Madeleine Whelan

Specialist in:

Maddie has extensive experience in all areas of private children law, including in appellate courts and in contested trials. Maddie is very comfortable with witness handling, including the cross-examination of experts, and accepts instructions to act for all parties to private law proceedings. She has experience in applying for – and resisting – applications for Child Arrangements, Specific Issue and Prohibited Steps Orders. Maddie regularly undertakes complex fact-finding hearings raising issues such as domestic violence, parental alienation, mental health and substance abuse issues. Recent cases Maddie has been involved in include:

R v R (2019) – an application by a mother to vary a Child Arrangements Order to lift the obligation on her to continue bringing the children to contact after they expressed firm views against contact with their father. After a four-day final hearing, the judge varied the order in the mother’s favour.

H v Q (2018) – an appeal by the mother against a Prohibited Steps Order made at first instance at a FHDRA preventing her from leaving the local area. Maddie was granted permission to appeal at an oral hearing before a Circuit Judge, which ultimately led to the father withdrawing his application and the mother successfully relocating

Maddie has a strong practice in public law and this continues to develop. Maddie has experience representing all sides of public law disputes, including children, parents and local authorities. In particular, Maddie is adept at representing vulnerable clients who may have difficulty giving instructions and representing competent children. She is also experienced in leave to oppose and discharge applications. Maddie has particular experience in cases involving sexual harm and is currently acting as junior in a public law case in the High Court involving the potential transmission of an STD to three young children.

Maddie has a keen academic and professional interest in HFEA and surrogacy law, having completed a first-class dissertation in 2016 entitled “Saviour Siblings: a critical look at the role of the welfare principle in the law of assisted reproduction in England & Wales”. Maddie is always keen to develop this side of her practice and is on-hand to advise in this area of law.

Having had a lot of exposure to financial remedy proceedings during the course of her pupillage, Maddie acts in family finance cases, and accepts instructions from petitioners and respondents.

Maddie has a keen interest in proceedings with an international element, including private law proceedings where a parent seeks permission to remove a child from the jurisdiction on either a temporary or permanent basis, and abduction proceedings.


Law (MA), University of Cambridge, 2019
BPTC, BPP University Law School, 2017 (Very Competent)
Law (BA), University of Cambridge, 2016
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Erasmus Year, 2015


Lord Denning Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn, 2016
Wolfson Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn, 2016
4x4 Advocacy Scholar, BPP University, 2017
Louis Gluckstein Advocacy Prize, Lincolns Inn, 2017

Professional Memberships

Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn