Chris acts in complex public law proceedings, particularly where there are suspected non-accidental injuries, allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse and where there are issues around substance misuse and mental health concerns. Chris is very interested in radicalisation cases and has written for legal journals and delivered training on this developing area of child protection law.
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: representing the children, through their Guardian, in a two-week fact-finding hearing in relation to allegations of sexual abuse and grooming behaviour; a 10-day final hearing representing an adult child of the family who made allegations of sexual abuse against her father; and successfully appealing against findings of fact and the welfare determination at a final hearing.
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.
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
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