Elizabeth Isaacs QC*

Year of Silk: 2013

Year of Call: 1998


  • “She fights the client’s corner in a firm and balanced manner. She is also extremely personable and a great team player.” “She has an excellent grasp of the law and is also a brilliant strategist.”

    Chambers & Partners (2019)
  • “Exceptionally clever; a strategic thinker who is willing to push the boundaries in her approach to cases.”

    Legal 500 (2018)
  • "A joy to work with. She is incredibly collaborative and gets the best out of the whole team. She is massively bright and has an ability to think outside of the box." "She has a superb work ethic and retains her balance, judgement and humour in stressful situations."

    Chambers & Partners (2018)
  • "A Titan in children’s work."

    Legal 500 (2017)
  • “She radiates creative energy and has one of the quickest minds in the business.”

    Legal 500 (2016)
  • "Her expertise in care work includes complex cases involving child fatalities, serious injuries and sexual abuse."

    Legal 500 (2016)
  • "She would always be my first choice - an excellent advocate. She is very well prepared, has very good client care skills and is very approachable. She is bright and passionate about what she does. I would go to her with any family matter that needed silk." "I would single her out as a really strong, feisty advocate who is incredibly thorough in her preparation and extremely effective."

    The Legal 500 (2016)
  • "Continues to be regarded as a go-to barrister for complex children matters involving death and serious injury. She has a keen interest in the academic side of litigation and is a thorough and versatile advocate."

    Chambers & Partners (2015)

Education

BA (Hons) Psychology (Dunelm)
MA Social Work
LLB (Hons)


Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for Children
LGBT Family Law Institute - UK & Ireland

Bencher of Lincoln's Inn 2019
Deputy High Court Judge (Family Division) 2016
Public and Private Family Law Recorder (SE Circuit) 2012
Crown Court Recorder (SE Circuit) 2009
Silk Member of the Family Justice Council (2014 - 2019)


  • “She fights the client’s corner in a firm and balanced manner. She is also extremely personable and a great team player.” “She has an excellent grasp of the law and is also a brilliant strategist.”

    Chambers & Partners (2019)
  • “Exceptionally clever; a strategic thinker who is willing to push the boundaries in her approach to cases.”

    Legal 500 (2018)
  • "A joy to work with. She is incredibly collaborative and gets the best out of the whole team. She is massively bright and has an ability to think outside of the box." "She has a superb work ethic and retains her balance, judgement and humour in stressful situations."

    Chambers & Partners (2018)
  • "A Titan in children’s work."

    Legal 500 (2017)
  • “She radiates creative energy and has one of the quickest minds in the business.”

    Legal 500 (2016)
  • "Her expertise in care work includes complex cases involving child fatalities, serious injuries and sexual abuse."

    Legal 500 (2016)
  • "She would always be my first choice - an excellent advocate. She is very well prepared, has very good client care skills and is very approachable. She is bright and passionate about what she does. I would go to her with any family matter that needed silk." "I would single her out as a really strong, feisty advocate who is incredibly thorough in her preparation and extremely effective."

    The Legal 500 (2016)
  • "Continues to be regarded as a go-to barrister for complex children matters involving death and serious injury. She has a keen interest in the academic side of litigation and is a thorough and versatile advocate."

    Chambers & Partners (2015)

Overview

Elizabeth is a specialist child law silk and sits as a Family Division Deputy High Court Judge. She has an established national reputation for a compassionate, pragmatic and strategic approach, excellent advocacy and forensic preparation in complex public law cases. Elizabeth has substantial expertise in acting for all parties in complex care, adoption and wardship proceedings and has a detailed knowledge of the legal and social care issues relating to local authority planning and decision making for children.

Private Law Children

Elizabeth is highly regarded for her personable and compassionate style with clients, and works collaboratively with solicitors and junior counsel in tactically planning cases as a team from the very outset of her involvement.

Particular areas of interest include:

  • LGBT and Modern Families parenting issues
  • Surrogacy and fertility law
  • Parental order applications
  • Parental alienation and emotionally conflicted children
  • Disputes about habitual residence
  • Domestic and international relocation
  • Disputes about education, religion and medical issues
  •  

Elizabeth is an expert authority in the development of the law relating to surrogacy; she was leading counsel in the recent groundbreaking cases of Re X (A Child) (Surrogacy: Time Limit) [2014] EWHC 3135 (Fam) and Re Z (No 2) (A Child) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam) (which led to the Government’s revision of the law prohibiting single people from applying for parental orders).

Elizabeth is also regularly instructed in cases following breakdown of surrogacy arrangements or same-sex parenting arrangements.

In 2017 Elizabeth was shortlisted for ‘Family Silk of the Year’ at the Jordans Family Law Awards, in 2018 she was the ‘Regional/Scottish Silk of the year’ at the Legal 500 UK Awards, and in 2019 she was shortlisted again for the same award.

Elizabeth is Direct Access trained and is therefore happy and able to accept instructions from prospective clients directly.

Public Law Children

Elizabeth has substantial expertise in acting for all parties in complex care, adoption and wardship proceedings and has a detailed knowledge of the legal and social care issues relating to local authority planning and decision making for children. She recently acted for respondents in Operation Satchel and Operation Directed, the two largest public law cases heard to date in the UK Family Court.

Particular areas of interest include:

  • Child death
  • Serious physical injury
  • Allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse
  • Fabricated/Induced Illness (FII)
  • Toxicology and poisoning
  • Judicial review
  • Human rights issues
  • Disclosure and Public Interest Immunity (PII) issues relating to children
  • LGBT and Modern Families parenting issues
  •  

In 2017 Elizabeth was shortlisted for ‘Family Silk of the Year’ at the Jordans Family Law Awards, in 2018 she was the ‘Regional/Scottish Silk of the year’ at the Legal 500 UK Awards, and in 2019 was shortlisted again for the same award.

View Notable Cases

READ MORE

Re Z (A Child) [2015] EWFC 73

Re F (A CHILD) (International Relocation Cases) sub nom DF v N B-F [2015] EWCA Civ 882

Re X (A Child) (Surrogacy: Time Limit) [2014] EWHC 3135 (Fam)

Re B (A Child) [2014] EWHC B1 (Fam)

Re S (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1073

SMBC v RG et al [2013] EWHC 2373 (COP)

Re M (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 446

S v Z [2012] EWHC 84 (Fam)

Re D O’H (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 1343

Re L (Duty to the Court of a Psychologist) [2011] EWHC B29 (Fam)

Re C and D (Photographs of Injuries) [2010] EWHC B27(Fam)

Re X, Y and Z (Children) [2010] EWHC B12 (Fam)

Re W (Care: Threshold Criteria) [2007] 2 FLR 98 (CA)

Re B (Appeals: Lack of Reasons) [2003] 2 FLR 1035 (CA)

View Publications

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Clarke, Hall & Morrison on Children – contributing editor from 2014

Family Court Practice (Jordans) – contributor from 2014

Challenging and Defending Local Authority Child Care Decisions (April 2013) Jordans Publishing (Co-author)

Social Work Decision Making: A Guide for Child Care Lawyers (2nd Edition March 2012) Jordans Publishing (Co-author) – “A valuable addition to any Childcare library.”

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