T: 020 7092 3700
DX 404 Chancery Lane

Nick O’Brien

Call 1985

About Me

Nick has an established reputation in both the fields of child and adult protection. He represents local authorities and family members and is regularly instructed on behalf of children through their children’s guardians and adults through the Official Solicitor.
Nick has a wealth of experience in adult protection in particular Court of Protection (welfare, deprivations of liberty, appointment and discharge of deputies, lasting powers of attorney) work.
In care proceedings and secure accommodation Nick is instructed at all levels of court for local authorities, parents and relatives, interveners and children, special guardians.
In private law children cases Nick specialises in adoption including adoption breakdown and cancellation of placements.
Nick also undertakes child abduction cases and Judicial review including claimant and defendant work arising from social services decision making in particular decisions relating to fostering and adoption, children in need, adult care, accommodation, charging policies and community care assessments,
Nick is mainly based in the SE of England but advises and represents clients throughout England and Wales. He trains social workers on court skills and lectures on Court of Protection and care and adoption issues to local authority lawyers.

Nick is ranked for Court of Protection in the 2020 Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, as well as for the South Eastern Circuit (Family and Children) in the 2020 Legal 500.

Court of Protection
Direct Access


Law Degree – Oxford (1983)
Bar Finals – (1985)


Professional Memberships

Court of Protection Practitioners Association
Court of Protection Bar Association
Administrative Law Bar Association
Association of lawyers for Children
Family Law Bar Association
Middle Temple

‘He is very practical and a good advocate.’ Chambers UK Bar, 2022

‘Provides clear advice and is able to communicate with social workers in a way that they are able to easily understand. He is very approachable.’ Legal 500, 2021

‘Very good at mediating between warring family members and authorities.’ Legal 500, 2021

‘A very knowledgeable advocate.’ Legal 500 2018

[2015] EWCOP 59
Re J [2015] EWCA Civ 222 – the proper approach to threshold and judicial reasoning.
Re P (A Child) and Re B (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 1524 – Appeal in “Baby with no name” case. Issues of role of psychologist who is retained by LA for pre-proceedings work and who accepts instructions as an expert.
RB v Brighton & Hove CC [2014] EWCA Civ 561 [2014] MHLO 25 – Use of MCA 2005 (DOLS) to prevent someone with an acquired brain injury reverting to pre-accident lifestyle of heavy drinking.
K (A Child)(Hague Convention – Child’s Objections) [2014] EWCA Civ 1364
[2014] EWCA Civ 1364
Hertfordshire County Council v F & Others
[2014] EWHC 2159 (Fam)
Kinderis v Kineriene (No 2)
[2014] EWHC 693 (Fam)
Kinderis v Kineriene
[2013] EWHC 4139 (Fam)
UF v A Local Authority & Others – Note of Judgment in the Court of Protection
Hertfordshire County Council v H
[2013] EWHC 4049 (Fam)
S (A Child)
[2012] EWCA Civ 1915
Re N (Parenting Assessment)
[2012] EWCA Civ 1141
R (SA) v Kent County Council
[2011] EWCA Civ 1303
A Local Authority v PB and P
[2011] EWHC 2675 (CoP)
Re P (Vulnerable Adults: Deputies)
[2010] EWHC 1592
Re MIG and MEG
(2010) EWHC 785 (Fam)
Re H and L (Abduction: Acquiescence)
[2010] EWHC 652 (Fam)
Re H and L
[2009] EWHC 3074 (Fam)
L v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and Secretary of State for Health
[2008] EWHC 2149 (Fam)
R (M) v Birmingham City Council
[2008] EWHC 1863 (Admin)
Lambeth LBC v TK and KK
[2008] EWCA Civ 103
London Borough of Southwark v D
[2007] EWCA Civ 182
Re ST (Adult Patient)
[2008] 1 FLR 111
Re P-B (Placement Order)
[2006] EWCA Civ 1016
R (C) v London Borough of Merton
[2005] EWHC 1753(Admin)
RE B (Court’s Jurisdiction)
[2004] EWCA Civ 681
R (B) v Merton London Borough Council
[2003] EWHC 1689 (Admin)
RE H (Respondent Under 18: Power of Arrest)
[2001] 1 FLR 641
Re AMR (Adoption: Procedure)
[1999] 2 FLR 807
Re D-R (Adult: Contact)
[1999] 1 FLR 1161
Re J (Minors) (Care: Care Plan)
[1994] 1 FLR 253
London Borough of Southwark v B
[1993] 2 FLR 559


Court of Protection
Leader in the field 2020


Court of Protection
Leading junior 2020

South Eastern Circuit
Leading junior 2020

Court of Protection
Leading junior 2019


South Eastern Circuit
Leading junior 2019

Court of Protection
Leading junior 2018


South Eastern Circuit
Leading junior 2018