Mitali Zakaria

Partner
Mitali Zakaria

Mitali Zakaria is a Partner and Head of the Children and Family Department which she established in 2012. The department has grown during this time under her guidance and expertise despite the family legal aid cuts in 2013.  She is a well-established family solicitor, having worked exclusively in this area since qualifying in 2000.

Mitali has expertise in all areas of family law. She undertakes advocacy at all levels of Court, including the High Court.

Mitali is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, representing Children and Adults, an accredited member of Resolution with a specialism in Private Children Law and Domestic Abuse.  She is also a trained Mediator. Mitali has many links with the local community as well as domestic abuse groups and regularly delivers training courses on developments to law.

Mitali represents parents and children through their Guardians as well as older children separately in care proceedings. Many of these cases involve complex non-accidental injuries and physical and sexual abuse.

Mitali has been instructed on high profile “radicalisation cases” as a result of her reputation and expertise in this area of law.

In her spare time, Mitali enjoys cooking, gardening and keeping fit. Mitali grew up in Jersey and therefore speaks some French and is fluent in Bengali. Mitali also gained a Private Pilot’s license in 1998 and enjoys travelling the world.

Prominent Cases

  • Representing the parents of a child who was made a Ward of Court along with others due to concerns about them travelling to Syria. The case stemmed from the reported case of Tower Hamlets London BC v M & Ors [2015) EWHC 869 (Fam).
  • In A Local Authority v M & Others (Fact Finding) 2016 EWHC 1599 (FAM), Mitali represented a father in care proceedings in which the mother had been radicalised, and had gone on to radicalise the children before attempting to take them to Syria. Mitali’s client sought to have them returned to his sole care. Serious adverse findings were made against the mother. At the final hearing, the Judge made a ruling that that the children should be rehabilitated to the father’s care.
  • In HB v A Local Authority & Anor (Wardship - Costs Funding Order) [2017] EWHC 524 (Fam) (21 March 2017), Mitali represented a mother in wardship proceedings in the High Court. The client was not eligible for public funding because the local authority had chosen to issue wardship proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction rather than care proceedings. Consequently, the mother was not entitled to non-means, non-merits tested legal aid.  The mother could not afford to pay legal fees. An application for a costs funding order was made on behalf of the Mother. In the Judgment MacDonald J considered what was meant by inherent jurisdiction, the extra-statutory limits of the High Court in Family proceedings together with guidance on the issue of radicalisation cases in the Family Courts, he determined that there were many radicalisation cases in which care proceedings should be issued.
  • In A LA v HB (alleged risk of radicalisation and child abduction) [2017] EWHC 1437, the final hearing following the HB v A Local Authority & Anor case in which McDonald J determined that the local authority had not proven any aspect of its case. Therefore, the local authority’s application under the Inherent Jurisdiction was refused, the local authority’s application for a s31 order was dismissed, all injunctive orders against the client and the children were discharged and orders were made that their passports be released to the client.
  • Re HB v PB, OB & London Borough of Croydon (2013) EWHC 1956 (FAM): She acted for the child in a High Court Application within private Children Act proceedings for a costs order against a non-party local authority.
  • Re PM v MB & Anor (2013) EWCA CIV 969: She acted for the Appellant Father in an appeal against a dismissal for his applications for Parental Responsibility, direct contact and against the making of a s.91(14) order.