Christopher Watson

Call 2003

Christopher Watson

Introduction

Christopher is a children law expert and practices exclusively within this field. He is joint Head of the St Philips Children Law Group and a Recorder deployed to sit on the Northern Circuit. He is very well respected both for the quality of his advisory work and courtroom advocacy. He has an excellent reputation for meticulous preparation, sensitive client care and being appropriately robust and pragmatic. He regularly appears before High Court judges and has previously been shortlisted for the “Birmingham Barrister of the Year” award. He provides regular legal training and is an approved pupil supervisor.

Notable Cases:

Some of the complex cases Christopher has been instructed in recently are as follows:

  • Re B and C [2021] – represented the local authority in a child death case in the High Court;
  • Re T and H [2020] – represented the children in a child death case in the High Court (case reported);
  • Re R and L [2020] – represented the local authority in a High Court case in which guidance was given to local authorities who become involved in private law proceedings (case reported);
  • Re U and V [2020] – represented the local authority in an alleged human trafficking case in the High Court;
  • Re C and S [2020] – represented the mother in a shaken baby case in the High Court;
  • Re D and E [2019] – represented the local authority in an alleged fabricated and induced illness case in the High Court;
  • Re B and S [2019] – represented a mother in the Court of Appeal;
  • Re X and C [2018] – represented a father in a 4-month sexual abuse case in the High Court;
  • Re X and Z [2017] – represented the local authority in an international American adoption case in the High Court;
  • Re S and V [2016] – represented the local authority in an attempted drowning case;
  • Re J and C [2016] – represented the children in a non-accidental head injury case;
  • Re A and A [2016] – represented the local authority in an alleged fabricated and induced illness case in the High Court;
  • Re D and L (2015) – represented the local authority in a child death case in the High Court;
  • Re B and D (2015) – represented one of the children in an honour based violence case in the High Court;
  • Re B and P (2015) – represented the local authority in a child death case in the High Court;
  • Re K and Y (2015) – represented the local authority in a child death case in the High Court.

Reported Cases:

  • A Local Authority v A and others [2009] EWHC 1982 (Fam) [2010] 3 FCR 503;
  • Re A and B (One Parent Killed by the Other: Guidance) [2011] 1 FLR 783;
  • A City Council v T and others [2011] EWHC 1082 (Fam) [2011] All ER (D) 217 (May);
  • Re H (a child) [2012] All ER (D) 281 (Oct);
  • Re Y (Minors) (Care Proceedings: Genetic Testing) [2013] 2 FLR 249;
  • A City Council and A [2020] EWFC 15;
  • Re ABC (Children) (Overlaying Child) [2020] EWFC 57.

Public Law Care and Adoption

Christopher has vast experience in complex and difficult public law cases and represents all the various parties. He has a detailed knowledge of the children and adoption legislation and associated case law. He has particular expertise in cases involving:

  • Child death;
  • Non-accidental head injury;
  • Other serious forms of physical abuse, including fractures, bruising and burns;
  • Attempted drowning;
  • Honour based violence;
  • Fabricated and induced illness (FII);
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Child sexual exploitation (CSE);
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM);
  • Adoption, including adoption breakdowns;
  • Chronic neglect and drug and alcohol abuse;
  • Disclosure and public interest immunity (PII);
  • Instructions by the Official Solicitor;
  • Human rights issues;
  • International children law;
  • The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

Many of his cases have resulted in lengthy fact finding hearings in the High Court involving thousands of pages of evidence and extensive medical opinion which is often in conflict.

Christopher also conducts matters to appellate court level, including the Court of Appeal. He provides regular public law training to solicitors, local authorities and other professionals involved in this arena. This has included seminar presentations and he has also been the lead barrister in delivering a number of court skills workshops.

Education

BVC – Nottingham Law School
LLB (Hons) – University of Dundee

Appointments and Memberships

Recorder (Northern Circuit)

Midland Circuit

FLBA

Testimonials

"He has an encyclopedic knowledge and is always approachable and on hand for advice at any point during a case." Chambers UK 2021
"He is very competent with highly complex cases involving complex medical evidence." Chambers UK 2021
‘A popular choice for difficult cases, who presents a strong case and is always well-prepared.’ Legal 500 2021
"Particularly notable for his public children law work." Legal 500
"I have found him to be approachable, helpful, clear and considered in his advice. The structured and organised way in which he works is extremely helpful to the instructing solicitor in case preparation and his understanding of the law is very impressive." Chambers UK
"He's accessible, thinks things through carefully and provides a really good service." Chambers UK
"Intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, balanced and clear. He is liked by judges, clients and other advocates, and has an excellent cross-examination style." Chambers UK
"Bright, very well prepared and a clever, effective advocate." Chambers UK
"An expert in child law matters." Legal 500