Deborah Shield

Called 1991


Deborah has been in continuous practice at the Bar for over 30 years and in that time, she has established a reputation as a highly regarded specialist in all aspects of proceedings involving children, family financial provision and the Court of Protection.

Solicitors rely on her for her forensic analysis and meticulous preparation tailored to the requirements of the case, to which she brings her vast experience and solid judgment. They know that Deborah is always completely focused on achieving the best possible result for the client, whether that is through a carefully negotiated settlement or a contest, in which she can be depended on for a rigorous and persuasive presentation of the client’s case and tenacious cross-examination.

Clients appreciate Deborah’s natural empathy, sensitivity and innate ability to get to the heart of the desired outcome and represent them accordingly. They know that they will benefit from realistic and sage advice, but also that Deborah will always listen with great care to their instructions and will be collaborative or robustly adversarial as required.

Deborah is passionately committed to children and the promotion of the family.

Areas of Expertise

Contact Deborah Shield

  • Private law disputes, including all issues in relation to Child Arrangements Orders, Specific Issue Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders
  • Disputes involving allegations of domestic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour
  • Disputes involving allegations of parental alienation/intractable hostility to contact
  • Finding of fact hearings
  • Internal relocation disputes
  • Applications for permission to remove children from the jurisdiction
  • Change of name disputes
  • Disputes in relation to education
  • Disputes involving issues of medical treatment and religion
  • Applications brought by grandparents and extended family members
  • Injunctive relief and committal applications in cases involving allegations of domestic abuse
  • Disputes involving allegations of substance misuse
  • Disputes involving expert psychological or psychiatric analysis of parents or children
  • Deborah is a fully qualified Children’s Arbitrator


Deborah’s practice is exclusively focused on private law disputes, to which she brings her extensive experience of public law (care) proceedings in which she has represented Local Authorities, parents and children.

She is highly regarded in relation to her conduct of finding of fact hearings, the successful outcome of which can be pivotal to the future of the client’s case, and to which she brings detailed forensic analysis and presentation of the evidence, tenacious cross-examination and compelling advocacy.

Deborah is always focused on achieving what her clients believe to be in their children’s best interests at every stage of the proceedings. For her no issue should be perceived as trivial where children are concerned.

There is a delicate balance to be struck between the collaborative and the adversarial approach; the early stages of proceedings (FHDRA and DRA) require an assertive and robust focus on the issues for the client and the appropriate directions to get the case on the right track. She believes that thorough consultation at each stage of the proceedings is essential, and she is available to meet clients and solicitors in person or via Teams or Zoom, which provides flexibility and can be arranged at short notice tailored to the client’s availability.

‘Deborah’s wonderful manner with clients stands out, she is adept at ensuring clients understand the nature of proceedings. I would not hesitate to instruct Deborah in a complex case due to her wealth of experience and composed approach to the most challenging of cases’


  • Financial remedy proceedings at all stages from First Appointment to Final Hearing
  • Applications for interim periodical payments
  • Applications for injunctive relief
  • Applications for financial provision for children under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989
  • Representation of interveners
  • Enforcement of financial orders
  • Cases involving pension division, company assets, trusts and inherited wealth
  • Cases involving conduct of a party raised as a relevant issue
  • Pre -nuptial agreements, post -nuptial agreements, cohabitation and separation agreements
  • Private FDRs
  • Early neutral evaluation of the merits


Deborah is vastly experienced in the representation of clients in cases where the assets could be described as ‘normal’ to those where they run into the millions – in all cases clients are assured of the same dedication to achieve the best outcome and at every stage they know they will feel part of a team.

‘I met Deborah prior to the trial, and I observed a confident and calming presence and was assured by her in depth knowledge and analysis of the issues. The  judgment far exceeded my expectations on the facts of the case only because Deborah succeeded in turning it around by her robust cross-examination of the other party and her eloquent closing submissions.


Deborah has significant experience of:

  • Proceedings in relation to health and welfare
  • Proceedings in relation to property and financial affairs
  • All matters pertaining to Deputyship
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards


Deborah represents the interests of Local Authorities, parties via the Official Solicitor, the Office of the Public Guardian and lay parties at all stages of proceedings. She has a particular interest in representing family members who are seeking to preserve their relationship with a protected party through contact, and where parties are facing allegations that they have fraudulently or negligently mismanaged a protected party’s property and financial affairs.  She has appeared in many cases of the utmost complexity where the other parties have been represented by leading Counsel. She is well known for her calm and reassuring presence and her ability to establish a rapport with vulnerable and anxious clients.

‘Deborah brought a pragmatic approach to a very complex case which instilled confidence in the client. She also had a sympathetic and caring approach to the very emotive issues involved whilst being careful to manage the client’s reasonable expectations. She is very capable Court of Protection Counsel’


Deborah has extensive experience of representing clients in children and financial remedy proceedings directly, without the involvement of a solicitor. She recognises that clients who choose this route require at all times the assurance of knowing that their interests are being robustly and actively managed and promoted. Sometimes this requires the flexibility of remote conferences out of hours in the evenings and at weekends at the client’s convenience; it always requires swift responses to emails or calls when any issue arises on which the client needs assistance.

‘Deborah was with me every step of the way in my very stressful proceedings. I was worried that without a solicitor I would maybe miss out on support and attention to detail, but Deborah gave me all the support I needed, she made me feel like we were a team and together we achieved the outcome I wanted. She truly went the extra mile and her representation was superb.’

(Public Access client)

The Family Law Bar Association

Lawyers for Children

The Court of Protection Bar Association

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

The Honourable Societies of the Inner Temple and Lincoln’s Inn