Hilka is known for her expertise in international and domestic adoptions, surrogacy and alternative families, cases involving the relocation and international movement of children, abductions, jurisdictional disputes, and complex care proceedings, often involving cross-border issues, and the most serious allegations of sexual abuse, non-accidental injuries, factitious illness and radicalisation, with concurrent criminal investigations/proceedings.
She has consistently been ranked in the legal directories and is noted as the “top expert in international adoption and surrogacy cases” as “what she doesn’t know about international adoptions isn’t worth knowing”. She is “an impressive advocate who deals with some of the most complex cases for children” and has a “razor sharp mind”.
A former journalist, throughout her legal career, Hilka has practised children and family law, has been involved in many reported and high-profile cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal which have shaped English adoption and surrogacy law. She joined Dawson Cornwell as a partner in February 2023, having previously been a partner and head of department at other prominent firms specialising in children law.
Hilka is on the Law Society’s Children Panel which means that she has had specialist training to represent children in court proceedings, either directly or through their children’s guardian. She is a member of the International Bar Association, the Association of Lawyers for Children, Coram BAAF – the British Adoption and Fostering Organisation, the Child Abduction Lawyers’ Association and Resolution. She is a Resolution accredited adoption and child abduction specialist and was one of the co-authors of Resolution’s response to the Law Commission’s consultation on proposed changes to the current surrogacy law, and she is a trustee for Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB).
Hilka won the prestigious Jordan’s Family Law Associate of the Year Award in 2015, is listed in Spear’s 500 and ranked and recommended in the legal directories. Legal 500 have described her as having “that uncanny knack of being able to see solutions to the most intractable problems facing her clients”, being “hugely experienced and confidence-inspiring”, and “a brilliant tactician and a tenacious lawyer … but not to the point of losing sight of what can be achieved by a collaborative approach”.
Chambers and Partners recognise her as “supportive, calm, collected, organised and reassuring. Her approach is always tactical, extremely detailed and tenacious, while also being gentle and fair. She plays the long game, does not make rash decisions and is always a few steps ahead of the other side.” “She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of adoption and surrogacy law … and is forensic, strategic and dedicated to her clients.”
Hilka is bilingual in German and English, speaks conversational French and some Russian.