Chris regularly appears in the High Court and acts in complex public law proceedings, particularly where there are suspected non-accidental injuries, allegations of sexual abuse, and where there are issues around capacity and mental health. Chris is often instructed in cases involving the deprivation of a child’s liberty, and is sought after for his expertise in this developing area of child protection law. Alongside his heavy case load, Chris is often invited to deliver training to solicitors on important family law issues.
Recent cases include: successfully representing a mother, led by Sam Whittam, at a 9-day fact-finding hearing where she was accused of causing multiple fractures to her baby; acting for a father, leading Madeleine Whelan, at a 12-day re-hearing following a successful appeal against findings made at first instance; and representing a 13-year-old child (through their Children’s Guardian) in proceedings in the High Court concerning deprivation of liberty.
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.
11th March 2021
Z (A Child)  EWHC 559 (Fam)
Second judgment in the High Court whereby Judd J recognised the improvements, but then decline, the subject child made in their bespoke residential placement. The Court made a Care Order and authorised a further package of measures constituting a deprivation of the child’s liberty in light of recent difficulties
10th July 2020
A & Others (Welfare)  EWFC 107
Welfare decision of Mrs Justice Theis in protracted care proceedings following a successful appeal and re-hearing of the Fact-Finding Hearing in respect of four children. Despite reservations about whether the parents had been given a fair opportunity to avail themselves of support and intervention recommended in expert assessments, the Court concluded the proceedings by way of Care Orders
10th July 2020
Z (A Child) (DOLS: Lack of Secure Placement)  EWHC 1827 (Fam)
The High Court considered the Local Authority’s application for an order authorising the deprivation of a young person’s liberty, noting the lack of appropriate secure placements at a time of social emergency during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Chris acted for the father, who – together with the mother – sought to discharge the ICO and have the young person returned to the parents’ care. Judd J, noting the parents’ anguish, nevertheless concluded that the young person’s safety required that they be made subject to a DOL order
30th January 2020
A & Others (Fact Finding)  EWFC 108
Chris Stevenson, leading Madeleine Whelan, represented the father in this re-hearing of a Fact-Finding Hearing before Theis J following a successful appeal in B (Children: Uncertain Perpetrator)  EWCA Civ 575. The Court found the intervenor had infected the subject children with Neisseria gonorrhoea, and there was no failure to protect on the part of the parents
4th April 2019
B (Children: Uncertain Perpetrator)  EWCA Civ 575
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