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William Tautz

  • Call: 2004
William Tautz

Practice

William practises principally in children’s family law, both public and private. Having come to the Bar as a mature person, William is regularly entrusted with cases of a complexity and sensitivity normally reserved for more senior counsel, including long fact-finding hearings and cases with a significant cultural, religious or international element. He was recently led in a case of fabricated illness acting for a parent, and he conducts appeals in both private and public law children’s proceedings. William also practises in mental health law, appearing before the Court of Protection and mental health review tribunals. He regularly represents individuals with severe mental health problems, including through the Official Solicitor.

In education law, William has experience of appeals in relation to admission and exclusion and special educational needs. William is committed to legal aid and the representation of individuals who cannot afford legal services. He is direct access qualified, and regularly acts pro bono.

As a sideline, William provides pre-publication legal advice to several national newspapers. William is happy to consider giving pro bono advice on defamation to charities and campaigning organisations prior to publication.

William’s practice reflects his deeply held views about the welfare and best interests of society’s most vulnerable individuals. Care proceedings, the Court of Protection, mental health and special educational needs are all areas encompassed within his expertise. His constructive, compassionate approach applies whether he is representing children, patients, parents and family members, or local authorities. William believes that fearless advocacy is not undermined by a compassionate approach but is in fact greatly strengthened by it. The very positive feedback he receives from both lay and professional clients supports this view.

Significant Cases

Re: L 2012
Represented a mother of three boys, between the ages of eight and 14, in care proceedings in the Principal Registry where the father was said to be violent and the family had experienced racist abuse and harassment in another borough; the mother achieved the return of all the children to her care, including the eldest from secure accommodation, and the proceedings finished with no order.

Re: N 2012/13
Represented a local authority in long-running case centred on domestic violence in the Family Proceedings Court; on advice, the local authority did not seek to contest removal of the child, despite repeated threats, and a negotiated solution involving a temporary kinship carer and eventual return to the mother was achieved.

Re: R 2012/13
Representing a father in private law proceedings in the High Court in which allegations against him of serious violence and sexual abuse were found a) to be unproved, and b) to have been deliberately fabricated by the mother, resulting in a shared residence order.

Re: P 2012
Successfully represented a local authority in the High Court on an application for a reporting restriction in a high-profile case.

Re: A 2012
Second junior counsel, led by Jenny Boswell, for a mother accused of factitious illness syndrome relating to a child with very complex health needs; at the 11 day fact-finding, for which he had less than a week to prepare, William cross-examined a key witness of fact and the treating paediatrician.

Re: C: 2012/13
Represented a father pro bono, including in the High Court, who, though not the biological father of the child, sought a shared residence order and to prevent the child’s removal from the jurisdiction.

Re: S : 2013
Representing a local authority in the Principal Registry in a case involving physical abuse of children aged nine and 12; the children were Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interviewed and chose to give live oral evidence via video-link resulting in findings against the parents and care orders.

Publications

‘New Tricks’ Counsel June 2008

‘Psych versus Psych: A Diagnostic Dispute and the Implications for Expert Witnesses in Family Proceedings’ Family Law Week June 2013

Background

William Tautz has a BA degree in psychology from Truman State University in the US. His former career was in managing mental health services in London and so he has a very strong lay understanding of related issues that informs his practice in all areas.

At the age of 33 he returned to education and obtained an LLB (Hons) degree from South Bank University, earning a first class degree and the Law Department’s Sweet & Maxwell Prize for outstanding student. In 2002 he won a £2,000 prize in The Times Law Awards.

After completing the Bar Vocational Course, he undertook pupillage at Garden Court Chambers. His experience also includes criminal law – with trials in both the crown and magistrates courts – and civil law.

William’s interest in family law stems from his commitment to his own children and his belief that decisions that relate to family life will have a profound and long-term impact not just on the individuals concerned but on society.

Personal

William is married and has five children aged between nine and 22 years. He practices meditation and yoga.

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