Barbara Macdonald


Barbara Macdonald

Partner - Family & Child Law




Firm Trained With

Mayo & Perkins (now Mayo Wynne Baxter)

Languages Spoken



I am instructed primarily in Care Proceedings, representing children directly or through their Guardians. I also act for parents and grandparents. I am often instructed by Guardians in private law proceedings where the child requires separate representation.
It is essential to identify issues at an early stage and to prepare a case thoroughly.  I have earned a reputation for getting the best team on board where the case demands it to ensure the best possible outcome. As a result, I have been instructed on several high profile cases (see below).

I am acutely aware that many parents who find themselves caught up in care proceedings come from very difficult backgrounds and lack the support of a loving family.  Whilst we are lawyers, not social workers or counsellors, it is important to know the person representing your legal interests, or the legal interests of your child, is sensitive to those human issues.

Reported Cases: 

  • East Sussex County Council v AG (Finding of Fact) [2017] EWHC 536 (Fam): I was instructed by the Guardian of AG in this case where Findings were made that the parents had poisoned their baby by giving him alcohol and antihistamine.  This is the highest level of alcohol ever recorded in a baby.

  • Re X, Y and Z (Damages Inordinate Delay in Issuing Proceedings) [2016] EWFC B44:  I was instructed by the Guardian in this case which saw the highest award of Damages for breaches of Human Rights by a Local Authority.

  • Re K (unreported) 2014 - I acted for separately represented 12-year-old boy of a large sibling group. Successfully fought a care plan for adoption of his 4-year-old brother. Both children remain together in long-term placement.

  • Re M-F (Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 991 – I was instructed by Guardian. Sought adjournment of 4th Final Hearing in week 57 on the basis of Re S (A Child) [2014] EWCC B44 (Fam), to which I drew the Court's attention. Local Authority lost Appeal in which President approved Guardian’s position. The child went home.

  • Re A [2010] EWCA Civ 743 – I acted for the Mother on Human Rights Appeal involving the tension between s46 and s47 Children Act 1989 when local authority sought for police to exercise police protection rather than issuing EPO Application.

  • Re F [2008] EWCA Civ 439 – I acted for the Father on Application for leave to revoke Placement Order. The Local Authority was heavily criticised by the Court of Appeal after placing my client’s child for adoption when they were on notice he had applied to the Court for a Hearing. The case received widespread media attention.

Awards, Accreditations and Memberships:


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