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Martin Downs

Call:  1990


Martin Downs has a broad practice which principally covers Family Law, Local Government (including Police), Inquests and Employment.

In Family Law his practice covers public law children’s work and wardship involving local authorities and cases of international child abduction (including Spain, USA, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Pakistan and Japan).

His Police & Local Government Law works includes safeguarding, disclosure, publicity and injunctions to protect children and Human Rights law concerning children.

In Employment and Professional Regulatory Law, many of Martin’s cases involve Ofsted and Cafcass and concern safeguarding issues (e.g. Head teachers, Psychiatrists and SWs).

Inquests  work includes the deaths of children in care.

Martin also has particular expertise in discrimination law including in the provision of goods, facilities and services especially as concerns disability and sexual orientation discrimination. 

He is also concerned with the provision of training and often lectures and gives seminars.


Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Brasenose College Oxford 1984 – 1987
Diploma in Law, City University 1989
Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law 1990
LLM (Employment Law) University of Leicester (Distinction for dissertation on the Treaty of Amsterdam) 2002



Same Sex Marriage: the New Law (with others) (Jordans) 2014
Regular articles for UKHumanRightsBlog on Children’s Law and on Equality  Articles for Family Law, Family Law Week and The Guardian
Co-author of "Civil Partnership - The New Law" Jordans (2005)
"We are family: Children and Civil Partnership" June 2005 Childright: Journal of Law and Policy; University of Essex


Employment Tribunal Judge (Fee paid) since 2002
TSol Provincial Panel 2008 – 2013


Lectures and Seminars

Lectured widely on aspects of the law of Children and on local government duties and liability, Human Rights, FOI, Equality and Diversity Issues as well as same sex marriage to audiences including the Judicial College, the Police, civil servants in London and Dublin and at UCL, the Universities of Sussex and Bergamo.  
FLBA Autumn Lectures in London (most recently in 2014) and speaker at their national conference.
Lecturer for Jordans and CLT

Significant cases include the following


Siegler v Worthing Borough Council [2004] - Successfully represented the leader of the Council and the Council defending a claim of sex discrimination by the Chief

Executive which involved new law concerning: - Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) - the Status of Council's Monitoring Officers - the liability of Councillors and the Leader of the Council

Negotiated settlement of £160,000 in age discrimination case (2007)

Family Law

Reported cases (from 2013) before the Court of Appeal or the Family Division: 

A Council v M & Others (No. 1) (Fact-Finding: Artificial Insemination) [2013]            2 FLR 1229

A Council v M & Others (No. 2) (Welfare; Adoptive Children; Artificial Insemination) [2013] 2 FLR 1261

A Council v M & Others (No. 3) (Reporting Restriction Order: Adoptive Child; Artificial Insemination) [2012] EWHC 4241 (Fam)

A Council v M & Others (No. 4) (Foreign Adoption: Refusal of Recognition) [2014] 1 FLR 881

Re E Wardship Order: Child in Voluntary Accommodation [2013] 2 FLR 63

Re K (Wardship: Publicity) [2014] 1 FLR 548

Re C (Appeal from Care and Placement Orders) [2014 2 FLR 131

Re E (Brussels II Revised: Vienna Convention: Reporting Restrictions) [2014] 2 FLR 151 Munby P

Re K (Wardship: Publicity) No. 2) [2014] 2 FLR 310

Leicester City Council v Chhatbar [2014] 2 FLR 1365

Re UF (Secretary of State intervening) [2014] COPLR 93 Charles VP

YLA v PM & Another (Forced Marriage) [2014] COPLR 114

Some of the additional cases to be found on BAILII & Family Law Week:

P (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 1174

Mills & Anor, R (on the application of) v Sussex Police & Anor [2014] EWHC 2523 (Admin) (25 July 2014) (Judicial Review of Search Warrants in serious fraud)

Forthcoming: a series of Judgments where I have acted concerning the Prevent strategy are about to be published (prohibiting children going to Syria, Iraq and Libya)


Re: A (2006) Reasonable adjustment in case under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 concerning the ability of a hearing impaired person to participate in Council meetings.


Chief Constable of Sussex v Stoner (2003) - Compatibility of costs regime in licensing with Article 6



Other information

VAT Registration No:  620 5647 57


Phone Clerk
020 7797 7500

Email Clerk


Chambers hosts Local Government and Education Law Conference
1 Crown Office Row holds annual Public Law Seminar on the theme of Life, Liberty and Security
1COR Hosts 2017 Court of Protection Conference
Life, Liberty and Security - 1COR Public Law Seminar - Sept 11th 2017 5pm - 8pm