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Martha Cover

Call 1979 | Barrister


Martha Cover is a senior childcare and adoption specialist. She is expert in care cases with an international dimension and in representing children who are competent to instruct her directly. She was co-chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children from 2015 – 2017. Martha has appeared in over 20 leading cases.


Martha Cover is a children lawyer who specialises in care proceedings and adoption, including cases with an international element. She is frequently called to act in cases of inflicted infant trauma with concurrent criminal proceedings. Martha often represents competent children and young people acting directly on their instructions, including children who may have harmed other children.

Martha has appeared in over twenty leading cases in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court. The most recent include Re N in the Supreme Court (2016), which re-defined the test for deciding whether to transfer public law proceedings to another European jurisdiction; Re  X (Number 5) (2018)  before Munby P; lifting reporting restrictions following a rehearing in the High Court which upheld earlier findings of physical abuse of an infant; and London Borough of Tower Hamlets  v B (2016), representing a teenager who had allegedly been radicalised by ISIS.

Practice Areas

International Family Law

Private Law Children

Public Law Children

Human Rights

Education and Professional Memberships

BA, University of Western Ontario 

LLM University of London, Queen Mary College 

Family Law Bar Association 

Association of Lawyers for Children 

Human Rights Lawyers Association 


Gray’s Inn 


“Martha is clever, gets on well with judges whilst able to appropriately challenge the Local Authority’s case. She is not afraid to think laterally in order to bring about the best outcome for her client. She fights for justice for those whom she represents.” Legal 500, 2024 Ranked: Tier 1

“Martha Cover doggedly fights the good fight and is a practitioner who is both liked and feared”, Chambers and Partners 2023

“She’s highly experienced, unflappable and someone who doesn’t overdramatise” Chambers and Partners 2023

“Martha is an institution – wise, independent, with a lovely turn of phrase. She deploys her wealth of experience very effectively in representing often vulnerable clients”, Chambers and Partners, 2022

“The barrister you seek to instruct in the most complex and challenging cases where her technical knowledge and advocacy are second to none and combined with excellent client care.” Ranked: Tier 1, Legal 500, 2022

“Impactful in court and brings clarity to cases. She discerns realistic options for moving forward.” Chambers and Partners, 2022

“Martha is thorough and attuned to the complexities of children’s cases.” Chambers and Partners, 2022

“She always has the next question prepared and catches out witnesses in a charming way.” Chambers and Partners, 2022

“(Martha) has a very strong reputation for fighting her client’s corner with tact and good humour and not giving an inch. Peers are quick to laud her commitment to pro bono work.” Chambers and Partners, 2016 

“She’s warm and engaging, and explains things in a way clients can understand. She’s incisive, and she will identify and tackle the key issues. Her fearlessness stands out.” Chambers and Partners, 2016 

“A pioneer and icon in the field” Legal 500, 2015 

‘Committed, knowledgeable, authoritative and sympathetic.’ Legal 500, 2014 

“she is respected by the judiciary and has a clear understanding of local authorities” Chambers UK, 2014 


Is the legal tail wagging the social work dog?

Migration and legal aid changes threaten the rights of families 

Martha Cover and members of the Association of Lawyers for Children write to The Guardian on the potential threat to the rights of families on the proposed migration and changes to legal aid. 


London Borough  of Tower Hamlets  v B  [2016]  EWHC 1707 Fam

Re N (Children) [2016] UKSC 15 

Re X (A Child (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1342 (Fam) 

Re H (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 583 

Kirklees Council v Re [2014] EWHC 3182 (Fam) 

A Local Authority and Others v C [2012] EWHC 1637 (Fam) 

Re K (Children with Disabilities: Wardship) [2012] 2 FLR 745 

A County Council v K & Ors (By the Child’s Guardian HT) [2011] EWHC 1672 (Fam) Judgments (05/07/2011) 

A County Council v K, C and T [2011] EWHC 1672 (Fam) 

Re Haringey London Borough Council v C, E and Another Intervening [2006] EWHC] 1620 (Fam) [2007] 1 FLR 1035 (Fam) 

Re U (Care Proceedings: Criminal Conviction: Refusal to Give Evidence) [2006] EWHC 372 [2006] 2 FLR 690 (Fam) 

Re N (Sexual Abuse Allegations: Professionals Not Abiding by Findings of Fact) [2005] 2 FLR 340 

Re W and X (Wardship: Relatives Rejected as Foster Carers) [2003] EWHC 2206 (Fam) [2004] 1 FLR 415 2003 Fam Law 883 

Re A (Care Proceedings: Asylum Seekers) [2003] 2 FLR 921 FD 

Re N (Contact: Minor Seeking Leave to Defend and Removal of Guardian) [2003] 1FLR 652 

Re M (Residence) [2002] 2 FLR 1059 

Re AS (Secure Accommodation Order) 1 FLR 103 [1999] 1 FLR 103 

Re A (Protection from Offenders Regulations) [1999] 1 FLR 697 

Re S (Appeal from Principal Registry: Procedure) [1997] 2 FLR 856 

Re W (Wardship: Discharge: Publicity) [1995] 2 FLR 466