Manchester, United Kingdom
Cara qualified as a Solicitor in 2006 and has practiced family law exclusively for over 10 years. She is a Partner at JMW Solicitors joining the firm in June 2016.
Cara’s client base covers the UK and abroad and she has vast experience in dealing with all aspects of relationship breakdown, including divorce and financial remedy matters but her niche specialism is in regard to complex children law matters and cases with an international element including:
She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Private Law Children and Child Abduction cases. She has been involved in cases where issues have arisen in Australia, USA, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle and Far East. She prepares reports and documents for use in overseas proceedings, where information is required on facts or points of law in England and Wales.
She regularly deals with cases involving serious allegations of physical, emotional, psychological and/or sexual abuse as well as cultural, religious and mental health issues. She has taken on many cases involving lawful and unlawful movement of children both within the UK and internationally.
She was listed as Chambers & Partners Star Associate in 2014/15 and 2015/16 with comments including “I was impressed by how she works at the speed of light, will drop everything for you and puts up a good fight." Clients have commented that they “can’t speak highly enough of her,” describing her as an "excellent team player" who "has an admirable ability to cut through to the central plank of a case".
She frequently writes articles for the press and professional publications and is regularly quoted in national publications. Cara has appeared on regional and national radio as well as television discussing Family Law issues.
Cara is a member of Resolution and was on the founding committee of Young Resolution Manchester. For 8 years she sat on the committee of the Manchester Young Solicitor Group and is on the committee of the Association of Women Solicitors in Manchester. She acts as Legal Advisor to the North West adoption panel of national adoption charity ‘After Adoption’.
Fund raising committee
Associate in the family department
Cara has practised exclusively in Family Law since 2005, and qualified as a solicitor in 2006. Although based in Manchester, Cara represents individuals from all areas of the country and abroad.
Cara specialises in complex children law and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Private Law Children and Child Abduction cases. She has extensive experience in:
Contested private law proceedings regarding all aspects of a child’s upbringing;
Extended family disputes;
International and internal relocation applications;
Cross-jurisdictional contact disputes and enforcement of orders;
Surrogacy, donation/ pre-conception and co-parenting agreements.
Cara also prepares documents and reports for use in foreign proceedings, in cases where information is needed as to facts or law in England and Wales.
Her past cases have involved issues arising in Australia, USA, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Far East. She has frequently dealt with cases involving serious allegations of emotional, physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse, cultural and religious issues, and mental health issues, together with intractable contact disputes and significant hostility. She has undertaken many cases regarding the lawful and unlawful movement of children both within the jurisdiction and internationally.
As a junior lawyer, Cara assisted on the first reported case of the use of Art. 11 of Brussels IIr to review the refusal of a foreign court to order the return of a child habitually resident in the UK – Re A (Abduction: Non-Return) 2006 EWHC 3397.
In addition to children cases, Cara also undertakes all aspects of divorce and financial remedy work, including cases with an international element and where asset-tracing is required.
Cara obtained a degree in Law from Kings College London, where she was awarded the Manches Prize for Family Law in 2002, before completing her LPC at Nottingham Law School. She moved to Manchester in order train and qualify at Pannone. She regularly writes articles for the press and professional publications and is often quoted in national publications. Cara has appeared on regional and national radio and television discussing Family Law issues. She also lectures on family law.
Cara has been a member of Resolution since qualification and was on the founding committee of Young Resolution Manchester. She sat on the committee of the MYSG for 8 years and continues on the committee of the Association of Women Solicitors in Manchester. Cara participates in fundraising committees of various local charities. She also works closely with national adoption charity After Adoption, and acts as Legal Advisor to their North West adoption panel.
2000 - 2003
Law LLB, (Manches Prize for Family Law 2002)
1993 - 2000
2003 - 2004
"Cara Nuttall is at the top of her field. She has represented me in international family matters. I am most impressed by her diligence, preparation, knowledge of the law and the judicial system, and tireless advocacy. She listens to me, her client, and quickly addresses concerns thoroughly so that I'm not left in the dark about my case or what to realistically expect. Her candour, integrity, and hard work really worked in my case and I would recommend her to others dealing with international family/domestic relations cases without hesitation. I have worked with other supposed "top notch" solicitors in the U.K., I'm from the USA, but I was not that impressed. Ms. Nuttall's intelligence really shines through in everything she does."
“I really appreciate your hard work and dedication. You are an absolute credit and asset to your firm. We both thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Mr J, Manchester
Thank you so much, couldn't have survived this without your help Cara, you are amazing at what you do.
"I was impressed how she works at the speed of light, will drop everything for you and puts up a good fight."
"Can't speak highly enough of her."
"An excellent team player" who "has an admirable ability to cut through the central plank of a case".
Cara Nuttall Successful appeal of an interim residence order, with costs;
Cara Nuttall Wardship application following complications arising after a foreign surrogacy arrangement
Cara Nuttall Complex private law proceedings involving the falsification of evidence and the failure of a medical professional to follow protocol, with “gross” litigation misconduct, and costs consequences.
As a junior lawyer, Cara assisted on the first reported case of the use of Art. 11 of Brussels IIr to review the refusal of a foreign court to order the return of a child habitually resident in the UK
Family Law Week:
L v M  EWHC 4299 (Fam)Judgment with regard to disputed allegations in proceedings where the father had removed the children from the jurisdiction without the knowledge of the mother.
The mother had travelled to Country A with the father in 2007 to visit her allegedly ill mother. The parties' two young children were left in England in the care of the paternal family. The mother alleges that father retained her passport on their arrival in Country A, and subsequently stranded her there.The mother spent five years trying to regain entry to this jurisdiction, eventually returning here in 2012. By then, the father had removed the children to, initially, Country A where he lived for a number of months with his new wife, and subsequently relocated to Country B. The mother had no knowledge of the father's removal of the children from this jurisdiction. Over the course of the five years, the mother's attempt to have contact with the children had been thwarted by the paternal family, and as a result she had had no contact with them. This judgment was given after the court heard the oral evidence of the parties, in the father's application for a stay of the English proceedings on forum conveniens ground. The father argued that Country A was better placed to hear this case. However, following some judicial steer, the father did not pursue his application for a stay, but agreed that the most sensible course was for him to make an application for permission to remove the children from the jurisdiction permanently. Giving a judgment on the disputed allegations, Theis J preferred the evidence of the mother despite certain inaccurate information that the mother had given to the authorities when making her application to secure a visa. The father was said to have come across as someone who was not being truthful with the court. On the balance of probabilities, Theis J found that the mother was a stranded spouse as a result of the actions of the father in taking her to Country A knowing that she could not re-enter this country. The father had not made any real effort to maintain the mother's relationship with the children. Theis J directed that work be undertaken with the children to help restore the relationship between the mother and the children. Summary by Katy Chokowry, barrister, 1 King's Bench Walk
You can read the judgement in full here: L v M  EWHC 4299 (Fam)
Applications by former female partner of mother of child for permission to apply for residence and contact orders, and for declarations that she was a ‘psychological parent’ to the child and that they shared family life within the meaning of Article 8 of the ECHR. Applications dismissed in respect of residence and contact orders, and that the applicant was a 'psychological parent', but declaration granted as to family life between the applicant and child.
The parties to this application were two women who had, until January 2014, been in a same-sex relationship. The subject child in this case, G, was the biological child of C and was conceived using donor sperm (in an informal and unregulated arrangement). L and C had decided to have a child together and it was common ground between them that they intended to be 'equal' parents. G was born in October 2013 but the relationship ended abruptly when G was 2 ½ months old and C took G to live in Ireland where she was from and where her older daughter had remained throughout C's time in England.In February 2014, L applied for permission to apply for a residence and contact order and for declarations that she was a 'psychological parent' to G and that they shared family life within the meaning of Article 8. On behalf of C, it was argued that the English court did not have jurisdiction to hear these applications. Jurisdiction in respect of the Children Act applications was in accordance with the Family Law Act 1996 and Brussels II Revised and so the question of jurisdiction turned on whether G was habitually resident in England and Wales.Having considered the relevant case law, the judge concluded that G was not habitually resident in England because she had spent a significant period (7 ½ weeks out of four months) of her life in Ireland, she was dependent on her mother who was habitually resident in Ireland, and she had been lawfully removed from this jurisdiction, the latter fact being conceded by C.Consequently, the court had no jurisdiction to determine the matters relating to parental responsibility (these being the applications for permission to seek a residence/contact order). The judgment then goes on to deal with the applications for declarations. BIIR does not apply to 'the establishment or contesting of a parent-child relationship' [Art 1(3)(a)] and nor did the 1986 Act prevent the court from hearing the applications for declarations. However, on behalf of C it was argued that the court should not interfere with matters properly within the province of the Irish court and that the court could not make a freestanding declaration of human rights when there were no substantive proceedings concerning the child and alternatively that if jurisdiction existed it should not be exercised.The application for a declaration of psychological parenthood was refused on the basis that it was not an appropriate subject for a declaration; declarations are intended to be of matters of fact.As far as the application for a declaration of Article 8 rights was concerned, there was no precedent for the application and no assistance on the question of the appropriate jurisdiction was to be found in either the Convention or in any statute. Returning to first principles, the question was therefore whether this was a natural and appropriate forum in which to seek this declaration.Whilst it would not be appropriate to trespass on the jurisdiction of the Irish court, Jackson J was of the view that this application could be determined as a freestanding application and that there was no reason for it to fail for want of a substantive application in respect of the child. He was being asked to make a declaration about a situation that existed in England at a time when G had never lived anywhere else and which involved citizens of two contracting states. He therefore concluded that there was no territorial reason why the application for this jurisdiction should not be heard here.The procedural objection that this application could not be made as a freestanding application was based on section 7 of the Human Rights Act. However, it was an application for a declaration as to Convention rights and it was not made under the Human Rights Act and therefore was not restricted by s.7. Moreover, to conclude that this court was impotent to make declarations as to human rights about matters arising from past events within its territorial jurisdiction would amount to a denial of justice. There was nothing in the Convention or any statute to so restrict it and so it must be right that the procedural objection to the application must also fail.Jackson J therefore reminded himself of the case law on the definition of family life: it is a matter of substance rather than form; whilst there need to be close family ties, they need not be fully developed and there is no precise definition of 'family life'. Taking into account all the circumstances of this case, there were compelling arguments for making such a declaration: from G's point of view, it was important to reflect the circumstances of her conception and neonatal period as accurately as possible. The practical benefit to G was that such a declaration might contribute to her future welfare and it might be useful to a court hearing future proceedings. The declaration as to family life between C and G at the time of G's removal to Ireland was therefore made.Summary by Sally Gore, barrister, Fourteen
You can read the judgment in full here: L v C  EWFC 1280
Summer is supposed to be the season when families get together, have fun and enjoy good weather.
Sadly, for children of divorced parents things can be rather more complicated. There’s plenty of evidence that as mom and dad move on with separate lives, tensions come to the surface which can ruin more than just the holidays.
Analysis of the work done by my own firm, Pannone, has revealed that children’s emotional welfare is put at risk because they are often used as pawns in parents’ arguments about their new partners.
Having noticed an increase in disputes between parents in the run-up to this holiday season, we decided to examine whether it was something which was only occurring in 2011 or was representative of a pattern that could also be seen in previous years’ caseloads.
We looked back over the last two years and discovered that as many as 75 per cent of parents who needed some legal help to resolve issues of residence or contact involving children get caught up in arguments about their former partner’s new relationships.
It also seems that many of the most acute difficulties happen during school summer holidays. Although some involve very real issues, we estimated that 30 percent featured attempts to stop their former partners making a fresh start.
Furthermore, our findings echoed what family law colleagues at other firms across England and Wales were telling us informally.
Such situations are traumatic for all concerned but aren’t necessarily borne out of malice. At the heart of many such cases are parents simply worried that their ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend will replace them in their affections.
My experience has taught me that almost no parent deliberately goes out to hurt their children but the issues involved are so emotive that they often don’t think or behave in a rational manner. They believe that they’re doing what’s right even when, in actual fact, they’re not.
Unfortunately, relationships such as those involving Bruce Willis and Demi Moore are rare. After their 13-year marriage ended in divorce in 2000, they have, according to numerous reports, continued to holiday together with their three daughters and their new partners came too.
In 2007, Willis was reported as telling interviewers that he found it easier to come to terms with both because he recognized the importance of his children and because of advice he received from another A-lister, Will Smith. “He said, ‘Dude, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to get the kids and all the spouses or the girlfriend together. “You’ve got to show your kids it’s okay.’ It was like a light went on. Ding.”
It is, of course, not only about how the parents cope with not being together but how the children react as well. Some find it terribly difficult to comprehend mom and dad having split up and there are infrequent circumstances in which courts might even ask a father or mother to put new relationships on hold in order to limit the potential upset for their children. I believe that the problem often lies more with the parents than the children involved. If they are guilty, it seems more that they’re being over-sensitive than anything else.
There is no hard and fast rule as to when a new parent should be introduced to children. Each family unit has its own distinct dynamic, both before and after a divorce or separation.
In my view and that of my colleagues, the key is communication. Parents need to be able to discuss matters in a calm, clear and rational fashion, concentrating on putting a child’s best interests first. Sometimes, people who are not immediately involved — such as extended family, friends, trained mediators or family solicitors — can provide some objective input and suggest ways to manage the situation.
It might not be easy for adults to always be ‘grown-up’ in emotionally testing circumstances but the benefits of helping their children become stable, well-adjusted adults in their own right surely outweigh short-term point-scoring.
Cara Nuttall, Katie Lowe and Francesca Norris join from Slater and Gordon in Manchester while Jenny Arnold has been recruited from Ward Hadaway.
The department will also be strengthened with the addition of a new head of family at the end of October.
Both Nuttall, who joins as a partner, and Lowe, who becomes a senior associate, had worked together at Pannone before it became part of Slater and Gordon.Nuttall undertakes all aspects of family law but is known nationally for specialising in children matters including child abduction, alternative families, extended family disputes and fertility law. She frequently undertakes both domestic and international abduction and relocation cases and also helps clients with surrogacy arrangements.
Lowe was a lawyer at Pannone (now Slater and Gordon) for over 10 years.
She works across all areas of family law but undertakes a vast amount of complex financial remedy work including complex business structures, trusts and international assets as well as being experienced across pre-nuptial agreements, private children work and financial applications on behalf of children.
Arnold, who comes on board as an associate. She advises in all areas of family law including civil partnership dissolution, cohabitation agreements, separation agreements and financial settles and her clients include high net-worth professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs.
Norris also joins as a solicitor, having completed her training contract at Slater and Gordon.
The appointments follow the founding of Hall Brown by two of JMW’s former salaried partners who were later joined by three solicitors and a part-time associate from their previous team.
Senior partner Joy Kingsley said: “We are extremely pleased with the quality of the lawyers we have been able to recruit, following the departure of some team members. We received many applications to join our team from lawyers at all levels of experience including Partners so we have been able to choose lawyers of the highest calibre. In addition, we are looking forward to the arrival of our new Head of Family at the end of October.
"We are also delighted but not surprised that new and existing Family clients have continued to support us because of the reputation of JMW which has enabled us to take on so many lawyers at this time.”
JMW has also announced that existing Heads of the Family department Catherine Jones and Beth Wilkin, previously from Pannone LLP, are retiring from JMW on 30 September after 5 years with the firm.
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