My name is Dinah Loeb and I am a family law barrister and mediator with over 20 years legal experience and a member of the prestigious Garden Court Chambers.
Having qualified as a solicitor in 1990, a mediator in 2002 and practised as a barrister since 2004, I have experience on both sides of the legal profession. I am authorised to accept direct access family law work. As an experienced lawyer, I can advise clients on law and procedure, draft letters and documents and represent clients in court.
I have over 20 years legal experience having worked as a solicitor from 1990 and then as a barrister from 2004. I trained as a mediator in 2002.
Solicitors, Barristers and mediators have different legal experience and expertise.
Barristers generally spend most of their time in court acting as advocates, preparing for their next case or advising on complex legal issues. Barristers are expert advocates, and because they are responsible for presenting the case to the court they are experts in the finer points of the law that relates to their practise area.
Solicitors spend much of their time dealing with the general management of cases. They ensure that the necessary evidence is compiled, the increasingly complex court rules are complied with and providing clients with ongoing advice and support.
Mediators meet with the parties to a dispute in a supported environment. Expert legal information is used to facilitate discussions and help the parties to reach agreements.
Because I have considerable experience working all these areas I have the skills to represent them in court, advise them on the law, to help them to manage the day to day running of their case and to support and assist them in reaching agreements.
I have a reputation for being tough in court whilst still appreciating that my clients need support and understanding at a difficult time in their lives.
As an experienced family law barrister and mediator, I can advise you on a wide range of matters relating to family law and can offer professional representation in the family courts.
Throughout my career, I have represented a variety of clients following a relationship breakdown from divorcing couples and separating cohabitants to same sex couples and extended family members such as grandparents.
I undertake direct access work in all areas of family law including:
- Divorce - When a marriage breaks down and a couple decide to separate, it can cause a great deal of stress and animosity between both parties and effects everyone in the family, including the children. There are many things for couples to consider including financial arrangements, the division of assets and property and of course, care and access arrangements relating to their children. Professional legal representation can do much to ease the process and can make a big difference to the eventual outcome.
- Finance on Divorce - One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is reaching a financial settlement that both parties are happy with. The eventual outcome of the financial settlement can have a lasting impact on the lives of not only the couple but also the children, so it can be very hard to determine what is a fair settlement in each family law case. One of my areas of expertise is representing clients in matrimonial finance cases and ensuring proper financial disclosure in order to help you secure the best possible settlement from your divorce case.
- Mediation - In the event of a relationship breakdown, there are a few different alternatives to the courts when resolving conflict and one of those is family mediation. In a neutral setting and using an impartial facilitator, mediation can help couples to work together to come to a mutually beneficial outcome. As a trained mediator, I can help you to try and reach an amicable agreement with your partner without the extra stress and heartache that can be caused by taking the family dispute to court.
- Cohabitation Disputes - There is a common misconception that couples who have lived together for a certain period of time are protected by 'common law marriage' however this is simply not true. Cohabiting couples aren't offered the same legal rights as married couples so when a cohabiting couple decides to separate, the weaker financial party can be left exposed by the lack of legal protection offered by current UK legislation. I can offer family mediation to help resolve any cohabitation disputes, or I can provide legal representation in court should mediation not be suitable.
- Claims Under the Inheritance Act - When a loved one passes away, it can be a difficult time for everyone associated with the family, so any financial disputes regarding the deceased's estate can add extra stress and heartache to an already difficult time. If you have not had your financial needs provided for by the deceased's will, it is possible to address this by make a claim under the Inheritance Act. As an experienced family law professional, I can assist you with the claim process and help you to fight for a more favourable financial provision.
When a couple choose to end their relationship, the ideal scenario is that they are in mutual agreement over what is best for their children, however in reality, parent's often have very different views on what's 'best' for their children.
As an experienced family law barrister, I have instructed many parents on a wide range of issues relating to child law including international child abduction, adoption, child arrangement orders, child support payments and child protection.
I am able to undertake direct access work in all areas of child law including:
- Arrangements for Children After Separation
When a relationship breaks down, there are many different aspects to consider, however one of the most important is what arrangements are to be made for the children. Access and childcare arrangements need to be carefully considered to ensure that they meet the needs of the children and that both parents get the right amount of quality time in order to maintain a healthy relationship with their children following a separation. As a fully qualified mediator, I can work with you and your partner to help you come to an amicable solution in regards to arrangements for your children.
- Financial Applications for Child Support
When a couple separate, another important decision is how their children are going to be catered for financially. It is important that the primary care giver has enough financial support from their partner to ensure that their children's needs are met. Often both parents have different views on how children's financial needs should be met, so it can be difficult to come to an arrangement that both parties are happy with. As an experienced family law professional, I can advise you on applications for child support from your partner to ensure that you receive a fair financial settlement.
- Child Abduction
Cases of child abduction are far more common than most people think and usually involve one parent taking a child abroad without the other parents consent or without having permission to do so from the courts. As an expert in family and child law, I can assist you with preventing your child from being taken overseas and keeping them in the UK.
- Child Protection
Unfortunately when some couples separate, their child's safety and welfare could be at risk from a former partner or family member close to them. Sometimes it is necessary to take legal action to protect the safety of a child from the other parent in the form of a protective court order. If your child's safety is at risk, I can provide you with professional legal advice and representation in court.
Adoption offers couples the opportunity to provide for a child if they cannot naturally conceive or they feel that they can provide a stable environment for a child who is in need of a family. The adoption process can be a complicated one to navigate without proper legal advice or representation. As an experienced family law barrister, I can advise you on the adoption process and provide professional representation in court.
- International Child Law
Family law matters involving children are rarely straight forward, however as soon as they involve an international element they can become even more complicated. As an experienced family law barrister with expert knowledge of UK and international family law, I can advise you a wide range of international legal matters relating to children.
- Applications on Behalf of Grandparents
When a family breakup occurs, it can be hard for the grandparents to maintain regular contact with their grandchildren as they do not have the same level of rights as parents. They are sometimes forced to take legal action in order to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren. If grandparents are denied contact with their grandchildren, they can apply for a Child Arrangement order from the courts, giving them an enforceable right to maintain regular contact with their grandchildren. As an experienced family law professional, I can advise on Child Arrangement orders in relation to grandparents.
A direct access barrister will be able to give immediate advice but will not necessarily expect to undertake any additional work. The benefit to clients is a proper understanding of where they stand, what their options are and what steps might be taken without committing to ongoing legal expenses.
Clients generally need immediate advice when a relationship ends to understand their rights and obligations regarding their children and their former spouse or partner. They need advice on how their joint assets might be divided and on how to manage financially in the meantime. Some will need advice about a situation that may be dangerous or abusive or on how to get their ex out of the family home. Some people will need urgent advice to prevent their children being removed.
With advice clients can act to resolve their situation directly with their ex and need to take further advice only if they cannot reach an amicable agreement. In that case they can return to their direct access barrister to:
- Discuss applying for court orders
- Seek advice about any court action their ex may be taking against them
- Receive help with drafting statements and other court documents
- Be represented at court hearings
How do Direct Access Barristers Charge?
Barristers usually charge by the hour for meetings, telephone advice and reading or drafting documents. Court representation is usually carried out for a fixed fee that will include all the preparatory work and a follow up letter setting out what happened during the hearing and what needs to be done next. All payments are made in advance so clients know exactly how much each stage of the work will cost and bills are not being run up unexpectedly. Direct access is not suitable for clients who may be eligible for Legal Aid, who will need to apply for funding through a solicitor.
It is difficult to estimate how much money clients may save by using a direct access barrister instead of paying a solicitor, and possibly a barrister too. Each case is different and the cost saving will depend on how much of the work clients are able to do themselves. As the barrister will not undertake the day to day running of a case the savings are likely to be significant. Furthermore because clients pay in advance there are no nasty shocks when a bill arrives. The client’ control how much is spent as the case progresses.
I have represented many clients on a direct access basis, some from the beginning of their cases and others at the very end for a final trial.
Some examples of my most recent cases and their outcomes are below.
Children Act cases - acting for mothers
5 July 2019
My client and her former husband were unable to agree how their daughter’s time should be divided between them. I was involved in a number of complex court hearings were the court was asked to consider how the child’s needs could best be met where her parents lived some distance apart. We were able to put together a complex arrangement that minimised the disruption for the child and allowed her to divide her time fairly equally between her parents.
Children Act cases - acting for fathers
5 July 2019
My client had been looking after his 2 young children for a number of years after their mother moved out. Unexpectedly she applied to the court for an order that they moved to live with her. The mother’s application was initially supported by the court welfare officer. Following a trial where the mother pursued her claim for the children to live with her the court made an order that they should stay living with my client.
My client has not been able to see his baby daughter for 10 months because her mother was preventing all contact. I obtained an order that reinstated contact and that will allow father and daughter to spend extended periods of time together.
Acting for intervenors
5 July 2019
My client put money into properties that were registered in his brother’s name. His sister-in-law made a claim that would have deprived my client of his life savings. After a trial where a number of witnesses gave evidence that supported my clients case I was able to negotiate an agreement that meant my client kept all his interest in the properties.
My elderly clients have invested substantial sums over many years in property that is held in their son’s name but which was always intended to provide for them in their old age. I was asked to consider all the documentation that supports their case and to draft applications to the court to help them to ensure that they keep their assets.
5 July 2019
Represented a wife who’s husband was seeking an order that would have forced her to sell her home after a very short marriage where he made limited financial contributions. I obtained an order that provided for my client to make a small payment to her husband that meant she could keep her home. Her husband’s application for leave to appeal was unsuccessful.
Advising a client who has reached a very poor agreement during mediation about the steps she might take to vary that agreement.
My client believed that her husband was hiding assets and lying about his income. I represented my client at a complex hearing where the court was asked to consider if her husband should be sent to prison for breaching court orders. We successfully obtained orders that forced him to provide full details about his finances.
Children Act cases - acting for grandparents
5 July 2019
My client was looking caring for a child after the tragic death of her mother. The child wanted to stay living with my client and was under pressure to move to live with her father. With my assistance the maternal family who were finally granted an order that allowed a child to stay living with her them and to see her father without moving to live with him.
5 July 2019
My client’s long civil partnership has ended leaving him in a very vulnerable financial position and needing to make claims against his former partner for capital and income. I was asked to advise him about what he might expect to receive, to draft papers for him and to represent him at court.
5 July 2019
Video conference with a client overseas to advise her on how to apply for a divorce in England and giving her information about her financial claims against her husband.
No Contact Order
13 January 2016
Acting for the mother of 2 young children where the father has a conviction for assaulting the mother. Successfully opposed the reintroduction of direct contact pending proper assessment of the level of risk posed by the father. [read the full article]
Protection of assets
21 November 2015
I advised a client after a court made an order for him to pay his former partner a substancial amount of money to provide accommodation for their daughter. [read the full article]
Financial dispute resolution
26 October 2015
I represented a client at a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment and following the hearing, my client and her husband were able to reach a satisfactory outcome without the need for further legal advice or additional costs. [read the full article]