Fenella Cooil is a children law barrister specialising in complex private law cases including those with allegations of parental alienation and intractable hostility to contact.

Fenella has experience in cases involving domestic abuse, substance misuse and parents and children suffering with physical and mental health difficulties.

Fenella regularly advises and represents parties in internal and international relocation cases.

Fenella acts for local authorities, parents and children’s guardians in proceedings involving domestic violence, sexual abuse, non-accidental injury and chronic neglect. Fenella represents vulnerable clients with drug/alcohol addiction, mental health disorders and learning difficulties. Fenella has experience in cross examining experts including paediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Fenella is a tenacious and persuasive court advocate. Fenella is empathetic, approachable and gives clients pragmatic and sensible advice.

Key cases & testimonials

Leicester City Council v AB [2018] EWHC 1960 (Fam)
Consideration of the need for a Care Order in a case with a terminally ill mother who had sought for the children to be cared for by the Local Authority as she was too unwell to care for them.

GB v RNB [2013] EWHC 414 (Fam)
Recognition and registration of Polish Court orders in England and Wales


Fenella is an outstanding children’s law barrister. She has a wonderfully warm manner with clients yet ensures that she provides clear and detailed advice. She is accessible and very hardworking. Legal 500, 2023
Fenella is a phenomenal children’s barrister. She is extremely focussed, great at quickly getting into the detail of cases, and brilliant on her feet. Clients feel she really advocates on their behalf and gives sensible and pragmatic advice.Legal 500, 2022

Areas of expertise

Fenella has over a decade of experience in private children cases.

Fenella is regularly instructed to deal with complex cases where one party is alleging domestic abuse and the other is alleging parental alienation.

Fenella has successfully represented parents where malicious allegations of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse have been made against them to prevent contact arrangements with children.

Fenella has successfully represented victims of domestic abuse including coercive control and where legal proceedings have been utilised as a method of ongoing abuse. Such cases often involve consolidation of non-molestation and occupation order proceedings.

Fenella works closely with her lay and professional clients from First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointments through to Final Hearing to ensure a collaborative approach.

Fenella deals with application for parental orders.

Fenella represents local authorities, parents, and children’s guardians as well as competent children and intervenors. Fenella has completed the vulnerable witness training course.

Fenella has been instructed on cases involving:
a. Non-accidental injuries
b. Sexual abuse
c. Chronic neglect
d. Fabricated/induced illness
e. Serious allegations of domestic abuse
f. Alcohol and substance misuse
g. Restriction of food/overfeeding
h. Parents with learning disability or significant mental health diagnoses impacting their capacity.