James Hargan

James Hargan.
Year of call:



1988 - University of the West Midlands, LLB (Hons)

1989 - Inns of Court School of Law, Bar Finals


1990 - After pupillage, tenant at 10/11 Grays Inn Square, London

1991 - Tenant at 32 Park Square, Leeds (later 30 Park Square & Sovereign Chambers)

2004 - Tenant at Sovereign Chambers

2009-2012 - Joint Head of family team at Sovereign Chambers

2012 - Deputy Head of Sovereign Chambers

2015 - Sovereign Chambers becomes Park Square Barristers


2018 - Assistant Coroner


Member of the North Eastern Circuit

Member of the Family Law Bar Association

Member of the Court of Protection Practitioners’ Association.



Ranked in The Legal 500 (2023) and Chambers and Partners (2024) for Family and Children Law.

“He inspires confidence due to his calm manner, as well as his attention to the minutiae of the case.” – Chambers and Partners (2024)

“James is a strategic thinker with first-rate forensic skills. He goes the extra mile for his clients.” – Chambers and Partners (2024)

James is completely unflappable, which puts the client and the court at ease. His preparation for and knowledge of a case is always meticulous.’ – The Legal 500 (2023)

“A well-respected and reliable senior junior. His judgement is very sound. An excellent advocate.” – The Legal 500 (2022)

“He’s very measured, calm and delivers killer blows in the nicest way. He’s extremely forensic.” “He’s well prepared, considered, and his court manner is extremely calm and smooth.” – Chambers and Partners (2021)

“An exceptional lawyer, James is wonderful and as good as any QC.” – The Legal 500 (2021)

“He is full of steel and the way he deals with medical and forensic evidence is phenomenal” – Chambers and Partners (2020)

“Both sensitive and straightforward in his advocacy ” – The Legal 500 (2020)

“Incisive and client focused.” – The Legal 500 (2019)

“Very experienced in cases of non-accidental injuries to children.” – The Legal 500 (2017)

“Recommended for public law children cases.” – The Legal 500 (2016)

“He is just so intelligent and analytical. He has a forensic skill for unpicking documents, seeing things that others overlook. He is supremely intelligent.” – Chambers and Partners (2016)

James Hargan is a skilled and formidable advocate with considerable and wide-ranging experience acquired over 20 years in practice. He has very substantial experience in all courts up to the level of the Court of Appeal, particularly in matters before the High Court, and regularly appears against leading counsel.

He practises exclusively in civil (family, non-family and Court of Protection) work, where he has an enviable reputation for meticulous preparation and in-depth case knowledge, skilled drafting, and a polished performance in court. He is a strategic thinker with a fine eye for detail, and a trusted performer known for his sound advice and approachability.

“Highly experienced counsel with excellent technical skills and the ability to reassure clients in difficult and challenging circumstances.”- Chambers and Partners (2017)

“A strategic thinker and trusted performer, known for his approachability, sound advice and polished performance in court”.

Child injury & death

James has a particular specialism and expertise in cases concerning serious non-accidental injuries to children, and child deaths, and is very experienced in dealing with cases featuring complex medical evidence from a range of medical and scientific disciplines, including in relation to mental health issues. He regularly acts for children, local authorities, and parents. He has a particular interest in cases turning on paediatric neuro-radiology.


He regularly delivers lectures to other practitioners on current legal developments in family law. James also delivers seminars for local-authority social-services professionals and solicitors on topics including complex-case preparation and court skills.


James is highly IT literate and very adaptable in his work practices. He is happy to assist by telephone and email, and offers flexible conferencing and site-visit arrangements to suit lay clients and instructing solicitors.

Notable cases

Many of the cases in which James appears are unreported to protect the confidentiality of the family and due to ongoing criminal proceedings.

  • BR and Ors – (2023) – Poole J – for parent in Fact-finding hearing in FII feed case. Family reunited following FFH. Not yet reported.
  • S (Children) – (2023) – High Court level – unreported – baby shaking – for parent – children returned following specialist risk assessment.
  • A v B & Anor [2023] EWCA Civ 360 (07 March 2023) – for Guardian in second appeal following private law finding of fact. Rape myths. Whether the family court should provide definitions of rape, sexual assault, and consent. Proper approach to sexual history.
  • BR & Ors, Re (Transparency Order: Finding of Fact Hearing) [2023] EWFC 9 (25 January 2023) – Extent and terms of Transparency Order in first decided case in Transparency Pilot.
  • A Local Authority v Mother & Ors [2022] EWFC 172 (06 December 2022) – for mother in fact-finding – baby – multiple fractures – multiple events – genetics issues – exonerated at FFH.
  • A & Anor v B & Ors [2022] EWHC 3089 (Fam) (02 December 2022) – for Guardian in appeal following private law finding of fact. Rape myths. Whether the family court should provide definitions of rape, sexual assault, and consent. Proper approach to sexual history.
  • Re R and S, (Children) [2022] EWFC 48 (12 May 2022) – Poole J – fact-finding hearing; inter-sibling sexual abuse. Specialist risk assessment.
  • BMDC -v- R and Ors (2021) – for parent. Historic sex abuse. Whether fact-find proportional.
  • LCC -v- D and Ors (2021) – for parent – NAI – genetics – EDS3 – child returned following FFH.
  • LCC -v- R (2021) – Lieven J – for parent – FII feed case – children returned.
  • Wakefield Metropolitan District Council v HR & Ors [2020] EWFC 100 (27 November 2020) – Cohen J – for LA – infant death – baby shaking – congenital brain malformation.
  • CC -v- W and Ors, (2019) – infant death – genetic brain maldevelopment.
  • HCC -v- G and Ors (2018) – High Court level – infant death – baby shaking – conflicting pathologists. Successful outcome.
  • RMBC -v- S & Ors (2018) – baby shaking – ‘triad’ injuries – bite injuries.
  • LCC -v- G and Ors (2017) – Cohen J – baby brain injuries, birth-related brain injuries – haematological issues – multiple experts.
  • NYCC -v- H-B (2017) – for children in FII case.
  • WMDC -v- F and Ors (2016) – High Court level – For LA. NAI and FII. Successful outcome.
  • RE v North Yorkshire County Council & Ors [2015] EWCA Civ 1169 (17 November 2015) – for child resisting appeal against final orders made at interim hearing.
  • LCC -v- V (2015) – High Court level – For LA in FII Case. Successful outcome.
  • HCC -v- G (2015) – High Court Level – for children. Infant death. Successful outcome.
  • Re M (Care; Disclosure to Police) [2008] 2FLR 390 – High Court, Family Division.
  • Re F (a child) [2006] EWCA Civ 1426 – Court of Appeal, Civil Division
  • Gough & Smith -v- Chief Constable Derbys & Ors [2001] EWHC Admin 554 – Adminstrative Court#
  • Re F (Adoption: Freeing Order) [2000] 2 FLR 505 – Court of Appeal, Civil Division
  • Arshid Hussain, R -v-, [1999] EWCA Crim 827 – Court of Appeal Criminal Division · A-G’s Ref No 4043 of 1997 [1997] EWCA Crim 3207 – Court of Appeal Criminal Division
  • Re B (A Minor)(Secure Accommodation) [1994] 2 FLR 707 – Divisional Court

Contact James’ clerks

Claudine Cooper on 0113 202 8604

Paul Foster on 0113 213 5209

Arnela Siranovic on 0113 213 5212

legal 500 leading individual The Legal 500 2017 leading individual logo Chambers and partners 2018 Legal 500 Leading individual 2019