John Paul Cregan has practised exclusively in family law throughout his career at the Bar. He specialises in disputes concerning children. In private law proceedings, he often acts for parents to resolve intractable contact disputes. He also represents parents in cases involving disagreements over living arrangements, international relocation and child abduction. He is frequently instructed by the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) to represent children who are joined as parties in complex and protracted private law proceedings which feature issues of implacable hostility and parental alienation.
He represents grandparents and other relatives seeking child arrangements orders and/or special guardianship orders so that children can either live or spend time with them.
He welcomes instructions for such cases through the Direct Access Scheme.
He also acts for parents, relatives and children in public law proceedings. His work often involves serious and complex cases involving physical and emotional abuse and neglect as well as finding of fact hearings including non-accidental injury and FII (fabricated and induced illness). He appears for parents and other relatives who have found themselves accused of harming a child.
- International private law matter in the High Court concerning a dispute between UK relatives and other relatives living abroad over living and contact arrangements in respect of a child survivor of the Grenfell fire disaster whose parents and siblings perished. A local authority was also involved. Successfully negotiated living arrangements for the child in a sensitive manner on behalf of the UK relatives.
- Instructed on behalf of two children by NYAS in an acrimonious and lengthy private law matter in which the parents disputed living and contact arrangements for the children. It was complicated by allegations and cross-allegations of physical and emotional abuse made by both parents and involved a five day finding of fact hearing. A local authority was also involved due to complexity of issues. The case was concluded by the making of a child arrangements order permitting the children to share their time between both parents.
- Instructed by Cafcass Legal in an international private law matter in the High Court on behalf of a young child originally taken to a foreign country from the UK by his parents, with a dispute arising subsequently when the father unilaterally returned to the UK with the child, leaving the mother stranded abroad without travel papers or funds and with no contact. There was local authority involvement due to the level of concern. Case involved complex issues of welfare and international arrangements given the mother had been separated from her young child for two years. Arrangements were made for the mother to return to UK where the child was rehabilitated back to her care.
- Instructed by Cafcass Legal in an international private law matter in the High Court under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 – complex international surrogacy matter – involving extensive research into surrogacy regulations in South Africa.
- Instructed on behalf of a father in care proceedings involving three children including one removed into foster care as a result of allegations of physical and emotional abuse made against the father and supported by the mother. Following a finding of fact hearing which involved an older sibling giving evidence, the facts were not proved against the father resulting in the child being returned to live with the father under a child arrangements order which also provided for shared care in respect of the two siblings.
Advocacy and advisory work
John Paul is well regarded as an experienced and adept trial advocate and effective in presenting and pursuing his client’s case. He is recognised for the comprehensive yet practical way in which he approaches cases. He is a busy practitioner predominantly appearing in Central London and the South East but also accepts instructions further afield. John Paul is accessible and approachable and is always pleased to offer advice both to lay and professional client. He particularly welcomes an opportunity to be consulted at an early stage in the proceedings and to guide his clients through all stages of what is often a stressful and anxiety-provoking process.
Children (public and private)
Court of Protection
BCL University College, Cork, Ireland
MA Text and Performance Studies, RADA, London
Called to the Irish Bar at King’s Inns, Dublin.
Family Law Bar Association
The client (a mother) and the client’s relative wrote to thank John Paul “for the very professional way you worked X’s case with its many delicate issues …thank you for your excellent work and strong efforts of achievement throughout the whole day and beyond usual court functioning time…“. The client’s relative noted that through John Paul’s efforts, the mother was allowed to continue to exercise her parental responsibility to her children through contact, contact that had been interrupted and sporadic for years until John Paul’s representation of the mother at court.
A solicitor who wrote to John Paul to thank him for his representation on behalf of a client seeking a private law order saying “the client was very happy and said you were outstanding”.