Madeleine Reardon

Client- friendly and a powerful advocate in court. She is excellent at quickly winning the confidence and respect of clients and judges alike.
Chambers and Partners 2017

Madeleine Reardon has deliberately maintained a wide and versatile family law practice which covers all areas of children work, both public and private, financial remedy proceedings and applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. She has a particular interest in complex children cases and has experience of care proceedings including ‘radicalisation’ issues, domestic and international adoption, same-sex parenting (including with an international element: surrogacy and same-sex abduction), internal and international relocation and transfer of residence/intractable contact cases. She is currently ranked as a ‘Band 1’ leading junior by the Legal 500 and in ‘Band 2’ by Chambers and Partners.

Madeleine’s expertise in children law is reflected in her role as joint Update Editor, together with Lord Justice McFarlane, of Hershman and McFarlane: Children Law and Practice.

In October 2010 Madeleine was appointed a Deputy District Judge (Civil) and she sits regularly in the Financial Remedies Unit at the Central Family Court.

Madeleine was appointed a Recorder in 2015 and hears children cases, primarily in public law.

Madeleine is a trained mediator and a member of Chambers’ DRS Group. She is qualified as an arbitrator (CIArb) and is one of the few arbitrators qualified to undertake both financial and children law arbitrations under the IFLA scheme.

Madeleine is available to undertake Early Neutral Evaluations (ENE) and private FDRs.

What the directories say:

She has a real craftsman’s touch on paper… her advocacy is beautifully judged and balanced in these difficult cases – Chambers and Partners 2016

Sources describe her as an ‘extremely strong advocate who is subtle yet hugely effective,’ adding that ‘she has an excellent bedside manner with clients.’– Chambers and Partners 2015

The ‘phenomenal and extraordinary’ Madeleine Reardon also handles children work and is particularly noted for her expertise in Children Act proceedings. – Chambers and Partners 2014

Clients really appreciate her calm, can-do manner; she is quietly brilliant – Legal 500 2016

Articulates her clients’ cases impeccably and persuasively in her written work – Legal 500 2015

Cases of Interest:

  • Re W (A Child) [2017] EWHC 829 Final decision of the President in lengthy contested adoption proceedings following two appeals.
  • Re B [2016] UKSC 4; [2016] 1 FLR 561 First Supreme Court child abduction case involving same-sex couple. Supreme Court overturned first instance and Court of Appeal decisions that there was no jurisdiction to make any orders in favour of a non-biological lesbian mother whose child had been taken by her biological mother to Pakistan.
  • Re H (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 1284 Court of Appeal decision overturning an order at first instance that child should be removed from prospective adopters who had been caring for her for 18 months and rehabilitated to birth family.
  • C v KH [2013] EWCA Civ 1412; reported as Re C (Due Process) [2014] 1 FLR 1239 Appeal against prohibited steps order; procedural irregularities affecting litigant in person; role of Cafcass.
  • Re G; Re Z [2013] EWHC 134; [2013] 1 FLR 1334 First cases involving applications by biological fathers for leave to apply for contact with children born to two female parents under HFEA 2008, ss 45 and 48.
  • M v F and H (Legal Paternity) [2013] EWHC 1901; [2014] 1 FLR 352 Internet sperm donor seeking to resist an application for declaration of parentage and child maintenance.
  • KS v ND (Schedule One: Appeal: Costs) [2013] EWHC 464; [2013] 2FLR 698 Correct approach to costs on appeal from an order made under CA 1989, Sch 1
  • A v B and C (Lesbian Co-Parents: Role of Father) [2012] EWCA Civ 285; [2012] 2 FLR 607 Contact between biological father and child born to lesbian co-parents
  • K v K (Relocation: Shared Care Arrangement) [2011] EWCA Civ 793; [2012] 2 FLR 880 Leading Court of Appeal authority on international relocation
  • Child X (Residence and Contact – rights of media in attendance) [2009] 2 FLR 1467 First case on the interpretation and implementation of rules opening up the family courts to the media


  • Hershman and McFarlane, Children Law and Practice (Bloomsbury Professional): Update Editor
  • ‘Black, Bridge et al, A Practical Approach to Family Law (OUP, 10th edition, 2015)
  • McFarlane and Reardon, Child Care and Adoption Law: A Practical Guide (Jordans Family Law, 2nd Edition, 2010)

Recent Lectures and Articles:

  • Financial remedy orders in difficult financial circumstances (White Paper Conferences, March 2017)
  • Vulnerable witnesses (MBL, September 2017)
  • Should I mediate my relocation case? (Bloomsbury, April 2017)
  • Negotiating in the shadow of the court: mediation in parallel with litigation (Family Law Week, October 2016)
  • Litigants in Person (White Paper Conferences, September 2016)
  • Globalisation of care proceedings: placements abroad (1 KBW Public Law Conference, September 2016)
  • Transparency in the Family Court (MBL seminar, September 2016)
  • Adoption for same-sex couples (Farrer & Co Modern Families conference, May 2016)
  • Re B in the Supreme Court (FLBA, Cumberland Lodge, May 2016)
  • Parenthood and same-sex relationships (Seminar on Re B, Farrer & Co, March 2016)
  • Crossing the threshold: recent issues under CA 1989, s 31 (FLBA Autumn Lecture Series, November 2015)
  • How not to do a surrogacy arrangement (1KBW Private Law Conference, October 2015)
  • Update: periodical payments (Kent Resolution, September 2015)
  • Changes to the Family Justice system (MBL, September 2015)
  • Adoption by same-sex couples (Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats, Brighton, April 2015)

Appointments & Memberships:

  • Recorder, 2015
  • Deputy District Judge (Civil), 2010
  • Member of the Family Law Bar Association
  • Member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Qualified arbitrator for both financial and children law cases MCIArb


  • Wimbledon High School, London
  • Magdalen College, Oxford (BA, Classics, 1st Class)