Simon Wilkinson

Called 2010

Simon handles complex children matters with ease. He impresses the entire court room. His advice and advocacy is confident and strategic.

The Legal 500 (2024) - Family, Children and Domestic Violence (Tier 3)


Simon is a specialist Family (children) and Court of Protection barrister. In 2020 he was appointed to be a Recorder sitting in the Family Court on the North Eastern Circuit.

Simon prides himself on ensuring that he builds a good rapport with clients whilst giving firm and frank advice. He is keen to be approachable to lay and professional clients alike and has established a reputation for his forensic approach – focussing on the key issues in the case in order to achieve the best results possible, whether in advice, negotiations with other parties or presenting a case in court.

Simon has been recommended in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 as a Leading Individual for both his Family and Court of Protection work. He has a keen interest in cases involving a crossover between the two jurisdictions and a particular grasp of issues surrounding children and young people and deprivation of liberty, regularly being instructed to represent children and local authorities in cases in the High Court invoking the inherent jurisdiction or where there is a cross-over between the Family Court and the Court of Protection.

He is happy to get involved in cases from the outset and advise on case management issues at the start of a case. At final hearings he ensures that he thoroughly prepared with a good grasp of the evidence at his fingertips.

Simon has had multiple articles published in Jordan’s Family Law Journal (the publication of record for family practitioners) and in 2022 joined the editorial team of Butterworths Family Law Service (published by LexisNexis UK).

Areas of Expertise


Simon’s practice encompasses all aspects of health and welfare work in the Court of Protection. He has been consistently ranked in the Legal 500 for a number of years and is ranked Tier 1 in the 2022 edition.

He has acted for all parties (including P, lay respondents, CCGs and Local Authorities) in cases before all levels of judiciary concerning the rights of people covered under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 1983. Simon has been involved in cases involving health and welfare decisions, medical treatment cases and findings of fact. His expertise in the Family Court means that he has particular skills in assisting parties through the forensic evidential processes of fact finding cases. He is similarly interested and brings particular experience to cases which involve a cross-over with the Family Court jurisdiction.

Simon prides himself on being approachable and a ready port of call throughout cases. He is willing to provide advice to clients at all stages of the process and is therefore keen to take an “active” role in the preparation of cases including the drafting of documents, regular telephone conferences if required, right through to drafting consent orders at the conclusion of cases.

Simon is currently an active committee member for the Yorkshire and Humber CoPPA as part of which he takes a role in planning and organising events of interest throughout the year. In 2019 he was part of the team which organised the national CoPPA conference which was held in Leeds.

He is happy to provide training on any aspect of Court of Protection work to solicitors or other professionals.

Legal 500 2020 – “Able to put clients at ease in difficult circumstances”

Legal 500 2021 – “Simon demonstrates an excellent knowledge of Court of Protection proceedings. He spots the issues in the case easily and quickly and is able to suggest sensible steps to progress the case without delay. His advocacy skills are excellent”

Simon practices in all aspects of children law. His practice encompasses the following areas:

Public law

Simon regularly acts for Local Authorities, parents, children and other parties in a wide variety of matters in all levels of The Family Court, including the High Court. He has also appeared in the Court of Appeal and drafted written submissions for appeals in the Court of Appeal. He has represented parties at all stages of proceedings up to and including complex finding of fact hearings, issues resolution hearings and final hearings as well as at appeal and is regularly instructed in cases involving complex medical evidence/ inflicted injuries and involving serious and historic sexul abuse. Recent cases include: successfully appealing final orders made in care and placement proceedings, a case involving Fabricated or Induced Illness, a case in which the child had suffered an acute ischaemic hypoxic injury which led to permanent paralysis and number of cases involving historic sexual abuse which contained much complex and sensitive evidence including children giving evidence.

In care proceedings Simon’s focus is on ensuring full and proper attention is given to all aspects of the evidence at all stages of the proceedings. He is keen to engage forensically with the evidence in order to represent the interests of his client fully, whether acting for the Local Authority, parents or children. He has particular experience in cases involving a substantial number of experts and complex medical evidence as well as cases with significant amounts of media, police and medical disclosure.

His expertise in the Court of Protection gives a keen interest and invaluable knowledge in cases concerning Deprivation of Liberty and he is happy to provide advice and representation in this new and developing area of law.

Private law

Simon has represented parents and children at all stages in private law children proceedings before all levels of judiciary within the Family Court and in the Family Division of the High Court. He has acted in residence and contact disputes as well as cases concerning specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders. Simon also has experience in representing clients in enforcement proceedings under the Children Act 1989. Recently Simon has successfully appealed a case management decision finding a grandparent in contempt of court and has regular involvement in cases concerning changes of residence and other cases involving expert evidence and complex evidential issues.

His focus in such cases is on ensuring that clients have full and proper representation in an area of law which takes up a significant amount of court time and which is often overlooked. Simon is determined in such cases to bring a forthright and sensible approach: ensuring that clients have their cases put forcefully and thoughtfully whilst keeping the welfare of the children at the front of the court’s mind.

Applications under the Family Law Act 1996

Simon has experience representing clients in applications for injunctive relief under the FLA 1996, including at contested final hearings.

Chambers and Partners (2024) - Family, Children (Band 3) -"Simon is super with clients and so good at managing their expectations. He is great to instruct and always so well prepared and thorough."

The Legal 500 (2024) - Court of Protection and Community Care (Tier 1)

The Legal 500 (2024) - Family, Children and Domestic Violence (Tier 3) - "Simon handles complex children matters with ease. He impresses the entire court room. His advice and advocacy is confident and strategic."

Chambers and Partners (2023) - Family, Children (Band 3) - "Simon Wilkinson is well regarded for public children work involving serious allegations of abuse and complexities around evidence. He is particularly noted for representing local authorities in cases concerning sexual abuse, serious injuries and induced illness. He has experience acting in the High Court and Court of Appeal."

The Legal 500 (2023) - Court of Protection and Community Care (Tier 1) - "Simon is extremely knowledgeable. He will make himself available to talk through complex matters and has a sensible, straightforward approach to cases."

The Legal 500 (2023) - Child Law, Public and Private (Tier 3) - "Simon is a considered and sensible barrister with lots of experience on complicated cases. He works really well with his instructing solicitor and is a really bright and composed advocate."

Chambers and Partners (2022) Family, Children (Band 3) - "He is very knowledgeable and practical. Simon is clearly very experienced and confident in any situation thrown at him." "He has the ear of judges as he is subtle and sensible." "He is fantastic to work with." 

The Legal 500 (2022) - Family & Children Law (Tier 3) - "Simon is clever, sensible, always calm and has a good bedside manner with clients."

The Legal 500 (2022) - Court of Protection and Community Care (Tier 1) - "Simon demonstrates an excellent knowledge of Court of Protection proceedings. He spots the issues in the case easily and quickly and is able to suggest sensible steps to progress the case without delay. His advocacy skills are excellent."

Chambers and Partners (2021) Family, Children (Band 3) - "He has a good client management style and can tailor his advocacy in a way that the client can understand." "He has the ability to put clients at ease and doesn't talk with any legal jargon. He comes up with innovative, practical solutions and is good in court."

The Legal 500 (2021) - Child Law, Public and Private (Tier 3) - "Simon's strengths are in always being thoroughly prepared and his excellent communication skills. He is a pleasure to instruct, always prepared to make himself available for discussions.’

The Legal 500 (2021)  Court of Protection and Community Care (Tier 2) - "Very easy to work with, responsive and good quality written work."

The Legal 500 (2020) - Family and Children Law (Tier 3) - "Provides honest and realistic advice in a manner in which clients can easily understand."

The Legal 500 (2020) - Court of Protection and Community Care (Tier 2) - "Able to put clients at ease in difficult circumstances."

Family Law Bar Association

Court of Protection Bar Association

Lawyers For Children

Court of Protection Practitioners Association, Yorkshire and Humber (committee member)

North Eastern Circuit

Simon is also a qualified Mental Health First-Aider

Bradford MDC v A Mother (and others) [2022] EWFC 48 Represented intervenor in finding of fact hearing before Mr Justice Poole involving allegations of significant historical sexual abuse.

Judgment on the National Archives Case Law database 


R (A Child) [2019] EWCA Civ 895 Represented the respondent local authority in an appeal against a finding that a grandmother was in a pool of potential perpetrators after acted in the first instance hearing. The appeal was successful however the Court of Appeal (Peter Jackson and Baker LJJ) praised the 'well-judged' response taken on the respondent's behalf [22]. The Court praised the submissions as 'very high quality – concise, focused, realistic and fair' [17]. The judgment also addressed confusion over the test for permission to appeal within rule 30.3(7) of the Family Procedure Rules 2010. The test under the first limb of that provision is whether the appeal would have a 'real prospect' of success. Their lordships clarified that 'real prospects' is defined as: "there must be a realistic, as opposed to fanciful, prospect of success" [29]-[31].

Judgment on Bailii 

Judgment on Family Law Week


A (Relinquished Baby: Risk of Domestic Abuse) [2018] EWHC 1981 (Fam)

Represented the child before Cobb J in an application under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. The Local Authority sought declarations that a relinquished baby could be placed for adoption without notifying either the putative father or the wider maternal and paternal family in circumstances where there was a serious risk of domestic violence posed by the father were he to discover the existence of the child. The Court granted the applications, rehearsing and drawing together the principles set out in previous authorities which needed to be considered when relinquished children were to be placed for adoption and the authority sought to without the information about the child's existence fom family members. Ultimately the child's welfare is paramount.

Judgment on Bailii

Judgment on Family Law Week


Re RD (Deprivation or Restriction of Liberty) [2018] EWFC 47

Represented the child before Cobb J. The Court considered whether the placement of a 14 year old child in Scotland under a Care Order amounted to a deprivation of her liberty. The Court noted that the case was 'finely balanced' and although finding that there was not a deprivation noted that had it made such declarations it would have invited the Local Authority to lodge a petition with the Court of Session using the nobile officium procedure to attempt to ensure that the placement was made legal in Scotland.

Within the judgment Cobb J commended the presentation of the case, commenting: '‘I have been particularly assisted in considering the issues by the written and oral advocacy of [counsel for the Local Authority] and Mr Wilkinson, who have presented their arguments with considerable skill."

Judgment on Bailii

Judgment on Family Law Week


A, B, C (Children : care orders) No. 2 [2017] EWFC 116 

A, B, C (Children : care orders) No. 3 [2017] EWFC 117

Acted for the local authority in applications to discharge care orders made by litigant in person parents in lengthy and long-standing public law proceedings. 

Judgment on Bailii - (No 2) 

Judgment on Bailii - (No 3)

Recorder (Family) - North Eastern Circuit  

Nominated Judge of the Court of Protection - North Eastern Circuit

Deputy District Judge (Family and Civil) - North Eastern Circuit  

Fee-Paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal: Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (Mental Health)  

Fee-Paid Employment Judge of the Employment Tribunals (England & Wales)

Simon has given accredited talks on both private and public Family Law work as well as on issues relating to the Court of Protection. He is happy to give talks or conduct seminars on a variety of Family Law and Court of Protection topics and is happy to provide bespoke training if required. Recent talks include:

  • Private Case Law Update
  • Shared Residence orders
  • Deprivation of Liberty update
  • Advice on how to mount a successful appeal
  • Variation of spousal maintenance orders
  • Private children law procedure in practice
  • The use of Section 20 of the Children Act 1989

BA (Hons) English Literature (The University of Manchester, 2008)

GDL/ CPE (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2009)

Bar Vocational Course (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2010)


2022 - present: Member of the editorial team of Butterworths Family Law Service (published by LexisNexis UK)

2012: Winner, Louise Godfrey Q.C. Memorial Moot (North Eastern Circuit)

2008: Lord Brougham Scholarship, Lincoln's Inn

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