Westminster 2017 Speakers


Joanne Edwards, Partner & Mediator, Head of Family, Forsters LLP

Jo is head of family at London firm Forsters. For the past 20 years she has specialised in working with couples facing relationship breakdown, helping them deal with the financial consequences of divorce or separation and resolving arrangements for children, including cases involving relocation with children. She also has expertise in advising on pre-nuptial agreements and acting in cases involving unmarried couples. Jo is a highly respected mediator and she routinely works with couples who want to keep their divorce affairs private. She is one of only a handful of lawyers in London qualified to consult with children in mediation. Mediation is a significant part of Jo’s practice and she has mediated both married and unmarried couples, often with complex finances or working with highly conflicted parents with difficult issues such as one parent wishing to relocate overseas (or within the UK) with children. She was also one of the first trained collaborative lawyers in England and Wales.

Jo held the position of Chair of Resolution, the national family lawyers’ association with c6,500 members, from 2014 to 2016. During her two year term of office she led several high profile family law campaigns, met with MPs and the judiciary and appeared regularly on national TV and radio and in the broadsheets. She continues to sit on Resolution’s National Committee and to be active in policy, membership and media work. She chairs Resolution’s family law reform committee and is spearheading a drive to increase the take-up of collaborative practice.

Internationally Jo is a founding member of the European Network of Collaborative Professionals and a regular speaker at family law conferences around the world. Domestically, she continues to be a regular commentator on family law issues in the press and on TV/radio. Jo is recognised as a leading individual by Legal 500 and Chambers, which say of Jo that “she will absolutely go to the end of the world to represent clients” and that she can “handle both children and financial cases with ease”.

Norman Hartnell, Managing Director, The Family Law Company by Hartnell Chanot

Norman Hartnell studied Law at Cambridge University and has spent over 30 years specialising in Family Law, qualifying as a Solicitor in 1979 and as one of the country’s first family mediators in 1989. He established one of the country’s first specialist Family Law Practices, Hartnell & Co in 1991 and the Devon Family Mediation Agency Limited (now Devon Family Solutions) – one of the first mediation consortiums in the country with a Legal Services Commission franchise. He has overseen the growth of the business and its transformation into The Family Law Company by Hartnell Chanot of which he is Managing Director.

Norman has served on numerous Resolution and Court committees, is experienced in all forms of family mediation and is authorised to consult with children as part of his mediation practice. He has represented parents, guardians and children in private and public law cases. He has considerable experience in complex divorce and related financial issues, and was the Secretary and Mediation representative for the Peninsula Family Justice Council active in promoting interdisciplinary training throughout its existence. He was the first solicitor in the South West and one of the very first in the country to qualify as an Arbitrator authorised to conduct Arbitrations in both Financial and Children issues.

Norman is a pioneer in changing the face of family law. He promotes a problem solving approach and leads the way in constructive methods of resolving family disputes whilst at all times keeping children at the centre and protecting the vulnerable. Norman is a Solicitor, Mediator, Collaborative Family Lawyer and Arbitrator.

Tina Miller, Professor of Sociology, Oxford Brookes University

Tina Miller is a Professor of Sociology. Her research and teaching interests include motherhood and fatherhood transitions, constructions of gender and identities, masculinities, reproductive health, narratives, qualitative research methods and ethics and she has published in these areas. Tina has lived and worked in the Solomon Islands and Bangladesh as well as Oxford and has a particular interest in cultural dimensions and the situated nature of everyday experiences. Tina has been engaged as an expert advisor by the World Health Organisation (Geneva), think tanks and political parties in the UK and presented her work at UNICEF headquarters (New York) as well as in Australia, India and Argentina. She regularly participates in TV and radio programmes in relation to her research and publications on motherhood and fatherhood and was recently selected from over 2000 entrants to attend the BBC’s inaugural training scheme for female experts.

Tina has recently completed a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship focusing on the topic of ‘Managing modern family lives: public understandings and everyday practises of caring and paid work’. Her CUP monongraph based on her findings will be published late 2016.

Sarah Parsons, Assistant Director, Cafcass

Sarah Parsons worked as a Family Court Welfare Officer before joining Cafcass in 2001. She has been Assistant Director since 2013. She is the Principal Social Worker for Cafcass and leads on Learning and Development nationally.  She has operational responsibility in East Anglia and for the London Private Law service.

Elizabeth Coe, CEO NACCC

Elizabeth gained her CQSW from Bristol University in 1978, joining the Avon Probation Service as a Probation Officer before becoming a Family Court Welfare Officer in 1982.  In 1988 she moved to Derbyshire Probation Service to become a Senior Probation Officer and then a Senior Court Welfare Officer.  She has also worked as a Guardian ad Litem and served for 6 years on the Derbyshire Adoption and Fostering Panel.   In 2001 when the Family Court Welfare Service, Official Solicitor and the Guardian Service came together as Cafcass Elizabeth transferred from the Probation Service and became a Regional Director for the East Midlands Region.  On leaving Cafcass in 2011 she joined the National Association of Child Contact Centres as their Chief Executive.  Elizabeth enjoys playing the piano, singing, travel and my lovely dog Poppy who gives me hours of pleasure.

Dr Damian McCann | Head of Development & Learning, Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist & Clinical Lecturer. TAVISTOCK Relationships.

Damian McCann. D.Sys.Psych. is a couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist working as head of learning and development at Tavistock Relationships. He is also a consultant systemic psychotherapist working in a child and adolescent mental health service and is an associate of pink therapy where he teaches on the diploma in relationship therapy for gender and sexual diversities. His doctoral research was concerned with understanding the meaning and management of violence in the couple relationships of gay men and he has both published and presented on the topic of violence and abuse in couple relationships.

Bob Greig, Co-Director OnlyDads & OnlyMums

Bob founded OnlyMums & OnlyDads (OM/OD) in 2007 having recognised a lack of dependable on-line information and support for families going through divorce and separation.

After graduating from King’s College, London and prior to founding OM/OD, he worked for 16 years as a senior property manager for the Church of England and King Sturge.

Bob is often asked to talk to media on issues around fatherhood and single parenting and recently appeared on the Radio 4 series,  Bringing up Britain, presented by Mariella Frostrup.

He lives just outside Totnes with his two teenage daughters.

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