Catherine Gaskell

I began my legal career at Stephensons as a summer student in June 2007, only a matter of weeks after completing my legal practice course at the College of Law in Chester. I completed a work placement in the firm’s community care department before joining the family law team as a graduate paralegal in September 2007.

I have always had a passion for family law and studied both child law and family law at Nottingham University as part of my LLB law degree and also family law as an elective as part of my legal practice course.

As a paralegal I gained real insight and great experience into public law matters concerning children i.e. care proceedings. I was heavily involved in co-running cases and regularly attended court hearings and meetings to support clients and their legal representatives.

I secured a training contract with the firm in March 2010 and half of my training contract (12 months) was spent within family law across two of the firm’s offices in both Leigh and Wigan.

I then secured a newly qualified position in March 2012 and my role mainly involved dealing with advising and representing parents and extended family members in private law court proceedings i.e. disputes over residence (where a child is to live) and contact (who a child is to see). In addition, I advised wives and husbands in relation to divorce and all aspects relating to divorce including their children and their finances. 

I also dealt with cases concerning domestic abuse and helped to protect people by advising and representing them in court proceedings concerning injunctions / non-molestation orders. I also gained experience in relation to change of name deeds and child abduction.

Since having qualified I have gained more and more experience with regards to representing parents and extended family members in care proceedings in both Manchester County Court and Liverpool County Court.

I moved over to our St Helens office in January 2013 and since then I have become specialised in this area. I conduct the majority of my own advocacy in court itself, in addition to advising parents and extended family members right from the beginning of care proceedings through to their conclusion. I also advise and represent parents at pre-proceedings meetings held by Local Authorities.

I also continue to advise clients with respect to issues concerning residence and contact and also continue to act for clients to obtain injunctions / non molestation orders. I continue to deal with many people who are victims of domestic abuse.

Areas of specialism

  • Private children law – contact orders and residence orders
  • Negotiating agreements relating to children i.e. residence agreements and contact agreements
  • Issues relating to parental responsibility – parental responsibility agreements and parental responsibility orders
  • Injunctions/non–molestation orders
  • Divorce and finances
  • Public law children proceedings
  • Social services involvement with families – including pre-proceedings