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Nigel Priestley


Senior Partner, MBE
Department: Child Care & Public Law
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Nigel Priestley is 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.

Nigel was awarded the MBE in New Year Honours 2021 for series to children and families.

Nigel’s work has been celebrated and he is a leading expert in kinship care, adoption breakdown and care proceedings. Nigel won the Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year Award at the Yorkshire Legal Awards in 2017.

He has taken the lead in bringing Judicial Review proceedings on behalf of children placed with Kinship Carers. These actions are to ensure that local authorities fulfil their legal obligations towards Family and Friend Carers and the children who are living with them.

He has been involved in landmark decisions as a result of Judicial Reviews he has brought. These include a successful challenge against Kirklees when they were paying Special
Guardianship Allowance at 2/3 the Fostering Allowance. In another case the Court of Appeal set out when children living with grandparent carers should be regarded as ‘looked after’ children.

He represents children, parents and grandparents in care proceedings. He has been involved in cases in the High Court which have been reported in the legal press including a foreign adoption and the making of Wardship Orders in care proceedings where the children suffered serious global developmental delay.

Nigel works closely with Grandparents Plus and many support organisations. Over £1 million has been paid to carers in respect of back paid Fostering Allowances as a result of actions in which Nigel has been involved.

Nigel has spoken at conferences organised by the Grandparents Association, BAAF and Grandparents Plus.

Nigel is concerned about the support given to adopters. He is a member of Adoption UK and advises adopters facing post adoption support challenges as to their rights.

Nigel helped set up the unique Twinning Link between Huddersfield Law Society and the Uganda Law Society in 2002. The link has provided legal resources and training for Ugandan lawyers. Nigel has regularly carried out training in Kampala.  The Twinning Link won the Pro Bono Award at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2016, and it was highly commended at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2016.

He is a grandfather himself and understands the pressures on grandparent carers!

Areas of work Nigel deals with

Awards

  • Awarded the MBE in New Year Honours 2021 for series to children and families
  • Won Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year 2017
  • Won Lawyer of the Year Award at the Modern Law Awards (2016)
  • Shortlisted for Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Adoption Week Awards (2016)
  • Shortlisted for Partner of the Year at both Yorkshire Legal Awards and Family Law Awards (2016)
  • Shortlisted for Family Law Partner of the Year at the Family Law Awards (2015)
  • Won Legal Champion of the Year Award at the Kinship Care Awards (2013)
  • Named The Solicitor of the Year (Private practice) in the National Law Society Excellence Awards (2010)
  • Shortlisted for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award (2008)
  • Law Society Highly Commended Solicitor of the Year (2008)

Child Care & Public Law Team

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

Director,
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

Partner
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....

Clare Linden

Partner
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....

Laura Milburn

Partner
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

Solicitor
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....

Michelle Silcox

Solicitor
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

Paralegal
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

Solicitor
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....

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