Nick represent parents, children and local authorities in public law proceedings involving allegations of homicide, inflicted injury, sexual abuse and factitious/induced illness. He has an excellent grasp of the medical issues arising in such cases and has acquired particularly extensive experience in the cross-examination of pathologists and experts in inflicted head injury. He has appeared in many adoption cases where there are competing arguments for the child to be brought up within the birth family. In 2018 this side of his practice included an appeal regarding post-adoption contact under s.51A Children Act 1989 – the first time the Court of Appeal considered this new statutory provision.
Notable Public Law Children cases
N (Children: Revocation of Placement Orders), Re  EWCA Civ 1352
Appeal by mother from the dismissal of applications to discharge placement orders and for the instruction of an independent social worker. Appeal dismissed.
T (Fact-Finding: Second Appeal)  EWCA Civ 475
Second appeal by LA from decision by circuit judge allowing an appeal against findings made by a deputy district judge in care proceedings involving 4 children. Appeal allowed.
Re M (adoption - notification of birth father)  EWFC 17
Adoption application in which court ordered that birth father be notified, but birth mother refused to reveal his name, and he could not be identified.
Re C & Ors (Care Proceedings: Fact Finding)  EWCA Civ 38
Represented a local authority and successfully opposed a parent’s appeal against findings of fact made in care proceedings.
Birmingham City Council v CD & Ors  EWHC 748 (Fam)
Before Lieven J investigating the circumstances surrounding the alleged multiple injuries (head injury, multiple fractures), neglect and death of an 11 week old baby.
Re W-A (Children)  EWCA Civ 1118,  3 WLR 1235
An appeal against a decision that foreign convictions were admissible in evidence and carried presumptive weight that the offence had been committed in fact-finding in children’s cases.
A (Children) (Pool of Perpetrators), Re  EWCA Civ 1348
The correct approach in uncertain perpetrator cases.
Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group & Ors  EWFC 31
Nick advised and represented Somerset County Council in protracted High Court litigation relating to breaches of the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 (AAR 2005) – specifically a failure by its Agency Decision Maker to adhere to the regulations relating to the provision of medical reports from the Agency Medical Adviser. In this final judgment, it was decided by the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, that although breaches of AAR 2005, reg 15/17 had occurred, an application for a declaration as to the validity of existing placement orders or adoption orders was not required or appropriate, because (a) such orders remained valid unless and until overturned and (b) in most cases where these occurred, there would rarely be a health issue, both significant yet unknown to the ADM and/or the court, that could undermine the orders’ validity.
Re T (No.2) (Care Proceedings : Fact-Finding : Genital Injuries : Supplemental judgment for publication)  EWFC 101
Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group & Anor  EWHC 3004 (Fam)
Nick advised and represented Somerset County Council in protracted High Court litigation before Roberts J. relating to breaches of the Adoption Agency Regulations 2005 – specifically a failure by its Agency Decision Maker to adhere to the regulations relating to the provision of medical reports from the Agency Medical Adviser.
Re YY (Children: Conduct of the Local Authority)  EWHC 749
A twenty day High Court public law children case in which the court principally examined a local authority’s failings in relation to 4 children placed in foster-care. There were systemic and individual failures within the local authority that meant that the children’s false beliefs about their maternal family had not been corrected but instead became more entrenched, thwarting the restoration of contact. Keehan J. made comprehensive findings against the local authority.
Re R (Children: Control of Court Documents)  EWCA Civ 162
Court of Appeal guidance on the family court’s power to control the distribution of its judgments and other sensitive material – in the present case to a serving offender.
A County Council v M  EWFC 35
Order of Judd J authorising a local authority to proceed with an adoption favoured by the parents without first assessing the paternal grandmother as a potential carer.
A Local Authority v Mother & Ors  EWHC 1086 (Fam)
Nick acted on behalf of the local authority in a case involving the killing of a 2 month old infant. This was one of the first reported judgments on the use of a remote hearing platform in a case of this nature.
B (A CHILD)(Designated Local Authority)  EWCA Civ 1673
Successful appeal under s.31(8) and s.105(6) Children Act 1989.
Re A (No. 2) (Children: Findings of Fact)  EWCA Civ 1947
Appeal against findings made of sexual assault and homicide in respect of a 10 yr old girl found deceased in her bedroom with neck and genital injuries. The Court of Appeal remitted the case for an unprecedented third fact-finding hearing before a (third) High Court judge.
Re D (Fact-Finding Appeal)  EWCA Civ 2302
Successful appeal on behalf of a mother before the Court of Appeal against first instance findings of complicity in sexual abuse.
Salford City Council v NV & M (Deprivation of Liberty in Scotland)  EWHC 1510
Legal argument regarding the lawfulness of a placement in Scotland of an English child under the inherent jurisdiction where the child had been deprived of her liberty and the Scottish court had yet to determine whether the nobile officium jurisdiction could be exercised.
Re B (A Child) (Post - Adoption Contact)  EWCA Civ 29
First Court of Appeal authority in relation to the provisions of s.51A Adoption and Children Act 2002 relating to post-adoption contact.
Re B-P (Children) (Adoption or Fostering)  EWCA Civ 2042
Successful appeal on behalf of a local authority against a first instance refusal to make a placement order.