Care and Adoption Proceedings
Matiss has significant experience in all types of proceedings relating to children:
- All areas of care proceedings, including complex/highlight technical concerns:
- Neglect/emotional harm;
- Drug and alcohol abuse;
- Domestic violence.
- Sexual abuse (inter-generational and inter-sibling) and child sexual exploitation.
- Non-accidental injuries;
- Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII)
- Cases with a foreign element (particularly transfer of proceedings pursuant to Brussels II and placement of children outside of the jurisdiction)
- Applications in respect of child witnesses (application of Re W), in all types of cases.
- Cases involving individuals with learning difficulties/learning disabilities.
- Cases involving children with significant or profound disabilities, including life limiting conditions.
- Cases where one parent has killed another.
- Cases where a parent/adult has killed a child.
- Cases involving terrorism.
- Discharge of care
- Human rights infringements
- Designated local authority
- Placement applications
- Applications for post adoption contact
- Applications to discharge placement orders
- Applications to oppose adoption orders
- Special Guardianship
- Placement of children
- Application of support regulations
- Inter-local authority disputes
- Specialist applications in respect of:
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Forced Marriage
- Press/Reporting injunctions
- Appeals of care orders (interim and full) and placement orders.
Judicial Review/Human Rights
Matiss has significant litigation experience advising and drafting documents in respect of judicial review challenges and is accustomed to dealing with these matters on short notice, including applications for declaration of infringement of human rights in the following areas:
- Application of section 17 and section 20 duties, including:
- Child in Need – including all forms of support, with emphasis on financial/accommodation support.
- Child Protection.
- Fostering (both external issues and administration of local authority fostering duties, including assessment and termination of foster carers, and family and friend carers).
- Post-18 support to children, including children subject to immigration restrictions.
- Children within the criminal justice system, including issues around detention in police stations.
- Assessment and support for disabled children, including personal payments.
- Duties to individuals who are deemed No Recourse to Public Funds and associated immigration matters.
- Duties to Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors including assessment and support
- Injunctions to prevent removal of children
- Applications for human rights declarations and damages
- Negotiating settlements in all types of the above matters, including large financial settlements.
- Costs in relation to all the above matters.
Court of Protection
- Significant experience of the application of Deprivation of Liberty to children in local authority care, which is a rapidly changing area of law.
- Experience of welfare applications on behalf of disabled children.
- Experience of advising on financial matters in respect of disabled children (including issues of trust).
Matiss has experience of the regulatory functioning of local authorities and can assist in:
- Advising on policy/procedural implications of changes in statute or case law, having previous experience of advising and assisting on:
- Policies and procedures in respect of foster carers, including family and friends foster carers
- Policies and procedures in respect of disabled children’s services;
- Policies and procedures in respect of terrorism.
- Advising on the application of local government constitution.
- Advising on consultation requirements.
- Advising in respect of Serious Case Reviews, having had experience of assisting with nationally reported Serious Case Reviews.
Local Authority X v HI and others  EWHC 1123 (Fam)
This is a case whereby information arose by way of a 15-year-old child’s disclosure to the social worker that they did not want communicated to their parents within care proceedings. The local authority considered itself subject to a duty to disclose and the guardian sought to maintain the confidentiality of the disclosure. The court weighed the issues of relevance of the information, gravity and magnitude of harm and the rights of the individuals protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 in the balance.
Birmingham City Council v AB & others  EWHC 3090 (Fam)
This is a case where the father violently killed the mother. The children were initially placed with their grandmother, who sadly misappropriated £32,500 of their compensation monies. The local authority sought and were granted care and placement orders, in a case that had many complex elements.