Gillian Irving KC

Door Tenant

Date of Call: 1984 Silk: 2006

Gillian Irving KC practises in public children law, private children law and public inquiries.

Gillian Irving KC also practises from 15 Winckley Square Chambers in Preston and Broadway House Chambers, Leeds.

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Family: Care & Children

Public Law / Care and Adoption Proceedings

Gillian Irving KC represents local authorities, parents and extended families, and children in the public law arena. She has extensive experience in complex and high-profile High Court children’s cases involving:

  1. The death and catastrophic non-accidental injuries to a child.
  2. Non-Accidental head injury and allegations of shaking.
  3. Fabricated and Induced illness including poisoning, equipment interference.
  4. Sexual abuse of children, historic, intergenerational, inter sibling.
  5. Radicalisation cases.
  6. Many of the cases involve the cross-examination of vulnerable adults or children and involve concurrent criminal proceedings.

Cases where the issues include arguments surrounding community care provision and entitlement for children in need.

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

Gillian Irving KC represents parents and extended families in Complex private law proceedings involving allegations of physical and emotional neglect, impact of parental mental illness on parenting, allegations of physical and sexual abuse, relocation, contact disputes and change of child’s place of residence.

Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

In 1996/1997 she was appointed to represent the patients detained on the Personality Disorder Unit at Ashworth Special Hospital in the second Public Inquiry which related to the security of that Hospital and the treatment of psychopathic disorder. Not only did this necessitate her analysing, digesting and organising vast quantities of documentary material but she sought information and advice from other Hospitals around the country involved in the treatment of those with diagnosis.

She represented the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police in an Inquiry into the murder of child ‘X’; the perpetrator suffered from mental health problems. The Inquiry was convened under Section 34 of the NHS Executive Health Service Guidelines (94) 27. It looked not only at the circumstances surrounding the murder of the child but explored the roles of a variety of agencies and particularly those involved in the care and treatment of the perpetrator.

In 2017 she represented the mother of Poppi Worthington in the high-profile inquest into the child’s death.


  • B.A. (Hons), Law
  • From 1998 – 2021 Gillian Irving KC sat as a fee paid Judge on the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the Care Standards Tribunal . these both form parts of the Health and Social Care Chamber. This has given Gillian Irving KC  an excellent working knowledge of the impact of mental disorders and illness on parenting and children.


  • Inner Temple
  • Family Law Bar Association

Personal Info

Interests-anything to do with animals, the countryside, travelling to Italy and horse-racing.

Cases of note

  •   Re G (Finding of Fact Hearing: Resuscitative Shake) [2022] EWFC B6 (21 January 2022) 
  •   Lancashire County Council v E & F [2020] EWHC 182 (Fam) (04 February 2020)
  •   A Metropolitan District Council v M & Ors [2019] EWFC 15 (08 March 2019)
  •   GD & BD (Children) (Rev 1) [2016] EWHC 3312 (Fam)
  •   F v Cumbria County Council and M (Fact Finding) (Number 2) [2016] EWHC 14(Fam)
  •   Cumbria County Council v M and Ors [2015] 918 (Fam) 
  •   F v Cumbria County Council & Anor (No 6) (Publicity) [2015] EWHC 3228
  •   Cumbria County Council V M & Ors [2014] EWHC 4486 (11/7/2014)
  •   Cumbria County Council v M and F [2014] EWHC 2596 (28/7/2014)
  •   Cumbria County Council v M & Ors [2014] EWHC 4485 (18/12/2014)
  •   J, A, M and X (Children) [2013] EWHC 4648
  •   Re X (A child) [2011] EWHC 430
  •   G v E & Others [2010] EWHC 621
  •   G v E & Others [2010] EWHC 2512
  •   Greater Manchester Chief Constable v KI & Anor (Children) & Ors [2007] EWHC 1837   (Fam)
  •   C v Bury MBC [2002] 2 FLR 868
  •   A Metropolitan Borough Council v DB [1997] 1 FLR 767
  •   R v Devon County Council ex-parte O (Adoption) [1997] 2 FLR 388
  •   Stockport MBC v D [1995] 1 FLR 873
  •   Manchester City Council v S [1991] 2 FLR 370

COURT OF APPEAL (Civil Division)

  •   Re S and H-S (children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1282
  •   Re W (children) [2016] EWCA Civ 113
  •   Re P (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 170
  •   CM V Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. [2014] EWCA Civ 1479
  •   G v E & Others [2010] EWCA Civ 822
  •   CJ v Flintshire Borough Council [2010] EWCA Civ 393
  •   Re CH (Care or Interim Care Order) [1998] 1 FLR 402
  •   Re B (Care and Supervision Order: Assessment) [1996] 2 FLR 708
  •   Re C (Interim Care Order: Assessment) [1996] 2 FLR 708


  •   Re L & B (Children) [2013] UKSC 8
  •   Re C (Interim care order: Residential Assessment) [1996] UKHL4


  •   MD v Mersey Care NHS Trust [2013] UKUT 127 (AAC)
  •   MD v Nottinghamshire Health Care NHS Trust (Rev 1) [2010] UKUT 59 (AAC)


  •   The Inquiry into the Personality Disorder Unit at Ashworth Special Hospital 1996–1997
  •    The Inquiry into the death of child ‘X’ 2005/2006

What others say

She is fierce in cross-examination

(Legal 500, 2019)

“Builds on her national reputation in care and Court of Protection work, drawing praise for her strong advocacy and gentle nature with her clients. Expertise:”She is strong-willed, powerful and able to turn a case around”. “Gillian is feisty, and does excellent work with children and vulnerable clients”

(Chambers & Partners 2014)

Gillian is utterly fearless and dedicated. She stands out for her thorough preparation, detailed and expansive knowledge and her ability to foresee and advise on issues in advance.

(Legal 500, 2024)

“… expert Gillian Irving is known for her sensitivity”

(Legal 500 UK 2005)

A fantastic and formidable advocate

(Legal 500, 2020)

“Excellent in cases involving children and vulnerable clients”

(Legal 500 UK 2008)

Tier One Advocate for Public and Private Law

(Legal 500, 2022)

“Gillian Irving is a ‘sensitive’ lawyer perfectly suited to complex mental health cases”

(Legal 500 UK 2006)

“Singled out for childcare matters… the ‘feisty’ Gillian Irving QC is recommended for childcare work”

(Legal 500 UK 2012)

“She is always the best prepared advocate in court, fierce in cross-examination, never intimidated or out manoeuvred by anyone and always at least two steps ahead of everyone else”

(Legal 500, 2021)