Nicole Thornley

Where/when you studied: Bolton School, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University         
Professional expertise before joining the firm: Qualified as a solicitor in 2005 
When you joined the firm: April 2011
Department responsibilities (within the firm): Solicitor in the Family Department 
Areas of special legal expertise: All areas of family law 
Committees or organisations (to support the claim of specialist legal expertise): Family Law Panel, Children Panel, Member of Resolution

Nicole is also volunteer assisting students at Manchester Legal Advice Clinic and assists at Caritas Community Centre providing legal advice and assistance to the local community of Collyhurst. She is also on the Resolution Rota, providing pro-bono advice and assistance at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

Client A.B. - “I found Nicole extremely helpful in every way and very easy to talk to.”

Client S.B. - "I was so happy to work with Nicole. She helped me a lot."

Notable Cases:  

(2015) Instructed by CAFCASS to represent a minor. The child was initially accommodated under section 20 Children Act 1989 due to concerns about parental substance misuse and domestic violence. Unfortunately, parental and kinship assessments were negative. There was unfortunately, no viable option to place the child within the family. Representing the child at Case Management Hearing (CMH), Issues Resolution Hearing (IRH) and contested final hearing. Due to the child’s age the Local Authority’s plan was one of adoption which parents contested. Matter concluded with a care and placement order dispensing with parental consent.


(2014) Instructed by CAFCASS to represent a minor initially accommodated with a family member. Parents threatened to withdraw consent leading the Local Authority to issue care proceedings. Parental problems included chronic drug misuse, chaotic lifestyle and domestic abuse. The child had special educational needs and fortunately the assessment of family member was positive. Representing the child at CMH, IRH to final hearing as parents sought the return of the child and did not support placement with family member. Matter concluded under a care order with family placement meaning the child could continue to reside in current placement.


(2014) Instructed by mother to one child removed under Police Protection powers. Local Authority issued care proceedings and filed negative assessments of parents. Representing the mother at CMH, IRH and successfully persuading the Local Authority to undertake a more focussed assessment of parents due to inadequacies of current assessments. Matter concluded successfully with child being returned to parents under a supervision order.


(2014) Instructed by father to five children all removed under Police Protection powers. Unfortunately, parental issues included neglect, physical chastisement of the children with a high level of domestic violence between parents. The Local Authority issued proceedings for an emergency protection order and care proceedings . Representing mother at CMC, IRH and final hearing with linked directions to the on-going criminal proceedings. There were no other family members who could put themselves forward to be assessed as carers for the children. Custodial sentences for parents meant that children were made the subjects of care orders and placement orders in separate sibling placements.


(2013) Representing mother when Local Authority became involved following a referral being made by hospital of a suspected non accidental injury to her child. The Local Authority issued care proceedings and the child was removed from parents pending further assessments. Representing the mother throughout and obtaining favourable expert medical evidence to explain the said injury. Assessments of parents were also positive meaning the matter concluded with child returning to parents and no further involvement by the Local Authority.


(2013) Representing mother whose children were removed under Police Protection powers. Parental issues were a high level of domestic violence and concerns related primarily to father and his deteriorating mental health. The Local Authority issued care proceedings and parents separated immediately. Representing mother at CMH and IRH where matter settled. The assessment of mother was positive and the matter successfully concluded with the children returning to mother under a supervision order.


(2013) Representing mother whose child had allegedly suffered a non accidental injury in her care. The Local Authority issued care proceedings and the child was accommodated by the Local Authority. Representing  mother at CMH, IRH, finding of fact hearing at which mother was exonerated meaning the child was returned. Matter concluded successfully for mother with no further involvement of the Local Authority.

(August 2012) - Successfully represented client in s.31 care proceedings issued by Local Authority for a care order in respect of her child. Previous care proceedings in respect of client’s other children had concluded approximately 8 years ago with those children being removed. Client had numerous mental health difficulties yet managed to obtain a final order whereby the child stayed with client under a final care order. 

(June 2012) - Private Children Act Court proceedings where mother made it extremely difficult for client to see his child. Attended numerous court appointments, statements, assessments, police disclosure were ordered in anticipation of a final contested hearing. Matters concluded with client obtaining a very good level of contact. 

(Jan 2012) - Representing father in Children Act proceedings which we issued as mother would not allow any contact at all. Mother then failed to attend numerous Court hearings and frequently stopped contact despite Court order. Applied to enforce existing Court Order and also raised issue of child being made a party to the proceedings under Rule 16.4 FPR. The Court agreed that the case involved an issue of significant difficulty. A Guardian was appointed which did increase mother’s co-operation. A final contact was ordered with warning notice attached.   

(December 2011) - Care proceedings in relation to maternal grandmother’s grandchild were issued by Local Authority. The child was accommodated under s.20 by the Local Authority. Represented client successfully throughout contested care proceedings. Matters concluded in favour of client who obtained a Special Guardianship Order under s.14A (1) CA 1989 in favour of the child. 

(April 2011) - Represented client in relation to divorce, children and financial matters. Father issued application for a residence order in relation to the children of the family. Acrimonious divorce and financial matters were resolved in client’s favour. A residence order was also made in favour of the client.
Name: Nicole Thornley 
Position: Assistant Solicitor
Where educated: Bolton School, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University 
First job: Trainee Solicitor

Hobbies: Gym,travel, film, theatre, eating out and in

Favourite food: Thai

Favourite film: The Social Network

Favourite group/artist: The Black Eyed Peas 

Ultimate holiday destination: The Maldives

Favourite sport/team:

Favourite book: The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter (for escapism)

Likes: Fine food, wine, spending time with friends and family, travel, film, theatre

Personal ambition: To continue to be happy in all aspects of my life