Catherine Heyworth QC

Call 1991 Silk 2022

Catherine Heyworth QC

Practice Overview

The majority of Catherine’s work now spanning across a 25 year period involves significant complex cases and high net worth financial dispute cases. Catherine is frequently enlisted against leading counsel thanks to her substantial experience.

Catherine is usually instructed by local authorities in order to conduct complex and demanding public law cases dealing almost exclusively with sexual abuse, physical abuse, infant/child death and severe neglect. Whilst undertaking a substantial amount of local authority work she is also instructed by parents and guardians.

Catherine also undertakes ancillary relief work which includes complex cases involving high net worth disputes, businesses and farming cases.

Catherine also undertakes cases in SEN tribunals for Local Education Authorities.

Notable and Reported cases

  • Re W [2001] 1 FCR 139.
    • Threshold criteria - necessity for hearing on allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour between mother and child during contact;
  • Re S [1996] 2 FLR 773.
    • Early hearings in contested care cases to identify issues and encourage agreement between experts, to avoid delay.
  • Other

    During the course of the last five years, Catherine has undertaken very challenging work which has included: 

    • Acting in care proceedings on behalf of local authorities where allegations of sexual abuse have been made against foster carers.
    • Non accidental injury cases where historical injuries have had to be considered, which had previously been thought to be of accidental origin.
    • Care cases involving the revisiting of historical child deaths within a family.
    • Care cases dealing with drug poisoning of children.
    • Care cases in the High Court where media access has been permitted.
    • Catherine has acted for Health Boards dealing with disputed treatment issues involving children.
    • Care cases dealing with international sex abuse of children.
    • Care cases involving severe head injuries to children resulting in death or significant disability.
    • Care cases dealing with interfamilial and step parents sexual abuse including rape.
  • Recommendations
    •  "Catherine is one of the most knowledgeable and hard-working barristers I have had the pleasure of working alongside." "The effort and time that she puts into cases is above and beyond her brief." (Chambers UK, 2022)
    • ‘Catherine is extremely thorough in her approach and picks out details that are perhaps missed by others. She is sympathetic with clients but firm when required making her the perfect counsel for care and family clients.’  (Legal 500, 2022 - Family & Children Law)
    • "She is a fantastic advocate, very knowledgeable and a pillar of support in difficult cases." (Chambers UK, 2021)
    • 'An incredibly accomplished advocate with the gift of the common touch.' (Legal 500, 2021)
    • 'She's very good, makes herself available out of hours if necessary and is a very strong advocate.' (Chambers UK, 2020)
    • 'Specialises in care proceedings involving abuse allegations.' (Legal 500, 2020)
    • 'She brings considerable experience, knowledge and superb advocacy skills.' 'A well-respected and authoritative advocate who displays excellent and rigorous preparation in her court work. She shows a high degree of interest in the cases that she has been instructed in and treats her clients with courtesy at all times.' (Chambers UK, 2019)
    • ‘Recommended for complex care cases.’ (Legal 500, 2018)
    • 'A highly regarded childcare practitioner who is wonderful with clients. She is excellent and rightly recognised'. (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • 'She easily builds good client rapport'. (Legal 500, 2017).
    • 'Highlighted by sources for her depth of experience in complex injury cases, Catherine Heyworth undertakes a range of care work including serious physical and sexual abuse matters. She has notable expertise in cases involving complicated head injuries.Strengths: "I have always been impressed with her ability to empathise with the clients and her knowledge of areas outside the legal remit, such as medical knowledge." (Chambers UK, 2017)
    • 'An incredibly accomplished advocate.’ (Legal 500, 2016)
    • 'Highly experienced senior junior with a broad-based practice. She undertakes financial relief cases involving high-value assets and represents clients in care proceedings involving serious neglect and abuse.' "She keeps clients calm and gives them confidence." "She is very able at communicating with the client and making sure that the young person understands and is able to get their views across." (Chambers UK, 2016)
    • 'Her workload includes cases involving serious injuries to children and child fatalities' (Legal 500, 2015)
    • 'Commended for her work in serious care cases, she is proficient within both children law and financial dispute resolution. She is adept in children's proceedings that involve the most serious allegations of neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and infanticide. She is frequently instructed by local authorities on such cases, but also represents parents, guardians and interveners.' (Chambers UK, 2015)
    • "Experienced in complex care cases and high-net-worth financial disputes" (Legal 500, 2014)
    • "Her preparation and advocacy skills are excellent." "She is highly able and meticulous in her preparation." (Chambers UK, 2014)
  • Appointments
    • Pupil Supervisor
  • Education & Qualification
    • LL.B (Hons)
  • Memberships
    • Family Law Bar Association
  • Privacy Notice
Catherine Heyworth QC
'An incredibly accomplished advocate with the gift of the common touch.' Legal 500, 2021