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Clare Linden

Department: Child Care & Public Law

Clare joined Ridley & Hall Solicitors as a Partner in 2018. Clare graduated from Durham University and completed her legal training at the College of Law in York in 2006. Clare qualified as a solicitor in 2008 when she re-located to Leeds to join the niche family law firm McAras and was made a partner in 2013 following the firm’s merger with Simpson Millar solicitors in Leeds.

She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas of family law, but her particular expertise is in representing parents, extended family members and children involved in care proceedings. Clare deals primarily with cases that involve child protection issues and often attends at PLO Meetings with parents who are facing the prospect of care proceedings being issued.

Clare became a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel in 2011, which recognises her experience and ability in dealing with legal issues relating to children. She is regularly instructed to represent the interests of children both through court appointed children’s guardians and by children directly.

Being passionate about this area of law, Clare’s priority is to always ensure that children can be brought up within their family, wherever possible. She understands that care proceedings are often highly emotive and that clients require clear, honest and jargon free legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Clare provides her clients with sensible and child focussed advice to ensure the best possible outcomes for families in every case that she is dealing with.

Clare has experience in dealing with some of the most complex cases that come before a court to include cases of infant mortality, alleged non-accidental injuries and serious sexual and physical abuse. She often instructs specialist experts in these cases to provide their own independent expert opinions to the court.

A strong working relationship with some of the most high profile and experienced barristers and QC’s on the Northern Circuit and regular representation of clients before circuit and high court judges mean that Clare is well respected by her peers.

Clare also has experience in representing parents, family members and children in private law proceedings relating to residence and contact matters.

Clare has a particular interest in working with local charities who provide support to young parents and families in the community. She has provided free legal advice clinics to a number of local organisations to ensure that parents are aware of their legal rights and adequately supported when social services become involved with their family and has supported law students through the Street Leeds programme and assisted in the preparation, and delivery, of presentations in respect of children related issues.

Outside of work, Clare likes to spend time with her family and friends.


Clare is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, the Leeds Law Society, Resolution (formally known as the Solicitors Family Law Association), Lawyers for Children and the Association of Lawyers for Children.

Child Care & Public Law Team

Kavya Balram

Kavya moved to the UK in 2015. She is a qualified lawyer in India. Kavya has always wanted to progress her career in law and pursue further studies to dual qualify as a Solicitor in England and Wales. She has passed the first stage of the exams and is studying towards the second part....

Sarah Brown

Associate Solicitor
Sarah joined Ridley & Hall in 2010 following the completion of her Law Degree. Whilst working at Ridley & Hall she studied the Legal Practice Course part time over two years, completing it in 2012....

Nicki Butterworth

Associate Personal Assistant
Nicki is an experienced Personal Assistant who works within the Care & Public Law Team (for Child Care Director, James Cook). Nicki’s career began in the retail sector, and it was there where she began to hone her renowned communication and customer service skills....
James Cook

James  Cook

Head of Child Care & Public Law Team
James Cook trained and qualified at a South Yorkshire firm where he specialised in family and immigration law. ...

Deborah Hardy

Deborah has over 25 years’ experience in family law and has particular expertise in representing children, court appointed guardians, parents and extended family members in care proceedings in Leeds and surrounding areas. She joined Ridley & Hall as a Partner in 2018....

Victoria Jones

Trainee Solicitor
Victoria achieved a First Class M Law (Exempting) degree at Northumbria University. Whilst at university, Victoria was a student adviser at Northumbria University’s Student Law Office, providing detailed legal advice to members of the public under solicitor supervision. Prior to commencing her final year at University, Victoria completed a short internship working with a law firm in Singapore....

Laura Milburn

Laura has many years of legal experience and was called to the Bar in 2010.  After qualifying as a Barrister, Laura cross-qualified to become a Solicitor in 2012.   Laura is a passionate advocate and has used her advocacy and negotiation skills on behalf of many clients over the years. ...

Helen Moody

Helen completed her degree in law in 2009 before continuing her studies part time on the Legal Practice Course whilst working in a solicitors firm in Wakefield to gain experience. Helen joined Ridley & Hall in January 2012 after completion of the Legal Practice Course,  initially as a Legal Assistant working alongside Nigel Priestley to build up experience in the Public Law department. Helen completed her training contract at Ridley & Hall and qualified as a solicitor in October 2016....

Nigel Priestley

Senior Partner, MBE
Nigel Priestley is a Senior Partner of Ridley & Hall Solicitors and a community care and adoption specialist solicitor. He is a member of the Children’s Panel and regularly represents children and parents in care proceedings. ...

Michelle Silcox

Michelle joined Ridley & Hall in October 2019 and was admitted to the Role of Solicitor in early November 2019. Following redundancy from her longstanding role as Customer Service Manager at a national workwear company in 2007, Michelle took the decision to go to University and study law, something she had also hoped to do....
Natalie Stephenson Quayle

Natalie Stephenson-Quayle

Natalie started at Ridley & Hall in November 2019 as a care paralegal. In September 2020, Natalie integrated into the Public Law team as well, so now she works in both the Care and the Public Law teams which offers her the ability to help clients in need. This is something she has been interested in from a young age. ...

Rosie Turner

Rosie primarily assists clients on a variety of issues in relation to kinship care, particularly claiming allowances and back dated payments for kinship carers from Local Authority’s. Rosie also assists clients with Special Guardianship Order applications and advice in relation to the support that is available under Special Guardianship Orders....
Yasmin Walker

Yasmin Walker

Trainee Solicitor
Yasmin initially joined our Residential Property team in the South Elmsall office as a Conveyancing Assistant in September 2019 to gain first hand legal experience whilst undertaking her Masters Qualification....

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