Laura Coyle is a specialist international family law and public law practitioner.
She is one of the few Children’s Panel members to practice both areas of law at the highest level and appears regularly in the High Court and Court of Appeal on both international and public law matters.
She is known for her sympathetic approach to clients and attention to detail as well as her tenacity and legal knowledge. Comments made in the Legal directories include praise for her “all-round judgement and drive” and describe her as “super-tenacious and intelligent ” as well as being “.. absolutely at the top of her game in children care and international work. She knows the ins and outs of procedures and case law, and her client focus is excellent.” Laura handles both complex public law and international matters, and sources say that “She leaves no stone unturned in a case. She has a forensic knowledge of the law and the facts and keeps a keen eye on tactics. Whether it is a major trial in the High Court or a short hearing, Laura’s clients get her attention and expertise.”. She has been described as ‘extremely conscientious and works tirelessly for her clients’ and “ a go-to person in international children work who isn’t fazed by anyone ”.
Laura is renowned as an expert in complex international family matters including Hague convention cases, enforcement of international Orders and international contact applications where she regularly acts for the applicant and respondent as well as the subject children. She is particularly well known for her representation of competent children which ties together her experience in both international cases and public law matters. During her time at Freemans, Laura has represented clients in numerous reported cases in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal including seminal decisions in the cases involving Wardship and international movement of children as well as applications for enforcement of Orders made in other jurisdictions.
Due to her expertise and experience in international law, Laura is regularly instructed directly by clients who live abroad and who seek the return of abducted children or contact once the children move to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. She frequently acts in Wardship proceedings concerning non-Hague countries and Orders for return which also can include issues such as transnational spousal stranding, female genital mutilations and terrorism links. She has an established practice in examining the High Court’s application and use of its powers under the inherent jurisdiction. She has a particular interest in relocation cases and is regularly instructed on all aspects of private law matters including applications to settle child arrangements.
In her broad public law care proceedings practice, Laura represents parents and children and she is frequently instructed in public law cases with an international element including cases where there are allegations that children have been trafficked or where parents reside abroad. Laura has acted in complex High Court public law cases involving lengthy hearings of over ten days in areas such as factitious illness, sexual abuse, radicalisation and non-accidental injury which include multiple experts in evidence. In addition, Laura has an established practice of representing children alongside their guardians in cases concerning their placement including under Orders which amount to deprivation of liberty and secure accommodation.
As well as working closely with Queens Counsel and senior barristers, Laura conducts much of her own advocacy in care proceedings including interim and final hearings in addition to advocacy in her private law practice including in the High Court.
Laura is ranked in both public law and international law in Chambers and Partners as well as ranked in Legal 500. She was shortlisted as Family Law Associate of the Year at the 2016 Jordan’s Family Law Awards.
Laura qualified in 2007 and was admitted to the Law Society’s Children’s Panel in 2012. She joined Freemans in 2008 and was made Partner in May 2017. She is a Resolution Accredited specialist in International Family Law and Private Family law. In 2021, she was admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland. She was appointed to the Law Society Sub Committee for Children Law in September 2018. She is a member of Resolution, the Association of Lawyers for Children and the Child Abduction Lawyer’s Association, of which she is the Secretary, and she is also an ICACU panel member.
Laura’s notable cases reported over the years
Laura has acted on behalf of Applicants and Respondents in numerous reported cases during her time at Freemans. A number of notable cases are listed below ;
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