Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson

Called: 1981

Head of Chambers

Practice Profile

Simon is Head of Chambers. One of the founder members of Stour Chambers.


‘An exceptional advocate’. Legal 500 2020 – ranked as a leading junior


‘A walking encyclopaedia of family law’. Legal 500 2019 – ranked as a leading junior  


He was called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn) in July 1987, having previously been in practice as a solicitor (admitted November 1982). He is a specialist child care practitioner and is instructed on behalf of parents, family members and children. He also accepts instructions in private law children cases.


Simon deals with cases involving the most serious issues, including non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and extreme neglect.


Simon’s breadth of experience, and what has been described by instructing solicitors as a notable thorough approach to case preparation and presentation, makes him an effective advocate whose services are frequently sought by solicitors and who is engaged in court on most days. He also brings to his dealings with lay clients a vast experience of, and sympathetic understanding towards, the variety of human characteristics, limitations and failings that bring his clients into contact with the family law system. He has very extensive experience of dealing with clients with psychiatric and psychological difficulties, including learning difficulties and who have a history of substance abuse.


He maintains an interest in education law. He has written articles on this subject and has contributed to Westlaw UK Insight.


Simon is qualified to accepts Direct Public Access on suitable cases.


  • Care and Adoption (for parents, guardians and other family members)
  • Private Law Children work


Other Areas Include:

  • Education
  • Court of Protection

Medway Council v JL, AJ and X

Judgment of Theis J given on 17 November 2016, reported [2016] EWFC 78 (Fam): long running and complex case involving issues of placement of a child in care overseas and the proper approach to be taken by the court to a plan for adoption by family members.


Aburn v Aburn [2016] EWCA Civ 72

Decision of the Court of Appeal in relation to the proper approach to setting the level of periodical payments following divorce.


Croft v Broadstairs & St. Peter’s Town Council [2003] EWCA 676 Civ

[2003] All ER (D) 273: claim by employee or compensation for psychological damage caused by employer’s conduct.


Re D (Grant of Care Order: Refusal of Freeing Order)

[2001] 1 FLR 862 CA


Re H (A Minor) Re K (Minors) (Child Abuse: Evidence)

[1989] 2 FLR 313 CA


Medway Council v Mother & Ors [2014] EWHC 308 (Fam) Theis J

31 January 2014. Alleged non-accidental injury of baby shaking: observations on use of section 20 of Children Act 1989, burden and standard proof and medical evidence.


  • LLB (Hons.) (Wales) Aberystwyth 1979
  • Passed Solicitors’ Final Examination, College of Law, Chester 1980
  • Basic French, German and Italian.

Simon maintains a deep interest in the development of child law and family law generally. Throughout his years in practice has has been a regular contributor to Family Law magazine and other legal journals.


He is a co-author of two well received books: Assessments of Parents in Care Proceedings (Jordans 2014) and Child Protections Proceedings: Care and Adoption Orders (LexisNexis 2017).


Simon’s notable articles include:


  • In a New York adoption state of mind [2016] February Family Law Magazine
  • Decisions, decisions: choice of school and the ‘judicial reasonable parent’ [2013] August Family Law Magazine
  • ‘Religion, Children and the Family Courts’ [2013] May Family Law Magazine
  • ‘What do Children Cases Actually Decide?’ [2012] April New Law Journal
  • ‘How Many Parents Does a Child Need?’ [2012] March Family Law Magazine
  • Case note on Re T (Residential Parenting Assessment) [2011] EWCA Civ 812: [2011] September Family Law Magazine
  • ‘God Never Gave Her a Chance: Won’t an Independent Social Worker?’ Applications for Assessments [2011] August Family Law Magazine
  • ‘Pre-Nuptial Agreements after Radmacher v Granatino’ [2009] August Family Law Magazine
  • Case note on Holmes-Moorhouse v Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council [2009] 1 FLR 904 [2009] March Family Law Magazine
  • ‘Shared Residence Orders: For and Against’ [2009] February Family Law Magazine


He has also spoken on a variety of legal subjects at the regular seminars organized by Stour Chambers and other venues. He is a visiting lecturer in Family Law at the University of Kent.

Reading (esp. history), music (he reviews concerts for a local newspaper), walking, cinema, travel and trying to make his French, German and Italian a little less basic.


Simon was active in local politics until he found it was incompatible with his professional commitments. He was an elected member of Kent County Council from 1993 to 1997 and held office as Vice-Chair of the Education Committee and Chair of the Special Educational Needs Sub-Committee. He has served as a school governor.

This set comes recommended for its members' expertise in children and matrimonial finance matters. The children cases range across both public and private law work, and include those concerning non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and fabricated illness. On the financial side, the set's barristers demonstrate the ability to act in substantial financial remedies cases as well as Schedule 1 and TOLATA matters.

~ Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020

Specialising in matrimonial finance and children matters. Members appear in the regional courts as well as the High Court and the Court of Appeal. They often act in financial remedy proceedings relating to farms, companies, properties and other assets. In addition they are adept at dealing with serious child care allegations including physical abuse and death.

~ Chambers UK Bar Guide 2019

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