Anita Rao

Called 2011

Anita practises in three of chambers’ core specialisms: family law, public law and civil law matters, particularly those with family or public law aspects. Anita has particular expertise in those cases that involve the intersection of family and public law. Further details of her practice are available below.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Anita worked as a caseworker at a leading national law firm, advising and representing vulnerable adults and minors in refugee and public law matters. Anita has also worked for several years in a legal capacity for number of charitable organisations and NGOs both in the UK and abroad.

Upon completing pupillage, Anita spent two terms as Judicial Assistant to Lady Justice Arden at the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), where she assisted the Court in a wide range of civil and family law matters.

If you would like any further information regarding Anita’s practice, please contact her clerks or call +44 (0)20 7405 6114.

Public Law and Local Government

Court of Protection

Anita regularly appears in the Court of Protection, acting on behalf of local authorities, protected parties (through the Official Solicitor), NHS bodies and care homes.

She has considerable experience of welfare applications, including those relating to residence, care and contact and disputes as to capacity. Anita has experience of, and takes a particular interest in, cases involving children and young people who lack capacity, and brings the benefits of her experience in family law to her practice in this area.

Anita recently represented Birmingham City Council as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal, led by Jonathan Cowen, in the case of D. This case concerned the ability of parents to consent to a deprivation of liberty on behalf of their 16-17 year old child, where that child lacked capacity. Anita was also instructed as junior counsel in the court below: Birmingham City Council v D [2016] EWCOP 8

Anita is also regularly instructed in mixed welfare and property and financial affairs cases, and brings the experience of a nine-month in-house secondment in property and financial affairs litigation to this area of her practice. Anita also appears in the civil courts in applications concerning vulnerable adults, including applications to displace a nearest relative.

Community Care

Anita is regularly instructed to advise in ordinary residence disputes, both prior to a referral to the Secretary of State and during that process. She also has experience of contested litigation in this area having assisted Tony Harrop-Griffiths during pupillage in the Court of Appeal on two occasions, in R (Cornwall Council) v Secretary of State for Health and Ors [2014] EWCA Civ 12 and R (Wiltshire Council) v Hertfordshire County Council and SQ [2014] EWCA Civ 712.




Family Law

Public Children Law

Anita regularly appears in care and placement order proceedings at all levels of the Family Court, including in the High Court. She acts at all stages of such proceedings, from contested ICOs and EPOs, to fact findings and multi-day final hearings. Anita has experience of acting in complex cases involving issues of neglect, physical abuse, emotional harm, drug and alcohol abuse (including FDAC), mental health difficulties, capacity and deprivation of liberty. She regularly advises and represents a broad range of clients, including local authorities, parents, interveners and children (thorough their children’s Guardian and otherwise).

Anita has a particular interest in cases with international and cross-jurisdictional elements, and has advised and acted in a number of cases involving complex international relocations and placements in Europe and Asia.

She has a developing practice in surrogacy, and has experience of advisory work in international surrogacy and adoption matters.

Anita was recently instructed as junior counsel, led by Ruth Cabeza, in the Court of Appeal in the matter of Re Y (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 1091., a case concerning the ambit of ‘realistic options’ considered by the lower Court in its Re B-S analysis.

Private Law & Family Law Act 1996

Anita is regularly instructed to advise and act in proceedings under Part VI of the Family Law Act 1996 and has acted in several cases involving allegations of serious domestic violence, at each of the ex parte, on notice and fact finding stages.

Anita further acts in private children matters, including applications for Child Arrangement orders, Specific Issue orders and declarations of parentage. She has a particular interest in cases with an international dimension, in particular where relocation out of the jurisdiction is proposed.

Financial Remedies

Anita practices in all aspects of divorce and matrimonial finance law, including Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 and TOLATA 1996 proceedings. She represents clients at all stages of financial remedy proceedings, from first appointment to final hearing, and has experience of a wide range of cases, from those with significant assets to more modest assets where entitlement to social security benefits and housing is in issue.

While a Judicial Assistant at the Court of Appeal, Anita assisted in the matter of Curran v Collins, in which the Court considered whether the lower court had erred in applying Stack v Dowden and Jones v Kernott in assessing the question of whether the Appellant’s contribution to the parties’ home and relationship had given rise to a constructive trust.

Civil Law

Anita advises and appears in a range of civil law proceedings, particularly those with family law and public law aspects. Anita has a particular interest in, and experience of, contentious probate matters, including those where capacity disputes, undue influence and rectification are in issue, and in cases involving trusts of land in a family context.

Anita also appears in the Employment Tribunal, and has been instructed in a wide variety of unfair dismissal, race, gender and disability discrimination and wrongful dismissal matters. While a Judicial Assistant at the Court of Appeal, Anita assisted in the appeals of Benkharbourche and Janeh, in which the Court considered whether the State Immunity Act 1978 operated to prevent domestic workers employed in diplomatic households from bringing employment law claims in EU law to the Employment Tribunal for determination. An appeal from this decision was recently considered by the Supreme Court, who unanimously dismissed the appeal and upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision.


Notable Cases
  • BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), University of Oxford (Balliol)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Law (PgDL), City Law School: Commendation
  • Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School: Very Competent


  • Hubert Greenland Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Marchant Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Lord Haldane Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Hardwicke grant awardee, Lincoln’s Inn
  • 11 KBW Human Rights Essay Prize. Finalist
Professional Memberships
  • Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)
  • Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
  • Court of Protection Practitioners Association (COPPA)
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)
  • Young Legal Aid Lawyers
  • Bar Pro Bono Uni
Seminars and Articles

Anita regularly gives seminars and talks on issues relating to her practice, including: practice and procedure in public law children proceedings, trusts of land, division of assets in cohabitation cases, best practice in the Court of Protection and deprivation of liberty applications for children and young people.

Anita is a regular contributor to chambers’ family law, public law & Court of Protection publications and to the Family Law Week site.