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Call: 1988

Tanya Zabihi

Albion Chambers

Broad Street Bristol BS1 1DR

  • Overview

    Tanya joined Albion Chambers in January 2017. She has over 27 years of experience working in the field of children and family law and is regularly instructed by local authorities, parents, guardians and adopters. Tanya also specialises in child, education and court of protection work.

    Tanya is the former chairperson of the Bristol Family Law Bar Association.

  • Children & Family

    Tanya’s specialisms include:

    • Care proceedings
    • Care proceedings with an educational element
    • Special educational needs tribunals
    • Residence and contact
    • Adoption
    • Emergency procedures
    • Child abduction and jurisdictional issues
    • Financial provision for children


    Before moving to the independent Bar, Tanya was an employed advocate at a leading County Council in Greater London and also in private practice, heading the Children Team at a legal 500 rated firm. As well as acting as a solicitor advocate for parents, local authorities and children in private and public law proceedings, she was also instructed as a legal adviser to the Adoption Panel, the Area Child Protection Committee and undertook the training of social workers and multi-disciplinary professionals in all aspects of child protection and court work.

    Tanya also took part in numerous Part 8 Enquiries as the legal adviser. This background has given her practice a unique edge in Children related cases.

    Tanya returned to the Bar in 2005 and now specialises in Public law children matters – representing local authorities, parents and children cases involving sexual abuse, severe neglect, factitious illness, human rights issues, non-accidental injury (“baby-shaking cases”), including child death and mental health issues.

    Tanya regularly trains social workers, solicitors and other multi-disciplinary professionals in matters of Child Protection.

    Recent cases:

    Tanya was involved in care proceeding where the two children concerned had a mental age of two, but were in fact turning 18, and proceedings were commenced in The Court of Protection.

    Tanya acted for a seven-year-old child who had been significantly disabled during birth due to a hospital error. There were also issues of child protection which resulted in care proceedings running alongside the Court of Protection proceedings.

    Notable care cases:

    • A & B (Children : Restrictions on Parental Responsibility : Extremism & Radicalisation in Private Law) [2016] EWFC 40 (22 July 2016) A case about potential radicalisation and cessation of parental rights as a result.
    • OCC v B & T [2015] EWFC B73 (18 June 2015) Acted for the children in care and placement applications. Mother was profoundly deaf.
    • HB (A Child) (care proceedings) [2015] EWFC 74 (05 March 2015) Care proceedings. Acted for a father who was suspected by the LA to have killed his child.
    • Borough of Poole v W & Another [2014] EWHC 1777 (Fam) This case involved an application for an adoption order which was opposed by the birth parents who had been given leave to do so on appeal.
    • Re X (A Child) [2014] EWHC 2522 (Fam).

    Representation of local authorities in the following types of cases:

    • Children caught up in a paedophile ring
    • Children being used in child pornography, working closely with the police
    • Severe inter-generational sexual abuse of multiple children
    • Severe neglect and emotional harm leading to mental and psychological impairment
    • Starvation of child
    • Factitious illness leading to near death of a child
    • Death of a child through multiple catastrophic injuries
    • Mother sexually abusing her child
    • Severe systematic violence in family with use of weapons.

    Representation of parents in the following types of cases:

    • Representation of a father who had murdered his wife
    • Representation of a mother accused of causing 2nd degree burns to a toddler’s face
    • Representation of foster parents fighting the LA’s plan to adopt the child placed with them
    • Representation of mother (through OS) with severe learning disabilities involving issues of NAI, incest, and neglect
    • Tanya also has acted for numerous teenage mothers, and on behalf of the guardian for a number of teenagers.
  • Court of Protection

    Alongside her very busy Child Law Practice, Tanya has developed a Court of Protection practice, an area which she has an avid and passionate interest in. Having specialised in Children’s cases for over 27 years, she has represented many vulnerable and incapacitous parents in care proceedings which have involved the appointment of the Official Solicitor. In addition, she has been involved in numerous cases concerning young persons where declarations of deprivation of liberty have had to be sought. Tanya has also been involved in numerous cases where serious mental health problems have been an issue. Since developing her practice in Court of Protection work she has provided representation to local authorities and family members in cases involving:

    • Personal welfare applications
    • S16 Applications
    • Section 21A applications challenging authorisations of deprivation of liberty
    • Applications for the appointment of deputies (welfare/financial affairs), and other property and affairs applications
    • Proceedings concerning the overlap between the Court of Protection and Children Act 1989.

    Cases of interest:

    • Re AE: representing a local authority on an application by P (suffering with dementia) under s21A to challenge, through her litigation friend, the standard authorisation for placement in a care home.
    • Re IN: representing a profoundly deaf family member who was applying under s21A to challenge the standard authorisation in respect of his mother also profoundly deaf and suffering with dementia. The application also concerned seeking a declaration under s16 MCA for contact as the care home was seeking to severely restrict his contact with his mother.
    • Re JE: representing a wife who was applying for a personal welfare order in respect of her husband who suffered with dementia and was being prevented by his children from coming to live with her or to have contact with her.
    • Re UP: representing a mother who was seeking a personal welfare order in respect of her son who has severe mental health and obesity problems and where the local authority was seeking to restrict her involvement with his care.
    • Re AT: representing a local authority on an application by P (suffering with dementia) under s21A to challenge the standard authorisation for placement in a care home with a view to returning home with a personal package of care provided by a care agency.
Tanya Zabihi


  • “A noteworthy barrister.”
    Legal 500 2019
  • “Recommended.”
    Chambers and Partners 2018
  • “Known for care proceedings.”
    Legal 500 2017
  • “Tanya has over 25 years of experience representing parents, guardians and local authorities on complicated children matters. She has expertise in care proceedings, especially where the children have special educational needs.”
  • Strengths:  “Very tenacious and good on complex cases.” “Really good with clients and a very robust, strong advocate.”
    Chambers and Partners, 2017
  • “An excellent advocate, who is particularly strong in public and private law children cases.”
    Legal 500, 2016
  • “Undertakes a broad spectrum of family law work and over the past year has dealt with a number of educational needs cases. She is instructed in public law cases relating to the death or serious abuse of children, as well as in private law care and welfare arrangements.”
  • Strengths: “She is well regarded by peers, and judges like her too. She is pragmatic but is also seen as very sensitive.”
    Chambers and Partners, 2016
  • “Robust in her approach, and good with clients.”
    Legal 500, 2015
  • “Tanya Zabihi has extensive mediation and negotiating skills”. “A very strong advocate with impressive courtroom skills.”
    Legal 500, 2014


  • LLB (Hons) Middlesex
  • Diploma in Child Protection (King’s College, London)

Professional memberships

  • Association of Lawyers for Children
  • FLBA