A family law specialist, Mary-Jane practices in all areas, including private and public law cases involving children, child abduction, marital disputes, domestic violence, financial remedies and care proceedings. Much of her work involves protecting the rights and interests of children, and she possesses an innate ability to see things from the child’s perspective.
Mary-Jane joined Coram Chambers in 2003. Her previous working experience in a number of fields has given her a range of additional skills that are of great benefit to her current work. Her skills gained in teaching economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa enables her to explain complex legal points to her clients in a clear and straightforward manner that they can readily understand. Time spent on a Domestic Violence Intervention project in New York has given her in-depth understanding of the complex issue of domestic abuse. Mary-Jane also worked for reunite Child Abduction centre for 2 years where she gained invaluable insights into child abduction and inter jurisdictional disputes.
Her recent work has been in a variety of family law cases including:
– A complex financial remedies case where there were two interveners and assets abroad.
– Representing a wife in financial remedy proceedings relating to non-payment and enforcement of spousal maintenance.
– Advising and representing a mother in financial remedies case to provide a financial settlement for her children.
– Representing the Husband in a long standing financial remedy case in which the Wife was representing herself and involved applications for Committal of the Wife and Civil Restraint orders due to her conduct.
– A case, which involved domestic violence and allegations of sexual abuse of a child and required a lengthy fact finding hearing.
– Complex Private law dispute in which the father had complex personality issues.
– Advising and representing a father to successfully oppose the removal of his children to Australia by the mother.
– Care proceedings case representing parents in cases involving fact findings in relation to FII (factious or induced illness) and non accidental injuries.
– Representing Local Authorities in Care cases in which there multiple parties and issues of neglect, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
Noted for her empathetic approach and her particular skill in assisting vulnerable clients. Mary-Jane is adept at putting her clients at ease and is known for her ability to build a good working rapport with her clients and solicitors. She fully appreciates how difficult and stressful legal process can seem, and she goes to great lengths to ensure clients understand and are involved in the process and what the possible outcomes of their case might be.
Public Law Children
Private Law Children
Education and Professional Memberships
BA (Hons) Economics – University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
LLB University of Sussex
LLM in Family Law and Policy, University of East Anglia
Family Law Bar Association
Admitted to New York Bar 1997
A first-class advocate who always goes the extra mile for her clients. Her considerable empathy mixed with her skill as an advocate makes her a natural choice to instruct in family matters. She able to assist with all types of cases including representing very vulnerable clients. She can be relied on to give excellent pragmatic advice and fight fearlessly for her clients. With Mary-Jane you can always be assured of thorough preparation and she is always a pleasure to work with.
Louise Allard, Allard Bailey Family Law
Mary-Jane is extremely knowledgeable in her field. She is approachable, sympathetic and extremely professional with clients and opponents. Mary-Jane is also very good at thinking “outside the box” to achieve solutions for the clients and has a very good attitude to dealing with the most tricky of cases. I have no hesitation in recommending Mary-Jane. She is a very pleasant lady whilst being extremely capable and forthright when the need arises.
Sam Lynch, Partner, Hattens Solicitors
Mary-Jane has been my advocate for over a year. She is a strong tactician and a fearsome advocate. Being in the Family Court is intimidating and so one needs to have confidence in one’s counsel, having Mary-Jane has always comforted me to have her by my side.
There are some debts in life that one can never repay; I owe such a debt to Mary-Jane for her advice and support.
Liz, a client represented in a Private Law dispute
During court proceedings, Mary-Jane consulted me to ensure that I felt very much part of the process at all times. Furthermore, Mary-Jane’s formidable approach when dealing with my opponent gave me the security of knowing that my case was being strongly represented.
The support I received from Mary-Jane has been invaluable, and I wish to thank her for her insightfulness, warmth and guidance during such a bleak period of my life.
Tracey, a client represented in Financial Remedy and Non-Molestation Proceedings.
Publications and Training
Training of social workers for a number of different Local Authorities
Presentation of recent seminars on Leave to remove from the Jurisdiction and finding of fact hearings in private law cases.