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Leeds 0113 228 5000
Newcastle 0191 221 2121

Julia Nelson

Called 1993

Julia has specialised in Family Law for 23 years and has vast experience of dealing with a wide range of people and cases. Her practice includes the full range of family finance work and children. In private law disputes she is able to advise and represent clients in both finance and children issues and clients greatly value the continuity of relationship between the two forms of dispute. Julia has a considerable record of success in contested cases and a fearsome reputation for cross-examination and uncovering concealed assets. Julia’s no nonsense approach, enthusiasm and tenacity has earned her an enviable reputation with family solicitors who compete to instruct her on behalf of their clients.

Julia has extensive experience of dealing with disputes regarding the welfare of children including numerous applications for leave to remove children from the jurisdiction and internal relocation. Julia’s practice encompasses all forms of family disputes and her extensive court of protection practice means she has also successfully represented clients in divorce and children cases where the client is vulnerable or lacks capacity.

Julia is fortunate enough to be able to thrive on little sleep . As well as a very busy barrister and mother of two, she is an experienced actress and regularly performs in theatre and immersive theatre. Julia is also a keen gardener and an accomplished cook and a previous winner of ‘Come dine with me!’

"Experienced in matrimonial property and finance matters."

Legal 500 2017
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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
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Matrimonial Property and Finance:

All forms of matrimonial property . Clients with high net worth and also ‘normal’ families where the issues are rather how to meet the parties ‘need’ or sort out debts as opposed to the division of huge asset bases.

  • Particularly skilled in complex cases involving significant assets.
  • From many years of practice in Bradford obtained an extensive understanding of the issues which can arise from Asian marriages and divorce.
  • Applications for Financial Provision for children under Schedule One of the Children Act 1989.

"The clients and I were very pleased and impressed with Julia’s approach in this difficult case”. Vanessa Fox, Partner/Senior Family Solicitor, Keeble Hawson, Sheffield.

Children Practice

Private law disputes including all child arrangement orders ,permission to remove from the jurisdiction and internal relocation

Regularly undertakes child care work and training for all Local Authorities and Children's Guardians.

Particularly sympathetic and understanding approach with regard to parents in Care Proceedings. Private Law practice- several appearances at the Court of Appeal. These include cases relating to changes of surname and contact cases involving violent parents. Removal from Jurisdiction a speciality.

Inquests & Fatal Accidents
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Julia represents families, Local Authorities and NHS Trusts at Inquest hearings.

On two separate occasions, she has been instructed by both Leeds Local Authority and Leeds Safeguarding Childrens Board to represent their interests following the deaths of children. Details of the cases appear below.

Julia is currently representing a local authority with regard to an inquest concerning the death of a vulnderable adult.

(1) A 17 year old who had been brought up in the care system hung himself whilst detained in a young offenders institute. Julia's role was to ensure that any evidence which led unfairly to conclude that the local authority was to blame for this was effectively challenged. The Inquest was heard before a Coroner over a two week period.

(2)Julia was instructed in the Inquest involving the death of a baby who was just a few weeks old. There was a history of neglect relating to older children of the family, as well as previous care proceedings. Social Workers and health professionals had, for several weeks, been unable to get into the house to check on the health of the baby who had been seen to have bruising early on in his life. He died whilst co-sleeping with his mother on settee cushions.  Julia's role was to ensure that any evidence which led unfairly to conclude that the local authority was to blame for this was effectively challenged . This was heard over about 5 days before a Coroner and a Jury.

In both cases no adverse findings were made against the Local Authority.

Public & Admin Law
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With extensive experience of acting for Local Authorities and family members in complex Health & Welfare cases, Julia’s practice encompasses all aspects of welfare decisions including DOLs, residence, contact, capacity to consent to sexual relations and capacity to consent to marriage.  This experience includes being instructed in a number of applications to the High Court relating to vulnerable adults who required the court’s protection in situations where capacity was compromised through the actions of others. 

Julia has a particular interest in Deprivation of Liberty, including Standard Authorisation appeals, and has acted in several cases where the subject of proceedings was unlawfully deprived of their liberty and later returned home.

As an experienced Judicial Review barrister, Julia is skilled in assessment of where the fine line exists between Service Provision and Commissioning.

With long experience as a family practitioner, Julia has a clear advantage in cases where the jurisdictions of the Court of Protection and Family Court overlap.  Recent examples include cases where adolescents with learning difficulties are in transition in care from child to adult services that have required transfer to the Court of Protection.  Julia’s specialist interest in this area extends to cases where marriages between incapacitous persons involve sensitive cultural issues and/or have resulted in proceedings related to children (i.e. concurrent care proceedings) or result in concurrent matrimonial litigation (i.e. petitions for nullity).

Julia’s practice extends to Property and Affairs cases, including disputes between family members and professional deputies, and divorce proceedings between a capacitous and incapacitous adult.

Julia also receives instructions under the Mental Health Act including displacement of the nearest relative.

Family: Property & Finance
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Our specialist family property and finances team has a wealth and breadth of experience and expertise covering all aspects of the financial consequences of relationship breakdown (whether marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation).


The dedicated team cover:

  • Matrimonial finance following the breakdown of a marriage or the dissolution of a civil partnership
  • TOLATA claims over property and all aspects of disputes arising from unmarried cohabitation
  • Financial provision for children under Schedule 1
  • Claims upon death under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act

In an emergency when assets are at risk of being disposed of, we will provide urgent advice and representation to obtain the necessary orders to prevent financial loss. Please contact our senior family clerk (Mark Williams) on 0113 228 5043.

Matrimonial Finance

Members of the team are instructed by an impressive client base in high-value cases to needs-based cases made complex by limited assets.

We have particular expertise with:

  • complex business arrangements
  • farms & agricultural assets
  • inherited wealth & non-matrimonial property
  • trusts
  • assets held abroad & jurisdiction disputes
  • large pension arrangements
  • third parties claiming beneficial interests in matrimonial assets
  • asset bases comprised of significant Personal Injury awards
  • annulment of sham bankruptcies designed to defeat the other spouse's claim

The team combine commercial acumen and a strong understanding of business and finance. Where applicable, this includes having a thorough understanding of the application of the chancery principles in the Family Court.

We advise in writing and in conferences on all aspects of matrimonial property and finance, including on the terms of marital agreements whether pre-nuptial (ante-nuptial), post-nuptial or separation agreements.

We facilitate and host private FDR's and early neutral evaluation: the barrister of your choice to conduct the FDR, at a convenient location and on a date fixed to your availability.


Disputes arising from cohabitation are often complex and require specialist counsel: we provide that expertise. The team provides advice and representation in all aspects of complex cohabitation disputes between unmarried couples but particularly concerning claims over property under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA). This includes drafting the pleadings pre-issue or the defendant's response.

The team also has significant experience of advising on and obtaining financial provision for children under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.

Inheritance Act

Our team advise and represent in cases where financial provision is sought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act following the death of a family member. These are often complex applications where early advice pays dividends.

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Legal 500 2018/2019 - "Very confident before a judge."

Legal 500 2017- "Experienced in matrimonial property and finance matters."

Legal 500 2016- "Recommended for Court of Protection work."

Legal 500 2014 - "Experienced in all aspects of family law and highly regarded on circuit"

Legal 500 2013 - Julia Nelson is noted for her ‘supportive way with clients’.

Legal 500 2012 - ‘sensible and incisive with a good eye for detail

Legal 500 2011 - Julia Nelson comes "highly recommended"

Legal 500 2010 - Julia Nelson has a "refreshing no-nonsense approach".

Notable Cases
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CZ (Human Rights Claim: Costs) [2017] EWFC 11

Represented the  Children’s Guardian in the case of CZ, who was removed from the care of his mother in hospital in circumstances that led to a consequent human rights damages claim.  Cobb J considered the correct costs orders in a human rights damages claim and whether the imposition of the legal aid statutory charge in respect of any award would nonetheless achieve ‘just satisfaction’ for the claimants.

 Re TJ (Relinquished for adoption: sibling contact) [2017] EWFC 6

Represented the Children’s Guardian in respect of a child relinquished for adoption by its mother. The question for the Court was whether the child’s remaining birth family should be notified of TJ’s existence. In balancing the wishes of the mother against the potential relationship between TJ and a half sibling (PL), it was concluded that TL and PJ did not enjoy Article 8 rights. They had no legal or actual relationship and the limited and infrequent nature of indirect contact was outweighed by other considerations. 

Barrett v Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council [2010] EWHC 467 (Admin)
Application by special guardian for a fresh assessment of the allowances payable to her. A new assessment backdated to March 2006 was ordered.

Re H (CONTACT: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GUIDELINES) [Court of Appeal] [2006] 1 F.L.R. 943 ; EWCA Civ 1404, FLR [2006]
Contact : domestic violence, Appeal allowed due to Judge's failure to have any regard to Re L (Contact: Domestic Violence) [2002] FLR 334, or to the guidelines prepared by the Children Act Sub- Committee on Family Law in relation to contact cases where there have been allegations of domestic violence.

Re G [2004]
Represented the mother (in care proceedings) who was convicted of selling her unborn baby over the internet.

R -v- Jennison [1998]
Represented devoted daughter charged with the murder of her Alzheimer's suffering mother after assisting in her suicide. The defendant was acquitted.

Re S & P (Discharge of Care Order) FD [1995] 2 FLR 782
Burden on the party applying for discharge of care order to demonstrate that they have a good arguable case.

Articles & Publications
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Leeds and Yorkshire Lawyer Issue 104 - False Economy - Click to view article

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Julia has presented on a whole host of topics relevant to family practitioners, including care proceedings, court systems and expert evidence.

Recent seminars include:

  • Schedule 1 of the Children Act: Financial Provision for the children of unmarried parents.
  • 'Special Guardianship Orders and Placement Orders'.
  • 'Residence and shared Residence Orders and Specific Issue Orders/Prohibited steps orders'.
Court of Protection

Julia provides bespoke training to Local Authorities, Private Practice Solicitors, IMCAs, AMHPs and other professionals on all aspects of the Mental Capacity Act and associated law. For further enquiries please contact

Personal Details

BA (Hons), University of Manchester

Professional Associations

Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)

Julia's Latest News
Awards &

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