I am a solicitor based in our London team. I help clients in London and surrounding areas to deal with all aspects of family law. I regularly work with professionals in need of advice.
My practice in private children law involves cases dealing with the following issues:
- Allegations of domestic abuse, including controlling and coercive behaviour
- International relocation and abduction
- Factitious illness
- Parental alienation issues
- Vulnerable clients who lack capacity or have mental health diagnoses
- Obtaining permission and acting for grandparents
- Future child arrangements where parents don’t agree on how the week-to-week contact and holidays will be split
Through my work I have developed a particular interest in matters involving domestic abuse. I work on a number of complex private children law cases. In particular those involving Practice Direction 12J (controlling behaviour and coercion), domestic abuse and how that links to future arrangements for children. I represent clients where a Fact Finding Hearing is required to determine allegations raised by parties. I also act for clients within injunction proceedings, assisting them to either apply for, or defend, non-molestation orders and/ or occupation orders. Because of this I am part of IM’s Complex Children Team of Excellence and Domestic Abuse Team of Excellence.
I provide pragmatic, balanced advice on the benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution to clients, however where Court is the only option I am an effective and committed litigator. I have successfully advocated for clients in Court. During my clients’ most stressful times in their lives, my aim is to make sure that they feel supported and reassured by their representation. For me, it is crucial that I keep focus on the financial and emotional cost of the case for the client.
I have been involved in cases before the High Court with leading King’s Counsel. Most notably, I worked on the case of AB v CD and Anor  EWHC 819, a private law children case involving cross-allegations of domestic abuse between the parents.
I acted on a pro bono basis for the Mother in the case of K v K (No. 2)  EWFC 171 when the case was remitted to a Circuit judge for a re-hearing of the fact finding trial following the Court of Appeal’s prior decision in the instant case K v K  EWCA Civ 468.
Due to my pro bono involvement in an application for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court, I attend the UK Supreme Court/ Judicial Committee of the Privy Council User Group to provide feedback as a court user and hear about developments at the court.
What inspired you to get into law?
I’ve always been a strong advocate for social justice and equality. I’m passionate about fighting for a fair outcome for everyone. My team and the work we do for clients continue to inspire me each and every day.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
As a family law solicitor you meet people at one of the most difficult times in their lives. It’s a privilege to know that you are helping someone navigate such an unfamiliar and challenging situation, and for them to trust you to do so. The tangible difference you’re able to make to a client’s life is truly rewarding.
What do you like about working at Irwin Mitchell?
What I like most about working for Irwin Mitchell is the chance to work alongside leading experts in the field. I enjoy working for a firm where everyone genuinely cares and works towards making a difference.
I am part of our National Wellbeing Group as raising mental health awareness and supporting colleagues with these issues is something that is very close to my heart. I am so pleased and proud to work somewhere that recognises the importance of promoting the wellbeing of both its colleagues and clients.
What do you do away from the office?
To unwind from work I enjoy Pilates and running, from Park Run to half-marathons. My marathon goal is London 2023 (due to postponed entry as a result of the March 2020 lockdown!).
I’m an avid Newcastle United supporter and music lover – I will forever be a massive Bob Dylan fan. On a weekend, I can often be found in the company of family and friends with good food and wine.
“I just wish to say that I am so, so grateful. Annie Chawla and Charlotte Watson have been on a journey with me and helped me get my life back on track! After an unsavoury start to divorce proceedings and extremely difficult parental relationship with my former partner, the situation looked bleak and I was not optimistic about its outcome. This was until I met Annie and Charlotte. They are extremely professional, dedicated and I felt they really cared about helping me.
"I highly recommend Annie as a solicitor and Charlotte as a paralegal if you are having issues around family matters and I am so pleased with the outcome of my court hearing as this chapter of my life is about to end. Thank you!” - 5* Trustpilot review
"During an extremely difficult time for me, the team at Irwin Mitchell have provided amazing support, advice, and care. Annie Chawla has gone above and beyond to ensure that my case was managed to an extremely high standard, also that at every stage I understood the legal implications of every decision, court orders etc. explaining everything to me in terms I could easily understand.
"Most importantly for me, Annie Chawla not only supported me in a legal capacity, responded to my concerns professionally and rapidly but was highly sensitive to the fact that it was proving to be an very emotional case for me." - 5* Trustpilot review
"I would highly recommend Irwin Mitchell to assist and help with a divorce, especially Annie. They were very helpful, and understanding, explained everything, every step of the way, and were kind and considerate in very difficult times." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Scott and Annie...have been outstanding throughout my extremely lengthy and complicated court proceedings. The quality of their work and dedication has been second to none. They kept me up to date with everything, they were always there when I needed them and were responsive and prompt with any questions or queries I had. I really valued the honesty and clarity with which information was delivered, which left me feeling confident and reassured whatever situation I found myself in. I always felt included and part of a team with a shared goal.
"They consistently went above and beyond. Not only has their meticulous attention to detail and professionalism been unfaltering, they've shown extraordinary empathy, understanding and kindness at every stage of my case and this you cannot put a value on. They identified counsel of an equally high standard and as a team they were incredible. Not once did I feel like just another client. I am truly grateful for what Scott and Annie have done for me in achieving an outcome I never dared imagine." - 5* Trustpilot Review
“From the outset Helen and Annie Chawla set me at east that I would see my boys again. Through the process they have advised me and we achieved my goals. I would highly recommend Irwin Mitchell, Helen and Annie and would thank them for allowing me to spend time with my children again.” – 5* Trustpilot Review
“The service provided by Irwin Mitchell was second to none and in particular April and Annie…Everything was explained to me very clearly at every stage and whilst April and Annie were doing their jobs, they provided support and guidance and made me feel at ease and they genuinely cared. Their guidance and support helped bring my matter to a close as quickly and smoothly as possible.” – 5* Trustpilot Review
“She [Annie] has made our process, so easy and stress free. Everything was fully explained to us, and she kept in touch via mail, telephone, email and via Zoom, which was ideal for us. Excellent service and would highly recommend.” – 5* Trustpilot Review
“Annie has been outstanding and it's been a pleasure working with her. I'm really grateful for all the help.” – Client feedback