Tel: 0191 232 1927
Sue has practised in the field of family law exclusively for approximately 25 years during which time she has built up a high profile practice.
Experienced in carrying a heavy caseload and instructed to act on behalf of most local authorities in the region in respect of care proceedings brought across all tiers of the Family, she also regularly acts for vulnerable adults and adolescents, Guardians and parents in respect of proceedings concerning their welfare and that of their children.
She has a wealth of experience in conducting proceedings involving non-English speaking ethnic minorities of differing cultures, and where the jurisdiction of the court is subject to challenge. She also has vast experience in representing vulnerable adults and children where mental illness/disability features including involvement of the Court of Protection.
Her cases regularly involve allegations of serious non accidental injury, domestic abuse including rape and sexual abuse of children.
She is experienced in preparing legal argument in respect of proceedings in the Court of Appeal, applications for special measures including children giving evidence, and in circumstances where it is argued that sensitive information ought not be disclosed into the proceedings.
Sue sits as a Recorder in the Family Court trying both Public and Private Law Proceedings and in the Crown Court, and has recently been appointed as a fee paid judge of the First Tier Tribunal Health Education and Social Care Chamber authorised to hear cases concerning restricted patients.
Instructed on behalf of the children's Guardian in a case involving the death of an infant in a trial lasting four weeks and involving complex medical expert opinion, Sue's insistence that a particular expert be called to give oral evidence enabled the judge to conclude that the mother had been responsible for the death.
Represented a father in a case of fabricated and induced illness. Split hearing lasting a total of six weeks; after a fact-finding hearing persuaded the local authority to abandon any findings against the father and subsequently successfully argued for the return of the child to his care despite initial opposition from the local authority and the children's Guardian.
Represented a mother who, jointly with the father faced an allegation of causing injury to their infant son. Successfully argued for the return of the child to the mother in the face of opposition from the local authority, the expert and the children's Guardian.
Represented local authority in care proceedings concerning a Slovakian child living with family members in Newcastle, allegations of scapegoating, abusive treatment and neglect, jurisdictional issues and complex factual evidence.
Represented a Mother, the ex partner of a violent and dangerous criminal, and who was at risk of serious violence and intimidation throughout proceedings. Level or risk required the protection of the identity of professionals and witnesses.
Represented local authority, in care proceedings Care Plan foster care. Child, a teenager who wished to return home. Advised and assisted with the formulation of a phased rehabilitation package; enabling the child to buy in to the care plan. Social workers reported they were impressed at their representation which was very child focused.
Represented local authority in secure accommodation application concerning of young adolescent who had been subject to child sexual exploitation and part of a high profile police investigation. Trial judge approved the Local Authority Plan for a short order backed by exit plan, despite determined opposition from Police, commenting subsequently that this one of the most impressive examples advocacy by local authority counsel.
Represented local authority in respect of care proceedings concerning a severely disabled and non-verbal child believed to be a victim of sexual assault. Independent expert report cast doubt on the original findings, balanced the potential risk of harm against the undoubted emotional damage of removal; Upon instructions successfully argued that continuing family placement subject to very robust protection plan correct outcome despite opposition from the Guardian.
Recorder: Family Court 2008
Recorder: Crown Court 2012
Fee Paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal Health Education and Social Care Chamber
North Eastern Circuit
Family Law Bar Association
Sue was born and educated in Tynemouth and is local to the area in every respect. She began her legal career as solicitor working in a general practice in North Shields before spending time as a prosecuting solicitor and then transferring to the Bar.
She has lived in Northumberland for a number of years and has an interest in rural issues.