Valerie Sterling was educated at Manchester High School for Girls and Manchester University. Called to the Bar in 1981, she did chancery and commercial pupillages in London. Valerie was an employed barrister at Leeds City Council before joining chambers to practise exclusively family law. Valerie specialises in complex child care and matrimonial finance cases and is Head of the Family Team. She represents clients with skill, determination and sensitivity.
Languages: French and German
Matrimonial Finance: I represented a wife who obtained a very favourable result after a three day contested final financial hearing concerning a number of family properties.
Divorce & Debt: I acted at FDR and at final hearing in a complex divorce case in which conduct was an issue.
Divorce – High Value: I acted in a wide ranging and complex high value case involving businesses and trusts.
Appeal: I acted for an appellant mother in a two day appeal hearing where the local authority and the guardian both opposed the mother’s applications. I prepared amended grounds of appeal and the supporting skeleton argument together with a bundle of authorities. At the hearing before the appeal judge, permission was granted for the hearing of the appeal out of time but the appeal itself was dismissed.
Mental Health: I have an appreciation of cases involving mental health issues and have acted on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
Fact Finding: The threshold criteria were not met because the mother’s care had not fallen below that expected of a reasonable parent and she had separated immediately from her former partner. In a complex case involving many parties, permission was ultimately given for the local authority to withdraw their applications for care orders in respect of the mother’s children.
Care & Special Guardianship: I represented a young mother in a five day final hearing concerning non-accidental bruising to her young daughter. Special guardianship orders were made to the maternal grandparents providing for the mother to have generous, albeit supervised contact, with her daughter.
Emotional Harm: I represented a father in a case involving longstanding neglect and emotional harm to his daughters who were being cared for by their mother in an extended sibling group. My client resumed care of his two daughters under a supervision order to support the transition of care to him.
Private Law & Domestic Violence: I acted in two contested final hearings regarding contact, achieving positive outcomes in each case. I have particular expertise in handling sensitive cases involving multiple allegations of historical physical, emotional and sexual violence, and those with a religious and cultural dimension. I often represent clients who are assisted by an interpreter.
Care and adoption case.