Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson

Called: 1981

Head of Chambers

Practice Profile

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


‘A walking encyclopedia of the law. He is always prepared, has extreme attention to detail, and is very good with vulnerable clients.’ Legal 500 2022 – ranked as leading junior tier 1


He has an impeccable knowledge of the law and his skills and experience command tremendous respect from clients and other professionals alike.’ Legal 500 2021 – ranked as leading junior tier 1 


‘An exceptional advocate.’ Legal 500 2020 – 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.

Simon Johnson – Stour Chambers, 8 Vernon Place, Canterbury, CT1 3HG


My registration number is: Z4640661


Privacy Policy


In order to provide legal advice and representation, I need to collect and hold personal information. This may be your personal data or information relating to other parties involved in the matter. I will take all possible steps to protect personal information. I will ensure that I do not do anything that may infringe your rights or undermine your trust. This privacy notice describes the information I collect about you, how it is used and shared, and your rights regarding it.


Data controller


I (Simon Johnson) am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a Data Controller for the personal data that I hold and process as a barrister. My ICO registration number is Z4640661. If you need to contact me about your data or this privacy notice, you can reach me at Stour Chambers, 8 Vernon Place, Canterbury, Kent, CT13HG or by e-mail to


Data collection


The vast majority of the information that I hold about you is provided to or gathered by me in the course of your case and/or proceedings and/or the provision of legal services. Your solicitor and/or I will tell you why we need the information and how we will use it. On occasion I may also obtain information that is available publicly.


What data do I process about you?


I collect and process both personal data and special categories of personal data as defined in the GDPR. This may include:


  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Payment or bank details
  • Date of birth
  • Next of kin details
  • Details pertaining to education and employment
  • Information on your background & current circumstances
  • Financial information
  • Other family details
  • Lifestyle and social circumstances
  • Information concerning your health


Where relevant, I may also need to process special category personal data that reveals your:


  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious and philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
  • Data concerning health
  • Sex life and sexual orientation.


On occasion, I may also process personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences.


The same categories of information may also be obtained from third parties, such as other legal professionals or experts, members of the public, your family and friends, witnesses, courts and other tribunals, investigators, government departments, regulators, public records and registers.


My lawful basis for processing your information


The General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR) requires all organisations that process personal data to have a lawful basis for doing so. The lawful bases identified in the GDPR that I seek to rely upon are as follows:


  • Consent of the data subject – where this required, I will ensure that I have your specific consent for processing your data.
  • Performance of a contract with the data subject or to take steps to enter into a contract.
  • Compliance with a legal obligation – to comply with various regulatory and professional obligations, e.g. filing tax returns with HMRC.
  • The legitimate interests of my business or a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests, rights or freedoms of the data subject.


Examples of legitimate interests include:


  • Where the data subject is a client or in the service of the controller;
  • Provision of legal services and advice;
  • Processing is necessary to ensure network and information security, including preventing unauthorised access;
  • For purposes of practice management, accounting and debt recovery;
  • For completion of professional regulatory requirements;
  • Processing for direct marketing purposes, or to prevent fraud; and
  • Reporting threats to public security.


Special category processing


I process special category data when:


  1. I have your explicit consent to do so; or
  2. It is necessary for the exercise or defence of legal claims or judicial acts.


Criminal data processing


On occasion, I process data relating to criminal offences where it is necessary for:


  • The purpose of, or in connection with, any legal proceedings;
  • The purpose of obtaining legal advice; or
  • The purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights.


I use your information to:


  • Provide legal advice and representation;
  • Assist in training pupils and mini pupils;
  • Investigate and address your concerns;
  • Communicate with you about news, updates and events;
  • Investigate or address legal proceedings relating to your use of my services, or as otherwise allowed by applicable law;
  • Make statutory returns as required by HMRC or other similar body;
  • Assist in any tendering or panel membership applications;
  • Assist in any other applications for the purpose of professional development or career progression;
  • Communicate legal updates and judgments to other legal professionals;
  • For marketing purposes;
  • To take or defend legal or regulatory proceedings or to exercise a lien;
  • To respond to potential complaints or make complaints;
  • To check for potential conflicts of interest in relation to future potential cases;
  • To carry out anti-money laundering and terrorists financing checks;
  • To respond to requests for references;
  • When procuring goods and services;
  • To publish legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals as required or permitted by law.


I may share your personal data with:


  • Instructing solicitors or other lawyers involved in your case;
  • A pupil or mini pupil, under my training;
  • Opposing counsel, for the purposes of resolving the case;
  • My chambers management and staff who provide administrative services;
  • My regulator or legal advisors in the event of a dispute or other legal matter;
  • Law enforcement officials, government authorities, or other third parties to meet any legal obligations;
  • Legal directories, for the purpose of professional development;
  • Any relevant panel or tendering committee, for the purpose of professional development;
  • Accountants and banking officials;
  • Regulators or arbitrators, where complaints or disputes arise;
  • Any other party where I ask you for consent, and you consent, to the sharing;
  • Data Processors, such as Chambers Staff, IT support staff, e-mail providers, data storage providers and professional colleagues;
  • Experts and other witnesses;
  • Prosecution authorities;
  • Courts and tribunals;
  • Lay clients;
  • Family and associates of the person whose personal information I am processing;
  • In the event of complaints, the Head of Chambers, other members of Chambers who deal with complaints, the Bar Standards Board, and the Legal Ombudsman


Transfers to third countries and international organisations


This privacy notice is of general application and as such it is not possible to state whether it will be necessary to transfer your information out of the EEA in any particular case or for a reference. However, if you reside outside the EEA or your case or the role for which you require a reference involves persons or organisations or courts and tribunals outside the EEA then it may be necessary to transfer some of your data to that country outside of the EEA for that purpose. If you are in a country outside the EEA or if the instructions you provide come from outside the EEA then it is inevitable that information will be transferred to those countries. If this applies to you and you wish additional precautions to be taken in respect of your information please indicate this when providing initial instructions.


Some countries and organisations outside the EEA have been assessed by the European Commission and their data protection laws and procedures found to show adequate protection. The list can be found here. Most do not. If your information has to be transferred outside the EEA, then it may not have the same protections and you may not have the same rights as you would within the EEA.


I may transfer your personal information to the following which are located outside the European Economic Area (EEA):


  • cloud data storage services based in the USA who have agreed to comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, in order to enable me to store yourdata and/or backup copies of your data so that I may access your data when they need to. The USA does not have the same data protection laws as the EU but the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection. To obtain further details of that protection see


  • cloud data storage services based in Switzerland, in order to enable me to store your data and/or backup copies of your data so that I may access your data when I need to. Switzerland does not have the same data protection laws as the EU but has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection; see If I decide to publish a judgment or other decision of a Court or Tribunal containing your information then this will be published to the world. I will not otherwise transfer personal information outside the EEA except as necessary for providing legal services or for any legal proceedings. If you would like any further information please use the contact details at the end of this document.


I am satisfied that such transferred data is fully protected and safeguarded as required by the General Data Protection Regulation.


I retain your personal data while you remain a client unless you ask me to delete it. My Retention and Disposal Policy (copy available on request) details how long I hold data for and how I dispose of it when it no longer needs to be held. I will delete or anonymise your information at your request unless:


  • There is an unresolved issue, such as a claim or dispute;
  • I am legally required to; or
  • There are overriding legitimate business interests to do so.


Your rights

The GDPR gives you specific rights in terms of your personal data. For example, you have to be informed about the information I hold and what I use it for; you can ask for a copy of the personal information I hold about you; you can ask me to correct any inaccuracies with the personal data I hold, and you can ask me to stop sending you direct mail, or emails, or in some circumstances ask me to stop processing your details. Finally, if I do something irregular or improper with your personal data, you can seek compensation for any distress you are caused or loss you have incurred.


You can find out more information from the ICO’s website:


and this is the organisation that you can complain to if you are unhappy with how I have dealt with your query.


Accessing and correcting your information


You may request access to, correction of, or a copy of your information by contacting me at   


Marketing opt-outs


You may opt out of receiving emails and other messages from my practice by following the instructions in those messages.


I will occasionally update my privacy notice.


When I make significant changes, I will notify you of these through either mail or email. I will also publish the updated notice on my chambers’ website profile.

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

Stour Chambers has 'a range of barristers at different levels suited for different cases'. Members continue to be instructed in complex multi-day cases in the public law space, where it provides 'expert counsel' across Kent and further afield involving non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and extreme neglect. On the family finance front, Elizabeth Spence is a go-to barrister for high-value cases with issues of minority shareholdings and opponents deploying hostile litigation tactics.

~ Legal 500 Bar Guide 2021

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