A man wearing a navy blue suit, white dress shirt, and pink floral tie is smiling while posing for a photograph against a white background.

David Maddison

Year of Call: 1995
Practice areas:
  • Family
  • Family: Public & Private Children
  • Family: Financial Remedy and TOLATA


David has been practicing in the field of family law for over 25 years and is known for his excellent client-focused approach, dealing with difficult cases with sensitivity and calm.  He is both tenacious in pursuing a client’s interests whilst also being prepared to give frank advice to obtain a pragmatic outcome.

David joined Cobden House in 1999, and since then has practiced in all areas of family law. Within care proceedings he mainly represents parents, guardians and local authorities in cases involving the most serious acts of abuse and neglect.

He also maintains a significant practice in private child law matters, including cases involving international elements and those with a significant risk of abduction.

David also regularly deals with ancillary relief cases and has a growing expertise in TOLATA applications.

In 2017 he became concerned about a gap in the protection afforded by the Children Act 1989 to victims and those at risk of female genital mutilation. He therefore worked for two years with Lord Berkeley of Knighton to get the Children Act amended and as a consequence of his actions the Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2019 was given Royal Assent in March 2019. He is described in Hansard records of the debates in the Commons and the Lords as "eagle-eyed", "unstinting" and "determined".

David is a Deputy District Judge and sits in family and civil matters, having been approved to hear private and public law cases including cases involving allegations of sexual and physical abuse, and where adoption is the proposed outcome.


Public children’s law

David’s predominant practice is in the area of public law, representing parents, guardians and local authorities.  He regularly handles cases involving serious neglect, physical and sexual abuse.

Private children’s law

David acts for parents and guardians appointed under FPR 16.4.  He is always acutely conscious that the best outcomes are those that can be agreed, and actively seeks to avoid unnecessary and expensive litigation.

Financial remedy

David has acted in cases with seven-figure asset bases, and brings a calm, pragmatic approach to any case.  He is willing to fight for a client’s interests, but will always recognise the benefit of an agreed solution. 


David is happy to cross the divide from financial remedy work in to quasi-matrimonial TOLATA work and can advise in conference, draft pleadings and represent clients in court.

Female Genital Mutilation Orders, Forced Marriage Protection Orders

David has acquired a niche practice in FGMO and FMPO proceedings, representing police forces and local authorities in seeking protections via these orders. It was through this work that David spotted a gap in the protection offered by the Children Act 1989, and as a consequence he worked with Lord Berkeley of Knighton to get the Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2019 passed.

Notable Cases

Transfer of Residence

Re J [2016] EWHC 2430 Fam

This case made national headlines in most newspapers as the mother was raising the boy as a girl.  David successfully argued that the Court should change residence of the child to the father as he offered the best opportunity for the child to develop his own identity.  

The case involved the input of three guardians, two social workers, an adult psychologist and a child psychologist.

Press reports:




Conditional Transfer of Residence

Re M [2012] EWHC 1948 Fam

A hearing before Mr Justice Peter Jackson in which David sought to enforce a contact order on behalf of the father.  The mother had taken the children absconded with the children and the proceedings started as wardship to trace them.

David successfully argued that the Court should make a conditional transfer of residence, so that if the mother failed to co-operate with the contact arrangements, residence would automatically transfer to the father.


Reporting Restrictions Orders

Re J (Reporting Restrictions) [2016] EWHC 2595

Because of the press interest in the above case of re J, the Mail on Sunday brought an application to report the details of the case.

David was engaged in two days of arguments over the terms of a Reporting Restrictions Order.  This involved complex submissions regarding the competing European Convention rights of the parents and child for privacy, and the newspaper’s right to freedom of expression.

As a consequence David successfully argued that the mother should not be permitted to speak to the press regarding the details of the case as this would be contrary to the child’s welfare.


Other cases of note: Radicalisation/extremism

Successfully represented a mother who sought discharge of a care order when her child had been removed in to care following intelligence given by the Police to the local authority.  The mother had a conviction under the Terrorism Act, but was able to demonstrate her ability to care for the child.

The case involved significant analysis of information from the Police and their counter-terrorism network CHANNEL



  • Deputy District Judge (Civil & Family)


  • FLBA

  • Civil Mediator


  • LLB (Hons) – University of Birmingham

  • Bar Course – Inns of Court School of Law


  • FLBA

  • Northern Circuit

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