Dr Martina van der Leij

Call: 2001

Dr Martina van der Leij specialises in family law.  Before coming to the Bar, she worked as a clinical research scientist.  She has a PhD from UCL and completed a postdoc at KCL. This background and the critical, analytical approach it cultivated has served her well when dealing with complex care cases that have significant medical or expert evidence.

She is regularly instructed by local authorities, parents and Guardians in cases involving:

She has completed the Advocacy & The Vulnerable (Family) training and understands the key principles behind the approach to, and questioning of, vulnerable people in the justice system.

Martina also accepts instructions in private law cases and ancillary relief, as well as Court of Protection cases and matters involving the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

She is a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit and sits in the Financial Remedies Court. She is also a deputy district judge for London and the South East sitting in family and civil.

Martina is able to accept instructions directly from members of the public within her specialist areas.

She is joint head of chambers’ family law group.

If you would like more information about Martina’s practice, please contact her clerks or call +44 (0)20 7405 6114.

Areas of expertise

Family & children

Martina is regularly instructed to advise and represent local authorities, parents and children in often complex and sensitive public law proceedings involving allegations of non-accidental (unexplained) injuries and sexual abuse of children.

She also regularly represents parents in private proceedings involving disputes over contact, residence, removal from the jurisdiction.

Financial provision

Martina has acted and advised in a broad range of ancillary relief matters, including more complex cases involving interveners, insolvency, or company assets.  She is also instructed in cases dealing with financial provision for children, cohabitation and civil partnership disputes.  She has advised on pre-nuptial agreements.

Martina has appeared in a number of contested divorces and nullity proceedings, as well as declarations as to the validity of foreign marriages.

Additional information

Before coming to the Bar, Martina worked as a scientist in both academia and industry.  Her first degree was a joint major in Zoology and Botany, and she completed a Masters in Biotechnology in 1991.  She was awarded a PhD (biological sciences – membrane transport) by UCL in 1995.  In addition to carrying out research and field work in Africa and India, she worked in the Biodiscovery Division of Rhone Poulenc, and as a clinical scientist for a company conducting clinical trials, before retraining as a barrister.  In addition to her areas of work, she has an interest in all aspects of science and law, in particular genetics and ethics, and environmental issues.

Martina is a qualified Public Access barrister.


Notable cases


PhD (Biological Sciences) UCL 1995

Professional memberships

Privacy notice

Privacy Notice – Martina van der Leij – 24.10.2019