Guy Swiffen

Year of call 1991


Practice Summary

Guy has been at the Bar since 1991 and has practised exclusively in the field of children law for nearly 20 years. He began his career in London and then moved to the North of England in the late 1990s. Since then he has forged a heavyweight practise which takes him to all parts of the North of England dealing with many of the most complex cases being heard in the region. His reputation is very high amongst both his peers and the Judiciary, and he is recognised in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 year on year.

He has been described as a “bright and stunningly good junior.” He is known to be an incisively devastating cross examiner. Over the years his practise has taken him to developing the forensic skills to challenge the analyses and opinions of medical experts in the witness box. Complimenting his forensic skills is an excellent knowledge of the legislation and case law. He is happy to operate at all court levels : he has had the experience of taking a case all the way to the House of Lords. He prides himself on having a friendly and approachable relationship with clients and solicitors alike.

He often acts against QCs as a leading Junior ( leading both Junior Counsel and solicitors ).

Areas of Expertise

All aspects of the law relating to children :

In care proceedings he has extensive experience in representing local authorities throughout the North of England in complex proceedings ( including against Leading Counsel ). He also has a substantial body of work representing parents and other family members ( including those with physical and learning disabilities ) as well as Guardians and the Official Solicitor. His practise often deals with child fatalities as well as physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

In addition he has a substantial Practise in all aspects of Private Law Children Work. This includes applications to remove children from the jurisdiction, Child Abduction, and applications for Child Arrangement Orders ( including internal relocation ). He has extensive experience in  making emergency applications ( often before High Court Judges ) as well as dealing with issues of a jurisdictional complexity.

Reported Cases

Re A ( a child ) ( parental responsibility order ) [2011] AER 48

Circumstances in which the removal of a child from aunt’s interim care was justified

B,C and D children [2010] EWHC 262

Publicity injunction : whether adopters should be notified of application by birth parents to relax injunction. Whether social workers should be named

Re S ( a child ) ( 2010 ) EWCA Civ 1363

Whether the local authority had breached the mother’s Human Rights by the circumstances in which it had removed her child from her care whilst she was in prison

Re A ( contact order ) ( 2010 ) 2FLR 577

Consideration of whether child should have own solicitor instead of representation of interests via a Children’s Guardian : cost element relevant

O –v- N, re B [2003] IUK House of Lords 18 [2003] 1FLR 1169

Correct approach taken by the court where the threshold criteria established but the identity of the perpetrator is uncertain

Re B ( non accidental injury : compelling medical evidence ) [2002] 2FLR 1133

Courts’ approach on determining findings in respect of the threshold criteria and evaluating contradictory medical and lay evidence

Re G [2002] 2FCR 377

Contact orders to be made in care and freeing proceedings

Lectures and seminars

Guy is happy to come to client’s offices and present bespoke seminars on whatever topic is required. Alternatively he often lectures with colleagues at grandstand events through Chambers. Topics over the last 6 months have included :

  • “Aftermath of B-S : where are we now?”

  • “Child abduction and habitual residence : what is the test ?”

  • Private law case law update

  • The implications of Re R in the post B-S landscape ( co speaker with John Hayes QC )

Direct Access Available

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“ Renowned for his practice in sensitive, multi – faceted child care proceedings. He represents a broad portfolio of clients and is well regarded on the North Eastern Circuit for his expertise in children law”.

Chambers & Partners (2015)

"He is a very polished and able advocate.”

Chambers & Partners (2016)