stephen Abberley

Stephen Abberley

Year of Call: 2000
Email Address: [email protected]
Telephone: 0121 289 4333

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Family barrister Stephen Abberley thrives on challenges. He enjoys a complicated set of facts, or a legal conundrum, or indeed a problem that appears to be without solution. Stephen enjoys being up against stellar performers, being put through his paces, helping him to hone his own craft.

Stephen is thorough in his preparation but can manage time when up against it. He is empathic and compassionate with clients, but will not shrink from delivering difficult advice, telling it how it is with a sensitive but firm manner.

Stephen’s courtroom manner is quietly tenacious, premised on careful thought as to how best to present a difficult case. His cross-examination is bespoke, fitting the occasion.

Stephen has now built a store of knowledge in relation to cases involving familial homicide, sexual abuse, serious cranial and other injuries, international law and cross-cultural issues. He enjoys learning about matters of cultural diversity, having represented clients from all walks of life, many creeds and many more ethnic backgrounds.

With a practice evenly split between representing parents, children and authorities, Stephen brings perspective on how to meet the challenges in the case likely to be presented by the opposing side.

Stephen’s practice encompasses public law cases – care, placement and adoption proceedings. He also acts for parents and children in private law cases. He enjoys the intellectual rigour required of cases in the High Court and hopes for more opportunities to take cases to appeal.

Reported Cases:

  • P (A Child: Fair Hearing) [2023] EWCA Civ 215
  • Re D-S (Contact with Children in Care: Covid-19) [2020] EWCA Civ 1031
  • Re C (A Child) (Application by Dr X and Y) [2015] EWFC 79 - [2017] 1 FLR 82
  • Disclosure – Re C (A Child) (Application by Dr X and Dr Y) [2015] EWFC 79 – [2015] Fam Law 1457
  • In the Matter of C (A Child) (Application by Dr X and Y) [2015] EWFC 79
  • Re J (A Child) (Fact-finding) [2015]
  • Re Y [2014] EWHC 3601 (Fam) - Lexis Citation 31



  • Children
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    Care and Placement Proceedings

    Stephen represents local authorities, parents and children in the County Court, High Court and at appellate level.

    He has particular strength and expertise in cases involving complex medical issues and in those involving vulnerable adults with severe mental health illness or personality disorders. Furthermore, he has vast experience in Factitious Illness cases involving poisoning and induced suffocation.

    He undertakes serious fact-finding cases and complex outcome hearings involving serious physical and sexual abuse, including cases involving shakes and resulting in baby fatalities.

    As well as conventional public law children cases, Stephen also advises and appears in those with sensitive medical and ethical aspects for example, cases where the lawfulness of whether to resuscitate a child is at issue or where one parent has killed the other. These cases will routinely involve the cross examination of a number of medical experts from multi disciplines.

    Stephen has represented parents from differing economic, cultural, social background and ages. Some may have issues such as drug, alcohol dependency, mental health difficulties, language difficulties or a combination of these problems. This frequently means he is involved in cases where there has been or evidence suggests :

    • Parental homicide
    • Child homicide
    • Alleged Non-Accidental Injury, including brain injury and fractures
    • Sexual Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation
    • Factitious Illness

    International Children Cases

    Stephen has considerable experience of cases involving:

    • International Child Abduction
    • Transfer issues across the EU
    • Transfer Issues beyond the EU
    • International Adoption.

    Private Law Children Proceedings (privately funded)

    Stephen has notable experience in applications for internal and international relocation.

  • Recommendations

    Stephen Abberley is respected for his undertaking of public and private children law work in particular. He represents parents, children and authorities, advising them on care, placement and adoption proceedings as well as factitious illness, sexual abuse, inflicted injuries and non-accidental injuries.
    Strengths: “Excellent advocate. Stephen has an innate ability to get to grips with a case eloquently and that helps to steer the case in the right direction from the outset.”
    “A class act. He is extremely thorough in preparation and has a clear grasp of the key issues in every case. He is a confident and firm advocate.”

    Chambers UK 2024/Family/Children/Midlands Bar/Band 1

    Strengths: “He is an exceptional and thorough advocate.”
    “He is committed, reliable and has extensive knowledge.”
    “Stephen is an outstanding advocate with brilliant bedside manner.”
    “Stephen is talented, innovative and perceptive during the course of any case.”

    Chambers UK 2023/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    Strengths: "His legal analysis, arguments, and knowledge in public law children work are consistently impressive."

    Chambers UK 2022/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    Strengths: "His preparation is meticulous and his paperwork is exceptional. He also goes the extra mile for his clients." "He has wide-ranging and up-to-date legal knowledge and exceptionally strong drafting skills, and provides careful, well-prepared advocacy."

    Chambers UK 2021/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    "Respected for both his undertaking of public and private children law work and complex financial proceedings. Represents parents, children and authorities, advising them on care, placement and adoption proceedings as well as factitious illness, sexual abuse and non-accidental injuries."

    Chambers UK 2020/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    "Respected for both his undertaking of public and private children law work and complex financial proceedings."

    Chambers UK 2019/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    Recent work: "Highly experienced and approachable." "A highly respected individual."

    Chambers UK 2018/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    “A highly respected individual”

    Chambers UK 2017/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    “Abberley is well respected for his work in both complex financial proceedings and sensitive public and private law children matters, and is particularly admired for his flexibility and welcoming manner with clients.”

    Chambers UK 2016/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    “He really gets to grips with the arguments.”
    “I use him regularly and am always very impressed.”

    Chambers UK 2015/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    Expertise: “He is a highly capable advocate, tenacious and excellent with clients.”
    “Stephen is knowledgeable, competent, very willing to assist and easy to contact.”

    Chambers UK 2014/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    “Stephen is particularly good at care proceedings”

    Chambers UK 2013/Family/Children/Midlands Bar

    Stephen is very knowledgeable on the medical side. He is robust and willing to challenge experts and court decisions alike.’

    Legal 500 2024/Family: Children and Domestic Violence/Leading Juniors/Midlands

    ‘Stephen has the ability to analyse a case quickly and effectively. His cross-examination is forensic and incisive. He is always helpful and goes the extra mile in serving a client’s case.’

    Legal 500 2023/Child Law (Public and Private)/Leading Juniors/Midlands

    ‘Incredible legal knowledge and research ability. Stephen superb detailed and highly persuasive written documents. A thorough and careful advocate with real attention to detail.’

    Legal 500 2022/Child Law (Public and Private)/Leading Juniors/Midlands

    ‘He provides thorough and detailed advice in a calm and reassuring manner.’

    Legal 500 2021/Child Law (Public and Private)/Midlands

    ‘Tenacious and calm under pressure.'

    Legal 500 2020/Family and children/Midlands

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