Madeleine has a wide family law practice which covers both public and private law Children Act cases, financial remedy proceedings and applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. 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. She has a particular interest in complex children cases and has experience of care proceedings and domestic and international adoption.

Public Law Children cases:

  • Re W (A Child) [2017] EWHC 829
    Final decision of the President in lengthy contested adoption proceedings following two appeals.
  • 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.

Lectures & Articles:

Vulnerable witnesses (MBL seminar, September 2017)

In the private law sphere Madeleine has experience of cases involving same-sex parenting (including with an international element), internal and international relocation and transfer of residence/intractable contact cases.

Private Law Children cases:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Lectures & Articles:

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Adoption by same-sex couples (Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats, Brighton, April 2015)

Madeleine undertakes the full range of financial remedy work and has a particular interest in Schedule 1 applications. She sits as a Deputy District Judge in the Financial Remedies Unit at the Central Family Court, and is regularly instructed to provide Early Neutral Evaluations and to conduct private FDRs.

Finance cases:

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


Financial remedy orders in difficult financial circumstances (White Paper Conferences, March 2017)

Madeleine has a busy and thriving mediation practice which is evenly split between cases involving financial issues and those involving arrangements for children. She enjoys working with clients who are at an early stage in the process of separation, as well as those who have been involved in protracted and high-conflict litigation.

Madeleine is available to undertake full mediations only and does not conduct MIAMs.

Madeleine is one of only a handful of arbitrators qualified under the IFLA scheme to conduct both financial remedy arbitrations and Children Act arbitrations.

Madeleine regularly conducts private FDRs and Early Neutral Evaluations.

Reputation & Awards

Well respected and emotionally intelligent, she’s a calm head when dealing with both financial and complicated children cases


Experienced family barrister with deep expertise in complex children cases, both public and private. She handles the full breadth of issues, including those concerning relocation and social parentage. She further handles a range of financial issues including Schedule 1 applications, and wins acclaim for her ability as a mediator – Chambers and Partners 2018

She does not make bad points and makes it easy for judges to agree with her. – Legal 500 2018

Well respected and emotionally intelligent, she’s a calm head when dealing with both financial and complicated children cases – Chambers and Partners 2017

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

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

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


  • Ranked in Chambers and Partners
  • Ranked in Legal 500


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

Professional Memberships

  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Association of Women Barristers
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit


  • 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)


  • Deputy District Judge, 2010
  • Recorder, 2015

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