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.
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. Steven has also been led in cases involving child deaths
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
- 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.
Dorset Council v M & Others  EWFC B63
Acted for a father in a fact finding hearing where it was alleged he had fractured the skull of his 12 day old baby. No findings were made and the child returned to his care after the local authority application was dismissed.
AB (Contested Adoption)  EWFC B68
Acted for prospective adopters in a contested adoption which was opposed by the birth parents who had managed to make significant changes in their lives. The birth parents were successfully parenting another of their children as a result of those changes. The adoption orders were granted.
Re W  (unreported)
Acted for children in a fact finding hearing where it was alleged by one of the children that an adult family member with profound learning difficulties had sexually abused them. The child and learning disabled adult gave oral evidence during the hearing.
Re W  (unreported)
Acted for a local authority in a fact finding hearing in a case involving a mother and her boyfriend accused of creating and distributing illicit images of one of her children. Findings were made against the mother and her boyfriend.
Re K  (unreported)
As leading junior acted for a mother at a fact finding hearing in which it was alleged she had sexually abused her young daughter causing anal scarring. The father was found to have caused the child’s injuries.
Re D  (unreported)
Led by Vanessa Meachin QC, acted for a mother accused of having murdered one of her children who died of catastrophic head injuries. Her former boyfriend was found to have caused the death, and some of the children were rehabilitated to the mother’s care.
Re K  (unreported)
Acted for a mother (by her litigation friend the OS) with profound learning difficulties and genetic abnormalities. The local authority assessments were demonstrated to be unreliable and the child remained in the care of the parents with appropriate support being given to the family to stay together.
Re T  (unreported)
Acted for a father in a fact finding hearing where it was found that he had shaken his baby. The child was rehabilitated to the joint care of the father and the mother.
Re D  (unreported)
Acted in care proceedings for a mother who had been subject to domestic abuse and controlling behaviour from the father. The father was found to be dishonest, and to have manipulated the children against the mother. The children were reunited with the mother. As a result of the father’s significantly harmful behaviour his parental responsibility was removed.
Re R  (unreported)
Acted for the children who alleged that they had been sexually abused by family members. Care orders were made in respect of the children.
Re M  (unreported)
Acted for a prospective adopter accused of causing extensive bruising to one of the children placed with her for adoption. Findings were made against her husband, and the children were eventually adopted by the prospective adopter.
Re D  (unreported)
Acted for a mother with significant learning difficulties and mental health problems. A care and placement order was granted.
Re M  (unreported)
Acted for a local authority in care proceedings involving a learning disabled mother and a father with extensive criminal history. A care and placement order was granted.
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.
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 N 
Acted for a father absolved of serious sexual and physical abuse in previous proceedings who had been rejected by one of his children.
Re H 
Acted for a father against whom the mother made a series of allegations of sexual abuse during a series of proceedings. No findings were made against the father, and contact was ordered.
Re W 
Acted for a mother whose Australian former partner sought for the children to move to Australia permanently with him. The children remained in the mother’s care in England and contact arrangements were negotiated for the children to continue to spend time with their father in holidays.
Re L 
Acted for a guardian in proceedings in which a mother had absconded and hidden with her child. The child was made a ward of court and orders were made for the location and recovery of the child.
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.
A children law barrister recognised for his advocacy skills and ability to deal with vulnerable clients. Howard represents parents and guardians in complex cases involving the death of a child, sexual abuse and non-accidental injuries. He is also experienced in handling contested adoption cases.
Strengths: "He is extremely committed to his work and is meticulous when it comes to detail and applying the law. He always makes time to discuss issues." "His knowledge and ability are unquestionable, his commitment to the client tireless and the feedback comprehensive and succinct."
Chambers UK 2021/Family: Children - Western Bar - Band 3
‘Steven is incredibly hard working, thorough and forensic in his approach to cases. He represents clients with passion and dedication. He is persuasive and tenacious, and does not back down, but manages to do so in a pleasant and courteous manner. He goes above and beyond.’
Legal 500 2021/Child Law (Public and Private)/Leading Juniors/Tier 2/Western Circuit
‘Specialises in care proceedings.'
Legal 500 2020/Family
'A meticulous advocate with the human touch.'
Legal 500 2018/19/Family
- BSc (Hons) Dunelm
- Family Law Bar Association
- Western Circuit