Frances was brought up and educated in Scotland, and trained as a Social Worker at Edinburgh University. She worked in this field for many years, in matters relating to children’s welfare, both in Scotland and then Hong Kong, before taking up practice at the Bar. She was called to the Bar in 1996 in London and 1997 in Hong Kong.
She joined Des Voeux Chambers in 1999 having served part of her pupillage there.
Frances’ practice is exclusively in the family jurisdiction and she deals with all aspects of matrimonial law. She has experience in ancillary relief cases involving nuptial settlements, trusts, companies and third party interests. She has been involved in many cases involving jurisdiction and forum disputes.
She was one of the team of counsel who acted in the Court of Final Appeal case of LKW v DD.
A great deal of Frances’ work concerns children issues, being Custody, Care and Control, Removal applications, applications under the Guardianship of Minors Ordinance, Wardship, and Hague Convention cases.
Frances Irving of Des Voeux Chambers devoted her entire practice to family law matters, covering all branches of the discipline, but focusing most closely on child and welfare issues, one interviewee describing her as "one of the most experienced handlers of children's matters" and adding: "She's great on that." She acted for the respondent father in JDYS v EYCK, a shared care dispute in which her client sought to have the case referred to the Court of Appeal.
Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific (2018)
"Frances Irving of Des Voeux Chambers practises exclusively in the family sphere, covering the full range of matrimonial concerns, and is recognised by sources as "very experienced with children's matters" in particular, having begun her career as a social worker handling child welfare issues in the UK. She is further characterised as a "tough advocate who's always committed." She recently acted for the successful party in a long-running custodial case made complex by the fact that the parents were unmarried."
Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific (2017)
"Frances Irving of Des Voeux Chambers has a broad family practice that spans a variety of financial, matrimonial and child disputes. Areas of specialism include ancillary relief matters involving such issues as prenuptial and postnuptial settlements and trusts. Irving is also adept at handling child-related work, particularly custody applications and Hague Convention cases."
Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific (2016)
Frances has given frequent talks and workshops to practitioners on family law and practice and has taught Family Law and Matrimonial Practice at Hong Kong University SPACE. She was a contributing editor to Family Law and Practice in Hong Kong.
Frances is a member of the Working Group on Children in Family Proceedings chaired by The Hon. Mr Justice Hartmann JA. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Family Law Association.