Waldrons Care Team has success in the Court of Appeal

Tuesday 30th April 2024

Director and Head of the Care Department at Waldrons, Patrick Sheedy has recently acted successfully in the Court of Appeal.  Instructing and working with Kristina Brown of No 5 Chambers and Jonathan Sampson KC, Patrick was instructed by the father in a complex set of care proceedings that were recently heard in the Court of Appeal.  It’s judgment has now been handed down in the decision of W (A Child) (Inflicted Injury) (Delay) [2024] EWCA Civ 418.  

The case dealt with the source of injuries to Patrick’s client’s young daughter.  To consider the cause of these, the Court appointed a number of independent experts to report on the medical background and whether there were any underlying medical causes for the injuries.  A finding of fact hearing was held in the summer of 2023 during which the Court heard evidence from the parents, a number of family members and also those experts who were instructed.  The Court made findings at that time that the parents had inflicted the injuries, discounting wider medical issues.  The mother sought to appeal those findings which was supported by Patrick’s client but it was opposed by the local authority. 

The Court of Appeal considered a number of arguments from all of the parties at a hearing in February 2024.  It concluded that this was a difficult and complex case but that the Judge had focused on the expert evidence and had not analysed other pieces of evidence.  If it had done this then the Court of Appeal considered that it was more likely that no findings would have been made.  Given this, rather than direct that there be a further finding of fact hearing, the Court decided that the proceedings should be dismissed and the client’s child returned to his and the mother’s care.

Patrick added “This case was a reminder to me that expert evidence is only one part of the picture in care proceedings.  It was a joy working with the father who showed no end of patience and understanding in the face of delays.  Sadly this is a part of the Family Court but I was really happy that there was a good outcome.”