The Liver Building

2024 Private Child Law Conference (Hybrid)


Speaker: Various

Date: Wednesday 11th September, 2024

Time: 09:30 - 15:00

Areas of Law: Family

Competencies: B

Taylor Wessing
Edward Pavilion
Albert Dock
L3 4AF

Course Code: S4812


A must-attend training event for legal professionals involved with family law, providing a round-up key developments in law & practice

HYBRID – you can attend this event in-person or virtually! Can’t make the date/time or need to revisit the training? No problem, booking onto this event means you will receive a link to access a recording of the event to watch at your leisure! The link will be sent within approx 72hrs of live broadcast & be available for approx. 3 months, to view as many times as you wish.

Sponsored by

Lextox Drug & Alcohol Testing, member of the SYNLAB Group is one of the leading specialist hair drug and alcohol testing laboratories. We are accredited to ISO 17025 UKAS testing standards as well as Lab 51 compliant and are trusted by over 17,000 family law solicitors and local authorities across the UK.

OurFamilyWizard is a platform that helps co-parents communicate with less conflict while keeping family law professionals connected to the families they work with.  Tools and features tailored to ease and improve communication include calendars, expense logs, messaging and more.

Log In / Registration & refreshments

Welcome & introduction ~ DJ O’Neill

Private Law Local Initiatives ~ DJ O’Neill & Gemma Baker, CAFCASS.

  • Young Persons Wishes and Feelings Hearings
  • Expedited Section 7 Reports

Internal relocation within the UK: When moving on means moving away ~ Kirsty Leedam, Weightmans

  • Highlights of relevant case law on whether parents can move around UK freely
  • Procedure and strategy in applications to move
  • Procedure and strategy when the other parent has already moved

comfort break - refreshments provided for in-person attendees

Communicating Safely & Securely Online ~ Katie Deans, OurFamilyWizard

  • Ways communication can be manipulated online and how to identify and prevent manipulation
  • New resources and features for the OurFamilyWizard platform and how they can be used to improve communication between divorced and separated parents

The Lundy Model of Child Participation and Direct Child Consultation ~ Helen Pittard, 174 Law

  • Child Inclusive Mediation – Hearing the voice of the child Right or Aspiration
  • Importance of understanding  and hearing the voice of the child –
  • The Lundy Model of Child Participation: space, voice, audience and influence for young people in decision making when parents separate
  • Confidential Direct Child Consultation – Direct Solicitor Referral for Child inclusive mediation where parents are not engaging in mediation

Comfort break - Lunch & networking for in-person attendees

Domestic Abuse in Private Children Proceedings ~ Margaret Parr, 7 Harrington Street

  • Whether and when it is appropriate to direct a finding of fact hearing
  • The proper procedural approach to pleading allegations,
  • Participation directions and
  • The impact of findings on proceedings

The Top 10 Cases of the last 12mnths: things to note ~ Tom Hynes, Oriel Chambers

  • A review of some interesting cases from the last 12 months
  • An analysis of the ways in which those cases might be used in practice

Summary & thanks ~ DJ O’Neill

Speaker Biographies

Gemma Baker is currently employed by Cafcass as an Assistant Service Manager.  She has worked at Cafcass since November 2019, firstly as a Family Court Adviser; then from June 2021, as a Practice Supervisor and in her current role since April 2023.  She currently works in one of the ‘work after first hearing’ teams, working with families who are subject to both public and private law proceedings.  Prior to Cafcass, she worked for Sefton local authority and enjoyed several roles there once qualifying in 2012 including social worker, practice educator, lead practitioner and team manager.  She maintains a particular interest in advocating for children, using innovation to promote the voice of the child within proceedings and seeking optimum resolutions for them.

Katie Deans is OurFamilyWizard’s Junior Associate. She graduated from the University of Sussex with an LLB Hons in Law with Business and Management. Following this, she continued her studies at the University of Sussex obtaining an MSc Hons in Accounting and Finance. Katie works with Courts, Chambers, Firms, CAFCASS, Mediators, Organisations and Charities to help parents with their communication.

Tom Hynes works across the spectrum of private children work primarily acting for parents. He is meticulous in his preparation and is especially effective in cross-examination. He looks for pragmatic solutions where available and offers clients realistic and frank advice.

Kirsty Leedham is based at Weightmans Liverpool Office, and has clients from across the globe. She specialises in Private Children Law and has strong experience supporting clients with international aspects to their cases. Kirsty worked as an Attorney in the Cayman Islands and has an insight into the dynamics of expatriate families. Kirsty deals with complex children cases involving issues such as relocation, parental alienation, and domestic abuse. She is a member of Resolution, the International Bar Association and Child Abduction Lawyers Association.

District Judge Philip O’Neill, The Family and County Court sitting at Liverpool, was called to the Bar in 1983. He practiced at 7 Harrington St Chambers , Liverpool, where he did mainly Financial Remedy work as well as some Private  Law  work.  Appointed a  Deputy District Judge in 2000 and a Full Time District Judge in 2005, sitting at Birkenhead and Liverpool. Since November 2017 he has sat at the Family Court in Liverpool  where he deals with Public and Private Children work and Financial Remedy cases.  DJ O’Neill also sits at the Family Court in Crewe.  He was appointed a Family  Course Tutor by the Judicial College in 2021. He is a Committee Member of the Association of His Majesty’s District Judges and the District Judge Representative on the  Judicial Security  Committee.

Margaret Parr specialises in family law and has appeared in the Court of Appeal and High Court. She represents parents, children and Local Authorities in care and adoption proceedings. She has experience of complex cases involving sexual abuse, non-accidental injury, substance misuse, mental health issues and neglect. She has experience in deprivation of liberty applications under the Court’s inherent jurisdiction. In private law proceedings, Margaret represents parents and children and is experienced in dealing with intractable contact disputes, implacable hostility and international relocation.

Helen Pittard is a Long Standing Advocate for NCDR having practiced Mediation for over 25 years and specialising in Family Law for longer. Helen practices both child only and Financial mediation and includes Child inclusive Mediation. Helen is a trainer within the mediation forum and a Professional Practice Consultant to other mediators helping to nurture future mediators on a national basis. She is a Trustee of the Family Initiative which incorporates “ Voices in the middle” a digital support facility for Children whose parents are separating and a member of the Positive Parenting Alliance supporting a better way for families to separate. Helen is also part of the Direct Child Consultation working committee to introduce direct referrals from solicitors to undertake discreet work with children in mediation to have their voices heard.


Member £205
Non-member £260
Training Passport Free
Note: 20% VAT added at checkout