David Hershman

Co-author of the bible of children's law

David Hershman was a leading family lawyer almost certainly destined for high judicial office. As co-author with Andrew McFarlane of the definitive work
Children: law and practice (1991), he leaves an enormous legacy to those involved in children's cases, whether practitioners, judiciary, academics or members of the public.



David Allan Hershman, barrister, writer and lecturer: born Stourbridge, Worcestershire 6 November 1958; called to the Bar, Gray's Inn 1981; Chairman, Care Standards Tribunal 1996-2004; a Recorder 2001-04; QC 2002; married 1986 Abigail Goucher (four daughters); died Worcester 4 September 2004.



David Hershman was a leading family lawyer almost certainly destined for high judicial office. As co-author with Andrew McFarlane of the definitive work Children: law and practice (1991), he leaves an enormous legacy to those involved in children's cases, whether practitioners, judiciary, academics or members of the public.

With the advent of the Children Act 1989, a major piece of reforming legislation, came the need for a new work and "Hershman and McFarlane", as it was soon dubbed, filled that place admirably. Earlier textbooks, though authoritative, were somewhat arid. This work represented a departure in the way in which the law was explained and applied to individual cases, being simple and down-to-earth - both eminently readable and understandable. Regularly and painstakingly updated, it was cited in important judgments as providing the definitive opinion on the issue in question. It was a work of which Hershman was rightly proud.

David Hershman was a prolific writer. As a part-time chairman of the Care Standards Tribunal (a position he took up in 1996 at the early age of 37) he produced with David Pearl - the tribunal's president, His Honour Judge Pearl - the Care Standards Legislation Handbook (2002). One of his last contributions was a special bulletin published this year explaining the workings of the new Child Care Protocol introduced by the Government in November 2003.

Hershman was in demand up and down the country as a lecturer on all aspects of the law relating to children, particularly the field of children in care. His preparation for these events was meticulous and his delivery enthusiastic. With his name on the list of guest speakers conference organisers could be assured that the event would be over-subscribed.

He was, too, a fine advocate. A large, genial figure, he had the enviable ability of being able to put clients at once at their ease. He was the antithesis of the public's perception of the stuffy, pompous lawyer. In court his delivery was measured and never flamboyant; his gentle style of questioning, extremely effective in drawing out the truth, was one which many sought to emulate.

His father had been a surgeon; his mother died when he was a few months old. David Hershman was born in 1958 in Stourbridge, just to the west of Birmingham, and educated at the King's School, Worcester, and then at King's College London, where he read Law. He was called to the Bar of Gray's Inn in 1981. He settled in chambers in Birmingham, where his interest in family law developed, and he practised largely in that city and in the county courts on the Midland Circuit. The Law Reports testify to his involvement in many landmark decisions, particularly those concerning the fundamental rights of parents and children. He was a fearless defender of those rights and was as happy appearing before first-instance tribunals as he was in the House of Lords.

He took silk in 2002, and the same year was named Barrister of the Year by the Birmingham Law Society. As an advocate he became even more in demand. His move to specialist family-law chambers at One King's Bench Walk in the Temple was a logical career progression for him, and a coup even for such a distinguished set of chambers. There he became established as part of its large team of family-law silks. Sadly he has left behind much unfinished business.

In addition to being a part-time chairman of the Care Standards Tribunal, at the time of his death at the age of only 45 Hershman was a recorder of the Crown Court and a deputy High Court Judge of the Family Division. He was vice-chairman of the Midlands branch of the Family Law Bar Association and Honorary Legal Adviser to the Acorns Children's Hospice, a charity in whose work he took a particular interest.

At work and at home, Hershman was above all a family man, for whom his own children - four young daughters - came first.

Marianna Hildyard and Anthony J. N. Kirk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living