Louise McCallum

Called 1999

Articulate, always fully prepared and very effective. She is a pleasure to watch and clients love her.

Chambers and Partners (2024) - Family, Children (Band 1)


Louise is a highly regarded specialist family law practitioner, practising in public and private law children work. She  is one of the leading juniors practising on the North Eastern Circuit in this field, being given the distinction of a Band 1 rating in the 2020 Chambers and Partners Guide.

Louise is frequently instructed in care proceedings concerning allegations of serious non accidental injury and sexual abuse, often in the High Court. She is skilled at representing parties within complex and intractable private law disputes.

Further, Louise is noted as a specialist nationally on the forced marriage legislation. She co-authored a well recognised practitioners guide to the Forced Marriage Act, contributed a chapter to a leading international law publication and has been invited on a number of occasions to speak on LBC radio on this topic.

Louise was appointed a Recorder sitting in family law in 2012, then only 35 years of age.

Louise accepts instructions on a direct access basis.

Areas of Expertise


Chambers and Partners (2024) - Family, Children (Band 1) - "Articulate, always fully prepared and very effective. She is a pleasure to watch and clients love her."

Legal 500 (2024) - Family, Children and Domestic Violence (Tier 1) - "Louise is sharp, analytical and thorough. She is exceptional when communicating with clients, and she has the ability to absorb huge amounts of complex information and apply it with forensic rigour, whilst at the same time remaining approachable and accessible."

Chambers and Partners (2023) - Family, Children (Band 1) - "Louise McCallum is a highly regarded family law specialist with extensive experience of children matters, especially those involving highly complex medical evidence. She is widely respected for her prowess in handling sexual abuse, child fatality and illnesses cases, and acts on behalf of children and local authorities across various courts, including the High Court."

Legal 500 (2023) - Child Law, Public and Private (Tier 1) - "Louise is a class act who exudes quality. She is a calm and reassuring presence for lay clients, instructing solicitors and the court."

Legal 500 (2022) - Child Law, Public and Private (Tier 1)

Chambers and Partners (2022) - Family, Children (Band 1) - "She has very good client care and a calmness in cross-examination with an eye to detail." "She is top-notch - just the best." "She is extremely diligent and wants to know everything that is in the papers. She is also very calm and brings that calmness to clients."

Chambers and Partners (2021) - Family, Children - "She has a wonderful demeanour in and out of the court and is a pleasure to work with. She really makes clients feel at ease." "Louise is a calm but highly effective barrister with exceptional advocacy skills." "She is just professional and accurate in every way. She always chooses the right path and recommendation to the court."

Legal 500 (2021) - Child Law, Public and Private (Band 1) - "She is a Rolls-Royce of an advocate. Forensic analysis. Calm under pressure. Excellent client care manner. She is thorough, considered, conscientious, excellent rapport with clients, easy to work with."

Ranked consistently in Legal 500 and/or Chambers and Partners each year since 2006.

Chambers and Partners (2020) ranked (Band 1, North Eastern Circuit) - (the only public law children specialist to receive Band 1 ranking on circuit) : “Louise deals with extremely complex and challenging cases in a professional and hugely successful way which enables clients to feel fully involved and engaged in the proceedings." "Not only is she a good advocate, but she is conscientious with her paperwork being filed on time and to a high standard.”

Legal 500 (2019) - “Approachable and client friendly.” 2019 Chambers and Partners “Superb preparation.  Her attention to detail is second to none.  Her manner and support to clients are fantastic.”  “Approachable and client friendly.”

Chambers and Partners (2018) - “Louise is a strong, sensible advocate.  She has a good court manner and is always immaculately prepared.” “Louise is first class.  She is calm, professional and diligent.  She left no stones unturned.”

Legal 500 (2017) - "Frighteningly clever on paper and in person."

Chambers and Partners (2016) "An expert on cases concerning forced marriages and is recommended for her depth of expertise on cases involving international issues."


Re: C (a child) (Serious physical injuries; fact finding) [2018] EWFC 13 Care proceedings before Mr Justice Holman.  Acted as counsel for the Local Authority. 5 week old baby suffered internal brain and head injuries characteristic of a shaking injury together with leg and rib fractures.

GD and BD (Children) [2016] EWHC 3312 (Fam)   Louise was junior counsel for the Local Authority in Human Rights proceedings heard by Mr Justice Cobb.  The mother and her two children, now aged 9 and 4, brought applications under the Human Rights Act 1998 for damages and declarations that, as a result of the conduct of the Local Authority and the police force, their Art 6 and Art 8 rights had been breached.  Case was the subject of publicity.  Louise was not junior counsel in the earlier stage of the linked care proceedings.

Re A (Fact finding): Kirklees Council v X  v MS v SU and others [2015] EWFC 68 Junior counsel for the Local Authority in a 10 day finding of fact hearing within care proceedings before Ms Justice Russell (leading counsel John Hayes QC). Linked care proceedings in respect of two families.  Historical allegations of sexual abuse.  Vulnerable witnesses.  Allegations found proven. In the final welfare stage of these proceedings represented the Local Authority before Ms Justice Russell.

Leeds City Council v YX & ZX (Assessment of Sexual Abuse) [2008] EWCA 802 (Fam), [2008] 2 FLR 869. Care proceedings before Mr Justice Holman.   Acted as junior counsel for the Father (led by Clive Heaton QC, now HHJ Heaton QC retired).  Allegations of sexual abuse.  Prior to involvement of silk, successfully argued for the instruction of Professor Heger, eminent American Paediatrician. Parents entirely vindicated and sexual abuse found not to have taken place. Children returned to parents' care. Case was the subject of publicity.

Recorder (appointed 2012)

Specialist contributor to 'The International Family Law Practice (2nd – 5th Editions), authored by David Hodson (Family Law). Author of the chapter 'Forced Marriages'. Co-author ofForced Marriage: A Special Bulletin, (Jordans) September 2009.  Review: "A refreshingly interesting read! ... This book rather helpfully sets out almost everything you need to know when preparing for a case of this nature ... a step by step guide to managing a forced marriage case" (Family Law) Articles

  • ‘Shared Residence: Just a Label?’, Family Law (July 2004)
  • ‘Forced Marriage, Local Authorities and Applications without Leave: The New Provisions’, Family Law Week (October 2009);
  • Forcing the Issue’, Local Government Lawyer (November 2009)
  • ‘A Driving Force’, The Solicitor's Journal (December 2009)
  • The Child Arrangements Programme 2014: The Key Provisions, Family Law Week (April 2014)
  • The New Standards for Expert Witnesses, Family Law Week (October 2014)
  • Deprivation of liberty and administration of medication by a local authority to a child (January 2018), Lexis®PSL Local Government
  • Private law fact finding hearings: the new approach post-Re H-N, Family Law (July 2022)

Lectures regularly on public law and private law children topics and offers specialist training on the forced marriage legislation. Louise was one of the speakers on the topic of forced marriage at the 2013 Law Society Annual Family Law conference : "The sacred and the secular – religion, culture and the family courts".  Conference opened by the President of the Family Division.

Law MA (Cantab), Newnham College, Cambridge University Inns of Court School of Law