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Child Abuse Litigation

There are five critical elements where we are able to help.

When a claim is being made against an organisation in respect of potential negligence and the way a child care case was handled, there are five critical elements where WillisPalmer can help claimant and defendant solicitors. Our team of expert social workers can provide expert opinion on whether the care and protection provided was what could be expected for the time.

  • High quality full expert reports.
  • Preliminary Reports - to assist solicitors and the decision-making process.
  • Chronology - a fair and balanced chronology.
  • File Preparation - record preparation completed.
  • Capacity to Instruct - our psychologists can advise whether your client has capacity to instruct on a case.

WillisPalmer provides an impartial and neutral service to both defendant and claimant solicitors across the UK. 

Expert Opinion and Full Reports

At WillisPalmer, our team of expert social workers 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. This enables them to 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.

Preliminary Reports

WillisPalmer provides preliminary reports to 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. 


Examination, filing and sorting of case bundles (sometimes reaching over 20 lever arch files per case) require an expert social worker to sift, analyse and sort into a manageable form. Critically, this professional eye is essential to constructing a fair and balanced chronology.

WillisPalmer is an impartial organisation you can trust when commissioning us to undertake case record preparation or expert reports, you are guaranteed a high-quality report, completed to the best standard by practitioners with over 20 years’ experience. Chronologies are completed with four-weeks of instruction.

Preparation of case records

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. That is why all of our social work experts within the service are trained to organise and prepare such case records with support from administrative staff.

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.

The Process

At WillisPalmer, we receive referrals for CALS by telephone 01206 878178 or email, or online.

On receiving a referral, we will send out the CALS Referral form to obtain the relevant information required in order to explore expert availability.

WillisPalmer will then provide a quote according to our graduated fees price list, which is dependent on the number of files there are, and we will explore expert availability.

Once an expert has been selected and we have the paper-work in place, we can begin immediately. Our timescales are six weeks for a preliminary report, and 8-10 weeks for an expert report, although these are negotiable with the Instructing Solicitor and the expert.

The Child Abuse Litigation Team

Our team is led by executive Consultant Philip King who trains and supervises staff. Philip has a strong national reputation for his work in this field and has been working in this arena for more than 15 years.

Philip King said: "We all know that at times child protection systems do fail for a variety of reasons. Quite rightly, society expects that the most vulnerable are properly protected from harm; the children themselves have a statutory right to this protection in a reasonable exercise of a duty of care by child protection agencies.

"However, these are complex cases where difficult judgements have had to be made in difficult circumstances.

"Our service provides the right expert, producing high-quality work which meets the needs of your client’s case. Whether your client is a claimant or defendant we will prepare the same expert analysis to allow a fair and balanced determination of a claim," he added.

Social Workers

Philip King leads a dedicated and highly experienced team of social work experts all of whom have lengthy post-qualification experience within a range of care environments. The team 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 as reasonable social work practice for this time. Philip King quality assures the work.


WillisPalmer has a team of expert psychologists who hold a diverse range of skills and experience in assessing and treating children and adults who have had adverse and traumatic childhood histories. Due to such levels of experience, we are able to provide experts within the spheres of clinical, forensic, counselling and educational psychology. Psychologists can provide vital opinion on the impact of adverse childhood experiences upon the adaptive functioning of children and adults in various elements of their lives. Our psychologists are well experienced in providing reports for use in legal proceedings.

Who are our services suitable for?

Our services are trusted and impartial:-

  • Defendent solicitors
  • Claimant solicitors

WillisPalmer covers the jurisdictions of England, Wales and Scotland. We have expert social workers that are registered to practice in these jurisdictions.

"I have instructed Philip King on a number of failure to remove cases and have always been very impressed with his knowledge of these cases. His reports are thorough and he has the great ability to grasp the issues in the cases from the outset. He is efficient and always able to assist with ongoing queries, which is of immense help. He is always my first choice for a social work expert.

Zahra Awaiz-Bilal, Associate, BBK

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A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work and psychological services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
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