Deans Court Chambers

Expert legal advice and advocacy, delivered by an outstanding team of Queen’s Counsel and barristers.

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Claire Athis Schofield

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Claire Athis Schofield - Deans Court Chambers

Education

  • Davenant Foundation School, Essex
  • Christ Church, Oxford – PPE – Upper Second
  • Hope University, Liverpool – PGCE - Distinction
  • Chester College of Law – GDL – Distinction
  • Manchester Metropolitan University – BPTC – Outstanding

Professional Associations

  • Northern Circuit
  • FLBA

Awards

  • Top Barrister of her Call, Lincoln’s Inn, 28th July 2016
  • Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn, 2016
  • Top Student Profile Prize, MMU BPTC, 2016
  • Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator, ADR Group, 2016
  • Dykes Solicitors Land Law Prize, 2015

Profile

Claire joined Chambers in 2018 having undertaken a Family Law pupillage under the supervision of Miss Susan Deas, during which she specialised in financial remedy and private children’s proceedings. Claire became familiar with complex financial matters, including issues around company valuation, farming and property businesses and inherited wealth.

Since being in practice, Claire has undertaken a wide range of ancillary relief work, regularly taking matters from FDA on to FDR and, if required, to Final Hearing. Solicitors appreciate Claire’s hands-on approach, and her focus on negotiating the best deal possible for her client at the earliest opportunity. Claire will represent clients within the forum of Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as Round Table Meetings or Private FDRs, giving advice on offers for settlement at each stage. She has experience of dealing with allegations of non-disclosure; personal, financial and litigation misconduct and disputed business valuations.

Claire also undertakes preliminary applications within matrimonial finance proceedings, for example, Section 37 applications and Notice to Show Cause applications. Claire will act for intervenors within proceedings seeking to protect family assets from a spousal claim. Claire also welcomes instructions on Schedule 1 Children Act applications and she will undertake legally aided money work.

In Private Children’s Act proceedings, Claire deals with complex parental disputes, often with issues arising from allegations of domestic abuse and parental alienation, including where there has been a complete cessation of contact with one parent. Claire has experience of dealing with applications featuring mental health concerns, alcohol and drug misuse, internal relocation, education and vaccination. Confident in handling cases where experts are instructed or the Local Authority involved, Claire’s practical and friendly approach is welcomed by her clients. She also represents children, where a 16.4 Children’s Guardian has been appointed.

In Public Children’s Act proceedings, Claire acts for Local Authorities, parents, and children across Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria. She is regularly instructed in Finding of Fact and Final Hearings, where her forensic and analytical style of advocacy is appreciated. Claire has been instructed on cases involving allegations of inflicted injury, sexual abuse and fabricated illness.

Claire has a busy court-based practice, however, she is also able to provide prompt written advice in all areas of family law. Claire regularly undertakes seminars for Solicitors in aspects of Financial Remedy and Private Children’s law.

Prior to joining Chambers Claire had a professional background in banking and education and she gained a wealth of practical advocacy experience from six years spent leading the largest professional trade union branch in the North-West. As an active trade unionist, Claire had daily involvement in dispute management and resolution, often within long-running, complex situations and this has informed her pragmatic approach to solving her clients’ problems.

Client Testimonials:

"You did a great job for me, I really liked your style and how you worked with me. It was a hard day for all of us but you handled it with great energy, patience and skill. Your presentation to the judge was very informed and even more so when put on the spot with questions you were on it and knowledgeable. I appreciate what you did for me."

"I've got to say how impressed I was with Claire Athis-Schofield in respect of the FDR hearing that she did for me last week. Her preparation and attention to detail was second to none on which was not the easiest case to prepare for. I also loved her approach with the client so please pass on my thanks."


Notable Cases

  • Family – Private Children Act Proceedings

    CS v DP

    Representing the Respondent father following a six year relationship, and defending him within a Finding of Fact Hearing against significant allegations of domestic abuse (all his contact with the child being supervised at a contact centre), Claire secured an outcome whereby no findings were made against her client; the court made adverse findings of fact against the Mother and immediately ordered unsupervised weekly contact with the father.

  • Family – Financial Remedy Proceedings

    W v W

    Representing the Applicant Wife at Financial Dispute Resolution, after a relatively short marriage with no children and where there were significant assets in a foreign jurisdiction, Claire negotiated a final settlement by way of lump sum payment for the Wife which represented a 375% increase from the Husband’s opening position.

  • Family – Domestic Abuse and Children Proceedings

    C v B

    Claire represented a 21 year old father who had been accused of violent behaviour by his ex-partner (Litigant in person) and denied any contact with his young child. Taking over the case part way through, Claire advised issue of father’s own Non-molestation and Children’s Act applications. The Family Law Act applications were dealt with through cross-undertakings and supervised contact started immediately. Claire represented through to Final Hearing of the Child Arrangements application where an Order for extensive unsupervised contact was agreed by consent.

  • Family - TOLATA proceedings

    T v H

    Claire represented the Claimant who co-owned two properties with his ex-partner (the Defendant) and had been unable to sell the property he had use of, or be released from the mortgage of the property occupied by the Defendant. At the first Directions Hearing, Claire negotiated a final settlement involving orders for sale of both properties and drafted a Tomlin Order which was approved by the Court.

  • Family – Financial Remedy Proceedings

    S v S

    Representing the Applicant Wife, who was caring for five children of the family, one with significant disabilities, at Financial Dispute Resolution, Claire negotiated a final settlement which saw the entirety of the sale proceeds of the Former Matrimonial Home safeguarded for the Applicant’s housing needs.

  • Family - Children Act Proceedings

    DH v CG

    Representing the Respondent full time carer mother where a previously abusive father had applied for shared care and, having undertaken some targeted domestic abuse work, secured the recommendation of the Children in Need social worker for his application. Claire challenged the social worker’s conclusions at Final Hearing through cross examination and submissions and persuaded the Court to reject her proposal and make a Child Arrangements order which provided the Respondent mother with a ‘lives with’ order and protected her primary care role by allocating her the significant majority of the time spent with the child.

  • Family - Children Act Proceedings

    HD v WB

    Representing the Respondent father, Claire made a successful application to the court for disclosure of the child’s medical records in the face of allegations by the Applicant mother that contact with Claire’s client was causing psychological harm. These allegations were then withdrawn and a final order secured for regular unrestricted contact with the father.

  • Family Law Act Proceedings

    SJ v HF

    Claire represented the Respondent at Final Hearing, securing the dismissal of both an application to commit her client to prison for breach of undertakings already given and an application for a non-molestation order.

  • Family – Financial Remedy Proceedings

    L v L

    Claire Athis, representing the Husband in Financial Remedy proceedings, secured the dismissal of all the Wife’s claims by showing the Wife should be held to a previous agreement, under which the Husband had already paid out a lump sum, against his solicitor’s advice. The previous agreement was approved by the court as the Final Order.

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