Tracey Hennessey

Head of Chambers  |  Barrister

Date of Call: 2001

BSB Number: 43143

Tracey has a wealth of experience in dealing with both public and private law children cases and this is the main focus of her practice. She has a particular interest and skill in dealing with volatile clients and those with mental health difficulties and capacity issues. She offers a sensitive, client focused approach to her cases and is a tenacious advocate when necessary. She has a calm approach to even the most difficult and hotly contested cases always seeking to achieve the best outcomes for her clients.

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Family: Care & Children

In the private law arena, Tracey acts in all types of residence and contact cases together with cases involving removal from the jurisdiction, specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders. She is mindful of the need to manage expectations in emotive and difficult situations and seeks to find a pragmatic and workable solution in all cases. Tracey is able to bring a conciliatory and empathetic manner to all of her contested cases and is able to assist clients in seeing the best way forward and reaching the best outcomes.

  • Regularly acts for applicants and respondents in a wide range of applications for Child Arrangement Orders
  • Regularly instructed to represent clients seeking contact in the context of another parent implacably resistant to such contact taking place.
  • Serious allegations of domestic violence between parents, including sexual violence
  • Leave to remove from the jurisdiction
  • Enforcement applications
  • Implacably hostile parents

Public Law / Care and Adoption Proceedings

She has represented Local Authorities, parents, guardians, children and interveners in care cases. She regularly deals with cases involving extremely severe allegations of neglect, sexual abuse and non-accidental injury, and is fully conversant with the complex medical evidence and expert testimony that arises in such cases. She is also experienced in dealing with cases involving adoption, special guardianship, long-term foster care placements, residential placements, secure units and cases involving parties with serious learning difficulties

Tracey has experience in dealing with Hague convention cases and Brussels II (Revised) in care proceedings in the High Court.  More recently she has acted for a guardian where the children were removed from the jurisdiction by the parents to avoid local authority involvement where there were allegations of sexual abuse of one of the children by the father.  There were lengthy arguments in respect of habitual residence and jurisdiction and also a fact find in the absence of the mother and the alleged perpetrator only attending to give evidence.

  • Acts for local authorities, parents, children's guardians and interveners
  • Experienced in particularly sensitive and complex care proceedings
  • Experienced in alleged non-accidental injury cases and proceedings
  • Sexual abuse
  • Serious domestic violence between parents
  • Experienced in detailed cross-examination of expert witnesses
  • Particular experience of representing both vulnerable and aggressive clients
  • Secure accommodation orders

Private Law Children: Contact and Residence disputes under the Children Act 1989

Domestic violence & injunctions

Tracey has experience of acting for both applicants and respondents in all manner of injunctive applications, non molestation orders, occupation orders.  She has a particular interest in protecting clients from the malicious use of intimate images or “revenge porn” as it is becoming known.  Sadly this is a growing area of concern whereby sexually explicit images are shared without the subjects consent to cause embarrassment and distress.

(International) child abduction

Tracey deals with international issues and jurisdictional issues within both public law and private law Children Act matters.  Such cases usually involve removal of the children from the jurisdiction, Article 15 transfer applications and habitual residence arguments. 

No 18 Children’s Arbitration & Resolution


  • 2001 (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • LLB (Hons)


  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Western Circuit   
Briefed Pupillage Supervisor Training

Cases of note

  • S (A CHILD) [2023] EWCA Civ 706

What others say

Thank you and Mrs Hennessey for all you help without you two i wouldn’t of got the outcome I wanted to get and I honestly can’t thank you enough, I couldn’t shake Mrs Hennessey’s hand as all the Covid stuff but I really wanted to she was a star all throughout the hearings, she’s definitely someone special.

(A lay client)

'She is an outstanding advocate who is well respected in the area for her skills. She handles complex cases with ease. She has an easy court manner and a charm which commends itself to the judiciary.' (Tier 2)

(Legal 500)

Your work was exceptional on this case, and I am very grateful. You really made my life so much easier, and your support to me was invaluable.

(Elizabeth Pritchard - CLP)

“I have no hesitation in recommending Tracey Hennessey. She is not only a passionate advocate in all family and child care matters but is emphatic honest and downright sensible. I have experience of instructing Tracey to represent parents in care proceedings but also of having the pleasure of advocating against her"

(Elizabeth Pritchard - CGM)

“Tracey is liked by all clients for her sensible client focused approach. Tracey is very dedicated and strives to achieve the very best for the client. She is approachable and highly knowledgeable.”

(Samantha Jeanes – Abels Solicitors)

Tracey is an excellent advocate who is always thoroughly prepared and well-liked by clients

(Legal 500)