Janice Kaufman

Email: janice.kaufman@steelandshamash.co.uk

Janice is a senior partner of the firm, head of the Family and the Mental Capacity departments. Janice specialises in mental capacity and child care law, and has extensive expertise in representing parties in the Court of Protection and parents, children and interveners in care proceedings including cases involving non-accidental injury and allegations of fabricated illness and sexual abuse. Janice has also represented many with mental health difficulties and is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent those under a disability in the Court of Protection and the Family Division. Janice has higher rights of audience and also sits as a judge of the Mental Health Tribunal. Janice represents both those under a disability and family members in proceedings in the Court of Protection and family courts. Particular interests are seeking to ensure that those whose liberty is severely curtailed receive the fullest protection that the law can provide and that deprivation of liberty safeguards are applied and observed . She also has very wide experience of the  tensions that exist between Children Act proceedings and Mental Capacity Act proceedings. There is awareness that family members and public authorities will need to continue working together after court proceedings have concluded and efforts are made to encourage good relations. Janice has extensive experience representing incapacitated persons and others in a range of family proceedings including adoption, Declarations of Parentage and FMPO cases as well as Care  and matrimonial proceedings. Janice continues to represent a number of young people who have  been subject to Care proceedings brought under the Children Act 1989 and, because they  are approaching adulthood, applications under the MCA 2005 become more relevant.

Janice has also been appointed in Rule 16.4 private law cases to represent children who have been made a party to the proceedings.

Janice has Higher Rights of Audience (Civil Proceedings) enabling her to represent clients at all levels of the Civil courts.

Janice is recommended in The Legal 500 within Public sector: Civil Liberties and human rights, and in Chambers and Partners within Court of Protection (Band 2)

Steel & Shamash has a strong reputation for its Court of Protection work and its representation of vulnerable individuals. Janice Kaufman and Anna O'Connell are recommended. (Chambers and Partners 2014) Janice Kaufman is 'relentless and clear-sighted in defence of those deprived of their fundamental rights (Chambers and Partners 2013) Sources appreciate her solid family law background and assert that 'she is incredibly knowledgeable and has a huge amount of experience. She seems to never take her eye off the ball' (The Legal 500 2014) Janice Kaufman leads the Court of Protection group and is expert at representing adults with learning difficulties. She recently served as lead partner in P and Q v Surrey County Council. An interviewee deems her “very emotionally intelligent, balanced and committed” (The Legal 500 2013)


Member of the Law Society Children Panel (since 1994)
Member of the Association of Lawyers for Children
Sits as a Judge of the Mental Health Tribunal

Notable cases:

Steel & Shamash vindicated in the Supreme Court: LANDMARK JUDGMENT HANDED DOWN…… more >>>>

P and Q v Surrey County Council www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2014/19.html

P and Q v Surrey County Council www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/05/18/supreme-court-ruling-leaves-little-room-doubt-deprivations-liberty-care#.U3pIIKC9LCT

P and Q v Surrey County Council www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/03/19/supreme-court-ruling-heralds-sharp-rise-deprivation-liberty-safeguards-cases#.U3pG6qC9LCR

Re G and E (Children)(Vulnerable Witness) [2011] EWHC - in  which the incapacitated subject of proceedings gave evidence with the assistance of special measures including a witness intermediary (This was one of the first (and rare) cases in which an intermediary had been used for evidence in the family courts); As our client turned 17 during the course of the proceedings and a care order could not be made in respect of her and given her disabilities, the local authority made an application under the Mental Capacity Act 2005  in order that the Court might make long-term best interest declarations in respect of GB’s residence, care and contact with family members. The MCA proceedings were heard in tandem with the Children Act proceedings and the allegations made by our client were upheld.

Key themes: reliance on evidence of a person with a disability, use of witness intermediary, the interrelationship of the Court of Protection and the family courts.

RC v CC - This case involves a  birth mother seeking contact with her adopted (now adult)  child who is learning disabled and lacks capacity, important issues of  disclosure and confidentiality arise

 Re P and Q; P and Q v Surrey County Council; sub nom Re MIG and MEG (2011)  EWCA Civ 190 (appeal to be heard in the Supreme Court 2013) - This  case considers the protective arrangements for young mentally incapacitated people removed from their family by social services, and associated deprivation of liberty issues, it is one of the key cases on deprivation of liberty.

A London Borough v (1) BB (by her Litigation Friend the Official Solicitor) (2) AM     (3) SB and (4) EL Trust [2011] EWHC 2853 (Fam) - a case in which the Court determined that the best interests of an incapacitated party to a marriage  were best met by her marriage being annulled and by the making of a FMPO.

A, B, C v X and Z [2012] EWHC 2400 (COP) - Janice was part of the team which acted for a mentally incapacitated person who wished to marry in the face of opposition from his family. We were instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent X in a case concerning X’s capacity to consent to marriage, to execute a Will, to execute a Lasting Power of Attorney and to manage his financial affairs.