St. Philips Chambers

Gemma Bowes

Gemma Bowes


Gemma Bowes is a specialist in public child law.

Gemma has spoken at numerous training conferences and seminars for solicitors and magistrates. She provides court skills training as a component of a Master’s degree course in social work.

She has been shortlisted in previous years for Birmingham Law Society’s Barrister of the Year award, and Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year award.

Gemma is ranked as a Tier 2 Leading Junior for her Family: Children and Domestic Violence work in the Legal 500 UK Bar Rankings 2024.

Public Law Care and Adoption

Gemma represents local authorities, children, parents, extended family members, and, on occasions, foster carers, at all stages of care proceedings and appeals.

She has dealt with applications for leave to oppose adoption, post-adoption/placement contact, discharge of care orders, forced marriage protection orders, and deprivation of liberty.

She has experience of proceedings involving:

  • Non-accidental injuries (including head injury, suffocation, stabbing, burns)
  • Child death
  • Fabricated/induced illness
  • Psychiatric illness
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • County lines
  • Parental alienation
  • Threats of honour killing and risk of forced marriage
  • Children who have been brought into the country illegally
  • Overseas assessment and placement
  • Jurisdiction issues
  • Children giving evidence
  • Instructions by the Official Solicitor


Vaccination and children law in the time of coronavirus – a public private divide? Family Law October 2020 [2020] Fam Law 1308


LLB London School of Economics
MSc University of Oxford
Queen Mother Scholar Middle Temple
Approved pupil supervisor

Appointments and Memberships




“Gemma’s calm and reassuring manner, with razor-sharp attention to detail and knowledge of intricate legal issues, makes her a must to instruct. She is thorough in her preparation and gets to the heart of every case quickly and with ease.” Legal 500 2024

“Gemma has a wonderful court manner. She is unfailingly polite but deeply effective. She is passionate about her clients and fights hard to ensure they have fair treatment. She is amazing with vulnerable clients.” Legal 500 2023

“Gemma is a specialist child law barrister. She is compassionate, pragmatic and strategic approach taken, excellent advocacy and forensic preparation in complex public law cases.” Legal 500 2022

“Conscientious, personable and approachable” Legal 500 2021



Notable Cases

  • N (Children: Interim Order / Stay) [2020] EWCA Civ 1070 (
  • C (A Child: Care Proceedings – Inherent Jurisdiction – Deprivation of Liberty) [2019] EWFC B72 (Comm) (
  • Re A (2023) represented the mother in a case of denied/concealed pregnancy and birth, including challenging expert obstetrician and neonatologist evidence
  • Re Z (2023) represented a parent in a case involving human trafficking
  • Re X (2023) represented a parent in a case involving human trafficking and child sexual exploitation
  • Re C (2022) represented the father in a case involving serious head injury to a child
  • Re F (2022) represented the children in a case involving significant physical injuries and chastisement that had taken place for over a decade
  • Re G (2021) represented the child in a head injury case involving conflicting expert evidence
  • Re S (2021) represented the local authority in a case involving child trafficking
  • Re J (2020) represented a mother (through the official solicitor) with Huntington’s disease who attended court each day of a final hearing in respect of applications for care and placement orders
  • Re N (2019) represented the local authority in a case where the subject children were implicated in deaths of other young people
  • Re H (2019) represented a parent of a young baby who had been near fatally smothered
  • Re T & A (2018) represented a parent in a head injury and multiple fractures case
  • Re N (2018) represented the local authority in a case where the children gave live evidence of serious physical and emotional abuse
  • Re F (2018) represented an intervenor in a case of fractures, and bite marks to a young baby’s face
  • Re D (2018) represented the children in a case involving allegations (variously against adults and minors) of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, where a non-subject child and a vulnerable young transgender person gave live evidence
  • Re D (2017) represented extended family members in a child death case in the High Court
  • Re D (2017) represented a terminally ill parent in a case where the local authority sought to drastically reduce contact

Gemma Bowes

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Gemma Bowes
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