Claire Wills-Goldingham QC

Claire Wills Goldingham QC
Called: 1988; Silk 2012
Qualifications: LLB (Hons)
Ranked in Chambers UK Bar - Leading Individual The Legal 500 - Leading Individual 2014



Clerk: Gareth Latchem


Claire Wills-Goldingham is a specialist family law practitioner with over 25 years’ experience. She covers complex public law children matters such as death, non accidental trauma including “baby shaking”, factitious induced illness (hitherto known as Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy) and private law matters including child abduction and surrogacy arrangements.  Her work on Financial Remedies matters includes complex issues concerning family companies and farming partnerships within divorce. In recent years Claire has become particularly known for matters in the Court of Protection. Claire joined Colleton Chambers in March 2015.

“She is absolutely fantastic in any big case.” She has an excellent manner with clients and is very cost-conscious.” Chambers and Partners 2016

Very experienced in complex public law children cases and financial matters” Legal 500 2017

Court of Protection

Claire has become recognised as an expert in her field since the inception of the Act in 2007. She deals with matters relating to welfare, health and property disputes relating to incapacitated and vulnerable adults such as enforced caesarean section of such adults. She has been instructed to act in high-profile Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) matters for local authorities, patients and family members. Claire is able to bring additional and important skills to this area of law as a result of her work as a legal member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Cases of particular interest in Court of Protection work:

X County Council v M and Others  – permissive orders for the restraint and medical treatment of the mother if she became obstructive during her labour. Reported at:  [2014] EWHC 2262

Re MK – Landmark DoLS case, leading Kevin Farquharson. Successfully obtained costs order on an indemnity basis of a substantial six-figure sum. Represented the family member of a patient against whom serious allegations were made by the local authority but proved to be falsely made.  Reported at: [2014] EWCOP B25.

Re M – represented mother against leading counsel. Learning-disabled son. Issues of placement and contact. DOLS provisions;

Re P – issues of sexual abuse, capacity of alleged perpetrator and victim – placement issues;

Re B – elderly person – issues of placement and contact- DOLS provisions.

Public Law Children

Claire has an extensive child care practice acting for local authorities, parents and guardians.

She has particular expertise in cases involving sexual abuse, Factitious Induced Illness and non-accidental injury (“NAI” aka “baby-shaking cases”), including child death and mental health issues. She has to date successfully achieved the exoneration of parents accused of “baby shaking” and also factitious induced illness, which led to the immediate reunification of the child with its parent.

Recent cases of particular interest:

Re J (A child) represented a young mother in a case alleging that she was in a pool of possible perpetrators who caused NAI on her baby. Allegations of baby shaking causing subdural haematoma and two fractured ribs in two different events said to be have been at different times. Highly unusual peticheal rash over the head. The local authority withdrew all allegations against both parents and grandparents after cross examination of the single joint experts. Baby was reunited with the mother.

Finance & Other

In financial orders following divorce, Claire deals particularly with cases where there are commercial aspects, such as companies, farming partnerships, family trusts, pre-nuptial settlements and pensions, Financial applications in relation to children – Schedule 1 Children Act 1989.

Claire also deals with Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act applications, private law children cases (including those where the child is separately represented) and child abduction matters (domestic and international).

Claire lectures extensively and frequently provides court-room skills training for social workers and the Royal College of Physicians, particularly Consultant Paediatricians.

Reported cases:

Re W (residential Assessment) [2011] 2 FLR 1024 2011 EWCA Civ 661

Birmingham City Council v AG and A [2009] EWHC 3720 (Fam), 2010 2 FLR 580 — Inadequate investigation by the local authority culminating in the family “slipping through the net” leading to one child starving to death and the surviving siblings suffering from varying degrees of malnutrition.

Gloucestershire County Council v P [1999] 2 FLR 61, CA

Re W, Re A, Re B (Change of Name) [1999] 2 FLR 930, CA

Birmingham City Council v S,R and A [2007] 1 FLR 1223

Other cases of particular interest:


Re W – family trusts matter against leading counsel. Issues of matrimonial acquest;

Re D – high net-worth matter involving issues of continuing earning capacity in a high risk industry;

Re M – farming partnership against leading counsel. Both parties wanted to remain in farming;

Re H – complex financial issues involving alleged trust with third party interests – Ansari issue raised;

Re J – a family company case against leading counsel. Valuation of company assets, ‘stellar contribution’ raised.



Re S,P and A – Public law case against leading counsel. Issues as to mental health and fabricated illness in a child;

Re T – Public law case against leading counsel. Acting for the local authority in a case involving a child death and sexual abuse;

H v E – Private law case concerning child abduction and allegations of sexual abuse;

Re C – Public law case, acting for the children in a matter involving allegations and sexual abuse and triolism;

Re ST – Public law case involving cultural issues and child forced marriage;

Re B/W – Public law case involving none accidental head injuries;

Re G – Represented mother – alleged perpetrator/in pool – “baby shake” – exonerated at first instance, but found to have failed to protect and on appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld and exonerated from failure to protect finding;

Re T – Public law, leading a senior junior, acting for a mother. Issue of Factitious Induced Illness. Mother exonerated;

Re S – Public law – leading a junior – father accused of serial sexual abuse over many years;

Re B/Y – Public Law – leading a junior in child death matter;

Re W – a second tier appeal to the Court of Appeal. 


Claire lectures extensively and is in demand for her practical approach to training for solicitors, social workers, physicians, particularly Consultant Paediatricians and other professionals involved in providing expert evidence for court proceedings. 


For LexisNexis Co-Author of Atkins Court Forms (Infants) – most recently the 2012 issue Contributor of Essential Family Practice (Finance) Co-Author of Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (Finance and Children) – most recently 2012 issue Co-Author of Family Finance in Practice.

For Jordans Co-Author Family Law Case Library

Deputy Editor Family Law Week


Claire is consistently recognised by her peers and those who instruct her as a leader in her field. Her recommendations include:

“The first-choice counsel for particularly complex financial cases” Legal 500 2016

“She is fantastic in cross-examination, and has a strong court presence”  Legal 500 2015

“She is a robust and tenacious advocate who fights hard for her clients.” “She is smart, very capable, and very helpful with vulnerable and anxious clients.” Chambers and Partners 2015

“Her broad practice includes public law children matters and child abduction.” Legal 500 2014

“An excellent QC dealing with more complex matrimonial matters. She is extremely thorough and very well prepared in her advice.” Chambers and Partners 2014

“Highly commended for her comprehensive and broad-based experience in family and matrimonial matters” Chambers and Partners 2013

“Admired for matrimonial finance work involving farming issues.” “Observers enthuse: She has a good sense of humour, is hard-working and an excellent advocate. She is mesmerising on her feet.” Chambers and Partners 2012

“Expert in children law, and also takes on ancillary relief instructions” Legal 500 2010

With Claire Wills-Goldingham “what you see is what you get,” according to clients. Frank advice and an upfront approach characterise this “pleasant and straightforward” lawyer, who handles the broad spectrum of family work, including money, public and private children cases. Chambers and Partners 2008

“Thorough and efficient. Calm and almost steely about things” “Tough but fair” “straight-talking but always committed to helping her clients” Chambers and Partners

“Precise, measured and knows the strength of her argument” Legal 500 2008

Public Access

Claire accepts instructions from members of the public if the matter meets the requirements of the Bar Council.  Please telephone the clerks on 01392 274898 if you wish to instruct Claire.

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