child who had been brought into the UK illegally; subsequent issue as to the disclosure of case materials to the police, immigration authorities and Kenyan authorities. 

Re B (Fact-Finding Hearing: Evidence) [2008] EWCA Civ 1547; [2009] 2 FLR 14 (Thorpe LJ, Lawrence Collins LJ, Goldring LJ))

Representing the local authority appealing the outcome of a fact-finding hearing within care proceedings.

Re S; Newcastle City Council v. Z [2005] EWHC 1490 (Fam); [2007] 1 FLR 861 (Munby J)

Representing the child in a freeing for adoption case where the mother opposed on religious grounds.

Y and K (Split Hearing: Evidence) [2003] EWCA Civ 669; [2003] 2 FLR 273 (Thorpe LJ, Hale LJ)

Representing the local authority appealing the outcome of a fact-finding hearing within care proceedings.

Re C (Leave to Remove from Jurisdiction) [2000] 2 FLR 457 (Morritt LJ, Thorpe LJ, Chadwick LJ)

Representing the mother on an appeal against the refusal of her request for permission to take her child to live abroad with her new husband.

C v. K (Inherent Powers: Exclusion Order) [1996] 2 FLR 506 (Wall J)

Representing a woman seeking the exclusion of her former partner from her home.