Melissa Barlow

Year of Call: 1991
Email Address:
Telephone: 0117 928 1520

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Melissa has over 20 years' experience in family law acting for Local Authorities, parents, Guardians, children and prospective special guardians and adopters.

Her particular expertise includes:

  • Public law care proceedings
  • Secure accommodation
  • 16(4) Guardian cases
  • International and internal relocation
  • Emergency applications
  • Child arrangement orders
  • Children matters in the European Court of Human Rights.

Reported cases

  • YC v United Kingdom (2012) 55 EHRR 967
    Counsel for mother in appeal to ECHR. Case cited in B-S in relation to the fact that family ties should only be severed in very exceptional circumstances
  • Re B
    Secure accommodation: Inherent jurisdiction) (No. 2) [2013] EWHC 4655 (Fam)
    secure accommodation through the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court
  • Y (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1337
    Appeal shortly after the decision in Re B-S. Did not appear at original hearing. Praised by Court of Appeal for pragmatic approach and for the constructive way forward suggested
  • Re L (a child) [2009] EWCA Civ 1239
    A successful appeal to the Court of Appeal on behalf of a half sibling asked to provide DNA in an attempt to establish the paternity of another half sibling, the man asserting paternity having refused to provide a sample himself.

Other notable cases

  • XCC v A v B
    Represented a father who was found, during the course of proceedings, to have killed an earlier child. New child successfully rehabilitated to care of the parents
  • XCC v Y v Z
    Represented a Local Authority. Child suffered life changing shaking injuries at hands of his parents. Findings made against both parents including a deliberate failure to seek medical attention
  • XCC v D
  • XCC v T
    Secure accommodation sought for child approaching her 18th birthday. Violent boyfriend likely to cause her significant harm
  • XCC v B
    Case where foster parents seeking to care for child in long term, opposed by grandparents seeking special guardianship. Child placed permanently with foster parents
  • XCC v G
    Successfully established parents of child were half siblings in the absence of clear DNA evidence.


Skilled family law barrister whose clients include children, parents, guardians, police authorities and local authorities. She handles both public and private law proceedings, concerning such matters as guardianship, relocation, injuries and abuse.
Strengths: "She's a strong advocate who is able to combine a common-sense approach with a very strong knowledge of the law." "She has a straightforward style which can be understood by professionals and lay clients, and she knows the relevant law to apply to cases. She's also extremely effective in building relations with witnesses to extract important information during cross-examination."

Chambers UK 2020/Family/Matrimonial - Western - Band 2

"Always well prepared. Very approachable and personable. A calm and measured advocate."

Chambers UK 2019/Family/Matrimonial - Western

‘Able to engage well with lay and professional clients alike.’

Legal 500 2020/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Family and children law – Leading juniors.

‘Highly intelligent and very good with vulnerable clients.’

Legal 500 2018/19/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Family and children law – Leading juniors.

‘She has superb attention to detail.’

Legal 500 2017/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Family and children law – Leading juniors.

'very experienced and gives clear, robust advice in a manner clients understand and respect'.

Legal 500 2016/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Family and children law – Leading juniors.

'Level-headed and sensible'

Legal 500 2015/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Family and children law – Leading juniors.

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Academic qualifications

  • BA (Exon)
  • Dip Law City University
  • Bar Finals Inns Of Court School of Law

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Recorder