James A. Goodwin

Head of Public Law Children Team
Called: 2008


James specialises in Family Law, representing Parents, Children and Local Authorities and is noted by his instructing solicitors to have a particular ability with clients requiring high levels of attention and care.

Although James now practices solely in Family Law, he gained his advocacy experience in the criminal courts and as former head of Chamber’s Prison Law Team.

Public Family Law

James is regularly instructed in complex, public law cases. Recent instructions include cases involving allegations of serious child sexual abuse, extensive child sexual exploitation networks, fabricated and induced illness, catastrophic brain injury, fractures, burns, failure to thrive and death.

Notable cases include:

2020 – representing an intervenor, before the High Court, in a five-week finding of fact hearing.

2019 / 20 – Leading Miss Marie Harbin in a three-week finding of fact hearing defending allegations of historic sexual abuse and fabricated induced illness.

Re: T 2019 – Led by Mr John Tughan QC, representing a parent defending allegations of significant head injury resulting in the death of a child.

Re: C 2018 – representing a Local Authority during a six-week finding of fact hearing relating to historic sexual abuse.

Re: N (2017) – representing a father in a three-week finding of fact hearing, facing allegations of torture and sexual abuse.

Re: K (2016) – representing a child in the High Court, seeking guidance under the inherent jurisdiction in relation to the non-disclosure of information to another party.

Re: J (2016) – representing a Local Authority in proceedings relating to the near death of a child from shaking related injuries.

Re: A (2014) – representing a parent in the High Court during a three-week finding of fact hearing relating to catastrophic brain injuries to a child, including multiple complex health needs as a result having an autosomal recessive condition.

Re: A (2014) – representing a Local Authority in three parallel proceedings involving three generations of a family including a twelve-year-old mother.

Re: G (2013) – being led in the High Court during in a six-week finding of fact hearing concerning infant death.

Re: L (2012) - being led in the High Court in a five-week fact finding hearing where the child had suffered subdural brain injuries and which involved issues around the parents’ consanguinity.

Private Family Law

James’ expertise covers all aspects of private law, including removal from the jurisdiction, internal relocation, findings of fact in relation to sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse. James’ experience in private family law matters is extensive. He has achieved successes during difficult and protracted cases and has a particularly high success rate.

Cases of note include:

C & C (2019) – representing a father facing allegations of sexual abuse against his four-year-old daughter.

A & A (2018) – removal from the jurisdiction to a non-Hague Convention country.

W & W (2017) – representing a father facing allegations of historic sexual abuse.

V & T (2016) – in the High Court, representing a child seeking not to disclose details of her gender dysphoria to parents


Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)
Former Secretary of the North Eastern Circuit FLBA
North Eastern Circuit
Lawyers for Children


The Process of Reform within Private Law Children cases, November 2013


James presents and contributes to a number of seminars to solicitors and other professionals in Family law and Court of Protection, most recently the Chambers Court of Protection and Adult Social Care talks held across Yorkshire and the Humber. James has recently held lectures on Court Craft and Statement Drafting for Social workers and the Relocation update for The PLO outline to Local Authority solicitors.

For further information contact


• 1st Class LL.B (Hons)
• MA International Law
• Kalisher Scholarship Prize Winner