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SOPHIA STAPLETON

Call: 2015 (Lincoln's Inn)

Areas of Expertise: 

 

Family, Crime, Education

Sophia joined 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings in the Autumn 2016. Sophia has a varied practice with expertise in family, criminal and education law. Sophia has a particular interest in matters involving children and vulnerable persons, including those with education, health and care plans.

Sophia has experience of where there are concurrent family and criminal proceedings, particularly where there is domestic violence and sexual harm prevention orders, criminal behaviour orders and non-molestation orders.

Sophia is one of two pupil liaison officers within chambers and is a member of the Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing committee.

Family

Sophia has a varied family practice focussing on private and public children law including issues of non-accidental injuries, domestic violence, substance misuse and where children are beyond parental control.

 

Sophia undertook a three-month secondment at Medway Council working within the education and child protection legal team.

 

Sophia regularly represents local authorities, parents, and grandparents across the country in private and public law Children Act cases. Sophia regularly deals with applications out-of-hours for emergency protection orders. Sophia has experience of lengthy fact-finding hearings, including those involving expert evidence and serious allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

 

Sophia is also available for instruction to draft practice direction documents as well as threshold and Scott Schedules.

Crime

Sophia's practice as a pupil was predominately crime based and she regularly appeared as a trial advocate in the Magistrates, Youth and Crown courts. Sophia appears on behalf of the prosecution and defence. 

Sophia is a CPS level 2 advocate and a member of the Criminal Bar Association.

 

Sophia has experience of matters involving violence, trafficking, burglary, robbery, dangerous dogs and drugs.

 

Sophia also lectured in Criminal Law at Canterbury Christ Church University

Education

Sophia undertook a three-month secondment at Medway Council, where she dealt with school transport appeals and education cases at the First-Tier (SEND) Tribunal. Sophia is IPSEA trained.

Sophia has represented the Local Authority and parents at appeals on parts B, F and I of EHC plans, refusal to assess and refusal to issue an EHC plan.

Sophia also has experience of education prosecutions, including parent’s duties under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

Sophia has advised on Home to School Transport polices, LGO complaints and provides training on matters of SEN law.

Recent cases

Re: M (The Family Court at Worthing) Represented a parent at a fact-finding seeking 5 findings of domestic violence, including an incident resulting in a serious life-changing injury.

 

Re: L (The Family Court at Romford) Application for transfer of tenancy from joint to sole tenancy of a local authority property.

 

Re: S (The Family Court at East London) Application for a child arrangements order including progression to overnight contact for a Father that had not had contact with the child for 8 months.

 

Re: H (The Family Court at Dartford) Application on behalf of the Local Authority, following a 6-day final hearing, for a care order with a care plan of long-term foster care on behalf of the Local Authority.

 

Re: F (The Family Court at Brighton) Represented a parent at a contested interim care order hearing where there was a 20-year history of neglect.

 

Re: V (The Family Court at East London) Application on behalf of the Local Authority for a care order, following a contested final hearing in a case involving international elements

 

Re: RM (The Crown Court at Canterbury) Represented a vulnerable client in a trial on issue (actus reus hearing). The case involved complexities around the extension of interim hospital orders and the question to be put to the jury concerning an offence of specific intent.

 

R v LK (The Crown Court at St Albans) Dismissal application of all charges including burglary, theft and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

 

R v R (The Youth Court at Willesden) Represented the first defendant in a trial involving GBH under joint enterprise, vulnerable witnesses and three defendants.

 

R v KB (The Crown Court at Maidstone) Represented a defendant charged with assisting unlawful immigration for trial.

 

Re: ES (SEND, Royal Courts of Justice) Defended an appeal on part I of the EHCP. The case involved the suitability of the school named by the Local Authority and the school of parental preference.

Testimonials

"From the minute I met Sophia, she rapidly put me at ease, explained everything to me carefully and professionally. Most importantly, I had been waiting for that day for over a year and in the short time we had she really listened to me , answered my questions, with a kind and professional manner and enabled me to face the witness box. Sophia’s work in court that day, ensuring the conviction was held has radically changed my life. Although it will take some time to move on from this; I have already talked to my gp about reducing my anxiety medicine and thanks to Sophia’s work it will enable me to get on with my life. Lastly, it was really clear that Sophia had read everything thoroughly and I felt she really knew the case."

Appointments and Memberships

CPS Level 2

Criminal Bar Association

Family Law Bar Association

Qualifications and awards

Hubert Greenland Scholarship

ICLR Pupillage Award 2016

Times Advocacy Award 2014, Second Place

Outstanding Academic Achievement Award 2014

Sir Thomas More Bursary

 

2015 Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School (Very Competent)

2014 BSc Legal Studies with Biosciences, Canterbury Christ Church University (First Class)

Articles

Sophia is a regular contributor to chambers' blog and has written a number of articles on legal issues, including: 

 

Vaccines for children: what happens when there is disagreement?

Section 20 agreements: considerations for local authorities

Non-molestation orders: the basics

Education law - The risk of that cheaper holiday

Family law - who gets the dog?

Family law - Hemain injunctions

Criminal law - live link evidence for vulnerable defendants

Criminal law - witness awards

Criminal law - detention of suspects before charge