Child Abuse Litigation

Providing assistance in cases of non-recent abuse

Child Abuse Litigation

Providing assistance in cases of non-recent abuse

WillisPalmer can assist defendant and claimant solicitors in cases of recent or non-recent child abuse, when a claim is being made against an organisation in respect of potential negligence and the way a child care case was handled, often known as Breach of Duty.

Our expert Independent Social Workers and Psychologists have a broad range of expertise and skills and can assist solicitors in the following ways:

  • File Preparation
  • Chronologies
  • Preliminary Reports
  • Full expert reports
  • Capacity to Instruct
  • Expert opinion
  • Data Breaches
  • Coroner's inquests

As an independent organisation, we provide an impartial and neutral service to both defendant and claimant solicitors in Breach of Duty cases. Our reputation has been built upon expertise, integrity and impartiality.

File Preparation

Local authority case records can range from a small bundle to 20 lever-arch files or more. These records vary largely in their content and layout, related to the time period involved and varying practices of local authorities.

Often, these records are complex and filled with jargon, abbreviations and poorly ordered. The records commonly contain what may on the surface appear to be repetitive documentation but which in reality are not.

Examination of these records requires a highly-experienced social work eye to sift and analyse the files into a manageable form, and be filed in good order and paginated with an index. This professional eye is essential to constructing a fair and balanced chronology in order to reveal a true and fair picture of the case.

Chronologies

For all claims, solicitors will require a chronology of events throughout the entire case. Some children may have been taken into care at an early age, and then spent a lot of their childhood in care; therefore, there can be a huge amount of documents to examine.

Once the files have been organised and categorised the expert can then produce a fair and balanced chronology.

Preliminary Reports

A preliminary report is a brief report which focuses on the essence of the history and whether there has been a breach of duty of care.

These reports assist solicitors and the decision-making process, clarifying whether a case has a reasonable prospect of success if pursued. The reasoning behind this is essentially two-fold.

Firstly, lawyers do not want to raise unrealistic expectations with claimants and defendants. Secondly is financial. Some claimant firms take cases on a CFA (conditional fee agreement) basis; more commonly known as ‘no win-no fee’. It, therefore, represents a significant investment in legal fees. Additionally, in order to allow claimants access to legal aid funding, the legal aid agency may need to see a preliminary report which indicates that there may be a reasonable prospect of success. 

Solicitors typically provide us with key documents up to 1,000 pages and we provide an expert opinion based on those documents.

Full Expert Reports

A full expert report will answer the questions posed by the solicitor within a letter of instruction and include a full chronology to enable solicitors to ascertain a clear understanding of the child’s experience.

The expert will judge the standards of care relating to the time of the allegations and provide full reference of the legislation, guidance and practice at the time plus include details of the local authorities duty of care.

An evidence-based report is produced with conclusions pinpointing any failures and detailing what a responsible body of social workers would have done differently. The report will then go on to state how, if that had been done, this would have affected the future trajectory of that child.

Our team of experts have lengthy post qualification experience within a range of care environments. They therefore have direct knowledge of operating within many safeguarding systems both past and present. 

Capacity to Instruct

We have expert psychologists who will be able to advise and provide relevant reports and certification as to whether your client has the capacity to instruct on the case in question.

Expert opinion

We can provide expert opinion on whether the care and protection given within a range of environments (whilst at home, in foster care, in residential care or in adoptive care) was what could be expected of reasonable social work practice for the time.

Data Breaches

Where there has been a case of breaches to data protection we can undertake a risk assessment to analyse the impact of the data breaches and to decide whether things could have been done differently.

Coroner's Inquests

Cases where children have died when they are in the care of a local authority are, thankfully, rare. however, when this occurs, our experts can carry out a risk assessment to look at whether things could have been done differently for that child while they were in the care of social services.

Make a referral

Telephone: 01206 878178

Email: enquiry@willispalmer.com

Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
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