Anna Hefford

Year of Call: 2004

Anna is a family law practitioner focusing on cases involving serious sexual abuse and non-accidental injuries to children, including those with very complex medical evidence.

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Anna represents parents and children, both via a Guardian and those who have separated from their Guardian.

Public Law: Children

Overview

Anna is often instructed on behalf of the Official Solicitor and also by National Youth Advocacy Service. Anna has a particular interest in and experience of representing parents and children who are particularly vulnerable, including parents who are very young, and parents and children with additional needs, such as learning difficulties and mental health difficulties. She has a particular skillset in representing those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anna also has considerable experience of being involved in cases where witness intermediaries are assisting.

Notable Cases

Re TV, JV and EV [2014] EWHC B18 (Fam)
A case in which the local authority sought care and placement orders and matters concluded with a family placement, the parties having managed to negotiate very difficult and delicate family dynamics.

Re B, O and E (Fact Finding, Care Proceedings) [2014]
A lengthy fact-finding hearing involving serious allegations of sexual abuse by a mother and stepfather on one of their three children. The case also centred around the parents’ over-chastisement of all three children and their own relationship, which was characterized by domestic violence the children had witnessed on several occasions. It was significant in this case that the mother of the children had suffered a childhood characterised by extreme trauma, and the Judge found that this trauma had led to extreme difficulties in her own parenting. Also significant was that the eldest child had been found to suffer with reactive Attachment Disorder, which is a relatively rare diagnosis.

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Private Law: Children

In addition to her Public Law work, Anna undertakes Private Law cases in relation to children, particularly in those cases where a Guardian in involved. Anna has extensive experience of representing both parents and children in these proceedings.

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Notable Cases & News

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Background

Anna is often asked to comment on legal issues on national radio and television and has recently appeared on Talk TV and Times Radio.

Anna is returning to the Bar following an extended maternity leave. During her time away from the Bar, Anna worked on a voluntary basis with young people and students, coaching them in the art of public speaking and confidence building. Anna is very passionate about helping young people and she continues to do this work on a voluntary basis, both in schools and working with young people on an individual basis.

Publications

Anna is currently writing a book, with the aim of helping separating or separated parents to co-parent effectively and to equip them with the tools to ensure that their children are protected as much as possible from witnessing or experiencing the negative effects of inter-parental conflict.

Training and Seminars

Anna often gives talks to both legal practitioners and students. Anna has also been involved in the training of new practitioners and pupils at the Bar.

Education

  • MSc in Clinical Criminology (University of Leicester)
  • Bar Vocational Course (Inns of Court School of Law)
  • LLB (European Union) University of Leicester & Goethe University, Frankfurt)

Languages

  • German (semi-fluent)
  • French (intermediate)
  • Italian (basic)

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