Parklane Plowden Chambers Logo
Parklane Plowden Chambers Logo

Our Barristers Back to full list

Chambers and PartnersLegal 500
Contact Us

Leeds 0113 228 5000
Newcastle 0191 221 2121

Joanne Astbury

Called 1989

Joanne has extensive experience in all aspects of family law and specialises in public law and care. She became head of the chambers Family Team in 2010.

"She is tenacious, intelligent and very thorough. She has an exceptional courtroom presence and is easy to work with."

Chambers & Partners 2018
Brochure Builder

Simply click 'Add +' on an area of expertise to add it to collate in your downloadable brochure.

Areas Of Expertise

Areas of Expertise
Family: Children
Right Arrow

Clients include Local Authorities (especially Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Sheffield); parents, relatives, children and Children's Guardians.

She is experienced in representing vulnerable clients and has particular expertise in directly representing children, clients with learning disability and those with mental health difficulties taking instructions where appropriate from the Official Solicitor.

Joanne has extensive experience of working with interpreters, including BSL and relay interpreters, and has acted in cases involving intermediaries.

Joanne is a registered pupil-master.

Family Law

  • Care and adoption : Joanne's key practice area, she has experience of cases involving very significant harm e.g. child deaths/SIDS, factitious illness syndrome, non-accidental head injury, sexual, physical and emotional abuse and FGM. Joanne often deals with cases involving complex medical evidence.
  • Private law children's cases including removal from the jurisdiction and child abduction.
  • Emergency remedies
Right Arrow

Chambers & Partners 2019 - Band 2

"Very personable, very good at negotiating and very thorough." "She has a good client manner and is a formidable advocate."

Legal 500 2018/2019 - "Very clever and a force to be reckoned with in court."

Chambers & Partners 2018 - Band 2

Head of the family team at Parklane Plowden, Joanne Astbury focuses her practice on public children law and care proceedings. She is highly skilled in cases involving serious abuse and medical technicalities. She has particular experience representing children as well as clients of all ages who have mental health and learning difficulties.

Strengths: "She is an excellent barrister in terms of experience. She is approachable, good with clients and always well prepared." "She is tenacious, intelligent and very thorough. She has an exceptional courtroom presence and is easy to work with."

Legal 500 2017- "An excellent advocate, who has a great bedside manner with clients."

Chambers & Partners 2017

Head of family team at Parklane Plowden, Joanne Astbury focuses her practice on public children law and care proceedings. She has particular experience representing children as well as clients of all ages who have mental health learning difficulties.

Strengths: "Very well regarded. She's excellent, you can't fault her."

Legal 500 2016- "Experienced in care cases."

Chambers & Partners 2016

Notably experienced in care and adoption proceedings, Joanne Astbury is frequently instructed on cases concerning serious harm to children. She is praised for her sensible, plain-spoken approach which simplifies complex issues. 

Strengths: "She is extremely well versed in the law and a thorough and calm advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2015

Handles all aspects of family law but has noted expertise in care proceedings within public law. She regularly represents vulnerable clients, particularly children, in complex cases.

Expertise: "She is a very fierce advocate, with very sound judgement. She sits as a recorder, so has the advantage of hearing cases, as well as being an advocate."

The Legal 500 2014 

"A clever and sensitive lawyer"

Chambers & Partners 2014

Head of the family team at Parklane Plowden, concentrating her practice on complicated, high-level public law and care work. She regularly represents vulnerable clients in complex care proceedings, and has a particular focus on directly representing children. 

Expertise: "She has a number of high-level cases that stand out."

The Legal 500 2013

Joanne is recommended for matters concerning vulnerable clients.

Chambers & Partners 2012 

Much of Joanne Astbury's recent practice has been focused on children cases with medical complications. She regularly represents local authorities. Solicitors are keen to instruct her, not only for her legal experience, but also for her "nurturing approach" and ability to form strong client relationships.

The Legal 500 2011 

Parklane Plowden provides 'good quality children law representation both in private and public law'. Team members include 'very strong advocate' Joanne Astbury

Chambers & Partners 2011 

Joanne Astbury of Parklane Plowden, who is highly regarded for all aspects of family work

Chambers & Partners 2010 & 2009 

Joanne Astbury, a "lawyer of sound judgment," focussing on children-related matters, Astbury is a "sympathetic advocate" who "develops an excellent rapport with her clients".

Notable Cases
Right Arrow

Recently Concluded Cases

Re B and G (Children) (No 2) [2015] EWFC 3 - Family Law- Joanne acted for Local Authority in first and lead authority in FGM in the family jurisdiction (before the President of the Family Division).


Reported Cases

Re B and G (Children) (No 2) [2015] EWFC 3  
Acted for LA in first and lead authority in FGM in the family jurisdiction (before the President of the Family Division)

Re B and G ( Children) (No 3) [2015] EWFC 27 Sir James Munby President

The welfare decisions following Re B and G ( No 2)

Re J-A ( Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 936

Acted for the children ( as a Respondent) in the Court of Appeal where the mother challenged a decision to place the children with the father under a care order,following positive assessments of him, in circumstances where the court had found that the father had been abusive to the mother in the past and that the mother had been found to have failed to protect the children's half-sibling who had been seriously injured by that child's father.

Bradford MDC v F, K and K [2012] 2 FLR 1374

Acted for local authority in a case before Mostyn J. involving death of a 4 month old baby where there was a suggestion  (rejected by the court) that the surviving child (aged 4) may have caused the baby's death. Court considered complex medical evidence on suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome .

Re B ( A Child: Disclosure of Evidence in Care Proceedings) [2012] 1FLR 142

Acted for mother with learning difficulties in case involving death of child; successfully resisted police application to limit disclosure of police evidence to the parents. Guidance given by courts as to proper meaning of r.12.73 FPR 2010.

Re R [2012]
Case involving adult death (accusation of murder); relevance to threshold for subject child

Re A (contact order) [2010] 2 FLR 577
Guidance as to when and whether a child should instruct his/her own solicitor instead of representation via a Children's Guardian.

Re W [2005]
Successfully reopened concluded High Court care proceedings, and overturned a perpetration finding in a non-accidental head injury case in the light of new evidence.

Re D (Child: Threshold criteria) [2001] 1 FLR 274 CA
Considered the effect of agreement as to the threshold criteria in split hearing and held that the issues could be reopened at the disposal stage if to do so was essential in the interests of the child.

M -v- C and Calderdale MBC [1993] 1 FLR 505 CA
Clarified the definition of 'parent' within the Children Act 1989. Held that after a freeing order a parent ceases to be a parent within the meaning of s.10 (4) Children Act 1989, and is not therefore entitled to apply without leave for a residence order under section 8.

Right Arrow

Tribunal Judge SEND (First Tier tribunal HESC ) 2004-2011, formerly Tribunal Judge in SENDIST Recorder , Civil and Family ( including Public Law) 2008

Right Arrow

Lectures, seminars and other training events are regularly undertaken. She is chambers' nominated training officer for CPD and has a special interest in training provision. Recent lectures include 'Human Rights: implications for family lawyers', 'Threshold Criteria in care proceedings' and 'PR and removal from Jurisdiction'. Lectures/seminars are CPD accredited.

Personal Details

LLB (Hons), Nottingham University

Professional Associations

Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)

Joanne's Latest News
Events Family Law Conference


Family Law Conference

Awards &

View All Awards 

ISO 9001LegalRanked Chambers