Martha Holmes

Martha practices exclusively in family law and specialises in public and private children work.

Public Children Law

Martha regularly represents Local Authorities, parents and Guardians at magistrates, County court and High court level. She has specialist experience in the following areas:

  • Non Accidental injuries, including shaken baby cases and multiple fractures
  • Fictitious illness and injury
  • Serious sexual abuse, including representation of alleged perpetrators
  • Representing parents with learning difficulties and cases involving the Official Solicitor
  • PII applications and disclosure from criminal proceedings into care proceedings
  • Neglect and substance misuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Representation of grandparents seeking contact/residence in the context of care proceedings
  • Adoption and placement orders and post final hearing contact applications

Private Children Law

Martha has specialist experience in the following areas:

  • Cases involving suspected parental alienation or intractable hostility to contact (representing both the hostile parent and the parent seeking contact)
  • Fact finding hearings involving serious domestic violence and sexual abuse
  • Cases where the Local authority is involved or which become care proceedings
  • Shared care
  • Applications to change name, specific issue orders in respect of schooling
  • Mediation at court to resolve issues involving a litigant in person
  • Leave to remove from the jurisdiction and internal relocation
  • Child abduction
  • Non-Molestation injunctions and occupation orders

Martha is also a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer and feels that these are skills that have application to all her work.

She undertook criminal work alongside her family practice for the first five years of her career and brings this extensive experience of witness handling and cross-examination skills to her family law work.

Martha regularly gives lectures or talks on current family law topics.

Cases of interest:

J (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1231
Martha successfully appealed a decision made by a Circuit Judge who restricted her cross-examination of a litigant-in-person mother in a long running contact and residence dispute where she represented the father. Martha was praised for her handling of the situation at first instance:

 ‘Ms Holmes is to be congratulated for doing her duty, politely but firmly standing her ground and telling the Recorder plainly that his ruling was preventing her putting her client’s case. It is a pity that the Recorder did not, even at that point, see any reason to change his mind.’ (per Munby LJ at para.35)

 Appointments and memberships:

  • Member of the FLBA

Qualifications and awards:

  • Clare College, Cambridge University – History BA (Hons)
  • Birmingham University – PGDL (Commendation)
  • Thirkill Award (Clare College, Cambridge)
  • Inner Temple Major Scholar, 2002
  • Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Award (Inner Temple)