Mai-Ling Savage

Year of Call: 1998

Mai-Ling is a barrister focusing on the following areas: children's law, care proceedings, international family law, surrogacy and assisted reproduction, matrimonial finance and Court of Protection.

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FAMILY LAW: CHILDREN'S LAW

Overview

Mai-Ling's practice includes residence and contact disputes, including internal and international relocation, disputes between same sex couples, fact-finding hearings and cases of parental alienation and recruitment of children against a parent by care givers. Mai-Ling has particular expertise in issues relating to surrogacy and assisted reproduction cases in which issues of legal parentage arise.

Mai-Ling has particular expertise in care proceedings involving allegations of non-accidental injury with complex medical issues or disputed medical evidence, sexual abuse (including false allegations of sexual abuse), factitious illness and vulnerable adults. She also has expertise in cases involving forced marriage, FGM and radicalisation.

Examples of recent cases include fractures to an 8-week-old baby, life-limiting injuries to a 6-week-old baby, sexual abuse allegations including a paedophile ring and inter-sibling sexual abuse.

Mai-Ling has recently undertaken a number of cases involving breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998.

She frequently advises in family proceedings concerning immigration and nationality issues as well as international adoptions, transnational care and child placement arrangements.

Notable Cases

ZH v HS & Ors (Application to Revoke Adoption Order) [2019] EWHC 2190 (Fam)
Application by a child's birth mother (ZH) to revoke an adoption order made in 2016 in relation to T, now aged 4. 

PW and Others v Luton Borough Council [2017] EWHC 3028 (Fam)
The Legal Aid Agency was ordered to pay the claimants' increased costs which arose as a result of the LAA failing to make a decision as to the applicability of the statutory charge when it could and should have.

SW & TW (Human Rights Claim: Procedure) (No1) [2017] EWHC 450 (Fam)
Proceedings concerning two siblings and involving cross-applications for private law orders, an application by the local authority for public law orders and applications brought under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for declarations and damages. Clarified the correct procedure for HRA claims in family proceedings.

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Divorce and Family Finances

Mai-Ling has a wide experience of financial remedies and appears in courts of all levels including the High Court.

She has also been instructed in applications under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 and Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees act (ToLATA).

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Court of Protection

Mai-Ling has an established practice acting in health and welfare cases for all parties, including health and social care bodies and individuals.

She has undertaken cases that involve best interest decisions, welfare and financial decisions and deprivations of liberty, including contested applications involving fact-finding hearings.

Mai-Ling has acted in cases involving adults with learning disabilities, adults with acquired brain injury and people with dementia [including disputes about residence or contact with family members]. She is instructed by the Official Solicitor, individuals and local authorities.

Mai-Ling has also advised in cases where there is a cross over with family proceedings, for example, non-consensual marriage.

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Family Law

Overview

Notable Cases

London Borough of Camden v RZ and Others [2015] EWHC 3751 (Fam)-1
This case considered the issue of forced marriage protection orders. The matter was heard by Mr Justice MacDonald. There were two main issues in the proceedings (I) Due to the nature of the allegations, the court considered it necessary to put in place 'closed material procedure' and a Special Advocate acted on behalf of the father in the 'closed' hearings. (I I) The court also considered the efficacy of forced marriage protection orders and whether the FMPO and the port alert system were sufficient to safeguard a child and whether removal subject to Interim Care Orders was necessary.

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CROSS-BORDER FAMILY CASES

Mai-Ling is experienced in cases of international abduction, international adoption and the application of Brussels II Revised. She frequently advises in family proceedings concerning immigration and nationality issues as well as international adoptions, transnational care and child placement arrangements.

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Pro Bono Work

In 2015 and 2017 Mai-Ling was shortlisted for Sydney Elland Goldsmith Bar Pro Bono Award, in recognition of an outstanding commitment to pro bono work.

Mai-Ling joined Garden Court from Fourteen in September 2016. She is a trustee of Wheels for Wellbeing, an award-winning inclusive cycling charity, which helps people enjoy the benefits of cycling regardless of disability, age or health condition.

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Publications

'Revoking an adoption order: unusual and exceptional' (Family Law, November 2019), Mai-Ling co-authored this with Naomi Wiseman, also of Garden Court Chambers. 

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Education

  • Bachelor of Divinity, King's College London
  • GDL, BPP School of Law
  • BPTC, Inns of Court School of Law

Professional Membership

  • Family Law Bar Association
  • Association of Lawyers for Children
  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Administrative Law Bar Association

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