Nathalie Bull practices exclusively in family law. Before joining 3PB Nathalie was part of another Midlands-based chambers for 12 years and prior to that worked in a large firm of solicitors as an Advocate.
She has a busy practice and is regularly instructed in private children proceedings, care proceedings and matrimonial finance. Nathalie acts for parents, grandparents, children and local authorities.
Regardless of whether the case is child or finance related, Nathalie steers each case in a progressive manner with a view to concluding the proceedings efficiently at the earliest stage. She prides herself on her high record of agreed settlements between the parties in her cases.
Private Law Children, Injunction and Domestic Abuse
Nathalie is instructed in cases involving child arrangement orders, parental responsibility, prohibited steps and specific issues. Many of Nathalie’s cases involve allegations of domestic abuse, emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. Nathalie has a particular interest in complex cases of parental alienation and intractable contact disputes where the child may have suffered psychological harm as a result of the high levels of conflict.
Nathalie appears regularly in FHDRAs, DRAs, review hearings, direction hearings, fact-finding hearings, final hearings, enforcement hearings and appeals. Nathalie has considerable experience of fact-finding hearings, she prepares extensively, utilises a forensic approach and leaves no stone unturned.
Nathalie is instructed by both applicants and respondents in applications for non-molestation injunctions, occupation orders and committal proceedings.
During the 2020 COVID lockdown Nathalie held a live online seminar on 'enforcement of child arrangement orders, case law and procedure’, attended by more than 500 clients. In 2022 Nathalie held a live online seminar on Fact-finding hearings, with over 900 registered attendees.
T v T (2021): private law (represented the father). Following allegations raised by the parties 11-year-old daughter to the school staff and to the police, the Mother alleged that the Father had physically assaulted their daughter. At the fact-finding hearing the Judge concluded that the Father had not harmed his daughter in any way and the court found that the child had actually lied to a number of professionals about the untruthful allegation. Direct contact was ordered to resume forthwith.
E-I v E-I (2021): private law (represented the father). International case with the father residing in Bahrain, the mother and children living in England and the witnesses residing in America. At the fact-finding hearing the mother pursued findings against the father of coercive control and domestic abuse. The Court did not find any of the disputed allegations proven. The mother had stopped all contact between the father and children without any justification.
K v K (2021): private law (represented the mother). The father was a practicing GP. Both parties made a number of allegations against each other. At the fact finding hearing the Court made findings of domestic abuse and violence perpetrated by the father against the mother in the presence of the child. No findings were made against the mother. The father’s contact with the child was to remain supervised pending completion of a Domestic Abuse Perpetrators Programme.
H v S (2020): private law (represented the father). The father had obtained a ‘spend time with’ CAO in previous proceedings after the mother had made unfounded allegations against the father and his partner. One month after the final hearing, the mother raised further allegations and failed to comply with the CAO. Father issued an enforcement application, a guardian was appointed, the court made cost orders and penal notices. The father ultimately issued a committal application and a ‘live with’ application. At the final hearing the father was granted a ‘live with’ order and the court ordered very limited supervised time to be spent with the mother. The father’s solicitor described this case as one of the worst types of implacable hostility cases that she had encountered in her career.
H v G (2020): private law (represented the mother). A complex Children Act matter involving a number of issues. One interesting issue concerned the maternal family’s Jehovah Witness belief. The father felt the child was being indoctrinated by unhealthy religious views and as a result he sought a PSO to limit the time that the extended maternal family spent with the child on a supervised basis. On behalf of the mother it was argued that such an order would be religiously discriminative. The Court refused to limit the maternal family’s time with the child.
K v B (2019): private law, represented the father at a fact finding hearing. The father was accused of 7 allegations, which included rapes, baby shaking, domestic abuse and controlling behaviour. No findings were made against the father.
K v L (2018): parental alienation (represented the father) – the mother refused any form of contact despite a child arrangement order being in place. A Guardian was appointed to consider a change of residence. Enforcement proceedings were brought which the mother failed to engage in. A committal order was made against the mother, suspended on the condition that she engages in the proceedings and with all orders. The mother only then complied with the child arrangement order. A cost order was made against the mother.
S v S (2018): private law (represented the mother) - following her diagnosis of cancer and the breakdown of her marriage, the mother resorted to alcoholism, which led to her children being removed from her care and her contact being limited to supervised. After some time, the mother’s physical and mental health improved and she was able to evidence her sustained abstinence from alcohol through alcohol tests and the fitting of a SCRAM bracelet. The case resulted in an agreed order of shared care, in accordance with the wishes of the children and the mother.
H v S, H (2017): private law (represented the paternal grandmother) - the grandmother applied for a child arrangement order in order to spend time with her granddaughter. As a result of suffering from mental health difficulties, the father was unable to spend time with his daughter. The grandmother’s application was successful.
P v C (2017): parental alienation (represented the father) – the mother refused any form of contact and alleged serious sexual abuse perpetrated by the father against the toddler. At the fact finding hearing the mother was found to have concocted the allegations in an attempt to cut the father out of the child’s life. A Guardian was instructed to consider a change of residence. Contact recommenced, the mother engaged with and complied with the child arrangement order.
C v N (2017): private law (represented the mother). At a fact finding hearing the Court found that the father had deliberately started a fire in his bedroom with the intention of killing himself and his two children. The Court made a ‘barring order’ under s.91(14) Children Act 1989 to prevent the father from making applications under s.8 of the Children Act 1989 for a term of 7 years, together with a non-molestation injunction for a term of 7 years.
S v S (2011): parental alienation (represented the father) – the mother was incapable of positively promoting contact between the children and their father. A Guardian was instructed and recommended a change of residence. The children were ordered to live with their father.
Care and Adoption
Nathalie is instructed by parents, grandparents, children and local authorities in public law proceedings, including care orders, special guardianship orders and adoption orders. She has experience in cases involving non-accidental injuries, neglect and physical and sexual abuse of children.
Nathalie has experience in representing vulnerable clients and she is particularly sensitive to the needs of such clients.
Re CD  EWFC 112: care proceedings (represented the father) – Junior counsel led by Queen’s Counsel, appearing at the Court of Appeal on an appeal concerning public interest immunity brought by Warwickshire Police. Junior counsel at the fact-finding hearing before a section 9 Judge. The local authority unsuccessfully sought findings that the father had deliberately inflicted three fractures to his 4 month old baby. A number of expert witnesses from different fields of expertise were cross examined. The Court found that the father had unintentionally caused the fractures through his careless handling. The child was returned to the care of her parents. This is a reported case which is available to view on Bailii.
Re L (2021): care proceedings (represented the father) – Junior counsel led by Queen’s Counsel, appearing at the Court of Appeal on an appeal concerning public interest immunity brought by Warwickshire Police. Junior counsel at the fact-finding hearing before a section 9 Judge. The local authority unsuccessfully sought findings that the father had deliberately inflicted three fractures to his 4 month old baby. A number of expert witnesses from different fields of expertise were cross-examined. The Court found that the father had unintentionally caused the fractures through his careless handling. The child was returned to the care of her parents. The judgment will shortly be made available on Bailii.
Re L & M (2019): care proceedings (represented the local authority) – at a split fact-finding hearing North Yorkshire findings were made against the parents, ruling them out as carers for the children. The parents had made no significant changes by the time of the final hearing, accordingly final Care and Placement Orders were made.
Re R (2018): adoption (represented the adopters) - the mother opposed the adoption application and in the alternative applied for post-adoption contact relying upon the recent speech by Lord Justice McFarlane in promoting post adoption contact. This case involved a noteworthy legal argument concerning the need of an application under s51A when the mother was already a party to the proceedings and therefore s.46(6) provided the mother with the entitlement to propose contact arrangements, which the court must consider. The mother’s application under s.51A was dismissed on the basis that it was unnecessary.
Re H (2018): care proceedings (represented the mother) - the mother had learning difficulties and she required an Advocate to assist her at court. The vulnerable mother had been in relationships with violent men and sexual offenders and she was unable to recognise risks in order to keep herself and her children safe. Towards the latter stage of the proceedings the mother started to engage with the local authority and attend courses in order to learn the necessary skills to recognise risks. Unfortunately the mother’s engagement had started too late and she had not been able to demonstrate a sustained change, which sadly resulted in a Care Order being made.
Nathalie accepts instructions in finance proceedings, from interim applications, FDAs and FDRs through to final hearings and appeals. Many of Nathalie’s cases involve complexities such as international property portfolios, non-disclosure of assets and acquisition of assets pre-marriage or post-separation.
Nathalie’s strong negotiation skills result in the vast majority of her cases settling with Consent Orders, which often results in her lay clients avoiding significant legal costs. When attending final hearings, Nathalie strives to achieve the best possible outcome for her lay clients by utilising a forensic and persuasive approach.
Private Remote FDR Hearings
Nathalie is available for private remote FDR hearings. For more information on private remote FDR hearings please click here.
I v I (2021): finance proceedings (represented the wife at the final hearing and on appeal). Complex case involving properties abroad, hidden assets, hidden income and non-disclosure, resulted in the commissioning of a private detective’s report. The Husband was found to be dishonest and adverse inferences were drawn against him. As a result, the Court ordered the FMH to be transferred to the Wife and ordered the sale of the foreign properties, with the sale proceeds being applied to discharge the FMH mortgage. Any remaining sums from the sale proceeds were to be retained by the Husband. The Husband appealed but the Wife successfully defended the appeal.
A v A (2021): finance proceedings (represented the wife at the final hearing). Complex case due to the Husband living in Germany, the Wife living in the UK and the FMH being in an uninhabitable state, having been ‘gutted’ by the Husband many years prior to the final hearing. The Wife and children had lived in a small converted garage annex for years. The FMH had not sold due to its state of disrepair. The Wife achieved a favourable outcome of 90% of the FMH net equity.
H v H (2020): financial proceedings (represented the wife at FDR). The wife was the primary carer of the children of the family. The parties both had good income levels, but they had significant debts of c.£126,000 between them, which the wife argued was due to the husband’s frivolous and reckless spending. Settlement was reached at FDR by way of sale of the FMH with 65/35 in the wife’s favour, plus a 46% share of the husband’s pension.
H v I (2020): financial proceedings (represented the wife at final hearing). A complex case involving properties abroad, hidden assets, hidden income and non-disclosure, resulting in the commissioning of a private detective’s report to uncover the truth. The husband was found to be dishonest and adverse inferences were drawn against him. As a result, the Court ordered the FMH to be transferred to the wife and ordered the sale of the foreign properties, with the sale proceeds being applied to discharge the FMH mortgage. Any remaining sums from the sale proceeds were to be retained by the husband.
O v O (2019): financial proceedings (represented the husband) – this complex final hearing involved multiple properties, allegations of fraud, disposal of assets and hidden assets abroad.
R v T (2019): divorce (represented the husband) - the parties had a civil ceremony with the intention of having a religious ceremony two months later. They had planned to consummate their marriage after their religious ceremony. Unfortunate the parties separated before the religious ceremony had taken place. As the marriage had not been consummated the husband applied to annul the marriage under s.12 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 on the basis of ‘wilful refusal’. The factually similar case authority of A v J (Nullity Proceedings)  1 FLR 110 was referenced. The wife consented to the husband’s application, however the husband was unable to bring himself to apply for Decree Nisi in order to bring the marriage to an end. The husband applied for the dismissal of his nullity application, the wife opposed this application. The Court allowed the husband’s application on the basis that the husband could not be forced to apply for Decree Nisi.
B v B (2019): financial proceedings (represented the wife) - the complexities concerned calculating a teacher’s final salary pension, the instruction of an pension actuary was required before settlement could be reached.
D v D (2019): financial proceedings (represented the wife) - short marriage without properties or children, settled at FDA, the arguments concerned the possession of valuable wedding jewellery and other gifted items including a brand new Mercedes.
P v P (2018): financial proceedings (represented the husband) - this case involved successful multiple-site estate agency businesses and a large number of properties within and outside the UK. Settlement was agreed between the husband and wife over the ownership of the properties.
L v L (2018): financial proceedings (represented the husband) - long marriage, settled at FDR, larger lump sum agreed in lieu of a pension share.
S v O (2018): financial proceedings (represented the wife) - concerned multiple investment properties and parcels of land. The complexities included the husband’s failure to engage in the proceedings, impending possession proceedings and conduct arguments.
‘Nathalie is extremely professional at all times. She is well prepared, highly knowledgeable and presents her well reasoned arguments calmly but firmly. She immediately grasps the issues and presents a case plan that can be followed.’
Legal 500 2022/Child Law (Public and Private)/Leading Juniors/Midlands Circuit
Legal 500 2022/Divorce and Financial Remedy/Leading juniors/Midlands Circuit
"Once again, I would like to thank you for all the hard work you have put in over the course of the case, I will never forget what you have done, and I mean it when I say, I really appreciate it."
"Nat’s performance was exceptional."
"This is a very tough and complex case; she was forensic and clearly put the work in with regards to understanding my case and executed an excellent strategy. I really feel she got my side across in a very articulate way."
“I instructed Nathalie on behalf of the father in a case of implacable hostility by the mother and was one of the worst of this type I had encountered in my career. Immediately, Nathalie grasped the detailed history of the case and the issues involved and set out a comprehensive case strategy. Her manner with the client showed empathy for his predicament, whilst explaining the legalities and gained the confidence and trust of the client. Nathalie changed her personal commitments to ensure she could represent him at all hearings. She successfully fought this difficult matter on behalf of a client that could ill afford the case.”
“I feel sure that without Nathalie’s expertise, the end result of this case would not have been such a happy one for the father. His words were that he could never thank his legal team enough and that he would be grateful for the rest of his life.”
“I would have no hesitation in instructing Nathalie on a case in the future and cannot recommend her highly enough”
Legal 500 rankings
- Leading Junior 2022
- (2004) Inner Temple
- LLB (HONS) First Class, UWE (Bristol)
- BVC Very Competent, UWE (Bristol)
- (2003) Awarded a Major Exhibition by the Inner Temple on the basis of academic achievement
- (2003) Awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Scholarship by the Inner Temple
- Family Law Bar Association
- West Midlands Family Law Bar Association
- Mentor for the Association of Women Barristers
Nathalie Bull is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.More Information