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Duncan Lewis appoints six new Family & Childcare Directors (3 February 2015)

Date: 03/02/2015
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Duncan Lewis appoints six new Family & Childcare Directors

Duncan Lewis are pleased to announce the recent appointments of seven London based law society children panel members and childcare specialists to its Board of Directors.

Ravi Mahey, Michelle Bird (Harrow office), Sarah Jopling, Frances Clare (Tooting office), Misbah Ali (Lewisham office), Kirsty Richards (Barnet office) and Kathy Walker (Croydon office) have all been appointed as Directors of Family & Childcare.

  • Ravi Mahey – childcare specialist with a particular expertise representing parents and young people involved in care proceedings involving a wide range of issues, including drug and alcohol misuse, violence, chronic neglect, mental health difficulties or mental incapacity and learning difficulties. Her practice involves a number of complex medical cases involving allegations of 'baby shaking', non-accidental injuries, attempted murder and also factitious illness syndrome. In addition to public law proceedings, Ravi acts for victims of domestic violence and regularly works with frontline aid workers/agencies with regards to the law, and coordinating various advice surgeries and clinics. Ravi has experience of complex child abduction matters. She is part of the central Family Court duty advocacy scheme and regularly represents her clients in the Family Proceedings Court, County Court and High Court.
  • Michelle Bird - possesses over 15 years’ experience in family, child care and Court of Protection proceedings and now practices in complex private family matters from the Duncan Lewis’ head office in Harrow. She is an advanced member of the Law Society in three areas of law; Private Children, Financial Relief Remedies and Domestic Violence. Michelle jointly leads our family & childcare team from Harrow.

  • Sarah Jopling - is a childcare expert and regularly represents parents, grandparents and extended family members in care proceedings. The nature of her cases has included dealing with clients with substance misuse issues, mental health difficulties, learning difficulties and other vulnerabilities. She has acted for children who have rare illnesses, and has represented parents and children in non-accidental injury cases and factitious illness cases. Sarah also has significant experience in Family Law. She was accredited as a Law Society Family Panel member in 2004, and in 2007 she became an accredited member of the Law Society Children Panel. In 2010 she became a Resolution accredited specialist in domestic violence and children work. Sarah jointly leads our family & childcare team from Duncan Lewis’ Tooting branch.
  • Frances Clare - childcare specialist and Law Society accredited Children Panel Member, Frances Clare practices from the company’s Tooting office in South London. She specialises in Public law childcare cases involving social services and regularly represents clients in children residence and contact disputes.

  • Misbah Ali - specialises in children proceedings in both public and private law. She has experience of dealing with cases of chronic neglect, sexual abuse and non-accidental injury. She conducts advocacy at both Family Proceedings Courts and County Courts across the South East of England. Misbah has over ten years post qualification experience practicing as a Family & Child Care Solicitor. She is on the Law Society's Children Panel and Family Law Panel and is therefore recognised by the Law Society as a specialist Child Care and Family Lawyer. She is a member of Resolution and committed to providing outstanding client care. Misbah takes part in voluntary work and has been providing pro bono advice to clients through various organisations since the start of her legal career. Misbah Ali leads the company’s family & childcare practice based in Lewisham / New Cross Gate.

  • Kathy Walker - has a significant practice in Croydon specialising in all aspects of childcare law and regularly represents victims of domestic violence in family matters. Kathy regularly represents children’s guardians, the child directly, parents, grandparents and family members in care proceedings, which have included non-accidental injury matters and issues of neglect, drug and alcohol misuse, emotional and physical harm. Kathy became a Member of the Law Society Children Panel in 2010 and is a member of Resolution, Nagalro and Baspcan (British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect).

  • Kirsty Richards - practising from the company’s Barnet office, specialises in representing parents and children in children care proceedings, including sexual abuse cases and non-accidental injury. She is a member of the Law Society Children Panel and recognised by the Law Society as a specialist Child Care lawyer. Kathy has been appointed to lead the childcare practice from the company’s newly opened office in Croydon.

Duncan Lewis’ family and childcare team has been recognised as a leading practice by Legal 500 UK 2014. The department specialises in all aspects of family and private children law matters, with a particular family specialism in representing victims of domestic abuse and assisting in financial matrimonial matters relating to the breakdown of a marriage/relationship. The company holds a broad practice representing parents, family members and children through their children’s guardian in all children public law proceedings and are regularly appointed by Guardians to represent babies and young children in cases involving severe non-accidental injuries, fictitious illnesses and allegations of sexual abuse. The company’s childcare specialists have conduct in high profile international child abduction cases and regularly practice in inherent jurisdiction/forum disputes, international relocation cases, cross border care proceedings and wardship proceedings for the return of children taken out of the jurisdiction.

Duncan Lewis currently has 39 law society accredited children panel members that practice from offices across London and throughout the UK. The firm is one of only a small number of firms that are on the Lord Chancellor’s International Child Abduction & Contact Panel (ICACU). ICACU is responsible for administering Hague Convention (Child Abduction) proceedings work in England.

Other recent Director appointments include London based Immigration judicial review specialists Gabor Nagy and Seher Toguz’s appointment as Directors of Immigration. Further, Commercial litigation specialist Sobashni de Silva and Personal Injury specialist Julie Leslie have also been appointed as Directors of Litigation. The company’s litigation department specialises in judicial review claimant work, professional negligence, clinical negligence, personal injury, dispute resolution matters and commercial litigation. Housing and Social Welfare law expert Heather Iqbal Rayner, from the company’s Cardiff based office, has been appointed as a Director of Housing. Nerys Thomas will be joining the company’s Cardiff branch on 2nd March 2015 as a Director of Mental Health and Litigation.

Duncan Lewis has 35 offices across London and throughout the UK. Established areas of law are: business immigration, child care, civil and commercial litigation, civil liberties, clinical negligence, community care, crime and fraud, dispute resolution, debt and insolvency, employment, family and divorce, housing, asylum and immigration, mental health, personal injury, prison law, professional negligence, public law and administrative law, regulatory matters and welfare benefits.

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