Louise McCallum

Year of call 1999


Areas of Expertise

Public Law

Louise's public law experience, acting for Local Authorities, Parents, Carers and Children, includes cases with the following features:

  •  allegations of non accidental injury with a multiplicity of expert evidence, including 'shaking injuries';
  • sexual abuse and the Royal College of Paediatrics guidelines;
  • allegations of child pornography, including technical forensic computer evidence;
  • allegations of ritualistic abuse/abuse with a cultural component;
  • applications to call child witnesses to give evidence further to Re W (2010).

Forced Marriage

  • Louise is a co-author of a well regarded practitioner's guide to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2008 
  • Specialist contributor on forced marriages for the popular International Family Law Practice
  • Louise has acted for applicants, both victims and Local Authorities, on the application for and enforcement of Forced Marriage Protection Orders.

Private Law

  • Experienced in intractable contact disputes and disputes as to where children should live. 
  • Extensive experience in conducting finding of fact hearings in the private law context involving very serious allegations, including sexual abuse.

Reported Cases

Leeds City Council v YX & ZX (Assessment of Sexual Abuse) [2008] EWCA 802 (Fam), [2008] 2 FLR 869.

Care proceedings before Mr Justice Holman.   Acted as junior counsel for the Father (led by Clive Heaton QC, now HHJ Heaton QC).  Allegations of sexual abuse.  Prior to involvement of silk, successfully argued for the instruction of Professor Heger, eminent American Paediatrician. Parents entirely vindicated and sexual abuse found not to have taken place. Children returned to parents' care. Case was the subject of publicity.

Re A (Fact finding): Kirklees Council v X  v MS v SU and others [2015] EWFC 68

Junior counsel for the Local Authority in a 10 day finding of fact hearing within care proceedings before Ms Justice Russell (leading counsel John Hayes QC). Linked care proceedings in respect of two families.  Historical allegations of sexual abuse.  Vulnerable witnesses.  Allegations found proven.

In the final welfare stage of these proceedings Louise represented the Local Authority before Ms Justice Russell.

GD and BD (Children) [2016] EWHC 3312 (Fam)  

Louise was junior counsel for the Local Authority in Human Rights proceedings hesard by Mr Justice Cobb.  The mother and her two children, now aged 9 and 4, brought applications under the Human Rights Act 1998 for damages and declarations that, as a result of the conduct of the Local Authority and the police force, their Art 6 and Art 8 rights had been breached.  Case was the subject of publicity.  Nb. Louise was not junior counsel in the earlier stage of the linked care proceedings.

Notable Cases

Recent cases of note include:

  • Representation of a Father in ongoing proceedings concerning alleged Fabricated or Induced Illness (‘FII’). 
  • Representation of a Father in a finding of fact hearing.  Father alleged to have extensively downloaded child pornography of the most serious type and to have indecently assaulted his step daughter.
  • Counsel for the Local Authority in ongoing proceedings in the High Court concerning determination of the cause of death of a 7 day old baby.
  • Counsel for a 16 year old child in ongoing care proceedings in the High Court arising from allegations of attempted forced marriage.
  • Junior counsel for the Local Authority in finding of fact hearing in care proceedings concerning the causation and, if non accidental, perpetrator of injuries to the duodenum of a 3 year old child, resulting in his death.
  • Junior counsel for the Child in case concerning causation of the death of 18 week old sibling who had suffered multiple fractures and burns.
  • Counsel for the Children in a finding of fact hearing to determine the causation of life threatening head injuries to 14 month old, resulting in permanent disability.
  • Counsel for the Mother in finding of fact hearing to determine the perpetrator of non accidental head injuries to a baby boy.



  • Specialist contributor to 'The International Family Law Practice (2nd, 3rd and 4th Editions), authored by David Hodson (Jordans Family Law, January 2012). Author of the chapter 'Forced Marriages'. Louise is again a specialist contributor for the forthcoming 5th edition of this text, to be published in December 2016.

Review: "A refreshingly interesting read! ... This book rather helpfully sets out almost everything you need to know when preparing for a case of this nature ... a step by step guide to managing a forced marriage case" (Family Law)


  • ‘Shared Residence: Just a Label?’, Family Law (July 2004)
  • ‘Forced Marriage, Local Authorities and Applications without Leave: The New Provisions’, Family Law Week (October 2009);
  • Forcing the Issue’, Local Government Lawyer (November 2009)
  • ‘A Driving Force’, The Solicitor's Journal (December 2009)
  • The Child Arrangements Programme 2014: The Key Provisions, Family Law Week (April 2014)
  • The New Standards for Expert Witnesses, Family Law Week (October 2014)


  • Public Law Update (wine and wisdom presentation) April 2015
  • Speaker for the College of Law online professional development training course on the Child Arrangements Programme (2014)  
  • Louise was one of the speakers on the topic of forced marriage at the 2013 Law Society Annual Family Law conference : "The sacred and the secular – religion, culture and the family courts".  Conference opened by the President of the Family Division.
  • Pilot PLO training (July 2013)
  • Children Public and Private Law Updated (October 2010)
  • Children Public Law Update (February 2010)
  • Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2008 (November 2009). Key speaker on the legislation at a joint conference on forced marriage held by Zenith Chambers and Switalskis Solicitors. Nearly 200 lawyers, police officers and social workers in attendance.
  • Transparency, the Press & the Family Courts ~ A Practitioner's Guide (May 2009, September 2009)
  • Sexual Abuse & Royal College of Paediatrics Guidelines (April 2009)
  • Children Public Law Update (January 2009)

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"An expert on cases concerning forced marriages and is recommended for her depth of expertise on cases involving international issues."

Chambers & Partners (2016)

"Not only is she a good advocate, but she is conscientious with her paperwork being filed on time and to a high standard."

Chambers & Partners (2020)