Leeds +44 (0)113 243 3277 | clerks@newparkcourt.co.uk
Newcastle +44 (0)191 232 1980 | clerks@newparkcourt.co.uk
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Welcome to

New Park Court Chambers

"Regarded as ‘one of the most prominent sets for crime in the North of England’."
- Legal 500 2015

Private Client

"Clients 'would strongly recommend New Park Court Chambers to anyone looking for a strong criminal or regulatory lawyer'."
- Chambers and Partners 2016

Valerie Sterling 1981

V Sterling 4

LLB (Hons) University of Manchester. Called 1981.

  • Head of the Family Law Team, New Park Court Chambers, Leeds and Newcastle
  • Approved Pupil Supervisor
  • Member of Family Law Bar Association

Finance
Valerie deals with financial remedy cases many of which are high value and involve:
• Family businesses
• Multiple properties
• Overseas assets
• Bankruptcy
• Unmarried couples
• Court of Protection
• Debts

Domestic Violence
Valerie has particular expertise in handling sensitive cases involving multiple allegations of historical physical, emotional and sexual violence, and those with a religious and cultural dimension. She often represents clients who are assisted by an interpreter.
Valerie has an appreciation of cases involving mental health issues and has acted on behalf of the Official Solicitor.

Child Care
• Non accidental injury
• Physical and sexual abuse
• Neglect
• Emotional harm
• Adoption
• International child abduction
• Appeals

Recommendations

Legal 500 2016 (Family): “Her broad family practice includes public and private law children disputes, and family finance matters.”
Legal 500 2015 (Family): “She is extremely thorough and her attention to detail is phenomenal”.
Legal 500 2014 (Family): “a specialist in all areas of family law, particularly public law children cases involving allegations of abuse.”
Legal 500 2013 (Family): recommended and “appeared in the Court of Appeal case of Re: M (children), a case in which parents had been denied access to children following physical abuse.”
Legal 500 2012 (Family): “covers the full spectrum of family law.”

Cases of importance

Re M (children) (contact) (2013) All E R (D) 94 (Jan)
Court of Appeal

Thorpe, Longmore and Patten LJJ
Physical injuries to children were so severe that they had been characterised as ‘torture’. After criminal proceedings, both parents received lengthy prison sentences.
Following the mother’s prison sentence amidst ongoing deportation issues, Valerie acted for the mother who sought to re-establish contact with her children who were in care and at secret addresses.
GB (Children) (2013) EWCA Civ 164
Court of Appeal
Rix, Lloyd and McFarlane LJJ

Application by mother for permission to appeal a refusal by the judge to adjourn care proceedings in order that she might seek alternative legal representation. Application granted but appeal dismissed.
Re H Court of Appeal Thorpe and Elias LJJ and Coleridge LJ [2009] (care and adoption case)
A grandfather obtained leave to appeal in care proceedings about his grandson following an apparent ‘gagging order’ whereby he was injuncted from disclosing documents about the care case.
Re H Court of Appeal Thorpe, Thomas and Wall LJJ [2007] 2 FLR 317
A father successfully resisted an American mother’s application to re-locate to the US with the British-born child of the relationship.
Re K (non-accidental injuries, perpetrator, new evidence) [2005] 1 FLR 285 Court of Appeal Wall and Neuberger LJJ.
Successful re-opening of care case after fact-finding hearing and disposal hearings – mother appealed against care orders and freeing orders, requesting that the court take her fresh evidence into consideration.

RECENT NOTABLE CASES:

• Matrimonial Finance: I represented a wife who obtained a very favourable result after a three day contested final financial hearing concerning a number of family properties.

• Divorce and debt: I acted at FDR and at final hearing in a complex divorce case  in which conduct was an issue.

• Divorce – High Value: I acted in a wide ranging and complex high value case involving businesses and trusts.

• Appeal in a care case: I acted for an appellant mother in a two day appeal hearing where the local authority and the guardian both opposed the mother’s applications. I prepared amended grounds of appeal and the supporting skeleton argument together with a bundle of authorities. At the hearing before the appeal judge, permission was granted for the hearing of the appeal out of time but the appeal itself was dismissed.

• Mental Health: I have an appreciation of cases involving mental health issues and have acted on behalf of the Official Solicitor.

• Fact finding hearing involving expert paediatric evidence: The threshold criteria were not met because the mother’s care had not fallen below that expected of a reasonable parent and she had separated immediately from her former partner. In a complex case involving many parties, permission was ultimately given for the local authority to withdraw their applications for care orders in respect of the mother’s children.

• Care & Special Guardianship: I represented a young mother in a five day final hearing concerning non-accidental bruising to her young daughter. Special guardianship orders were made to the maternal grandparents providing for the mother to have generous, albeit supervised contact, with her daughter.

• Emotional harm: I represented a father in a case involving longstanding neglect and emotional harm to his daughters who were being cared for by their mother in an extended sibling group. My client resumed care of his two daughters under a supervision order to support the transition of care to him.

• Private Law and domestic violence:  I acted in two contested final hearings regarding contact, achieving positive outcomes in each case. I have particular expertise in handling sensitive cases involving multiple allegations of historical physical, emotional and sexual violence, and those with a religious and cultural dimension. I often represent clients who are assisted by an interpreter.

Publications

  • Recent Radicalisation Cases in the Family Court: 30.10.15
  • Think carefully before you press ‘send’! 11.2.14

www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk:

  • A history of violence (a study of two recent cases about fact finding hearings): 25.11.2010
  • Perpetrators, anticipatory rulings and other issues. Part Two: Review of key cases in 2009 concerning children and care: 12.1.2010
  • Fact-finding cases and placing for adoption: a two part review of key cases in 2009 concerning children and care. Part One: 15.12.09
  • Media representatives attending family hearings: 23.11.09

Family Law:

  • ‘DNA, Paternity Deceit and Reliability of the Birth Certificate as a Historical Document’: August 2009
  • ‘More Contact for Breast Feeding Mothers’: April 2005

Justice of the Peace

Articles:

  • Update on Separate Representation for Children in Private Law Proceedings: 11.3.03
  • Cohabitees and Financial Obligations: 15.6.02
  • White v White Analysis and Update of Recent Cases: 4.5.02
  • White v White Analysis and Update of Recent Cases: 9.3.02
  • Separate Representation for Children in Private Law Proceedings: 1.12.01
  • Occupation Orders and the Family Law Act 1996: 18.8.01
  • Effect of Domestic Violence on Contact: 4.8.01
  • Non-accidental Injury – Child Care Law and Procedure:18.12.99
  • Section 202, Housing Act 1996: Homelessness, Local Authorities and the New Right of Appeal: 27.11.99
  • The Introduction of the Housing Act 1996 section 152: Antisocial Behaviour and Local Authority Injunctions: 14.8.99

Reviews

  • ‘Being Seen and Heard’ – educational video on needs of children whose parents have a mental illness: 22.1.05
  • ‘Special Bulletin of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: Implications for Family Lawyers’ and ‘Working with the Child Care Protocol’: 8.5.04
  • ‘Surviving Violent Crime & The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority’: 6.9.03
  • Child Abuse 3rd Edition 14.6.03
  • Funding Family Proceedings (Special Bulletin) 3.5.03
  • Children Act Private Law Proceedings: A Handbook 5.4.03

Languages: French and German

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