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Sophie Burchett, Duncan Lewis

Sophie Burchett

Solicitor

Contact Information

Profile / Experience

I am a Solicitor in the Family and Childcare department at Duncan Lewis' Shepherd’s Bush branch. I am also a Resolution trained Family Mediator (all issues). As a solicitor I specialise in both public and private law children matters, representing children, parents, grandparents and extended family members in a wide range of matters. I have considerable experience representing parties in care proceedings where the concerns relate to domestic violence, neglect, drug and alcohol misuse and mental illness. I have also represented both parents and children in cases involving non-accidental injury and fabricated or induced illness. I also advise and undertake work in adoption matters.

I also have extensive experience in domestic violence work and in private law children matters, representing parents, grandparents and extended family members on applications for protective non-molestation orders, child arrangement orders, prohibited steps, specific issue orders and special guardianship orders. I am also regularly instructed by appointed children's guardians to represent children who have been joined as a party in the most complex private-law children matters, including in protracted and acrimonious disputes relating to contact and live with arrangements.

I work with vulnerable clients, including those with learning difficulties and mental illness and have been instructed by the Official Solicitor where the client lacks the capacity to conduct proceedings. My work also covers matters related to children with physical, mental and learning disabilities.

I returned to Duncan Lewis as a Solicitor in October 2016, having started my legal career here, training and qualifying as a Solicitor in 2010.

I am an accredited member of the Law Society's Children Panel.

Where possible, I conduct my own advocacy in both public and private law matters.

I am also a Resolution-trained Family Mediator, able to offer 'all issues' mediation regarding all types of children, finances and property disputes. Having considerable experience dealing with a wide range of family disputes through my role as a solicitor and being committed to committed to resolving family disputes fairly and amicably and with the parties and any children remaining the primary focus, where appropriate I am able to encourage and provide the opportunity for out-of-court settlement rather than litigation. I have established a sub-department within the firm, offering competitively priced family mediation to those in need and am able to facilitate sessions at the majority of the firm's London offices.

I am a Mediator member of Resolution.

Education

  • Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law School - (Merit)
  • LLB(Hons) at University of Kent, Canterbury - (2:1)
  • Mediation Foundation Training - Resolution

Career

  • Trained as a Family Mediator (all issues) - Foundation Training (Resolution), July 2018
  • Duncan Lewis Solicitors, 2008-present
  • Admitted as a solicitor, October 2010

Notable Cases

High Court
  • Case no: 2018/0206 - Mother's appeal of decision of HHJ Tolson QC - I represented the subject child, through his guardian in private law children proceedings relating to his father’s applications to enforce an existing Child Arrangement Order and to vary this order seeking for the child to move to live with him. The mother had also made an application to vary the existing CAO. Serious allegation had been made against the father by the mother, including those relating to sexual conduct, and physical and emotional harm. A fact-finding hearing took place in May 2018; no findings were made. The final hearing took place in October 2018 and a final order was made on 3 December 2018; with the Court ordering a change of ‘live with’ arrangements for the child. The child was to move to live with father. The mother was granted permission to appeal by the High Court. The appeal was refused. The mother then sought permission to appeal the President's decision and a further stay was granted until 12 April 2019 to enable her to opportunity to appeal to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The mother did so, however permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, which was refused on 17 April 2019. The child is therefore now to move to live with his father in Belfast, and spend time with his mother, pursuant to the original final order made in December 2018.

Membership & Accreditations

  • The Law Society Children Law Panel
  • Resolution - mediator member

Interests

  • Playing tennis
  • Travelling
  • Organising and participating in various charity events and challenges
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