Emma Williamson
Emma Williamson


Emma Williamson specialises in public law care and private law children proceedings, appearing on behalf of parents, guardian, local authorities and intervenors.  She is well regarded for her calm manner and thorough preparation, and she always strives to be accessible and approachable.

Public Law Care and Adoption

Emma regularly acts in care and adoption proceedings, and is instructed by Local Authorities, parents and Children’s Guardians. She appears at all levels, up to and including the High Court.

Emma frequently acts for parents with learning, cognitive or mental health difficulties, and she is familiar with representation through the Official Solicitor. Emma has a calm and sensitive approach to client care, whilst also offering robust and clear advice.

Emma’s public law experience includes non-accidental injury, domestic violence, substance misuse, chronic neglect and mental health. Emma’s recent work has involved the following:

  • sexual abuse, including allegations of historical sexual abuse of children within the family
  • serious physical abuse of children
  • representation of clients where there are sensitive cultural or religious issues/concerns around religious practices, including the representation of Roma clients
  • representation of clients where there is both a linguistic and cognitive barrier to participation and where both interpreters and intermediaries/advocates are instructed
  • disputes as to the appropriate designated local authority
  • applications to oppose the making of adoption orders
  • acting for separately represented children
  • Re W and applications for children to give evidence

Recent Notable Cases

(2022) Representing a family member at a fact-finding hearing who was facing allegations of having inflicted significant injuries to a child. Client removed from the pool of perpetrators following the cross examination of medical experts.

(2022) Instructed on behalf of a child in care proceedings. Findings of non-accidental injuries, including a very serious injury to the genitals.

(2022) Junior counsel for the children, led by Chris Watson. Allegations of physical and emotional harm and neglect, including cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment. Expert evidence addressing paediatric gastroenterology and rumination syndrome/somatic symptom disorder.

(2021) Junior counsel, led by Leslie Samuels KC. Representing a mother in a case involving findings of historic sexual abuse of children of the family (now adults) and emotional harm through ruqyah. Children returned to the care of their mother.

(2021) Representing a Local Authority in a case involving the physical abuse and chastisement of a young child. Findings made against both parents.

(2020) Acting for a father in care proceedings facing an allegation of non-accidental injury (broken bone). No findings made and the child returned to the care of the parents.

Private Law Children and Domestic Abuse

Emma is regularly instructed in private children proceedings, from first directions appointments, through fact-finding to final hearing. She frequently acts for parents, children and for extended family members, including in complex and long-running private disputes and in cases where a Children’s Guardian has been appointed through CAFCASS.

Emma has been described as “calm, in charge and straight to the point” and is well regarded for her thorough and careful preparation and advocacy. She has a calm manner and sensitive approach to client care but will nonetheless offer robust and practical advice.

Emma’s recent experience includes:

  • protracted and implacable child arrangements disputes
  • allegations of sexual abuse of children by parents and extended family members
  • parental alienation and allegations of serious emotional harm
  • serious domestic abuse (physical, sexual and emotional)
  • prohibited steps and specific issues orders, including disputes around schooling, passports, removal from the jurisdiction and internal relocation
  • serious psychiatric illness and mental ill health, including where parents are represented through the Official Solicitor
  • applications by grandparents, including permission hearings and special guardianship orders


Recent Notable Cases

(2022) Representing a child throughout protracted private law proceedings. Findings that the mother had frustrated contact and, in doing so, caused significant emotional harm.

(2022) Representing a mother at a fact-finding hearing within private proceedings. Findings made against the father of rape, coercive control and physical abuse of the child.

(2021) Representing a father in private proceedings against whom false allegations of sexual abuse of the child had been made. Findings of emotional harm made against the mother.



Emma Williamson

Call 2013
Emma Williamson
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