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Nicholas Horsley



Nicholas is a highly experienced barrister, specialising in both public and private children’s law cases at all levels of court. Nick is a fearless advocate for clients’ cases in court and he is viewed by his peers as calm, thorough, and hardworking. Nick is known for his client care skills, particularly his ability to listen calmly and carefully to clients, and in giving honest and practical advice. He appears for parents and local authorities and is instructed on behalf of children both by CAFCASS guardians and NYAS. His regular clients include Local Authorities, parents, children, and interveners. Nick is especially interested in helping alternative families, particularly those from LGBT relationships. 

Nicholas is also a qualified children’s arbitrator.


Nick is interested in cases that raise points of law and in appellate advocacy. He has a keen analytical mind, and his focus on the important details of the case is one of his many strengths; he is a strong advocate for clients. 

Nick has appeared in a number of abduction, adoption and international leave to remove cases. He is also experienced in the Crown Court in contested disclosure matters. 

Nick handles complex care cases, including those involving inter-generational sexual abuse and multiple non-accidental injuries. 

His notable recent cases include: 

  • Successfully representing a client who won damages for herself and her children against a Local Authority for infringement of their human rights 
  • Skilfully representing a father accused of sexually abusing his daughter 
  • A successful High Court application for a care case involving a Roma family to be transferred to Romania pursuant to Article 15 of Brussels II revised. 

Nick has given a paper on cross-border enforcement under BIIR to an audience of European Judges at Innsbruck and has drafted Guidance to Experts on behalf of the Academy of Experts. Comfortable in the courtroom and the classroom, Nicholas regularly trains pupils and early practitioners on behalf of Middle Temple Advocacy. 

Practice Areas

Public Law Children

Private Law Children

Alternative Families

International Family Law

Human Rights


In the case of Re S (A Child) [2008] EWCA Civ 1078 Lord Justice Wall at paragraph 4 commended Nick: 

‘Nick analyses both his and his opponents’ cases with true forensic skill, enabling him to understand and advise on the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s position as well as effective tactics. He does this with charm and courtesy and is impressive both as part of any legal team, and as an opponent.’  

“Mr Horsley has argued this case immaculately on the mother’s behalf. He has been frank with the court; he has taken good points and not taken bad ones, and in my judgment his client should be grateful to him for the care which he has obviously given to preparing the argument. Not only has he been careful and courteous, but he has also, as one would expect, fairly and properly brought us up to date.” 


Re: G (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 965 

Re S (Residential Assessment) [2008] EWCA Civ 1078 

Education and Professional Memberships

LLB (London) First Class 

Family Law Bar Association 

Association of Lawyers for Children 

Middle Temple Advocacy (Trainer)