Hannah Rought-Brooks specialises in family law, with particular reference to public law and children. She regularly acts for parents, local authorities and guardians in complex public law proceedings and has experience in all areas of care, supervision, special guardianship and adoption. She has a particular specialism in representing vulnerable parents with complex needs, including mental health problems and disabilities, and has represented parents with a disability through the Official Solicitor. She also conducts all private law children matters and domestic violence matters under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996.
Hannah has also represented many kinship carers who have brought challenges against local authorities which have refused to acknowledge the children they are caring for as “looked after” children and/or discriminated against them. She also conducts judicial review proceedings of all local government and government decisions on issues affecting looked after children and children in need; and decisions on kinship care including securing financial support for family and friends caring for children through special guardianship and residence orders. She has also successfully secured Human Rights Act damages for clients.
Hannah previously practised in the field of housing, homelessness and social welfare, in particular focusing on challenging local authority decisions in relation to the failure to provide suitable accommodation to families.
Hannah has strong client-care skills and tries to bring to her practice empathy and compassion that will reassure the client. She recognises that the litigation process can be distressing and stressful and will work very hard to ensure that the client feels confident and will take extra care of clients for whom the litigation process presents a particular challenge, or who are particularly anxious at court. Hannah always ensures that instructing solicitors receive prompt and useful feedback following hearings, both orally and in writing.
LB Enfield and LB Kensington and Chelsea v C
Successfully achieved return of four children to mother in case involving serious long-term domestic violence where children had already been placed with mother under care orders.
LB Tower Hamlets v T & ors
Acted for a vulnerable respondent mother with a disability in complex case involving two deaf parents and children and issues of sexual abuse by the father.
LB Newham v B & ors
Acted for the local authority in complex High Court care proceedings involving disputed parentage and international issues.
R (Bilverstone) v Oxford City Council  All ER (D) 170 (Oct)
Successful judicial review of local authority decision that vulnerable victim of domestic violence had lost her right to be rehoused as a council tenant as she had made an application as a homeless person.
Ermins Property Co Ltd v Draper  EWHC 697
Led by Jan Luba QC in this successful appeal on behalf of a elderly tenant against eviction by a property company.
International advice and consultancy
Alongside her domestic practice Hannah is active in international human rights and humanitarian law. Her particular areas of interest are child rights and women’s rights, particularly in times of conflict. Her international advisory and consultancy work includes:
- Legal Consultant for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on women’s housing, land and property rights in Palestine. She carried out fieldwork in both Gaza and the West Bank and completed a report on the issues which was published in November 2013. She also contributed to NRC’s global report on women’s housing, land and property rights which was published in April 2014
- Since 2012, Expert Lawyer Member of Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative Roster (PSVI), Department for International Development/Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Between 2008 and 2010, Hannah worked for a Palestinian women’s NGO, the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), Ramallah, where she wrote shadow CEDAW reports and reports to other international human rights bodies, and attended the Committee sessions on behalf of WCLAC
- In 2008, member of fact-finding mission of international lawyers to Turkey to report on prison conditions in F-type prisons. Authored chapter on women and torture in prisons
- From December 2006 to February 2007 a placement for the Bar Human Rights Committee in Ramallah, Occupied Palestinian Territory. Hannah worked with the local bar association to build the capacity of local lawyers to utilise United Nations human rights mechanisms
- In 2005, member of international delegation to Nepal to investigate and then report on the social and economic conditions for veteran Gurkhas and their families including Gurkha widows
‘Gaza: The Impact of Conflict on Women’, Hannah Rought-Brooks (November 2015), Norwegian Refugee Council.
‘Realities from the Ground: Women’s Housing, Land and Property Rights in the Gaza Strip’, Hannah Rought-Brooks (November 2013) Norwegian Refugee Council. Available here.
‘Palestinian Women: Caught in the Cross Fire between Occupation and Patriarchy’, Hannah Rought-Brooks, Soraida Hussein, Salwa Duaibis, Feminist Formations, Vol.22. No.3, pp.124-145 (Autumn 2010) The John Hopkins University Press
‘Enforcing Housing Rights: the Case of Sheikh Jarrah’, Avocats Sans Frontiers report of the fact-finding mission to Israel and the OPT’ (April 2011)
Author of WCLAC publications including: ‘Life Behind the Wall: Women’s Voices from the Seam Zone’, November 2010, (WCLAC), ‘Forced Evictions: Assessing the Impact on Palestinian Women in East Jerusalem’, November 2010, (WCLAC), ‘Voices of Palestinian Women: A 2009 report on Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinian women’, (WCLAC), January 2010
‘Conditions of Detention in Turkey: Blocking Admission to the EU’, By Professor Bill Bowring, John Hobson, Hannah Rought-Brooks and Ville Punto, (February 2009) Haldane publication
‘No Fairy Tale’, Shelter Roof Magazine, (March/April 2008): article about looked after children
‘Do children in care have rights?’ Socialist Lawyer, (April 2008) Issue 49
‘The Gurkhas: The Forgotten Veterans’, Ian Macdonald QC, Hannah Rought-Brooks and Rebekah Wilson (2005) ISBN 99946-57-81-X
Seminars and training
Hannah regularly provided training and contributed to seminars while at Tooks Chambers, most recently on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and on judicial review of local authority decisions regarding looked after children.
Hannah is a visiting Lecturer in Law at London’s South Bank University where she lectures in international human rights and international humanitarian law. She is also a sessional Lecturer at University College London where she lectures on gender-based violence as part of the Gender, Policy and Planning module.
While working in Palestine she was a guest Lecturer at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem on International Human Rights and Women’s Rights. She also provided training for the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, local NGOs, women’s rights activists and fieldworkers on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and on UNSCR 1325, particularly CEDAW.
She has also provided training for Avocats sans Frontiers and for the Norwegian Refugee Council on international human rights and women’s rights.
Hannah joined Garden Court Chambers in May 2014 having previously practised at Tooks Chambers. Prior to practising as a barrister, Hannah worked at Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau as an advice worker.
Between 2008 and 2010 Hannah took a sabbatical and worked for the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling in Ramallah, Palestine as their International Law Advocacy and Training Co-ordinator. She interviewed women and girls about their experiences of violence and conflict, wrote reports on violence against women and other violations of Palestinian women’s rights and advocacy including representing WCLAC and other Palestinian women’s organizations before the CEDAW Committee and Human Rights Committee at the United Nations.
Hannah has an LLM in International Human Rights Law with a focus on the international rights of the child.