Ashley is regularly instructed in complex public and private law proceedings, and has advised internationally on the application of the Children Act.

Her practice is wide ranging, representing parents, local authorities, children, extended family members and interveners. She regularly appears in the High Court and has had a number of successes over the years in the Court of Appeal. Ashley advises on Human Rights issues and Judicial Review both for and against local authorities.

Ashley has appeared in a number of complex and highly charged cases, including those involving the death and torture of infants. She is regularly instructed in cases concerning allegations of serious inflicted injury or sexual abuse with voluminous and conflicting medical histories and opinions. She has also appeared on behalf of the children in cases involving the death of one parent at the hands of the other parent; forced marriage cases; and those involving child slavery and the threat of female genital mutilation.

Ashley has also advised upon, and successfully brought and defended applications for judicial review and breaches of human rights within care proceedings. These have included bringing local authorities to account for their unfair and unlawful treatment of parents, and defending local authorities when they have failed to discharge placement orders, or failed to initiate proceedings for children voluntarily placed in care.

Notable cases include:

The Queen on the application of EL v Essex County Council v DL [2017] EWHC 1041 (Admin)
Judicial Review of the unlawful actions of a local authority in their treatment of a parent.

R (Children) (Care and Placement Orders: Paternal Grandparents) [2013] EWCA Civ 1018
Appeal against the judicial balancing exercise and approach to the evidence and welfare tests

I (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 319
Child abuse, findings of fact, non-accidental injury, identification of potential perpetrator, fresh evidence.

Re W (A Child) [2007] EWCA Civ 1255
Challenge to the judicial approach to hearsay evidence and threats in care proceedings.

Ashley regularly represents both mothers and fathers within private law proceedings, and within related proceedings under the Family Law Act. She has a wealth of experience as an advocate in the often acrimonious fact-finding stages, where allegations of rape, serious domestic violence and abuse of children have been commonplace.

Ashley has also dealt with a number of cases with more sensitive elements, including applications by parents who have undergone gender reassignment, and applications with issues relating to fertility treatment and the status of a parent in same-sex relationships.

Ashley is also regularly instructed in cases where the court is asked to conclude that a parent is implacably hostile to the idea of contact.

Ashley lectures on a wide range of subjects, from Child Abduction, to the Changing Nature of Parental Responsibility, and Voice of the Child.

Notable cases include:

AB v CD (Assisted Reproduction: Parent) [2013] EWHC 1418
Assisted reproduction, licence conditions and parentage attaching to same sex partners.

J (A Child) (Residence and Contact Dispute) [2012] EWCA Civ 1231
Right to a fair trial and public hearing, restriction of cross examination.

Ashley is a trained mediator

Education

  • BVC – Called to the Bar in 1996
  • Kingston University LLB

Professional Memberships

  • Recorder (2018)
  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Essex Bar Mess

Additional fields

Ashley is a mother of two young children.

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