Cris McCurley - Partner

Year Admitted

1990

Departments

International Family Solicitors

Child Abduction Solicitors

Domestic Violence Solicitors

Childcare Solicitors

Cris McCurley

I studied law at Essex University before doing Law Society finals at UNN, qualifying in 1990. I joined the partnership at Ben Hoare Bell in 2006 in order to develop specialist Family Law services where the cases involve any kind of international dimension.

The majority of my casework involves black and minority ethnic women and children who have experienced some form of abuse. I am a Resolution accredited specialist in International child abduction, domestic violence work and cases involving forced marriage and honour based violence.

I worked at a local, regional and national level with black and minority ethnic (BME) services to develop a specialist package of services for clients where an international and/or cultural dimension forms part of the case.

In 2009 I became a member of the Resolution Domestic Violence National Committee as a forced married and honour based violence specialist. This has lead to my being co-opted onto the Ministry of Justice Crime and Family Interface Committee which really lets me keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in all aspects of a legal and governmental response to the needs of domestic violence victims both women and children alike.

In 2010 I was approached by Resolution to develop a specialist panel of solicitors to train and qualify as specialists in forced marriage and honour based violence. I currently manage the specialist panel and provide specialist accredited training on a national level.

I have also developed a specialism in working with the victims of trafficking. This can be very harrowing, but can also be extremely rewarding work to be involved in.

I am currently developing and piloting a new system to allow women and children who are very high risk of abuse to engage in court proceedings whilst keeping their location completely secret. I am currently piloting this new system in four different UK court locations.

I co-authored the Ministry of Justice/HMCTS Family Court manual on forced marriage protection orders and safety issues.

I regularly represent children in court proceedings, particularly children from different cultural backgrounds. I am also a member of the Resolution advanced specialist family law panel.

Most recently I have had the opportunity to work internationally in Cambodia, India and Bangladesh as part of the CEDAW shadow report writing group. CEDAW is the United Nations convention on women’s rights. My particular interest in this lies in access to justice and the cuts to legal aid which I am keen to see addressed by the United Nations committee. In July 2013 I gave evidence to the UN about LASPO as part of their examination of the UK compliance with CEDAW. This resulted in a UN determination that the Government had to take corrective action to ensure that domestic violence victims automatically get legal aid.

In June 2011 I was appointed with the Western European delegate to a think tank on using the United Nations and human rights legislation in domestic courts. The week long workshop was held in Kuala Lumpur and through it I was able to make useful contacts all over the world which have been invaluable in assisting my casework.

In October 2014 I was named ‘Solicitor of the Year’ at the national Law Society Excellence Awards.

In March 2016 I was presented with ‘Special Recognition for Lifetime Commitment to End Honour Based Violence’ by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO).

I am currently working on a project with the CEDAW working party and Women’s Resource Centre. Please contact me directly at the email below with any examples of women you have worked with who have been unable to obtain domestic violence evidence. To find out more information please click here to visit our blog on the call for evidence.

In April 2018 I was shortlisted for ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in the Northern Law Awards.

In May 2018 I received an award from the ‘Women in Law Awards 2018 – Family Law’.

You can contact me by emailing crismccurley@benhoarebell.co.uk

Click here to read a full profile for Cris McCurley.


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Reported Cases

Memberships and Accreditations

Resolution Accredited Specialist in International Child Abduction, Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

Resolution Trainer in Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

Member of the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU) Specialist Panel

Member of the Home Office Abduction Panel

Accredited Member of the Law Society Children Panel

Member of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)

Winner of Women in Law Awards 2018 (Family Law - UK)

2016 Special Recognition for Lifetime Commitment to End Honour Based Violence (IKWRO)

2015 Inspirational Woman of the Law

2014 Law Society Excellence Solicitor of the Year

2014 Finalist for LALY Family Lawyer of the Year

2007 Karma Nirvana Honour Award

Award Winning Solicitors firm based in the North East

Law Firm of the Year (Medium) 2018 Family Law Awards LAPG Lexcel Resolution Law Society Children Panel Law Society Mental Health Panel Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel Collaborative Family Law Law Society Mental Capacity (Welfare)