Members of Chambers

John Thornton

Called: 2002

John Thornton

Practice Profile

John's practice encompasses public and private child law, matrimonial finance and unmarried couples' disputes. He has been listed in the Legal 500 United Kingdom 2018 and 2017 guide. He is described as 'pragmatic, forthright and intelligent' and 'very experienced in public and private children law matters.'  John is a regular speaker at seminars held by chambers in his specialist areas. Some recent cases he has been involved in include:

O v B-M (2019) EWFC B23 - Successfully represent the respondent in a contested divorce matter in the Central Family Court. The applicant argued that they had undertaken a customary marriage in Ghana in 2009. The expert evidence strongly favoured that assertion, as did numerous witnesses present at the ceremony. Following a 5-day hearing the court did not find that the parties had married. The court found that the expert witness had 'over reached' and that the applicant lacked credibility.

MC v S and Ors (to be reported) (2019) - Successfully represented a mother with four children in care proceedings. A previous Supervision Order had failed and the Local Authority (supported by all the experts) sought a plan for the children to remain in long-term foster care. The mother had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and had attempted to take her own life. Following a 6-day final hearing the children were rehabilitated back to the mother; the Local Authority was criticised by the Judge for its failure to support her during the Supervision Order. The judgment also highlights the systemic failings facing parents (particularly young mother's) within care proceedings, accessing treatment for mental health problems.

W v W (2018) - Successfully represented the father in a private law child case where all contact had stopped 18 months previously due to allegations of domestic abuse by the mother. The cafcass officer recommended no contact and that the father attend a 42-week domestic violence perpetrator program. After a multiple day hearing the court made no findings on any of the allegations made against him and determined that the cafcass officer's analysis had been 'inadequate'. Contact was reinstated.

A v A (2018) - Successfully represented the father in a private law child case where all contact had stopped between him and his children following serious allegations of domestic violence made against him by the mother. The allegations included rape. Having heard evidence over a number of days the court made no finding of fact on the allegations; reinstated contact and determined the mothers' allegations were 'implausible'. The court also made a costs order against the mother.

Specialist Practice Areas


  • Public Law Children work
  • Financial Remedy - including complex and high value disputes
  • Private Law Children work
  • Cohabitation Disputes / TOLATA claims
  • Schedule 1 claims under the Children Act 1989
  • Financial Remedy - including complex and high value disputes

Notable Cases


  • FLBA (Family Law Bar Association)
  • ALC (Association of Lawyers for Children)
  • Resolution

Hobbies and other interests

Outside Chambers life John can often be found wondering the Kent countryside or otherwise trying to keep up with his three children.