Mark Twomey

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As of October 9th, 2015, Mark Twomey was announced as the new joint Head of Chambers with Martha Cover. Mark specialises in all areas of family law, including public and private children, care and adoption proceedings with an international element, adult and social care matters and ToLATA.


Mark has a background in mixed common law, specialising solely in family law for the last 12 years, with particular expertise in care proceedings and abduction. He has regularly appeared in the Court of Appeal, most notably in three landmark cases, leading authorities in their areas:

  • Harris v Harris [2001] EWCA Civ 1645 [2002] 2 WLR 747(as regards contempt of Court)
  • Soulsbury v Soulsbury [2007] EWCA Civ 969 [2008] 2 WLR 834 (as regards entering contracts as to matrimonial causes without ousting the court’s jurisdiction)
  • Metropolitan Housing Trust v Hadjazi [2010] HLR 39 [2010] EWCA Civ 750 (domestic violence as a ground for possession in public housing)

Mark joined Coram in 2005 and is interested in complex cases involving severe injuries, international movement of children and abduction, with a particular expertise in BIIR.  Mark lectured frequently on Adoption, Contempt of Court, BIIR and Abduction, including to the Local Government Lawyers Association, the ALC, to solicitors and within Chambers. He is interviewed regularly by the BBC in relation to legal issues concerning children.

His recent cases include:

  • A High Court case, pursuing grave findings on behalf of one of the two applicant Local Authorities, involving three parents and three guardians in a case relating to incest, sexual abuse and international child trafficking
  • Child trafficking in care proceedings, looking at conflict before child trafficking regulations and the obligations arising under BIIR, and the issue of habitual residence
  • A BIIR case, addressing the correct approach to applications made under Article 15 and involving the issue of international adoption rights in the UK, in particular the adoption of foreign nationals—do UK courts have the right to order the adoption of the children of foreign nationals against the parents’ wishes?
  • Cases of inflicted or accidental injuries, most recently one involving the poisoning of a child by salt
  • The correct approach, decided on appeal, to be taken to assessments of parents under section 38 [6] Children Acy 1989
  • A Court of Appeal case relating to the Possession Order made following domestic violence in the family home
Practice areas
Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Association of Lawyers for Children
Inner temple


Bristol University LLB


J and E (Children: Brussels II Revised: Article 15) [2014] EWFC 45 (11 November 2014)

Subject to an appeal, judgment in which is awaited. The appeal judgment is expected to address authoritatively guidance in the making of applications under Article 15 of Brussels II revised and the jurisdiction for our courts to make adoption orders in respect of the children of foreign nationals without parental consent.


Re A (a Child) (Vulnerable Witness) [2013] EWHC 1694 (Fam)

This particular judgment relates to the question of whether or not X, a 21 year old woman who made allegations in 2009 that whilst she was a child she had been sexually abused by the father, should give evidence at a finding of fact hearing listed to consider those allegations


P (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 1793

The local authority removed the child from the mother’s care due to the risk of domestic violence.  At a full hearing, the Judge approved the local authority’s plan, which was supported by the Guardian, and ordered that the child be removed again from her mother.  The mother appealed on the basis that separating the child from her mother was disproportionate and that there was an alternative refuge available that offered 24-hour supervision and was some distance from London.

The Court (Thorpe Etherton LJJ) granted permission to appeal but dismissed the appeal, paying tribute to the submissions on behalf of the appellant and “granting permission only in deference to the very careful presentation both in writing and orally the court has received from Mr Twomey”.


AF v T and another [2011] EWHC 1315 (Fam)

Following the decision of the German court under the Hague Convention, the father applied under Article 11 of Brussels IIR to allow the English court to examine the question of custody.


London Borough of Bexley & Another v CW and Others [2014] EWFC 25

Findings made against family members following a fact finding within complex public law proceedings with issues relating to child trafficking; sexual abuse with two local authorities and 3 guardians involved.


K (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 1064

Appeal by father against an order for no direct contact between him and his three children. Successfully opposed appeal.


S (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 812

Appeal by mother against refusal of an assessment under s 38(6) Children Act 1989. Leading authority in relation to applications under s.38(6).


Soulsbury v Soulsbury [2007] EWCA Civ 969

Appeal by personal representative of an estate against an order granting a payment to the wife of the deceased in lieu of her refusal to enforce periodical payments while he was alive. Successfully opposed appeal.

The case turned on whether the agreement between the deceased husband and the wife was one that sought to oust the jurisdiction of the court with regard to ancillary relief.