Steven Howard is a family practitioner and specialises in all aspects of public and private children law acting for parents, local authorities, guardians, extended family members, intervenors, and the Official Solicitor. He has appeared at all levels of the Family Court, in the High Court, and in the Court of Appeal.
Steven also represents parties in family injunctions, and can accept instructions in family proceedings under the direct public access scheme.
He is known for thorough preparation, being a pragmatic and practical advocate, and for his client care skills when dealing with vulnerable, demanding, and difficult clients.
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Children - Public law
Steven represents clients at all stages of care proceedings. He regularly acts for parents, local authorities, guardians, extended family members (such as grandparents), intervenors, and the Official Solicitor.
Steven has a particular interest in NAI cases, and has appeared in cases involving brain and skull injury, rib fractures, limb fractures, and extensive bruising. He has also appeared in cases involving novel injuries such as injury to the throat of a baby.
A growing area in which Steven has experience is that of cross-jurisdictional care cases. He has advised in cases involving family members abroad, and cases where the children are foreign nationals living in this jurisdiction.
Steven is experienced in representing parties in care cases involving:
- Jurisdictional issues
- Non accidental injury / death of a child
- Expert / medico-legal issues
- Chronic neglect, drug and alcohol addiction (including cases in the FDAC / PSCM)
- Domestic violence and sexual abuse / offending
- Serious mental health problems
- S.38(6) assessments
- Adoption / Special Guardianship / Wardship
- Parents or children with special needs / cognitive impairment and capacity issues
- Revocation of placement orders / discharge of care orders
Re S (A Child) (Interim Care Order: Residential Assessment) (Note)  1 WLR 925, sub nom Re S (Parenting Assessment)  2 FLR 575
Acted for the guardian before the President of the Family Division in a matter which set out the circumstances in which the 26 week time limit in care proceedings may be extended.
A Local Authority v G (Parent with Learning Disability)  EWFC B94 (18 December 2017)
Acted for the local authority in care proceedings involving chronic neglect of children, a learning disabled, partially deaf mother, and her non-impaired husband. SGO and 12 month supervision order made in respect of eldest child, and care and placement orders in respect of the other 2 children.
Bournemouth Borough Council v A Mother & Ors  EWFC 18
Led by Paul Storey QC, acted for a father in a fact finding hearing where it was found he had murdered one of his children and caused physical harm to his other children. The surviving children were rehabilitated to the mother’s care.
Re Q  (unreported)
Acted for the local authority in care proceedings involving a family seeking asylum with a mother with acute mental health difficulties. Care orders were made in respect of the children.
Re W  (unreported)
Acted for a father in proceedings in which it was alleged the child’s medical symptoms were fabricated / misreported by the parents. The child was rehabilitated to the father’s care.
Re M  (unreported)
Acted for the local authority involving longstanding chronic neglect and complex family dynamics where a sibling had died in a RTA. Care and placement orders were granted.
Re H  (unreported)
Acted for a Schedule 1 offender whose children were rehabilitated to his care and that of the mother.
Re K  (unreported)
Acted for a guardian in a neglect case involving Polish and Korean parents. Issues of jurisdiction were resolved, and following assessment the child was rehabilitated to the care of the parents.
Re S  (unreported)
Acted for a local authority in a case involving a mother and father with learning difficulties and mental health problems who were unable to meet the needs of their baby. A SGO was granted in favour of a family member.
Re J  (unreported)
Led by Miss Branigan QC, acting for a local authority in a NAHI case where a child had suffered brain injury, and fractured ribs. It was found that the father caused the injuries to the child who was rehabilitated to the mother’s care.
Re B  (unreported)
Acted for a mother with learning difficulties who was in a relationship with a Schedule 1 offender who had committed serious sexual offending against children. Care and placement orders were granted.
Re W (Children)  EWFC B67
Acted for the local authority in a matter involving parental deceit, and the ability of a mother to protect her children from the harm presented by sexual offenders. Care and placement orders were granted.
Re T (A child)  Lexis Citation 129, EWFC B79
Acted for the guardian in proceedings involving domestic violence and the propensity for the maternal family to collude, minimise or otherwise mislead the court and the local authority. Care and placement orders were granted.
Children - Private law
Steven Howard represents clients at all stages of private law children disputes. He regularly represents parents and rule 16.4 guardians in disputes about the living arrangements for children, disputes about contact arrangements, and disputes about the exercise of parental responsibility.
Steven is experienced in representing parties in cases involving:
- Entrenched / intractable disputes
- Split hearings / finding of fact hearings
- Domestic violence and abuse including serious sexual abuse / offending
- Mental health problems and substance abuse issues impacting on child arrangements
- Removal from the jurisdiction
- Abduction and international issues
Re L (Costs of Children Proceedings)  EWCA Civ 1437,  1 FCR 477
Acted for the father on an appeal brought by the mother in respect of the trust funds and a costs order. The mother’s appeal was allowed.
Re B  (unreported)
Acted for a father who alleged the mother was systematically controlling contact to exclude him from the child’s life. Cross allegations of serious DV. Concluded with contact including ½ school holidays.
Re F  (unreported)
Acted for grandparents seeking to protect their grandchild from a vulnerable mother’s life choices. The grandparents were granted PR for the child with shared living arrangements.
Re T  (unreported)
Acted for a mother seeking to retain her child living with her against a father with personality difficulties leading him to make false allegations of child abuse. Child remained in mother’s care with contact to father.
Re R  (unreported)
Acted for a mother opposing an application for extensive unsupervised contact by a father with serious mental health issues. Order for no contact and injunctions granted.
Re A  (unreported)
Acted in High Court for father living in New Zealand in High Court after the death of the mother. Allegations of serious domestic abuse including towards the children. Cross allegations of influencing the children and alienating them. Ordered that the children live with the father in New Zealand.
Re K  (unreported)
Acted for a father against whom the mother alleged serial rape, domestic abuse, and that he had accessed child pornography. All the allegations were dismissed save for minor admissions by the father, and findings were made against the mother of fabricating the allegations. Contact reinstated.
A frequent feature of Steven’s cases is domestic violence, often associated with other issues such as substance abuse or mental health problems.
Steven is experienced in advising in respect of non-molestation orders and occupation orders, and has appeared for applicants and respondents throughout these applications, from ex-parte application to final hearing. He has also appeared in applications to enforce those orders.
2nd Sep 2016
Steven Howard writes commentary on case of parents acquitted of child abuse
- BSc (Hons) Dunelm
- Family Law Bar Association
- Western Circuit
Steven Howard is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.More Information