Gillian Irving QC

1984 Inner Temple Queens Counsel 2006

I specialise in contentious and highly complex public law cases in the Family Court involving allegations of severe child abuse.

They often involve;
(a) highly specialist cross-examination of medical experts in cases where inflicted injury and death is alleged;
(b) cross-examination of a child or vulnerable person alleging sexual and/or physical abuse;
(c) cross-examination of perpetrators of abuse and of the Police and Social care agencies seized with the task of investigation.

Many of the parents I represent are themselves victims of abuse. Many suffer from mental health or personality difficulties. Many have a learning disability.
My experience, gleaned from sitting on the Mental Health Review Tribunal, has equipped me with knowledge of mental health issues and their treatment and management.

I also deal with Private law family proceedings involving allegations of abuse and with adoption matters.

I have appeared at all levels including the Supreme Court.

My practice also encompasses cases proceeding in the Court of Protection and Upper Tier Tribunal.

In 1996 I was appointed to represent the patients on the Personality Disorder Unit at Ashworth High Security Hospital in the second public inquiry into their management and their treatment. That involved organising and digesting vast quantities of material. There were over 100 patients on the unit many of whom were extremely challenging to represent.

In 2005/2006, I was appointed to represent the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester in an Inquiry into the death of a child at the hands of her mother who had a chronic and relapsing mental illness. The Inquiry examined and explored the actions and inaction of a variety of public bodies in order to assess whether the death could have been avoided.

In 2012/2013, I was invited by the Jersey Government to apply to chair the Independent Inquiry into historical abuse on the island. I was short-listed for the position which ultimately went to a more senior practitioner.

Notable Cases

       M v F (Covert recording of children) [2016] EWFC 27

       W (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 113.

       F v Cumbria County Council and M ( Fact-Finding No 2) [2016]EWHC 14 (Fam)

       F v Cumbria Count Council & another (no 6) publicity[2015]EWHC 3228(Fam)

       Cumbria County Council v M & Ors [2015] EWHC 918.

       Re P (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 170.

       Cumbria County Council v M & Ors [2014] EWHC 4485.

       CM v Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council [2014] EWCA Civ 1479.

       Cumbria County Council v M & Ors [2014]EWHC 2596.

       J,A,M & X (Children) [2014] EWHC 4648 (Fam).

       Lancashire County Council v C & Ors [2014] All ER 62.

       Re L & B (children) [2013] UKSC 8.

       MD V Mersey Care NHS Trust [2013] UKUT 127(AAC).

       ITN News & Ors v R [2013] EWCA Crim 773.

       Secretary of State etc v SB [2013] UKUT 330(AAC).

       Re X (a child) [2011] EWHC 430(Fam).

       CJ v Flintshire Borough Council [2010] EWCA Civ 393.

       G v E & Ors [2010] EWCA Civ 822.

       G v E & Ors [2010] EWHC 2512.

       MD v Nottinghamshire Health Care NHS Trust (Rev 1) [2010] UKUT 59 (AAC).

       G v E & Ors [2010] EWHC 621.

       R (on the application of MS by his mother and litigation friend SS v Oldham MBC [2010] All ER 121& [2010]
       EWHC 802 (Admin).

       Greater Manchester Chief Constable v KI & Anor (Children) [2007] EWHC 1837 (Fam).

       C v Bury MBC [2002] 2 FLR 868 FD.

       Re CH (Care or interim care order) [1998]1FLR 402 CA

       R v Devon County Council ex parte O [1997] 2FLR 388.

       A Metropolitan Borough Council v DB [1997] 1 FLR 767.

       Re C (Interim Care Order Residential Assessment) [1996] UKHL 4.

       Re C (Interim care order: assessment) [1996] 2 FLR 708. CA.

       Re B (Care or Supervision order) [1996] 2 FLR 708.

       Stockport MBC v D [1995] 1 FLR 873.

       Manchester City Council v S [1991]2 FLR 370.

Additional Information

Seminars and Lectures

I am invited to speak on Family Law Matters at conferences and seminars run by external providers and I also lecture at chambers continuing education seminars.

I also practice from Dere Street Chambers in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and York; Broadway House Chambers in Leeds and Bradford and 42 Bedford Row, London.


(i) Member of the National Safeguarding Panel for Sport Resolutions.

Sports Resolutions is an independent, not-for-profit, dispute resolution service for sport in the UK. The NSP provides:
(i) independent investigations and reviews into safeguarding complaints and concerns; and
(ii) independent arbitration; and (iii) Expert risk assessment of an individuals’ suitability to work with children and vulnerable adults.

(ii) Member of the Independent Safeguarding Commission of Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

Chetham’s School of Music is an independent, co-educational, specialist music school for boys and girls aged 8-18. With 290 or so students, it is the largest specialist music school in the UK. The Commission was established following a number of serious allegations of sexual abuse against teachers past and present; and damming reports by Inspectors from Manchester City Council Children’s Services department and the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2013.

We are each appointed by the Feoffees and the School Committee. Our purpose is to advise and assist the school in matters relating to child protection and the safeguarding of children in the care of the school. We scrutinise and question safeguarding policies and assist in their production and implementation