Academics, lawyers and survivors to address unique conference

A huge array of speakers from a variety of backgrounds will be addressing the conference, 'Wisdom from Failure: A Kaleidoscope on Child Protection'.

Keynote speaker: Matthew Syed

Matthew Syed is a columnist for The Times, the author of three acclaimed books – Bounce, Black Box Thinking and You Are Awesome, published last year which is aimed at children aged 9-12 years old. A former international table tennis champion, Matthew is a trustee of Greenhouse Sports, a charity that empowers young people from disadvantaged communities through sport.
Matthew's book on Black Box Thinking says that whether developing a new product, honing a core skill or just trying to get a critical decision right, Black Box Thinkers aren’t afraid to face up to mistakes. In fact, they see failure as the very best way to learn. Rather than denying their mistakes, blaming others or attempting to spin their way out of trouble, these institutions and individuals interrogate errors as part of their future strategy for success. The book reveals the dangers of failing to learn from mistakes - in healthcare, hundreds of thousands of patients die from preventable medical errors every year due to a chronic lack of Black Box Thinking.
Matthew will be delivering the keynote speech at the conference.


Martha Cover Barrister & Co-Chair, Association of Lawyers for Children

Martha Cover has been a child law specialist since 1990, representing parents and children in cases of serious injury and death to a child. She has a particular interest in allegations of emotional harm where children are being brought up in unusual or false belief systems. She also specialises in international and domestic adoption, wardship, and intractable disputes between parents over contact and residence.
Since 2010 Martha has been one of the Chairs of the Association of Lawyers for Children, and in November 2012 she gave evidence on their behalf to the Justice Select Committee and to the House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption. Martha has also been Head of Chambers at Coram since 2010.

Peter Garsden – President, Association of Child Abuse Lawyers
The Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) is an association set up for the benefit of victims, lawyers, experts and other professionals involved in the field of obtaining compensation for the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and adults abused in childhood.
Peter Garsden is President of the ACAL is a Partner and Head of Department at Simpson Millar LLP (incorporating Abney Garsden, Solicitors) of Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire and a former P.I. Panel member.
He heads a specialist department of Child Abuse Personal Injury Lawyers and is the co-ordinating solicitor for most Child Abuse compensation claims and group actions in the North of England, including a five home 900 claimant action based in Manchester. He is a former Secretary and founder member of a charity called Abuse Watch. He also assists an international charity called Innocence in Danger

Professor Louise Jackson – Professor of Modern Social History at the University of Edinburgh

Professor Jackson graduated from Oxford University (Modern History) in 1988, after getting an MA at the University of Exeter (1992) and a PhD at the University of Surrey, Roehampton, in 1997. She was appointed as a Lecturer in History in the School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University in 1997 and joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh in 2005. She is a Registered Practitioner of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Chris Millard – Lecturer and Researcher at University of Sheffield

Chris Millard joined the Department of History at the University of Sheffield in 2016, having studied and taught in York, Birmingham and London. His research focuses on the history of psychiatry and medicine in the twentieth century, particularly around self-harm, suicide, faking illness and child abuse. Chris is also interested more broadly in the welfare state, the ‘helping professions’ of social work and child guidance, and the increasing influence of anthropology and sociology on medicine and psychiatry during the twentieth century. Chris has published on the history of attempted suicide and self-harm, English mental health policy, and the history of the emotions. Chris also worked in the UK Parliament in 2014, researching and writing a briefing on ‘parity of esteem between mental and physical health’.

Philip King – Expert Social Worker in Child Protection and Abuse Claims

Phil has been in social work for nearly 40 years, focussing on working with children and families, although he has undertaken specialist training in mental health and learning disability. He began his social work career in residential work, qualified in 1980 and practised as a social worker, before then moving into various management roles.
Later, his career choice was to return to direct practice by working as an independent social worker, initially as a Children’s Guardian. Within this role, he acted in an advisory capacity to national committees and as a country-wide trainer. He was an adviser to the Law Society on the development of the Children Panel for solicitors and was joint-partner of an agency offering training to solicitors. In 1998, he co-founded independent social work agency, ISWA, which went on to grow into one of the largest and most successful agencies in the UK.
Alongside his role as Director of ISWA, Phil acted as an expert witness in care proceedings and subsequently utilised his skills to become one of very few experts in the UK to offer opinion in cases of possible negligence and failure of duty of care.
In 2017, ISWA merged with WillisPalmer and Phil has remained as an Executive Consultant, where he has led on developing and expanding the Child Abuse Litigation Service which now provides a team of experts to offer opinion in cases of potential failure of duty of care.

Iain O’Donnell – Child Abuse Compensation Lawyer

Iain O’Donnell has a common law and specialist criminal practice that encompasses child abuse compensation law, clinical negligence, general high-value personal injury, animal welfare, animal and medical related crime, judicial review / human rights, sports law and police law.

Iain acts in complex, historic abuse claims of every type. He has acted and is currently acting in high profile litigation, involving the following parties:
- Rolf Harris
- Cyril Smith
- Lord Greville Janner
(Iain is instructed by the principal survivor group in the Janner module of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA)
- Aston Villa Football Club
- Chelsea Football Club
- Leicester City Football Club
- Queens Park Rangers Football Club
- The estate of Khyra Ishaq

He has brought successful claims against local authorities, private schools, the church, the scouts, the boys brigade and other defendant organisations as well as against abusers in person. Iain has given various lectures and seminars in the many legal issues that arise in child abuse claims, and has appeared in a number of the cases that have come to define this area of the law, the most recent of which is CN & GN v Poole Borough Council (CA) in which Iain acts for the Claimants, and in which the issue of whether private law claims in negligence can be brought against local authorities for the failures of their social services departments is addressed. The Claimants have recently been granted leave to appeal the judgment of the Court of Appeal in CN to the Supreme Court.

Gabrielle Shaw – CEO, National Association for People Abused in Childhood

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood provides a range of services which offer direct support to survivors of abuse and stands up for survivors and represents their interests among those who are in a position to help improve their lives.
Gabrielle Shaw is the CEO and a highly experienced professional with a proven record in managing complex and strategic international remits, including managing multi-disciplinary teams to achieve outstanding results. Gabrielle has worked extensively in the statutory sector, child protection and the charity world.

Richard Scorer – Principal Lawyer, Head of Abuse Law at Slater & Gordon

Richard is Head of the Abuse Team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester. He represents clients all over the UK.
During his career, Richard has acted for victims in many high profile cases. Richard has particular expertise in cases involving religious organisations such as the Catholic Church, Church of England, Jehovah's Witnesses and Islamic institutions such as mosques and madrasahs. He also represents many young women affected by child exploitation across the country, and acts for victims of abuse with learning difficulties.
Richard has written and lectured extensively on the subject of child abuse. His book Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis was published in 2014 and Richard also co-authored the APIL Guide to Child Abuse Compensation Claims published in 2011.
Richard has been with Slater and Gordon since 2014 and was at Pannone LLP between 1992-2014, including five years as Head of Serious Injury. Richard is founder and executive committee member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) and Fellow of Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

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