Michael Valks
April 3, 2017
Beverley Cherrill
April 3, 2017

Maria Hancock

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'Maria is everything i want when i instruct Counsel. Her legal knowledge is unrivalled. Her conduct with clients and other legal professionals is unmatched. She will fight hard for her clients, and she puts them at the centre of everything she does, so very well.'


A senior junior and experienced leading junior, who regularly appears alongside Queens Counsel.

She undertakes the most serious of Children and Family law work predominantly focussing on complex medical issues in NAI allegations, FII cases, serious physical, sexual and emotional harm and neglect. Recent and current examples include: two separate sets of High Court proceedings involving the death of babies from asphyxiation (representing F in the first and M in the second, with Maria successfully persuading the Courts that her clients were not involved in the deaths), the gravest of child sexual abuse including anal rape (F), serious and life limiting head injuries to a baby (F) and multi-faceted illnesses and medical conditions fabricated and induced in a child (M). Others include intra-familial sexual abuse (representing the children), serious physical abuse including punishment by fire and heat (M), FGM proceedings (M) and NAI proceedings involving multiple fractures to children.

Maria also has an expertise and recent experience of international relocation cases, international child abduction proceedings, including applications pursuant to Art 11(7) Brussels II A, matters which have difficult jurisdictional issues and cases involving children with gender dysphoria. She is also experienced in Judicial Review and HRA applications arising out of Children Act proceedings.

Maria quickly inspires confidence in professional and lay clients with her thorough knowledge of relevant law and procedure, excellent oral and written advocacy and calm but authoritative manner. At the same time as being an effective advocate, Maria is extremely approachable. .

Maria is also a trained Children Arbitrator. Her skills as an advocate are utilised to bring proceedings to an efficient conclusion, without parties having to deal with the large backlog the Court service are presently dealing with.


Qualifications, Associations


  • FLBA (Former Kent and Sussex Committee member, including Chair -3 terms).
  • Children Arbitrator. CIArb member.
  • Chambers Trust Committee member.
  • Deputy Head of Chambers (Family)
  • Pupil Supervisor.
  • Certificate of Qualification in Social Work.

    Reported Cases


    H v B (Enforcement of Domestic Return Order) [2020] EWHC 961 (Fam)
    Re F ( Child) (International Relocation Cases) [2015] EWCA Civ 882
    Re A and B (Children: Brussels II Revised: Article 15) [2014] EWHC 3516
    A County Council v M & Ors (Foreign Adoption) [2013] 1FLR 88
    A County Council V m & Ors (RRO Artificial Insemination) [2013] 2 FLR 1270


    Notable Cases


    Re W (2021) represented M in DOLS proceedings (High Court)
    Re W (2021) represented Child in serious NAI proceedings
    Re T (2021) successfully argued No Direct Contact in Wardship proceedings (High Court)
    RE M (2021) represented Child in FGM proceedings (High Court)
    Re A (2021) represented Child in International Child Abduction proceedings (High Court)
    Re B (2020) successfully argued that M not responsible for multiple fractures to baby
    Re H (2020) successful exoneration of M in proceedings following death of baby (High Court)
    Re M (2018) – successful exoneration of F in proceedings following death of baby (High Court)
    Re AA (2018) – successful proving of all D/A allegations, including rape of M – children returned
    Re M (2018) represented children in intra-familial sexual abuse case
    Re B (2017) represented M in FII proceedings
    Re K (2017) represented M found to have inflicted, jointly with F, 28 fractures on baby (received 8 years imprisonment in criminal court subsequently)
    Re G (2016) successful defence of Hague Convention Child Abduction proceedings (High Court)
    Re K (2016) represented F found to have sexually abused children (received 18 years imprisonment in criminal court subsequently) (High Court)
Called 1995
Deputy Head of Chambers (Family)
Practice Areas: Family, Child Arbitration, Public Access

Email: mh@westgate-chambers.co.uk

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