Justin practices as a trial advocate within the full spectrum of child law from complex private law disputes including those cases with a jurisdictional element such as relocation cases, through to public law matters where the children are separately represented, in Wardship, and where issues involving the Hague Convention and Brussels II Revised are relevant.
His particular expertise lies within public law care and adoption proceedings where he receives a balance of instructions from public authorities and lay parties alike. He has a significant talent dealing with experts and the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses involved in suspected sexual abuse, or where serious violence within the family has taken place, including those where children have been directly and seriously harmed.
Justin also has significant experience and brings a professional understanding to cases where issues of mental health or cultural and religious sensitivity arise.
Justin is known for his ability to engage with clients, his clarity of advice, and an ability to steer a ‘route to home’ through what are invariably difficult times.
Care and Adoption proceedings continue to develop as a complex area of child law and Justin’s experience as a trial advocate is employed by both public bodies and private individuals alike in seeking to determine the best outcome for children. Justin brings a significant level of experience and expertise to what are often distressing cases and increasingly cases where time is of the essence. Justin assists at all stages in proceedings from pre-proceeding conferences where he is happy to give advice to local authorities as to ‘next steps’, through to appeal where that is appropriate.
Increasingly, and reflecting the growing number of families with non-British nationality, Justin appears in the High Court where there are jurisdictional disputes. He has been involved in significant cases both private and public law based, where the Court has had to decide Hague Convention / Brussels II Regulation questions before or as part of the process in determining any final resolution.
The protection of children and the vulnerable is always at the heart of Court decisions in this arena and as such Justin has experience with all the tools at the Court’s disposal including the use of Forced Marriage Protection Orders, which he has both obtained and resisted on behalf of clients. Beyond the purely legal elements of such applications, Justin has a ready insight as to the types of familial issues at play and the practical pitfalls which are to be avoided.
Justin frequently appears in Court of Protection actions particularly as they relate to vulnerable youngsters involved with local authority care, with sound knowledge and experience in challenging the provision of services or the need for any local authority to share parental responsibility.