Barrister Profile


Year of Call: 1998

KC: 2020

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Family Law
Human Rights


Joanne was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1998 and the Inner Bar in 2020 and appear in the High Court of Justice, Court of Appeal and Family Care Centre mainly in the sphere of Family and Human Rights Law. These cases include cases under the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 and Human Rights Act 1998.

Joanne also acts in Civil Proceedings instructed by Crown Solicitor’s Office and the Departmental Solicitor’s Office. She has expertise in International Family Law cases including Hague Convention and Brussels II cases. Joanne also appears in the High Court of Justice in Matrimonial and Judicial Review Proceedings. These include Human Rights Notices, Divorce and the associated Ancillary Relief and Judicial Review in respect of Family Law and Community Care cases.


LLB (Hons) Law Degree from Queens’s University Belfast.

Masters Degree MSSc in Criminal Justice Management from Queen’s University Belfast.

Certificate of Professional Legal Studies

Advanced Advocacy Training with Core Solutions.

Accredited Advocacy Trainer for the Institute of Professional Legal Studies

Accredited Advocacy Trainer for the Bar of Northern Ireland.

Member of the Family Bar Association.

Appointed to the Directorate of Legal Services Panel for Junior Counsel and act on behalf of Health Trusts in Public Law litigation.

Appointed by the Advocate General to the Special Advocate Panel for Junior Counsel to act in Closed Material Proceedings.

Appointed in 2020 to the Government Civil Senior Counsel Panel to act on behalf of both the DSO and CSO in relation to civil proceedings

Mentor on the Bar of Northern Ireland Mentoring Programme

Tutor at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies

Appointed as a Legal Member of the Pension Appeal tribunal in July 2021


During her career Joanne has been involved in numerous complex non-accidental injury cases in the High Court of Justice. Joanne has also been involved in many serious Care Order and Freeing Order cases involving neglect NAI, child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Joanne has a specialist interest in Family Law Advocacy and have been involved in numerous long running and contentious hearings on behalf of Respondents, Applicant Trusts and Guardians ad Litem. I have been involved in Hague Convention Applications in the High Court and Court of Appeal for both the Central Authority and Respondent Parents. Joanne has also acted in a number of Matrimonial and Judicial Review Applications in which formal judgments have been issued. Joanne has also been involved in a number of highly contentious Judicial Review cases. Leading cases in which I have acted include:

TL v A Trust & others [2007] NIFam 8; 2008 NI 130

Arthur; in re (non-molestation proceedings by a child) [2009] NIFam 19; 2010 NIJB 130

EFB; in re (freeing without consent) [2009] NIFam 7

Caitrin & others; in re (No 3) (application to vary a no contact order) [2010] NIFam 3

Caitrin, Dona and Elliot (Pseudonyms) (No 4) (Care proceedings: Final hearing) [2010] NIFam 8

Caitrin & others; in re (No 5) (care proceedings; remitted hearing) [2010] NIFam 24

Carson, Esther Pauline v Carson, Wilbert Wesley [2010] NIFam 17

Marcail; in re application for judicial review [2012] NIQB 68

PM v AAM; in re Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 [2013] NIFam 3

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust v JD & anor [2013] NIFam 4; [2014] NIJB 228

Re C & D (children); in re [2016] NI Fam 3

In the matter of Laura, a child [2019] NIFam 16

In the matter of Ian and Jack (Minors) Article 15 Brussels IIR Transfer to the Republic of Ireland [2020] NIFam 29


2002 Northern Irish Guide to the Family Homes and Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. “Making an Impact: Domestic Violence in Northern Ireland”.

2018-2021 Northern Irish Policing Board Reports on the PSNI Use of Stop and Search Powers under the Justice and Security (NI) Act 2007