2017

Case History

Due to the confidential nature of Children Act proceedings I am unable to provide names of cases or full details. The below anonymised cases provide a snapshot of the work I have personally undertaken over the last. Where a case has been reported in the Law Reports the citation is given in bold. I represent mothers, fathers, grandparents and other carers (boyfriend etc) all over England and Wales from Manchester and Newcastle to the midlands, London and Kent

Buckinghamshire County Council v Andrew & Ors [2017] EWFC B19 (26 April 2017)

In August 2016 care proceedings were issued in relation to Effie after she was found to have subdural and retinal haemorrhaging (bleeding on the brain and the back of the eyes). Effie had collapsed at home, she was unresponsive, unable to breathe properly and having seizures. Her parents were accused of shaking her and she was placed into foster care. I represented her father, Craig.

Unusually, the judgment is totally open and so I am able to name the child and the parents.

During the course of the proceedings we sought to instruct a geneticist to establish if Effie had a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It was confirmed that she had EDS IV (previously known as vascular EDS).

Effie thus has a collagen deficit which impacts on the formation of all tissue particularly noted in the formation of the arterial and venous system. It is characterised by thin and translucent skin, easy bruising, vascular and arterial rupture which may occur spontaneously. Vascular dissection or rupture, gastro intestinal perforation, or organ rupture are the presenting signs seen in the majority of adults with vascular EDS.

At the conclusion of a 10 day fact finding hearing, after hearing from six medical experts, the local authority sought to withdraw its application for a care order on the basis that the medical evidence was clear that Effie’s injuries were related to her medical condition. The court accepted this request and agreed fully. A full, open judgment was handed down.

The parents have been exonerated fully and Effie will return to their care imminently.

Read the full judgment here: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2017/B19.html&query=(Wollen)+AND+(Michelmore)

You can learn more about EDS through EDS UK https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/

Re D [2017] EWCA Civ 196

The parents in this case were accused of shaken baby syndrome. Their infant daughter had collapsed at home and was later found to have subdural and retinal haemorrhaging. During the fact finding hearing the local authority dropped the case against the mother (our client) but continued to seek findings against father. The court found in favour of the father, clearing him of any wrongdoing.

The local authority appealed to the Court of Appeal on the basis that, in their view, the trial judge did not properly weigh up and evaluate the medical evidence. Although the court is entitled to reject expert evidence in favour of lay evidence from a parent, the Court of Appeal were concerned that the trial judge had failed to properly evaluate the evidence and consider the whole picture. The appeal was allowed and the matter has been sent back to be re-heard by a High Court judge. The re-hearing has not yet taken place.

You can read the Court of Appeal judgment here: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/196.html&query=(Re)+AND+(D)+AND+([2017])+AND+(EWCA)+AND+(Civ)+AND+(196)

Re P1

Both parents were in the potential pool of perpetrators for injuries thought to be due to shaken bay syndrome. This was a complex case but after hearing all of the evidence the court removed our client from the pool of perpetrators.

Re S1

The infant here was found to have various fractures as well as bruising and subconjunctival haemorrhaging. Our client, the father, was exonerated of causing any harm to the child and now has sole care of the child.

 

Re P2

I represented an intervenor within care proceedings (the boyfriend of the child’s mother) who was included within the pool of perpetrators after a child was found to have bruising and fractures. He was removed from the pool of perpetrators after a lengthy fact finding hearing.

Re S2

The baby was found to have bilateral skull fractures at just several days old. The mother revealed an accident which was thought to have caused the injuries and the children subsequently returned home to her care.

Re H

The parents were accused of causing numerous fractures to their child but after robust evaluation of the evidence it became clear that the father had caused the injuries and our client was cleared. The child returned home to her care.

Re B

The parents were accused of non-accidental injury when their infant was found to have a fracture and some bruising. The mother was removed from the pool of perpetrators and the child returned to her care.

Re S3

The parents were accused of inflicting harm upon their baby when he was found to have a skull fracture. At the conclusion of the fact finding hearing the mother was cleared of any wrong doing and the children returned to her care.