Chris has particular expertise in applications in the Court of Protection and in the law relating to children. He provides robust and realistic advice, advocates strongly and is committed to achieving the optimum outcome for clients
Private Law: Children
Chris is regularly instructed in complex proceedings concerning applications for child arrangements orders, specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders. He recognises the real benefit for clients in having consistent representation from the FHDRA through to the Final Hearing and the value of providing realistic and practical advice from the outset.
Equipped with a wealth of experience of acting in public law proceedings, Chris is ideally positioned to act in the most contentious cases involving expert evidence and where there are allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, mental health difficulties and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Recent cases in which Chris has been instructed have involved allegations of parental alienation and intractable hostility, which he finds particularly interesting, as well as cases where there has been a need for a fact-finding hearing in respect of allegations of sexual abuse against children and/or the other parent.
Chris also deals regularly with applications for internal relocation and leave to remove children from the jurisdiction of England and Wales, both on a permanent and a temporary basis. In recent years, Chris has appeared in the Family Court and the High Court representing parties seeking and opposing children’s removal to Hague and non-Hague Convention countries, including Monaco, America, Germany and Thailand. He considers that a real focus on the core issues from an early stage is essential and helps to achieve optimum outcomes for clients.
Chris represents petitioners and respondents in financial remedy applications as well as in enforcement proceedings. Chris believes strongly in providing realistic and practical advice and focuses on working towards achieving an optimum outcome for his client. Recent cases have included allegations of non-disclosure of assets, cases with an international element and cases involving non-engagement by respondents, which have necessitated the use of “unless” orders and applications for relief from sanction.
Public Law: Children
Chris continues to act in public law proceedings, particularly in complex matters where there are suspected non-accidental injuries, allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse and also where there are issues around substance misuse and mental health. Chris is very interested in radicalisation cases and those cases with an international element. His forensic analysis of the evidence and his understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in his case mean that Chris is able to provide realistic advice to his clients.
Chris accepts instructions from parents, extended family members, local authorities and children – whether represented by their Children’s Guardian or where they are separately represented. He is particularly experienced in representing vulnerable clients, who perhaps have psychiatric illnesses or mental health impairments that affect their cognitive functioning. He believes in a supportive approach to litigation but also in being clear and realistic in his advice from the outset.
Recent cases include a two-week fact-finding hearing in relation to allegations of sexual abuse and grooming behaviour, representing parents with significant substance misuse and mental health difficulties and acting for parents seeking to discharge Care Orders.
Court of Protection: Health, Welfare & Deprivation of Liberty
Chris welcomes instructions from all parties to Court of Protection proceedings, including local authorities, health care trusts, Deputies and the Official Solicitor. He brings his experience and approach in Children Act work to his Court of Protection practice, which is particularly relevant to deprivation of liberty and personal welfare decisions. He is able to advise and provide representation in matters relating to community care law and in cases involving disputes over medical treatment. Chris appears across the country in contested interim and final hearings as well as in cases where there is a need for fact-finding. He has previously applied for injunctions against a party to proceedings and also deals with applications by the press for permission to publish information pertaining to the litigation.
Court of Protection: Property & Affairs
Chris’ practice encompasses disputes relating to property and financial affairs, accepting instructions from Deputies and other parties to proceedings. He has recent experience of applications for the execution of a statutory will, authority to make gifts and maintenance payments, and is able to advise and act in cases where Deputies seek the Court’s authorisation to conduct ancillary litigation on behalf of P. Chris acts on behalf of incapacitous individuals in family proceedings through their Litigation Friends, including matrimonial finance cases, divorce and private children law disputes, and accepts instructions in family proceedings where a Deputy has been appointed to make decisions in respect of an incapacitous individual’s property or financial affairs.
Chris is a regular contributor to Jordans Family Law and writes articles and case summaries on latest decisions of the Court of Protection.
Judicial Review & Human Rights Act claims
Chris has experience in judicial review proceedings and is able to provide advice and representation to those seeking to review decisions made by local authorities and other public bodies.
In addition, Chris has recently developed a practice in Human Rights Act claims for declarations of unlawful actions by public authorities and damages. He accepts instructions from both claimants and defendants and is able to advise in conference and in writing where appropriate, as well as attend Court hearings, right up to contested final hearings.
Chris regularly provides training and seminars to solicitors and professional clients around the developments in family law and the Court of Protection. If you are interested in organising a lecture or seminar, please feel free to contact the clerks.