Re L  – representing a father in a 16 day fact finding and final hearing before HHJ O’Leary. The father was facing serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse of his 4 year old daughter and her mother and the child had been removed from his care by the Local Authority. After hearing evidence, the court made no findings against the father and found that the mother had exaggerated comments made by the child and encouraged her to make allegations. At the end of the lengthy proceedings, the child was returned to the care of the father after 16 months of being in foster care. The court allowed very limited, and professionally supervised, contact between the child and the mother due to an assessed high risk of future false allegations.
Re L  – representing a father on an application made by local authority foster carers for an Adoption Order relating to his daughter. The mother applied for discharge of the Care Order upon receipt of the foster carers’ application. During the course of the proceedings, the mother was assessed, as was a paternal family member put forward by the father. The paternal family member’s assessment was positive. The case involved interesting legal argument about whether and when adoptive care plans should be approved when a family member has been positively assessed. Expert evidence was required and challenged at the final hearing. Ultimately, whilst the court found that all parties had acted in good faith and showed enormous dignity throughout the process, it could not approve a plan whereby all legal ties were severed through adoption when positive family assessments had been completed, notwithstanding the length of time the child had been placed with the foster carers (3 years) and the lack of relationship with the family member. The court dismissed the application for an adoption order and approved the Local Authority’s revised final plan to move the child into the care of the paternal aunt under the existing care order. The case further involved cultural implications and discussion as the child was black Carribean, placed with white foster carers, whereas the family placement offered a closer cultural match.
Re B  second junior counsel to Rehana Begum in a 13 day finding of fact hearing in the Family Court at Manchester, representing an intervenor accused causing extensive injuries to a 5 month old baby. The court found the child’s mother responsible for all of the injuries and made no adverse findings against the intervenor.
Re O  – representation of a father in care proceedings at a six-day finding of fact hearing in the Family Court at Manchester in which the father made partial admissions in respect of allegations of physical abuse of a child prior to the hearing. The injuries to the child in the case included bruising and multiple rib and leg fractures.
Re H  – representation of an intervenor in care proceedings at a seven-day finding of fact hearing in the Family Court in Manchester. The client was facing allegations of the most serious nature, including the deliberate burning of the subject child.
June  – representation of local authority in care proceedings at a final hearing where the respondent mother was a litigant in person, having dispensed with the services of her solicitors shortly before the hearing.
Representing a child on an application for a secure accommodation order pursuant to s. 25 Children Act 1989, before HHJ Wallwork at the Family Court at Manchester.
July  – representation of the respondent mother at a six-day final hearing at the Family Court in Manchester before Recorder Cains. The client was facing allegations of physical abuse including extensive bruising to the subject child. The court found that the respondent father was within the pool of potential perpetrators along with the mother.
LCC v K  – representing the Local Authority in care and placement proceedings involving historic sexual abuse.
K v RB  – representing the Respondent Mother in a four-day finding of fact hearing involving serious allegations of domestic violence and subsequent final hearing resulting in a ‘no contact’ order being made against the Applicant Father.
S v HG  – successfully opposing the making of an adoption order.