Ruth Henke QC

Call 1987 Silk 2006

Ruth Henke QC

Practice Overview

Ruth is an experienced silk specialising in the protection of and provision of services to children and vulnerable adults.

Ruth has a deserved reputation as an expert in her field. Her knowledge of the relevant law is widely acknowledged. She has a reputation as a highly skilled and effective advocate whose client care skills shine through. Ruth works well both with individuals and teams. She is regularly instructed by local authorities, LHBs, hospitals, parents, relatives, incapacitated adults, and children. Ruth appears in the Family Court, the Court of Protection and the Administrative Court.

Ruth is the editor responsible for the Welsh Materials in the Family Court Practice and is the author of the chapter on Welsh Family Law in Butterworth’s Family Law Service.

Notable and Reported cases

  • Administrative & Public Law

    Ruth regularly advises local authorities and LHBs on policy and procedure as well as representing them in the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal. By way of example, Ruth recently successfully acted for a local authority against the Howard League in the Administrative Court in a case concerning a former carer leaver with alleged community care needs. She is currently advising a LHB on the scope of the EHIC card and a local authority on their assessment of Connected Persons.

  • Education

    Ruth advises local authorities on the provision of education in individual cases as well as on policy and procedure in relation to cases of school closures; failing schools etc. Ruth represents parents and local authorities before Tribunals, in the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal. 

    • Special measures
    • School closure
    • Statement of Special Educational Needs
    • School transport
    • Abuse between teachers and pupils
    • Children abusing each other
  • Family & Child Care

    Ruth has appeared in most, if not all, of the most notable cases in Wales. She has an extensive practice with a burgeoning reputation which takes her beyond the Welsh borders. Many of the cases in which she appears are reported. 

    • Child death
    • Shaken baby cases
    • Ehrle’s Dahlos syndrome
    • Salt poisoning
    • Sexual abuse
    • Alleged “paedophile” rings
    • Historic abuse
    • Chronic and gross neglect
    • Children and adults with mental and physical disabilities
  • Inquests & Inquiries

    Ruth Henke QC appeared on behalf of Ealing Abbey in the independent inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

  • Mental Health, Vulnerable Adults & Community Care

    Ruth is an acknowledged expert on the community care law applicable in Wales. She regularly advises local authorities on the provision of services and their policy guidance. Ruth also works for some of the most vulnerable in our society ensuring that they get a voice and are listened to when decisions about their future are being made. Ruth has a depth of knowledge that enables her to deal with cases specifically under the MHA, the MCA or the SS and W-b Act 2014 but also to deal with those cases which straddle all 3 legislative schemes and those cases which but for the inherent jurisdiction, would fall through the cracks. 

    • Right to life
    • Right to die
    • Medical treatment cases
    • Restricting publicity
    • Dispensing with the nearest relative
    • Best interest decisions including residence and contact under the MCA
    • Dols procedure
    • Distinction between deprivation of liberty and restriction of freedom
  • Local Government

    Ruth provides advice to local authorities on their general duties and on cases concerning the alleged misconduct of their Members.

  • Sports Law

    Ruth is an expert in the protection of children and vulnerable adults. She is available to advise and assist all sport’s bodies in relation to this difficult area. 

  • Social Services Law
    • Assessment and Care planning under Parts 3-5 Social Services and Well-being Act 2014
    • Assessment and Care  planning under Part 6 Social Services and Well-being Act 2014
    • Care leavers and Pathway Plans
    • Secure accommodation
    • Fostering and special guardianship allowances
    • Safeguarding Boards 
  • Recommendations
    • "She lives and breathes the job. She has a brilliant legal mind and is a very caring practitioner." "I am always impressed with her knowledge and preparation of the case, with the focus being on the child." "She is experienced and knowledgeable, as well as approachable and very thorough." (Chambers UK, 2022)
    • "She has a gentle charm and a super strong spirit. She is very sound." (Chambers UK, 2021)
    • 'Calm, diligent and completely unflappable in the face of whatever unpredictable circumstances are thrown at her during a case.' (Legal 500, 2021)
    • "She skilfully and with a high degree of precision dealt with a very serious case for us, bringing her vast knowledge to a matter that would not have succeeded without her." "She has this amazing clarity of thought whereby she is able to identify important arguments and issues in a case, and cut away the information that sometimes overshadows it." (Chambers UK, 2020)
    • 'A ferociously clever lawyer with an encyclopaedic knowledge of statute and case law.’ (Legal 500. 2020)
    • 'A very capable family specialist.' 'She continues to be at the forefront of children matters.' (Chambers UK, 2019)
    • ‘Recommended for cases involving non-accidental injuries, salt poisoning and abuse allegations.’ (Legal 500, 2018)
    • 'She is clearly very intelligent. She is always on top of the brief and is efficient in that she sees the wood for the trees. She is well respected by the Bar and the bench.' (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • 'She specialises in protection and provision of services to children and vulnerable adults.' (Legal 500, 2017)
    • A prolific silk who is highly respected for her expertise in care cases involving children and vulnerable adults. She frequently deals with sensitive Children Act matters, in both public and private law proceedings. Interviewees note her skilled handling of the most complex matters. Strengths: "Ruth Henke is fantastic, there is no one else in Wales that I would choose over her. She is extremely thorough and has excellent preparation; you always feel like she is streets ahead." "A very safe pair of hands, well prepared and conscientious." - (Chambers UK, 2017)
    • 'A family law expert with vast experience acting for vulnerable adults and children.’ (Legal 500, 2016)
    • 'Among the most prominent and "brilliant" care work silks on the Wales & Chester Circuit. She is particularly noted for her work with vulnerable children and adults, handling complex and sensitive cases. Sources praise her client manner as a key strength.' "No papers unread, no stones unturned. She is extremely bright and you can always go back to her for more advice. She is of the highest mettle." "She is completely top-class in care work." (Chambers UK 2016)
    • 'She is always well read, and has a clarity of purpose' (Legal 500, 2015)
    • 'Widely well regarded for her work on cases concerning vulnerable adults and children, she is often instructed in the most serious of children's proceedings. She regularly appears on Court of Protection matters and acts for a wide client base.' (Chambers UK 2015, Family/Matrimonial)
    • 'Specialises in public law proceedings arising from family law and childcare. She has further experience in appearing in the Administrative Court in relation to education and the rights of children and vulnerable adults to the provision of services.' (Chambers UK 2015, Administrative & Public Law)
    • Shortlisted by Legal 500 as Silk of the Year: Regional and Scottish 2014
    • "Specialises in the law relating to children and vulnerable adults" (Legal 500, 2014)
    • "She is a highly skilled advocate, thorough in case and paperwork preparation." (Chambers UK 2014.)
    • "Handles public law proceedings relating to childcare and social care. Henke is also noted for her handling of administrative law cases concerning the education and provision of services to children or vulnerable adults." (Chambers UK 2014. Administrative & Public Law)
  • Appointments

    In Chambers

    • Head of Chambers (2015)
    • Head of the Family Team ( 2011)
    • Head of the Public Law Team (2006)

    Outside Chambers

    • Deputy High Court Judge (2018)
    • Member of the Advisory Panel to the Law Commission for England and Wales
    • Member of the National Independent Safeguarding Board for Wales
    • Chair of the SE & SW Wales regions of the FLBA 
    • Welsh Government Panel of Queen’s Counsel
  • Education & Qualification
    •      MA (Oxon) (Juris)
  • Career
    • Queen’s Counsel 2006
    • Called 1987
Ruth Henke QC
'Calm, diligent and completely unflappable in the face of whatever unpredictable circumstances are thrown at her during a case.'Legal 500, 2021