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A day in the life Of...
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A Day in the life of the new International Family Law journal editors

Date:9 DEC 2020
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International Family Law journal is delighted to announce the appointment of two new editors: Barbara Mills QC and Michael Edwards. We interviewed them about their careers.

What is your job, and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

ME: I am a barrister at 4 Paper Buildings, specialising in international family law. I am in court every day (almost all virtually, currently) representing parents and children, usually where there has been a child abduction.

BMQC: I am a barrister, mediator and arbitrator. I also sit as a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit. I specialise in all aspect of the law in relation to children with an emphasis on private children law. My focus every day is assisting parties to resolve their complex disputes and how the day unfolds depends on the particular case that I have on that day.

How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?

ME: Ten years now. I studied history at university, which taught me to read quickly and to be sceptical. All good training for law. I became interested in family law after some work experience – I quickly realised that this is what I wanted to do. 4pb specialises in international cases, so I was lucky and followed the opportunities.

BMQC: I was called to the Bar in October 1990 and took silk this year. Family Law allows me to use the law to help people in deep struggle after the breakdown of a relationship to work out what to do next for their children so those children can reach their full potential.

Any memorable stories from your career so far?

ME: Ending up in Worcester General Hospital with my client during pupillage, after she’d had a panic attack and collapsed in court. The Bar takes you to some interesting corners of the country.

BMQC: Too many to choose from.

What is the best and worst part of the day for you?

ME: Best: seeing friends and colleagues at court. The job is best when it’s collaborative. Worst: finishing a hearing, then immediately launching in to prep for the next days’ case.

BMQC: Best : that moment in a joint mediation session when the penny finally drops for a resistant parent that he/she is in dialogue with their child’s  other parent – a parent who loves the child as much, albeit differently, and who is as hard wired as they are to find workable long term solutions for that child.  Worst: amending draft orders which contain all sorts of controversial recitals not raised at the hearing, which then takes discussions to a whole new and utterly unhelpful level.

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What keeps you motivated?

ME: The work is fascinating and challenging.

BMQC: Helping to give children a voice.

Tea or coffee?

ME: Coffee


What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?

ME: You’ll never be bored.

BMQC: Know yourself and then prepare for that to be challenged on a daily basis

What song do you listen to the most?

ME: Bob Dylan: Tangled up in Blue (for the line, ‘keep on keeping on’)

BMQC: Kirk Franklin : A God Like You

Who inspires you within the world of family law?

ME: Alison Grief QC, Joy Brereton, Ruth Kirby and, of course, Barbara Mills QC – trailblazing women who looked out for me in the early days.

BMQC: Lord Justice Peter Jackson

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

ME: Changing nappies

BMQC: Walking, travelling and reading with a book club

What book would you recommend to others?

ME: Mike Brearly: The Art of Captaincy

BMQC: Matthew Syed: Rebel Ideas

What would be your alternate career?

ME: I missed the boat as a professional cricketer, sadly.

BMQC: I would own/run a neighbourhood tea shop.

If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?

ME: Bring back legal aid for the people that need it most.

BMQC: Private law disputes can be hugely damaging for both the parties and their children. According to data collated by Cafcass 25% of all disputes within the court arena do not have any safeguarding or welfare issues. I would therefore wish to see financial penalties awarded against any party unwilling to engage properly and fully in non-court based options. 

International Family Law Journal is the only English language practitioner journal dealing with the rationale and jurisprudence of family law as it affects families and individuals across Europe and the rest of the world. In the journal practitioners and academics share their skills with subscribers in what is a rapidly growing – but possibly daunting – area of family law.

International family Law is seeking contributions for forthcoming issues. We are particularly interested in contributions on the following topics:

  1. 1.Alternative families (particularly any issues of discrimination
  2. The impact of Brexit?
  3. Dispute Resolution
  4. International Family Law and the Commonwealth

We would, however, welcome contributions on other international family law topics which you think would be of interest for our readers.

Articles are generally 2-3,000 words, although we also welcome more in-depth pieces of 5-6,000 words.

Please send all contributions to emma.reitano@lexisnexis.co.uk  
International Family Law Journal is available as either a print or online (as part of LexisLibrary) subscription.