Stephen Sowden qualified as a Solicitor in 1994, having studied at the University of West of England, and became a Partner at The Family Law Company in 2005.

After qualifying Stephen was involved in civil litigation focusing primarily on insolvency work. In 1999, after five years acting for the public in civil litigation and disputes, Stephen made the change to family law as he had the desire to make a significant difference to people’s lives.

Stephen is a member of the Law Society Children panel and represents children, parents and extended family members, primarily in cases where the local authority is involved but also in private family disputes about children.

Although Stephen has experience in all areas of family work, he has a particular interest in all matters relating to children, the rights of the child and what is in the best interest of the child.

Stephen acts for parents as well as extended family members (in particular Grandparents) and for and against Local Authorities in terms of public law matters, and specialises in contact issues, residence issues, step parent adoption, adoption and Special Guardianship Orders.

We would like to thank you for all your help and guidance, hopefully as you predicted we are now in the system and won’t have need for legal advice or a return to court apart from the SGO hearing. You were fantastic Stephen, during a very emotional and stressful time I know we would have found this all a lot more difficult without you.

To see a video of Stephen talking to The Grandparents Association about helping those grandparents’ with issues such as special guardianship’s and denied contact click here.

Relevant Experience

  • Acting for a grandmother in proceedings where she had lost contact with her grandchild. She had started the proceedings with guidance from me, but the Court order was breached and she was denied contact, so it became necessary for me to act for her. This led the matter being transferred to the High Court; a psychologist was instructed and the relationship between the child and grandparent was found to be crucial to the child’s wellbeing.
  • Acting for a child who had been adopted in a South American country, which was not recognised in the United Kingdom. The matter was heard in the High Court and the adoption was allowed to proceed
  • Acting for a parent who was a drug addict; her child had been seriously harmed in her care and she was unable to care for the child. I secured a family placement which meant that the client had good contact with the child, and the child saw her siblings.
  • Representing a mother who had two children who were full siblings. The eldest was adopted as the mother was unable to care for the child, but she was able to care for the younger child. There was a plan for indirect contact. The mother applied to the court for an order for contact between the two siblings, for which she required the permission of the court. This was refused by the Circuit Judge. However, the Court of Appeal granted her permission to make her application and a guardian was appointed.


  • Trustee of  Grandparents Plus ( incorporating the Grandparents Association)