Liverpool family law barrister is appointed as a QC

Children’s law specialist Kate Burnell is the sixth lawyer at St John’s Buildings chambers in Liverpool to become a Queen’s Counsel. Tony McDonough reports

Kate Burnell
Kate Burnell, a QC at St John’s Buildings chambers in Liverpool


Liverpool barrister Kate Burnell has been made a QC – the sixth to achieve the accolade at the city’s St John’s Buildings chambers.

Called to the Bar in 1998, Ms Burnell has built a reputation as a specialist in children’s cases. Regularly representing local authorities, parents, carers, members of the extended family and children, she has extensive experience working with vulnerable clients, appearing at all levels of court.

She is one of 116 new Queen’s Counsel appointments, made by the Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, following consideration by the independent Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel. 40 women were chosen from the 72 that applied, making up 34% of the total appointed.

Ms Burnell also has significant experience in care proceedings involving allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse, non-accidental injury, chronic neglect and emotional harm. In 2006 she was admitted as an Attorney to the New York State Bar, and has since advised on issues involving the US.

Frances Heaton QC, joint head of chambers at St John’s Buildings, said: “Kate’s appointment to Queen’s Counsel is wonderful news for all of us at chambers, and a perfect note to end this year on.

“I have been fortunate to have worked with Kate in a number of complex case and know without doubt that her success is much deserved.  Her legal knowledge, approach to her cases, client care and advocacy are all of the highest standard. The Family Bar is fortunate to have her as we are to have her in our team.

“Following the appointment of Samantha Hillas QC last year, Kate will be the sixth member of our family group to take Silk. As a Chambers, I am confident that we now boast one of the strongest family law teams in the country.”

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