Vanessa Meachin Family

Call: 1990


Vanessa Meachin is a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit. She is an active member of the family group and head of the Family Finance group in chambers.

Vanessa is a family law specialist and has developed a practice in which she enjoys the considerable mix of care, adoption, family finance and private law children act applications. She has in addition developed an interest in Court of Protection work. She is a regular seminar speaker.

Vanessa is a pupil supervisor in chambers and also undertakes direct access cases.

What the directories say:

“A well-prepared and robust advocate; very client-friendly and skilled at cross-examination.” “She does everything in family law and handles it all brilliantly.” – Chambers and Partners 2015

Vanessa is ranked and recommended in Legal 500 and in Chambers and Partners UK.

Her ranking in Chambers and Partners 2013 is as follows:

“Vanessa Meachin is hailed for her committed and dogged approach and clients are particularly pleased to find a Barrister who fights their corner with such vigour. Her practice encompasses care, matrimonial finance and private law Children Act applications”.

Her ranking in Chambers and Partners 2012 is as follows:

Vanesssa Meachin “draws praise as an excellent and knowledgeable barrister who is really good with clients and court staff. Her broad experience allows her to undertake work relating to child care and adoption as well as matrimonial finance”

Her previous ranking in Chambers UK 2011 publication:

“She specialises in high net worth ancillary relief and has particular expertise in cases involving business assets”.

A source commented that “her knowledge, experience and gravitas put clients at ease”.

Her ranking in Legal 500 2012 is as follows:

“Vanessa Meachin is a strong advocate who also has a keen eye for settlement opportunities”.

Her ranking in Legal 500 2011 is as follows:

“Vanessa Meachin’s sensible approach often assists settlement but she is prepared for a contest if necessary”

Her previous ranking in Legal 500 2010:

“Vanessa Meachin consistently delivers quality advice and representation in a personable but business-like manner” – Legal 500 2010.

Qualifications and Appointments:

Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit (Family and Civil)





Family Finance Team

Vanessa is Head of the Family Finance Group in chambers.

Over the last 23 years Vanessa has accumulated extensive experience in applications arising in financial remedies, Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and more recently disputes involving civil partners.

She is required routinely to conduct cases involving parties of medium to high net worth, business accounts, forensic expert reports and pension issues.

Vanessa will often be involved in the early stages of the financial process giving advice as to how the application should proceed. Her entries as set out in the introduction section can be viewed in full  however some recent entries include:

“She specialises in high net worth ancillary relief and has particular expertise in cases involving business assets”.

A source commented that “her knowledge, experience and gravitas put clients at ease”.

“Vanessa Meachin is a strong advocate who also has a keen eye for settlement opportunities”.

Vanessa's financial cases have been diverse. Some interesting points have included consideration of the implications for a Wife following a foreign divorce, the consequences following a spouse's bankruptcy, an application to enforce maintenance arrears once the Husband’s mortgage fraud was identified and the approach to a personal injury award as a resource for the Husband.

Her financial remedy work has included applications to set aside consent orders and appeals.

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Private Law Children and Domestic Abuse

Vanessa has wide experience in private law applications, including cases where allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse (against either the partner and or the child) or emotional abuse (against either the partner and or the child) have featured. These cases have often included other issues such as the local authority becoming involved pursuant to section 37 of the Children Act 1989 and consideration of the child or children being separately represented. Vanessa has experience of dealing with forced marriage cases.

In a case in October 2013 involving a young person aged 14 at the date of the forced marriage, an issue arose as to whether it was appropriate for a non declaration of marriage to be made as opposed to a nullity being sought. The High Court determined that the appropriate route was one of nullity.

Vanessa was the young person's barrister. She submitted to the Court that it was unlikely that her client could cope with a nullification case. Vanessa said "she is 17 and struggling with the complexities of two sets of legal proceedings that she is already involved in. It is unrealistic to consider that she is equipped to petition for nullity" .

Vanessa has been a speaker on the Jordan's Family Law update.

Reported Cases:

5.11.2013 page 7 of the Times


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Public Law Care and Adoption

Vanessa is experienced in complex public law cases under the children and adoption legislation. She has over  23 years of experience of appearing for parents, other relatives, local authorities and children.In this area of work she has conducted hearings involving allegations of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence  fictitious illness cases and death of a child appearing either for the local authority, parent or child.

Vanessa was counsel involved in Birmingham City Council v AG and A (2009) EWHC 370 (Fam) - care proceedings involving the neglect by a mother and her partner of her six children, culminating in the death of one child (infection brought on by the child’s starvation) and the remaining five children being malnourished and beaten. The social workers and police had failed to identify problems despite the schools expressing serious concerns. The Court concluded that had there been an adequate initial assessment and adherence to guidance that the child would not have died.

Vanessa appeared in February 2013 in the Court of Appeal for a mother who had not been permitted contact with her child save for the immediate aftermath after birth. Her contact had been suspended due to threats that had been made by her partner, the baby's father.

Vanessa argued on appeal that the social workers had taken the "empty threats issued by the father in a fit of pique too seriously". Vanessa attacked the severance of all ties between them as "draconian" and added that "the baby ought to be given a chance to bond with his mother".

In re K (A child: Wardship publiciity) 2013 EWHC 2684 Fam, Vanessa appeared for the child in wardship proceedings dealing with an issue as to the publicity.

Vanessa's recent experience has included cross examination of experts in relation to allegations of a parent harming a child by attempted suffocation. In another case, the parents faced an allegation that they had harmed their baby by causing her to sustain a head injury.

She has an extensive experience of representing parents from diverse social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Her clients have included parents with mental health issues sometimes requiring representation through the official solicitor.

Reported Cases:

  • Birmingham City Council v AG and A (2009) EWHC 370 (Fam)
  • Re G (Appeal: Jurisdiction) 1999 1 FLR 771
  • Re H ( a child) (interim care order) [2003] 1 FCR 350
  • Re B (Appeal: Lack of Reasons) [2003] 2 FLR 1035
  •  Re R (Placement order) [2008] 1 FLR 1259


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