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Richard O’Sullivan



Richard is an experienced family barrister recommended in the last 13 editions of the Legal 500 for his work across all aspects of family law, but in particular public law children cases.

Richard has been described in legal directories as having “incredible knowledge” and being an “extremely able and amiable advocate”, who “takes on the heaviest cases”, “is incredibly diligent”, “puts difficult clients at ease”, whilst dealing with “extremely sensitive matters with ease” and being “shrewd tactically”. Providing submissions that are “are always on point and make complete sense”. He is considered to be “a silk in the making”.

Since it’s it launch in July 2022 Richard has frequently appeared in the National Deprivation of Liberty (DoLs) on behalf of the local authorities from across the country.

In addition to regularly representing local authorities, children and parents at all levels of the Family Court and in the Court of Appeal, in last 12 months Richard has also appeared in the Supreme Court of St Helena on behalf of the Attorney General/Directorate of Social Services.

Richard is accredited by the Bar Council to provide advice direct to individuals under the public access scheme, which he does on a regular basis.


Before joining Coram 9 years so, Richard spent 14 years at East Anglian Chambers where his family practice included an equal split of matrimonial finance and public and private law cases. He continues to appear regularly in courts in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, but more recently his work has taken him across the country.

The majority of Richard’s time is now taken up with childcare law, in particular care and adoption proceedings, abduction proceedings, cases involving international relocation of children, wardship proceedings and the deprivation of liberty. He has a particular interest in cases involving head injuries to infants and special guardianship orders.

In the last twelve months his caseload has included  applications for forced marriage protection orders, female genital mutilation, serious sexual assaults, allegations of trafficking and fabricated illness.

Routinely instructed on behalf of local authorities, parents, relatives and children, Richard is regarded as an accomplished problem solver, noted for his well-considered arguments and his sensitivity to the needs of his client and also his tribunal.  He can be relied upon to provide timely reasoned advice in a manner tailored to his audience, and has a kind and patient approach to lay clients rooted in a desire to dispel the anxieties that inevitably arise during court proceedings.

Richard is accredited by the Bar Council to provide advice direct to individuals under the public access scheme, which he does on a regular basis.

Practice Areas

Public Law Children

Private Law Children

Local Authority

International Family Law


“Richard has a very calm and relaxed style but always manages to maintain a rigorous and relentless focus on the relevant issues, which judges appreciate hugely. In submissions, he exudes clarity and efficiency, making his points powerfully which is very persuasive. His manner with lay clients is hand-on, making sure that they fully understand the issues and his approach, feel engaged and empowered.” Legal 500, 2024 Ranked: Tier 4

“Richard is extremely able and amiable advocate. His submissions are always on point and make complete sense.” Legal 500, 2023

“A silk in the making.  He takes on the heaviest cases and is regularly against silks.  He is incredibly diligent.  Richard works hard for every client.  He puts difficult clients at ease.  Social workers trust him.  He knows the papers, is insightful and shrewd tactically” Legal 500, 2022

“A highly experienced child care practitioner who represents local authorities and parents in public law proceedings.” Legal 500, 2021

“Very good with both clients and professionals” Legal 500, 2020

“Noted for his expertise in care cases” Legal 500, 2019

‘Recommended for the full range of family cases, including family finance” Legal 500, 2016

“He deals with extremely sensitive matters with ease.”  Legal 500, 2015

“Incredible knowledge.” Legal 500, 2014

“Noted for his expertise in the fields of matrimonial finance and childcare.” Legal 500, 2013

“He deals with high value, complex family matters.”  Legal 500, 2012

“Richard O’Sullivan covers the whole spectrum of family workers.” Legal 500, 2011


W-Z (Children: Welfare Decision) [2023] EWFC 94

X-Y (A Child: Fact-Finding)[2022] EWFC 193

Re AX-BX and others (Revocation of Adoption Orders) [2021] EWHC 1121 (Fam)

Re LC (A Child – Placement Order) [2020] EWCA Civ 787

Re E (Care Proceedings: Fact Finding) [2020] EWFC 24

Re FL (A Child) [2020] EWCA Civ 20

Re E (A Child: Questioning a Vulnerable Witness) [2019] EWHC 3808 (Fam)

Re S (Wardship) [2016] EWFC B1

Local Authority v. XYZ (No 1) [2015] EWFC 69

A Local Authority v. XYZ (No 2) [2015] EWFC 70

T (Habitual Residence: Article 15 Transfer)[2014] EWFC B148

J (Discharge of A Care Order)[2014] EWFC B199

Re A (Adoption versus Special Guardianship Order) [2014] EWCC B39 (Fam)

Re A-F [Final Order][2014] EWCC B59 (Fam)

Education and Professional Memberships

BA Joint Hons University of York 

CPE College of Law 

BVC Inns of Court School of Law 

Family Law Bar Association 

Essex Family Justice Board 

Inner Temple 


Include: film, falconry, sailing and cooking.