About Jo Delahunty QC
Jo specialises in contentious and highly complex cases at High Court level and above involving:
- The death of/catastrophic injuries to a child
- Non Accidental Head Injury (NAHI)/ Shaken baby allegations ( TRIAD cases)
Vitamin D/Rickets/genetic disorders and congenital malformations which can mimic child abuse
ISIS cases: alleged radicalisation of children/ risk of flight to Syria
Sexual abuse (Intergenerational/ Inter sibling/ maternal rape/ genital mutilation/ internet exploitation
Ritualized child abuse/cultural practices such as Kndoki
- Child protection cases involving concurrent criminal prosecution for terrorist offences / trafficking/ attempted murder/ child cruelty and neglect/ sex offence
- Fabricated Induced Illness (FII) allegations
- Parents with disabilities ( with a particular interest in learning disabilities)
- right of and services for a disabled child within care proceedings
- Cases involving cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult
- Re-litigation/challenge to historic findings of abuse based on emerging science/ fresh factual evidence.
Alongside her practice in the Family Division , between 2013- 15, Jo was instructed on behalf of 75 bereaved families in the Hillsborough Inquest, tasked with dealing with the adequacy of the emergency medical response and establishing whether better care could have saved lives. Jo was the only family silk instructed in the longest running inquest in English law.
Jo is now advising organisations on risk review and the adequacy of their child protection procedures in light of The Goddard Inquiry into historic sex abuse
Complex private law proceedings involving allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect (alcoholism/ psychiatric issues) involving transfer of residence applications and contact disputes are a natural corollary to her practice.
Jo was Finalist Family Silk 2014 by The Legal 500
Jo was Winner of Jordan’s Family Silk 2013
Jo was Finalist of Chambers and Partners Silk 2013
She has been ranked as a ‘Top Ranked Silk’ by Chambers and Partners in successive editions including the most current
She has been named a ‘Top Tier ‘Leading Silk by The Legal 500 in successive editions including the most current
According to her competitors, Jo is noted for her ‘sharp forensic eye and extraordinary memory ‘and her ability to ‘dissect extremely complex medical concepts with ease’. In a highly competitive and specialist silk field, Jo has gained a reputation for ‘formidable’ advocacy and tactical trial management. She has many successful reported cases to her credit and is able to move with ease between highly specialised cross examination of medical experts to sensitive cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult where allegations of sexual abuse arise.
Jo commands a high professional reputation for;
- forensic insight and tactical skill
- 'rapier like', highly effective, cross examination
- her 'phenomenal work rate and razor sharp mind’
- her willingness to tackle complex medical concepts and to challenge scientific research
- assured negotiation skills
- pro-active client care
- a clear and frank analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the case and the determination to achieve the best for the client
Jo has had numerous articles published in legal journals and has also gained acclaim for her seminars delivered to Barristers, Solicitors, social work and medical professionals on family law matters. Jo has spoken on joint platforms with speakers who are as passionate about child protection issues as she is, notably: the Association of Lawyers for Children, The Criminal Bar Association and the Academy of Experts.
Jo was made winner of the Jordan's family Silk 2013 , is identified as a Top rank Silk by Chambers and Partners and ranked as a top tier silk by the legal 500 . Jo is currently acting on behalf of 75 bereaved families in the Hillsborough Inquest , tasked with dealing with the adequacy of the emergency medical response and establishing whether better care could have saved lives. Jo was described by Legal 500 2015 as 'A formidable advocate, and fascinating to watch and learn from'
Jo specialises in contentious and highly complex cases at High Court level and above involving allegations of severe child abuse. She is noted for her ‘sharp forensic eye and extraordinary memory ‘and her ability to ‘dissect extremely complex medical concepts with ease’. In a highly competitive and specialist Silk field, Jo has gained a reputation for ‘formidable’ advocacy and tactical trial management and has many recent successful reported cases to her credit and is able to move with forensic ease between highly specialised cross examination of medical experts in NAHI/ Inflicted death cases to sensitive cross examination of a child or vulnerable adult where allegations of sexual abuse arise .
|Education:||MA (Oxon) Jurisprudence|
|Professional Associations:||Family Law Bar Association Association of Lawyers for Children Association of Women Barristers FLBA National committee member 2010 - and is the FLBA chair of Fees sub committee 2012 - The Middle Temple Women's Forum (steering committee) Centre for Child and Family Reform (CCFLR) committee 2012 - Jo is a Patron of AMEND (The Association for Multiple Endocrine Disorders|
|Appointments:||Public Law Family Recorder (South Eastern Circuit) 2009 Bencher the Honorable Society of Middle Temple 2011 Professor of Law Gresham College, London, 2016 Door Tenant at Parklane Plowden Chambers|
Specialist Practice Areas
Chambers & Partners 2018 Band 1
Highly sought-after specialist children silk entrusted with the most significant and demanding national cases. She regularly handles matters concerning the most serious injuries and fatalities resulting from sexual assault, radicalism and abuse. She has particular expertise in matters concerning a large amount of complex expert evidence following investigation.
Strengths: "Expert in children work, she is brilliant at distilling a case down to its key issues and is great at strategic planning. Very supportive to instructing solicitors, she's easy to talk to."
The Legal 500 2017
She displays razor-sharp analysis and a clear sense of direction. Ranked: tier 1.
Chambers & Partners 2017-
Highly sought-after specialist children Silk entrusted with the most significant and demanding national cases. She has particular expertise in matters concerning a large amount of complex expert evidence following investigation. Strengths: "She is exceptional in every way and has an attention to detail beyond any other silk right now."
The Legal 500 2016
Specialises in serious cases where sexual and physical abuse are alleged. She is the only family law practitioner to be involved in the Hillsborough Inquest.
Strengths: "She is deservedly pre-eminent. She has a brilliant mind, and is one of the few who is as good a fearsome cross-examiner as she is arguing the law in the Supreme Court." "She is very detailed in her approach and has an immaculate knowledge of the papers."
Recent work: Has been acting on behalf of 75 families in the Hillsborough Inquest to try and determine whether the medical response was acceptable.
Chambers & Partners 2016
"She is an absolute force of nature and a star in the court"
A dedicated children's lawyer who focuses on difficult public law matters and care proceedings concerning allegations of sexual and emotional abuse. Also handles cases involving the death of children.
Expertise: "A first port of call for care work," "she is extremely hard-working, knowledgeable and very committed to the client that she represents. Jo is a very tactical and effective advocate, who is good to observe and learn from."
Chambers & Partners 2015
‘the decision of the children’s solicitor and junior counsel to instruct Miss Delahunty QC was, in my view, both wise and responsible ‘ per Lord Justice McFarlane Re A (2012) EWCA Civ 1477
Recently Concluded Cases
RE M (A CHILD) (2012) - click to view case law
The Court of Appeal emphasised that an applicant seeking permission to appeal, or an appellant who had been granted permission to appeal, in family cases needed the court's permission to instruct a fresh expert. When seeking to instruct a fresh expert from some other jurisdiction, the matters requiring explanation included why an United Kingdom expert had not been used, what efforts had been made to identify UK experts, and the financial implications of instructing an overseas expert.
FAMILY LAW - CIVIL EVIDENCE - LOCAL GOVERNMENT
CA (Civ Div) (Thorpe LJ, Rimer LJ, Dame Janet Smith) 19/1/2012
References: LTL 19/1/2012 EXTEMPORE
Document No.: Case Law - AC9601496
HOUSE OF LORDS CASE - CARE PROCEEDINGS - STANDARD OF PROOF - Re B (Standard of Proof) 2008 FLR 2 FLR 141 (HL)
CARE PROCEEDINGS - STANDARD OF PROOF - REVIEW OF RE H (Minors) (Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof)1996] AC 563; Instructed by CAFCASS to intervene on behalf of the organisation to argue against the appellants proposed 'real possibility 'test ; to support the retention of the civil standard of proof and to reject any presumption that the 'cogency principle' required a higher standard of proof than the balance of probabilities in serious cases . CAFCASS were successful on all points. The House of Lords unanimously agreed with their submissions and adopted their wording in full as a suggested pro-forma draft letter of instruction to experts in cases where findings sought have not been made. The case is now the leading case on the standard of proof in Care proceedings.
Re S  2 FLR 550 Most recently reported in December 2008 in Re ES (2008] EWHC 3013 (Fam) Charles J ( FLR ( forthcoming) in which guidance was given to local authorities when applying their duties under Article 20 as a receiving state of a child victim of trafficking between EU states where Brussels II Revised applies.
A Local Authority v J ( 2008) 2 FLR 1389 ( 2008) EWCA 1484 : Hogg J : re adoption/ Care/ post adoption contact : re competing welfare needs of half siblings: the case considered consequences arising from the mother's failure of emotional care towards her children and her inability to co operate with the local authority .The case is noteworthy for the sensitivity and pragmatism with which the judge dealt with the mother's inadequacies and the impact upon her and her older children (who were to remain within the paternal family unit) of a care plan for adoption of the youngest child and the severance of (half )sibling contact that this required.
A LA v K ( 2008) EWHC 2051 ( family) Hedley J; acting for the father, the latest in a line of cases dealing with the assessment of parents in care proceedings. FLR report awaited.
2012 ONWARD ONLY:
L B Islington v Al Alas and Wray; the vitamin D and rickets case ‘June 2012 FAM Law 659’
‘What Price Justice? Experts or Treating Clinicians’ July 2012 FAM Law 882
In Defence of Experts ‘Counsel’ August 2012
‘In Defence of Experts’ The TEDR ( Experts and Dispute Resolver ) TEDR [20120 Vol 17 No 2 24
‘A Miscarriage of Justice - Corrected : the difference Expert Evidence can make to outcome’ Nov 2012 Fam Law 1344
ALC Annual Conference Nov 2010 ‘The Child as a Witness: Whose Right is it Anyway’
Grand Stand Seminar Park Lane Plowden Leeds 24.3.10 ‘Children Giving Evidence: Where the Unwary Tread’
Jordan’s Annual Public Law Update 15.3.11 ‘Children in Care Proceedings : putting the new law into context : RE W explained and explored’
“excellent", "engaging", "excellent delivery-engaging-excellent notes" " spoke without notes for her full session: excellent delivery and informative content”
Grandstand Seminar Park Lane Plowden: York. 22.9.2011 ‘The Child in the Witness Box: preparation for trial and cross examination: Practical Guide’ Speaking with Prof Martin Conway on ‘Children and Memories’
Leicestershire and Rutland Family Justice Council Annual Conference’ on 18.11.11
Panel Debate on a panel with HHJ Lea, Prof Judith Masson with guest speaker King J
Middle Temple inaugural Women’s Forum launch: 6th March
Butterworth Public Child Care Law Conference. Annual Public Law update 26.6.12
"Fascinating" "Most inspiring and challenging" "Delivery was so impressive! Will impact my practice on NAI" "Excellent as always" 'Brilliant/re-balancing material."
ALC and CBA: joint seminar 4.7.12 "Child injury and Expert Evidence; the Lessons of Al Alas" Chaired by Martha Cover: Chair of ALC
Speaking with Mike Turner QC and Anya Lewis (leading and junior counsel for Chana Al Alas in the criminal trial)
And JDQC and Kate Purkiss (leading and junior counsel for Chana Al Alas in the care trial)
Jordan’s; Annual Child Care Conference 20.9.12:
"excellent" "Brilliant - should have had more time" "Informative and well-delivered" "Spellbinding’
“It was a genuine pleasure to hear Jo Delahunty QC (who is like the most charming intelligent surgical scalpel you will ever meet) speak on the Al Alas Wray case as she was leading counsel for one of the parents, and so had a wealth of useful insights and tactics to put forward.”
FLBA: autumn series lectures Oct 2013 ‘Expert and Medical Evidence in Child Protections Cases: A Practical Guide’
Park Lane Plowden Grandstand Seminar: York 18/10/12, speaking on platform with Dr Willie Reardon: Consultant Geneticist.
17th April 2013: Middle Temple Women’s Forum with Black L J, Sir Paul Coleridge J , R Langdale QC , Martin Forde QC , HHJ Coe on applying for judicial appointment
8th May. Experts Forum: The Academy of Experts; 3 Gray’s Inn Square: Speaker: ‘The Value of an Expert ‘
14th May: Butterworth’s Annual Child Law Conference ‘De Bunking the myth: ‘Parents don’t win care cases’
Jo Delahunty QC appointed to 1597 Law Professorship of Gresham College
In her role as Gresham Professor of Law, Professor Delahunty will continue the 419-year-old tradition of delivering free public lectures aimed at the intelligent and interested public within the City of London and beyond.
Professor Delahunty will continue to practice at The Bar during her appointment and, as such, her lectures will reflect developments in law and society. The series of six free public lectures will deal with issues arising from her work with the law and legal processes around families and children, including cases of child abuse, radicalisation and cases which involve complex and contentious medical evidence. The hour-long free public lectures will take place at the Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N:
‘Sex, Death and Witchcraft’: The Family Court – Thursday 6th October 2016, 6pm
Is one person's 'Radicalism' another’s 'Right to Free Speech'? – Thursday 24th January 2017, 6pm
When Legal Worlds Collide – Thursday 26th January, 6pm
Guilty until proven innocent? – Thursday 2nd March, 6pm
Expert Witnesses: a Zero-sum game? – Wednesday 12th April 2017, 6pm
Why there is no typical family in the Family Court – Thursday 4th May 2017
[Full lecture descriptions are available from the Gresham College website: www.gresham.ac.uk ]