Public Law Children

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Our Barristers have extensive experience of acting on behalf of parents, children, relatives, guardians and local authorities in care, placement and adoption proceedings; and our expertise includes local authority duties, wardship and use of the inherent jurisdiction.

We have specialists in areas including the most severe cases of physical and sexual abuse, and in dealing with complex medical issues including rare genetic disorders, brain injury and mental health and addiction.

Our team provides representation and advice in all areas of public law, and accepts instructions from all parties to care proceedings.

Members of Chambers frequently appear in cases involving complex facts or legal argument at all levels of court. We are often instructed in lengthy fact-finding hearings or final hearings.

Our expertise:

  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Fabricated and/or induced illness
  • Neglect
  • Parents and/or children with disabilities
  • Parents with significant learning difficulties
  • Serious non-accidental injury
  • Sexual abuse and child prostitution

Our Barristers who specialise in dealing with these areas are also experienced in working with clients who require an interpreter or need particular support to help them through the legal process, and several are particularly well regarded for their ability to represent those whose circumstances have rendered them vulnerable or fearful of engagement with the legal system.

Case Studies

Support for a Mother to retain care of children

Corey represented the respondent Mother in care proceedings based on chronic neglect, and actual and threatened emotional and physical harm to three children. The parents both have learning disabilities, and possibly undiagnosed cognitive disabilities. A Part 25 application was made for a PAMS (Parenting Assessment Manual Software) trained independent social work parenting assessment. Since there Continue reading

Application for leave to oppose an adoption

Marie acted for a Mother in an application for leave to oppose an adoption. Following the placement of a child with prospective adopters for a significant time, such an application requires the parent to demonstrate a change of circumstances. This must demonstrate to the Court that she would have a serious prospect of success if Continue reading

Returning children, with support, to a Mother’s care

Sandria acted for the Mother in a case where a child had disclosed sexual abuse by the Father. The child had initially disclosed this to the Mother some time previously, but subsequently made further disclosures, of a more serious nature. Owing to the Father’s bail conditions, issues with alcohol and further disclosures, the Local Authority Continue reading

Representing a Guardian where a child has absconded from care

Marie represented the Children’s Guardian in this case where two children had been removed from their parents’ care. However one child had repeatedly absconded, although the other had settled into foster care. The absconding child will be assessed for competency to instruct their own Solicitor, as their viewpoint differs from the Guardian. The Local Authority Continue reading

Representing a Mother concerned about safeguarding

Marie represents a vulnerable Mother in care proceedings. Her child is in foster care, having been removed earlier in the proceedings as a result of the Mother’s drug use and mental health issues. Interim Care Orders have been agreed and will continue whilst drug testing and parenting assessments are carried out, and the matter is Continue reading

Public Law Children Articles

Crisis in Family Justice?

Is the family justice system in crisis? Yes says Sir Andrew McFarlane, the new president of the Family Division of the High Court, who took over that role in July 2018. Sir Andrew was speaking at the launch of a Care Crisis review, an independent study by senior lawyers, social workers, charities & academics into Continue reading

Parents with learning difficulties – further guidance in a recent reported case dealing with the limits the courts will go to in applying Re D principles.

The President has issued further guidance on cases involving parents with learning difficulties: President’s Guidance Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability, 10th April 2018: He refers to the leading cases: Re D (A Child) (No 3) (2016) EWFC 1: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed158421 and Re Guardian and A (Care Order: Freeing Order: Parents with a Learning Disability) Continue reading

Hair Strand Drug Testing Seminar 2018

We are please to announce that Kevin Jackson and Sandria Murkin will be presenting a Seminar in Canterbury. This seminar covers a range of topics involving hair strand drug testing within Family Children Act Proceedings. Venue: Canterbury Innovation Centre, University Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7FG – 26 April 2018 at 3.45pm Places are limited and should be booked early to Continue reading

Has adoption become a runaway train?

The 2018 report of the British Association of Social Workers’s (BASW) into adoption law According to an independent enquiry into adoption law in the UK by the British Association of Social Workers’s (BASW), adoption has become a “runaway train,” almost impossible to stop. The two-year enquiry, led by Professors Brid Featherstone and Anna Gupta, gathered Continue reading

Re H (A Child- Hair Strand Testing) [2017] EWFC 64 – Mr. Justice Peter Jackson

A distillation of the key points from this important guideline case concerning hair strand drug testing. On 29th September 2017 after 6 days of evidence, legal argument and submissions Mr. Justice Peter Jackson handed down a Judgment that looked at several key issues that are relevant to practitioners in public and private law family proceedings Continue reading

Re W (A Child)[2016] EWCA Civ 793

This case concerns a successful appeal by prospective adopters against a decision to refuse an adoption order and grant an SGO to paternal grandparents and is of interest as the appeal raised the following issues: The approach to be taken in determining a child’s long-term welfare once the child has become settled in a prospective Continue reading

RELOCATION and the impact of Re C (Internal Relocation) [2015] EWCA Civ 1305

This case has afforded an important decision as well as being an excellent opportunity to review and consider the principles to be applied in cases of relocation and the different approaches to internal relocation and international relocation cases. This was carried out by Lady Justice Black in her judgment which carefully reviews all the authorities Continue reading

Voluntary accommodation of children under s.20 Children Act 1989: a withering analysis of Local Authority practice

In today’s judgment of Re N (Children) (Adoption: Jurisdiction) [2015] EWCA Civ 1112 the President of the Family Division has an important message for family practitioners but, particularly, for local authorities. From paragraphs 157 to 171 he provided a tour de force of the problems with s.20 and the best practice that should be followed. Continue reading

Public Law Children Testimonials

“Thank you very much for these and for representing Mr C throughout this matter. He is delighted with the outcome.”

 

Ms T from Solicitors Instructing Clive Styles – July 18

“I Thought Gayle Ashley was wonderful….Gayle was very informative and professional in representing me on the final day. I would highly recommend her.”

Mr B instructing Gayle Ashley through Solicitors – June 18

“Thank you v much indeed Marie for stepping in on this one and for being kind and caring and compassionate.”

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Marie Crawford – September 17

“Counsel was, as usual, fully available to us throughout the duration of the case, by telephone and email.  He explained everything clearly to a client, who had considerable difficulties, and obtained instructions from a client, who might have been perceived by others to have an ambivalent approach to the proceedings due to his difficulties.  He reported promptly by telephone post each hearing and provided detailed attendance notes.  He was fully committed throughout to securing the best outcome for the client possible.  Even other parties in the case commented on the level of legal representation that father received.

I have of course used Counsel in a number of cases and have always been extremely pleased with the level of representation and care provided by him to his professional and lay client.”

Ms C from Solicitors Instructing Michael Batt – August 17

“Thank you for being empathetic and understanding the stress of the Court process and doing an excellent job”

Ms M Instructing Sophie Gray through Solicitors – July 2017

“Thank you for all your efforts over the last few weeks, on behalf of my family.

Your support gave us the confidence to follow this through.”

 

Ms L Instructing Kevin Jackson through Solicitors – July 2017

“…The client has just asked me to relay her sincere gratitude to Mike Batt for everything that he has done today & told me that he was wonderful…”

Miss M from Solicitors instructing Mike Batt – June 16

“Please will you thank Sandria for another excellent job.”

Mrs S from firm of Solicitors instructing Sandria Murkin – March 16

“I do believe ( as result of this case)  and  have confidence that only you can the win the “un- winnable cases”  and that if you can’t then no one can. You have really instilled confidence in me about your capabilities.”

Ms K from Solicitors instructing Philip Newton – February 16

“Firstly may I say I have been meaning  to send you an email for a while and just have not had a chance to say how impressed I was in how you manged to exclude the evidence which was not something any other Counsel representing Mother managed to do.”

Ms K from Solicitors Instructing Philip Newton – January 16

“….the client has spoken very highly of him saying he’s never come across someone of “such high calibre” in his life before and he thinks Mike is “brilliant” that he listened and dealt with his difficult ex very well”

Ms K from Instructing Solicitors instructing Michael Batt – December 15