Helen Alexander (2008)

Helen Alexander (2008)

Membership Status: Barrister - Full Member Qualified in 2008 Public Access Accredited
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Profile

General Information

Helen is an experienced family law practitioner.

Helen regularly deals with complex family and children cases where there is an overlap of immigration law, human rights and criminality. She specialises in family fact finding hearings, which involve serious allegations e.g. forced marriage, trafficked persons, fraud, rape, and sexual offences.

Helen also appears in the County Court dealing with general civil matters regarding mortgages, money claims and breaches of contract. This work ideally places her to carry out Trusts of Land Act (ToLATA) and cohabitation work, where a party asserts they have contributed to the matrimonial home and therefore has a beneficial interest – a share even though they do not have their name on the property.

Helen brings a wide range of skills to the area of family law, dealing effectively with lengthy fact finding hearings and final hearings, which cross over between the law in civil and crime in the context of family law proceedings.

She is instructed by the Home Office and, although no longer practising in crime, is on the CPS Crown Prosecutor panel of advocates.

Children in Care Proceedings

Helen represents clients at all stages of care proceedings. She regularly acts for parents, guardians and extended family members such as grandparents. 

  • Parents in Part V1 Family Law Care Cases
  • Grandparents and other family members (Special Guardianship Orders) in Part V1 Family Law Care Cases
  • Contact Orders with children in care
  • Emergency Protection Orders and other urgent remedies
  • Adoption and Placement Orders – trafficked children, removal of children from parents without UK legal status.
  • International Abduction cases – unlawful removal of children from their habitual residence, involving family members abroad, and cases where the children are foreign nationals living in this jurisdiction

Child Arrangements Orders

Helen represents clients at all stages of private law children disputes. She 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.

  • Child Arrangement Orders – DRA/FHDRA (contact/residence orders, parental responsibility)
  • Split-Hearings/ Fact Finding Hearing: rape, sexual abuse of children, DV/Controlling and Coercive behaviour, Domestic abuse/Immigration
  • Domestic and International Relocation - Europe (Brussels II) and Non-Hague countries.
  • Interim Hearings: DRA & FAHDR Hearing – Joint experts, disclosure, costs.
  • Child arrangement orders  - Grandparents and other family members contact with child.
  • Injunctions/Restraining Orders – non-molestation/occupations orders, undertakings and enforcement.
  • Entrenched /intractable disputes – Prohibited steps Orders - Undertakings
  • Domestic abuse including serious assaults/ sexual abuse / offending
  • Mental health problems and substance abuse issues impacting on child arrangement
  • Applications for costs re parties conduct.

Divorce Money – Financial Remedies Hearing (Ancillary Relief).

Helen represents clients at all stages of financial remedies (FDHRA and final hearing) that involve complex issues e.g. fraud, frittering away of matrimonial assets and the division of matrimonial assets. She specialises in overseas property valuations, joint expert and family business e.g. involving a portfolio of ‘buy to let’ properties, identification and division of matrimonial assets and negotiating settlements.

  • Schedule 1 Children Act – Financial support for children (unmarried partners), Form E advice.
  • Financial Remedy hearings – matrimonial assets and non-matrimonial assets, overseas property valuation, joint experts on tax/family business, sale/transfer of property.
  • ToLATA and Cohabitation disputes in s.7 applications – beneficial interest, resulting trust and a declaration of trust for the transfer of property.
  • Spousal maintenance – periodical payments, lump sum and pension sharing – clean break.
  • Enforcement and Cost Order

General Civil Litigation – Breach of Contract – Money claims.

Before becoming a barrister, Helen came from an international commercial medical laser background.

An equity partner in a leading private medical-cosmetic laser clinic and the UK trainer for a large multi-national laser manufacturer. She was responsible for business contracts and facilitating training and developments to medical professionals in the area of innovative laser techniques and procedures in the UK and the Middle East.

Helen represents clients at all stages of breach of contract claims – (money claims only).

  • Money Claim - Personal Loan v Company (Insolvency) money
  • Employment – Breach of terms and conditions – unfair dismissal - damages
  • Money claims – Breach of Contract – terms and conditions.
  • Private Landlord and Tenant dispute – tenancy agreements v licence – deposits and rent.

Personal interests: 

All things Yorkshire... the Dales, horses and dogs. Helen's claim to fame? She is a lambing assistant extraordinaire - having assisted with over 500 deliveries!

Testimonials

Testimonials

Cases and Publications

Children in Care Proceedings - Notable Cases**

Re M v Bournemouth Children Authority [2017] (Permission to appeal against a placement/adoption order) (unreported)

Helen represented the mother seeking permission to appeal the making of an adoption/placement order and succeeded in obtaining permission to appeal on compelling grounds.

Re A, B, E v Newcastle Children Authority [2017] (mental health, human rights Article 8, forced adoption of the children and immigration) and  (unreported)

Helen represented the Father in care proceedings, which involved Refugee convention (asylum) and forced adoption. The mother had acute mental health difficulties and made serious allegation of FGM and fled with the children. Father successfully challenged the placement order and secured the return of his children.

Re J v Birmingham Children’s Authority [2017] (allegation of trafficked child, foreign adoption, placement/adoption order) (unreported)

Helen represented the British mother who faced allegations of child trafficking having lawfully adopted a child from outside the UK – advised on the international adoption, challenging the Home Office evidence and potential prosecution. Helen drafted grounds of appeal to the Court of Appeal on the legitimacy of foreign adoption and parental responsibility.

Re K v Norwich Children’s Authority [2017] (Special Guardianship Order) (unreported)

This case related to a child who had been abandoned in the care of her grandfather by her heroin-addicted Mother and the father was in prison for a lengthy sentence and authorities removed the child and were seeking a placement and/or adoption order.

Helen represented the Grandfather and children’s guardian and solicitor did not support him and the matter was listed for 5 days. Grandfather successfully obtained contact and subsequent return of the child supported by the Children’s authority.

Child Arrangement Orders - Notable Cases**

Re M (Mother makes an allegation of historic rape against the Father without immigration status in the UK) in the Central Family Court (2017) (unreported)

Helen represented a Father, an over-stayer facing immigration deportation who sought a child arrangement order. The British mother made an allegation of historic rape of a vulnerable adult (disabled) and controlling and coercive behaviour against the Father. Matter was listed for a 4-day fact finding hearing which included evidence of mobile phone footage and recordings and police disclosure. Father’s successfully challenged allegation and an order made for contact with the child with immediate effect.

Re C (International Child abduction from habitual residence in Europe) matter listed for trial in the Royal Court of Justice [2017]

Mother resident in the UK refused to return the children to their habitual residence. Mother was in breach of the German court child arrangement order. Father made an urgent application to the High Court alleging child abduction.

Helen advised on Brussels II Regulation (BII) Art 1(1) (b) EEA and Art 11-13 and Art.8 and as BII extends the children provisions of BII to all children involved in proceedings, makes changes to the process of recognising and enforcing access orders in other countries, changes the jurisdiction rules on children cases and strengthens return provisions in child abduction cases and the defence available to challenge the finding of abduction by one party.

Divorce Money – Financial Remedies Hearing (Ancillary Relief) - Notable Cases**

M v Ors and third party in the Family Court Coventry [2017] (financial remedies hearing – fraud, beneficial interest/resulting trusts, transfer of property via a declaration of trust) (unreported)

Helen represented both the husband and his partner against the claim of the wife and a third party interest – complex case listed for 4 day trial – involved multiple properties, beneficial interest/resulting trust, allegations of mortgage fraud, breach of contract, transfer of land under a declaration of trust, expert valuation of property in Pakistan and breaches of immigration law.  Helen successfully challenged the foreign valuation and the third party’s claim for a resulting trust.

S v S [2017] in the Family Court Watford (FDHRA) (unreported) – complex high value matrimonial property which included a large portfolio of ‘buy to let’ properties in the UK and investment in properties in UAE and other businesses, capital gains tax and the duty of candour and disclosure.

Helen represented the respondent at the FDHRA, she successfully challenged the financial accounting expert report, successfully argued that the valuation for the sale of property is different from the valuation for a business with sitting tenants under a buy to let mortgage and therefore without the proper valuation, that calculation for capital gains tax (CGT) is not ‘fit for purpose’ and further argued that expert report for CGT tax has a number of exceptions which had not been considered in report and therefore FDHRA cannot be effective and sought costs.

?General Civil Litigation – Breach of Contract – Money claims - Notable Cases**

N v V and third party D (insolvency practitioners) in the County Court Coventry [2017] (company loan v personal loan – fraudulent winding up of companies – insolvency practitioners) (unreported).

Helen represented the applicant in this fast track money claim. Trial issue was a question of fact: was it a personal loan to the Director of the Company or a loan to company? Particulars of claim alleged fraudulent and dishonest dealing between the Respondent, the insolvency practitioners and the accountants to deprive the Applicant of the loan made.

C v D in Brentford County Court [2017] (private landlord and tenant dispute – deposits and tenancy v licence to occupy – damages.

These proceedings began as a money-claim-online for the return of deposit and breach of contract and obtained judgement in default. Respondent successfully challenged the ‘service’ and matter went to trial. Helen successfully negotiated a settlement and a consent order was agreed at the hearing.

** names and dates changed to preserve the anonymity.

Fees and Feedback

Fees and Feedback

Details regarding our approach to fees can be found at the following link:  http://www.clerksroom.com/content-html?cid=336

SERVICES:

Please see “profile” tab for description of the legal services provided by this barrister.

We aim to complete and return all paperwork within 14 days (2 weeks) of receipt if no specific deadline is provided. We can work to much faster timescales if requested or we can agree a specific target date for each individual circumstance. We will always advise at the outset if counsel is unable to meet any deadline.

Each barrister has a standard hourly rate for their work. The individual hourly rate can be agreed when instructions are acknowledged if preferred. We welcome early discussion as to the suitability of a specific barrister for a specific case. The right barrister will have the relevant expertise to deal with the case but will not be too junior, or too senior depending on the complexities.

We aim to allocate all cases to the correct level of experience & seniority which we believe will prove most to be the most cost effective solution for our clients.

If, due to urgency, we allocate paperwork to a more senior member of Clerksroom, we will charge the appropriate hourly rate for the work, not for the barrister. We welcome early discussion to ensure the correct fee is applied to the case at the outset.

REDRESS:

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Complaints information

If you are not satisfied with the service provided, you can make a complaint to Chambers. Information on the chambers’ complaints procedure is available at the following link: http://www.clerksroom.com/content-html?cid=416

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from my chambers, you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You must contact the Legal Ombudsman either within 6 months following the conclusion of our handling your complaint, within 6 years from the date of the act/omission, or 3 years from the date that you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).

The Legal Ombudsman’s details are as follows:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
Tel: 0300 555 0333
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Web: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

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