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Laila Bhunnoo , Duncan Lewis , Child Care Solicitor , Shepherds Bush

Laila Bhunnoo

Director & Solicitor

Contact Information

Profile / Experience

Awards Recommendation for Laila Bhunnoo
Legal 500 Chambers

Laila Bhunnoo is a Recognised Practitioner in the 2019 editon of Chambers and Partners UK for her work in Children: Public Law Matters, London firms.

Chambers UK 2019 Edition.
Child Care / London

"...very knowledgeable and organised..."

Legal 500 2019 Edition.
Family / London

Chambers UK recommends Laila as a 'Noted Practitioner' for her Children Public Law work throughout London

Chambers UK 2018 Edition.
Children: Public Law Matters / London

"Laila Bhunnoo is a calm lawyer who stays on top of her workload."

Legal 500 2017 Edition.
Family / London

Further, for the last five years consecutively, Laila has been ranked in The Legal 500 UK Edition for her expertise in childcare matters. Legal 500 has described her as providing ‘excellent representation of parents and children in care proceedings’ and b

Legal 500 2016 Edition.
Family / London
I am a Solicitor-Advocate and a Director in the Family and Childcare department. I specialise in representing parents, children’s guardians and children in all Children Act matters. My practice covers:
  • Special guardianship orders;
  • Care orders;
  • Supervision orders and emergency protection orders;
  • Adoption within the UK and overseas;
  • Child Abduction; and
  • Forced Marriage Protection Orders and FGM Orders.
Further, my work also covers same sex relationship issues, which arise specific to alternative families. Although I am based in the company’s Shepherd’s Bush office, I have a wide practice assisting publicly funded clients throughout London. I often advise and assist privately funded clients from the company’s central London office in Victoria.

I have significant experience representing vulnerable teenagers, often separately from their Guardian when a conflict has arisen. I develop a relationship with them as sometimes I am the only adult who they are able to trust. Working to build trust with young people takes time, which I am always happy to give as the court process can be a challenging one.

I am currently ranked by Chambers UK 2019, a Client’s Guide to the Legal Profession, as a recognised practitioner for my family work in London. Furthermore, for the last six years consecutively, I have been recommended by The Legal 500 UK Edition for my expertise in childcare matters. The legal directories describe me as providing ‘excellent representation of parents and children in care proceedings’ and being ‘compassionate and insightful’.

I am a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel as a Children Representative and I am an experienced advocate with Higher Rights of Audience, which entitles me to represent my clients at all levels of Courts. I am repeatedly the ‘solicitor of choice’ for Children Guardians in connection with Rule 16.4 appointments. I am often appointed in culturally complex cases – being one of the few Asian specialists in this area.

I have been interviewed on television, by Huw Edwards on BBC News in October 2012 for my views regarding child protection throughout England & Wales, in light of the revelations of Jimmy Saville, and whether there had been changes throughout the decades. I frequently contribute legal articles on various websites.

I was awarded Employer of the Year 2011 and 2016 by the National Mentoring Consortium for my work with the University of Westminster law students; mentoring BME university students to help them achieve a better understanding of the work place and developing their skills through increasing confidence in their own abilities.

Education

  • The College of Law, Lancaster Gate, 1992-1993
  • Law Society Finals
  • LLB (Hons) at University of Westminster, 1989 – 1992: (2:1)

Career

  • Director at Duncan Lewis, October 2016
  • Solicitor – Advocate/Director at Duncan Lewis, June 2003 – March 2014
  • Admitted as a Solicitor, 1997

Testimonials

  • "I have worked with Laila as a children’s Guardian. Not only does Lalia have an in-depth knowledge of the law she is a powerful advocate and possesses facilitation skills which combine to serve the children she represents extremely well. What makes her exceptional is her willingness to go the extra mile. In a recent case where she acted for the child, she argued for the paternal grandmother who was unrepresented, to have a second appointment with a solicitor. In order to obtain legal advice on the financial assessment and support plan that was filled the night before the final hearing and had not reached the grandmother. This was supported by the Judge and the hearing was relisted. Laila’s intervention greatly benefited the child who deserved a well thought support package and clear wording on the contact arrangements.The grandmother expressed to me how grateful she was for Laila’s intervention and thoughtfulness. On the same case she addressed the court on the mother’s bravery in recognising her young child’s needs in agreeing to the Special Guardianship Order. Laila has the ability while maintaining her professional role and responsibilities to show genuine human thoughtfulness." - Ann Haigh, Children’s Guardian, Former Chair of NAGALRO

  • "Laila is gracious calm, focused on helping to ensure the information required to make informed decisions is in front of the court. Laila understands the need to see child within the wider context of the parties represented in public law proceedings and the needs of parents to have an effective voice as well as placing the child at the forefront when representing children’s guardians. Laila is vocal about the rights of individuals and the role of female lawyers in having an effective role within the legal framework and is a strong advocate when representing a case in court. Laila is easy to work with. She is calm, and listener and will approach each case from an individual perspective and cares passionately about her role within difficult and challenging work and decision making. Laila has an easy working relationship, always ready to discuss a case, review the way forward, reflect upon the decision making and in a timely manner. She is a pleasure to work with." - Guardian, CAFCASS

  • "Laila combines an excellent working knowledge of the law with an empathetic ability to understand the needs of clients. She is a strong advocate in court and a wise adviser outside of court. This has been of particular benefit with regard to complex cases. One can depend on her ability to move cases forward towards positive outcomes with a pragmatic and realistic approach which focuses on the needs of children. She has particular skills in communicating with children and young people, and clients who have specific needs. She is amongst the best family solicitors I have worked with."

  • "I find working with Laila extremely easy, with a good understanding of what the role of the Guardian is and how to work collaboratively. She is efficient, accessible and clear in analysing the issues in a case and the management of it. She is an excellent advocate in court and manages the differing positions of the parties with clarity - a real pleasure to work with."

  • I have worked with Laila over a number of years and would always recommend her highly as someone who is approachable, immensely professional and hugely experienced. Laila is supportive in her engagement with colleagues and clients alike. She works hard and in a very child-centred way to get the best possible outcomes for the children and families that we work with."

  • "Laila is a strong advocate for children and young people and works skillfully with children from different communities. She is very professional and I feel confident in instructing her in the full range of applications in children’s cases."

  • Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of the children, I really appreciated your clarity, confidence and experience, as well as your passionately child focused approach."

Awards

  • Recommended Individual - The Legal 500, 2019 edition - Family/London
  • Recommended Individual - The Legal 500, 2017 edition - Family/London
  • Recognised Practitioner - Chambers and Partners UK, 2019 edition - Children: Public Law Matters
  • Recognised Practitioner - Chambers and Partners UK, 2016 edition - Children: Public Law Matters

Membership & Accreditations

  • Law Society’s Children Panel
  • Association of Lawyers for Children
  • Resolution

Interests

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Charitable events
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