Joan Connell represented the children through their Children’s Guardian in a case in which the children’s mother had been murdered by their father. The court had to determine which of two family members, one paternal and one maternal, should care for the children throughout their minority and also issues of contact with the father in prison. The court also considered the legal principles to be applied in circumstances where a person found guilty of an offence refuses to accept the outcome of the criminal trial.
The court approved the Children’s Guardian’s recommendation for the child to return to the care of the mother under the auspices of a Supervision Order. The Judgment carefully considers the evaluation of risk in cases relating to past alcohol misuse and the duties of the Local Authority to identify and provide appropriate support.
Successful appeal against findings of fact made by the court at first instance, where the trial judge was criticised for not applying the correct test for the identification of perpetrators of significant harm. The case raises an important principle about the proper approach to take when identifying perpetrators and the risk of effectively reversing the burden of proof
The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal against an order in financial remedy proceedings directly against a discretionary trust, of which the husband was a potential beneficiary, to make a lump sum payment to the wife. The judge had had no power under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s.23(1) to make such an order against a third party.
Jay Banerji led by Sarah Morgan QC acted for the mother in this fact-finding involving allegations of forced marriage, FGM, and physical abuse. Wardship proceedings ran alongside the forced marriage application brought by the Chief Constable.
Joan Connell represented the respondent local authority in proceedings in which the Appellant Mother successfully appealed a refusal for an adjournment for six months at a final hearing. At the time of the final hearing L, was 7 months old. M was a recovering alcoholic who sought further time to demonstrate abstinence and insight into the concerns of the local authority regarding her honesty and ability to work with professionals in the event of a future relapse. The court at first instance refused the application for an adjournment and made care and placement orders. On appeal the final orders were set aside, the adjournment granted and the case set down for a further hearing. The President’s guidance in Re S Child  EWHC was considered.
The leading authority in respect of the reliability of hair strand testing for drugs and how the results of hair tests should be interpreted by practitioners. Ronan O’Donovan appeared on behalf of Lextox, one of the laboratories intervening in ongoing care proceedings where the issue of the mother’s use of drugs was called into dispute by a trichologist. Peter Jackson J held that the variability of findings from hair strand testing does not call into question the underlying science, but underlines the need to treat numerical data with proper caution.