Lorraine has acted in complex care cases including fatal injury cases and catastrophic injuries to children, which may be inflicted. Further, Lorraine has dealt with a number of NAHI and non accidental injury cases with areas of medical complexity. Lorraine has a wealth of experience acting on all sides of these applications. Lorraine’s practice in medical treatment law has caused her to become involved in end of life care cases for children with profound illness and/or disability. Including case involving the force feeding of children and their detention for the purposes of medical treatment. Lorraine acts for children directly without a Guardian and through their Guardian. Lorraine also acts, in these cases, for local authorities, Hospital Trusts and parents. Due to her experience as a noted practitioner in the Court of Protection Lorraine has acted in numerous complex care cases involving learning disabled parents and children. Including concurrent care proceedings for the child and COP proceedings for the parents. She has extensive experience of acting through the Official Solicitor for parents and children who lack the capacity to instruct directly. Lorraine has also acted in a number of High Court public law cases involving linked Human Rights Act claims and Judicial Review proceedings in which she also acted on behalf of the clients.
Lorraine has been involved in complex international/foreign adoption cases. Including some of the leading cases on this issue. Lorraine has also been involved in sensitive and complex litigation involving defending post adoption contact claims by biological parents under the Human Rights Act or the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (as amended).
Inherent Jurisdiction/ Medical Treatment
Medical treatment cases for children form a significant part of Lorraine’s practice. Lorraine has acted for the Hospital/NHS Trusts in these cases and for local authorities. Lorraine has a wealth of experience acting for children/young adults and parents facing life threatening illness and treatment dilemmas.
Lorraine has been involved in some very complex cases in the obtaining of Reporting Restriction orders primarily relating to the protection of the privacy of a child.
Lorraine has a specialist interest in Wardship and the imaginative use of the inherent jurisdiction to facilitate the right outcome for a child. The use of injunctive and declaratory relief to safeguard a child is very familiar territory for Lorraine.
Lorraine has been junior in the leading case shaping the rights of children in care. The landmark and grave case of A & S v Lancashire County Council was a Human Rights application by two children, represented by Lorraine, and her leader, to bring into account the local government, the national policy and legislation that had come together to permit the boy’s parlous conditions and unlawful legal status to persist. Lorraine has represented multiple children before and in the aftermath of this case who seek to challenge failures of a local authority to meet their needs and statutory duties to them. The jurisdictional vehicle for such challenges lie in the inherent jurisdiction, the Human Rights Act or judicial Review, depending on the facts of the case.
Lorraine has experience of acting in a wide range of private Children Act cases for parents, relatives and children with party status. Lorraine acts in complex residence and contact matters including cases involving specific issues and intractable contact dispute involving emotional abuse and media issues. Lorraine has been involved in the most serious complex cases of this type.
D (A Child: Placement Order) 
Led Jonathan Taylor for the respondent local authority in the Court of Appeal against a placement order. Lord Justice Peter Jackson applied the Supreme Court’s decision in Re H-W to an adoption case – “Adoption can only be approved where it is in the child’s lifelong best interests and where the severe interference with the right to respect for family life is necessary and proportionate. The court must therefore evaluate the family placement and assess the nature and likelihood of the harm that the child would be likely to suffer in it, the consequences of the harm arising, and the possibilities for reducing the risk of harm or for mitigating its effects. It must then compare the advantages and disadvantages for the child of that placement with the advantages and disadvantages of adoption and of any other realistic placement outcomes short of adoption.” The appeal against the placement order was allowed. The judgment is available here.
F and G (Children) (Sexual Abuse Allegations) 
Led Stephen Brown for the appellant in the Court of Appeal against findings of fact that the appellant sexually abused a small child. The appeal against the recorder’s findings was dismissed whilst the lower court’s reasons were delivered with economy, they were sufficient as to substance. The judgment is available here.
W (A Child) Re  EWHC 2844 (Fam)
Represented one of the parents in an important case for care and CoP practitioners. The judgment is available here.
MBC v AM & Ors (DOL Orders for Children Under 16)  EWHC 2472 (Fam)
Led Shaun Spencer in their representation of three of the four local authorities in cases selected to test the point as to whether the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction could continue to authorise a Deprivation of Liberty of a child under the age of 16 in an unregistered children’s home after the introduction of Regulation 27A into the Care Planning, Placement and Review (England) Regulations 2010. MacDonald J concluded that the jurisdiction survives. The judgment is available here.
In the Matter of T (a child) (Appellant)
The Supreme Court recently handed down guidance in cases of Deprivation of Liberty regarding children authorised under the inherent jurisdiction. Lorraine Cavanagh KC with Deirdre Fottrell KC, Siobhan Kelly and Sharon Segal acted for the Association of Lawyers for Children. The judgment is available here.
YW (A Child) (Adequacy of Reasons)  EWCA Civ 1174
Lorraine led Jacqueline Whelan in the Court of Appeal for a local authority opposing two appeals against findings of fact of non accidental facial injuries to a toddler. The appeals were allowed. The CoA concluded amongst other things “It was in my judgment wrong of the judge as she went through the evidence of each witness to provide a running commentary on its credibility. She ought to have set out the accounts and only reached her conclusions once she had considered the totality of the evidence.” The case was reported on BAILLII.
H v An Adoption Agency (No.2) (Declaration of Parentage and Public Policy)  EWHC 1943 (Fam)
Led Eleanor Keehan in a case before Mr Justice MacDonald. This follows MacDonald J’s previous decision H v An Adoption Agency  EWFC 74. The novel issue in this case was whether it was manifestly contrary to public policy to grant a declaration of parentage after the child has been adopted; the court concluded that it was. The Attorney-General intervened. The judgment contains an important distillation of the central public policy principles underpinning adoption in this jurisdiction and the intended inviolability of adoptive placements. The most recent judgment can be read here. The previous judgment is available here.
Salford CC v W others (Religion and Declaration of Looked After Status) EWHC 61 (Fam)
Lorraine led Niamh Ross in this application for a prohibited steps order to prevent the prospective special guardians from allowing the children to receive the sacraments of the Roman Catholic faith until they were 16 years old. The judgment is available here.
In the Matter of the Adoption of Children Act 2002 and in the Matter of C (Children) (Revocation of Placement Orders)
Lorraine led Matthew Carey for the local authority and Karl Rowley KC led Mark Senior for the children. The Court of Appeal took the opportunity to address the applicable principles to an application to revoke a placement order after leave has been granted. The judgment is available here.
Court of Appeal Judgment – Re H-N and others (Children) (Domestic Abuse: Finding of Fact Hearings)
Lorraine appeared in the four conjoined Domestic Abuse appeals before the Court of Appeal [Re H-N and Others] for an intervener, the Association of Lawyers for Children. The judgment is available here.
H v An Adoption Agency
Lorraine led Eleanor Keehan in a case before Mr Justice McDonald in H v An Adoption Agency (Declaration of Parentage Following Adoption)  EWFC 74. The novel issue in the case was whether the Family Court has jurisdiction to grant a declaration of parentage in respect of a natural father where the child had been adopted years prior to the application and her ties with her natural family had been severed.
B (A Child) (Designated Local Authority) 10 December 2020
The successful Appeal concerned the approach to be taken when determining the ‘designated local authority’. Lorraine led Paula Davitt for the child B and provided written submissions to the Court of Appeal. Frances Heaton KC and Kerry Holt represented Cheshire East Council. Shaun Spencer was led by Nick Goodwin KC for Salford City Council. The judgment is available here.
A Local Authority v MM  EWFC 65
Lorraine led William Baker before Mostyn J in an application for an Article 15 transfer to a court in Romania the welfare stage of care proceedings. The burden is on the applicant to show that the other court provides genuine and specific added value. Mostyn J held that “the later in the progress of the case the heavier the burden will become.
Read the judgment.
Re B (Secure Accommodation Order  EWCA Civ 2025
Lorraine led Denise Gilling from 1 GC and Baljinder Bath of 4PB for the Association of Lawyers for Children. The Court of Appeal has settled upon a broad definition of the term ‘secure accommodation’ within section 25 CA 1989. Concluded that the relevant criteria that must be met before an order is made includes an evaluation of the child’s welfare and the proportionality of the proposed interference with Article 5 and 8. The time to assess if the criteria under section 25 are met is the date of the hearing. Read the judgment.
Re Z (A Child: Deprivation of Liberty: Transition Plan)  EWHC 3038 (Fam) (12 November 2020)
Knowles J offering a pointer to good practice for local authorities and families seeking to move a child into a placement where restraint and restrictions on liberty are required. Joseph O’Brien was for the local authority and Lorraine led Ben McCormack for the parents of the subject child. The case is reported on BAILII.
RE AA (Children) & 25 Ors  EWFC 64
Lorraine was led by Karl Rowley KC for the lead local authority in this complex multi-handed public law litigation. This appears to be the largest public law family case that has been litigated. There were 15 care cases heard together by Sir Mark Hedley relating to grave sexual abuse allegations in respect of children. Sir Mark Hedley decided the principle of whether there was a power for the Family Court to stop a case at half time and if so the test for it to be exercised (appendix 2). Sir Mark also considered the approach to exoneration of a person who has been the subject of an allegation that could not be proved against them. Read the judgment.
RE N (A CHILD: Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order)  4 WLR 98
Acted for the Local Authority in a case that concerned a female infant who was at real risk of female genital mutilation if she returned to the Sudan with her mother. Mr Justice Hayden analysed the interplay between Article 3 rights and Article 8 rights and decided that “…whilst there can be no derogation from N’s Article 3 rights, the interference with her Article 8’s rights, and those of her siblings and family, must be limited to that which is necessary to protect her Article 3 rights.” The learned judge granted an injunctive FGMPO to prevent the baby leaving the jurisdiction. Read the judgment.
RE M (Children: New Evidence)  EWCA Civ 607
Lorraine was led by Karl Rowley KC. Lord Justice Peter Jackson held that court should be slow to admit expert evidence that had been irregularly obtained. If the rules were not enforced, parties would be encouraged to ignore them, and there would be nothing to stop a litigant shopping around until they found a favourable opinion. The court gave clarification in respect of the test for admission of evidence under section 13 of the Children’s and families Act 2014. See the judgment.
RE L (A CHILD) (Withholding Life Sustaining Medical Treatment)  EWHC 3695 (FAM)
Acted for the family of a little girl responding to an extremely urgent application by the Hospital Trust for declarations that it was lawful for them not to resuscitate or intubate and mechanically ventilate her. The parents wanted their child to have mechanical ventilation to live her life as it was at the time, albeit profoundly disabled. Williams J did not make blanket declarations as sought by the Trust. In a postscript he recorded that the child defied the odds and did not die as had been predicted by the clinical team: “The instinct to live clearly runs strongly in her. It illustrates in a vivid way how life defies probabilities and how the best judgments of medicine and law may be confounded by nature.” Read the judgment. This case was covered in the British Medical Journal and the Daily Mail.
Re S (Child as parent: Adoption: Consent)  EWHC 2729 (FAM)
A decision of Mr Justice Cobb setting the relevant information that a child parent must understand to be competent to consent to the adoption of her child. The test is equally applicable to adults applying the Mental capacity Act 2005 principles. Read the full decision.
Re A & O (Children: Scotland)  EWHC 1293 (FAM)
Acted for the Scottish parents of two children placed in England under a compulsory supervision order albeit with prospective adopters. They issued an adoption application in England which the parents defend. The question arose as to the ability of the Family Court and Family Division properly to perform their functions in accordance with section 1(6) and In re B-S, and to meet the procedural standards mandated by Articles 6 and 8 of the Convention, if their powers are limited by the lack of any ability to make an order under the Children Act 1989 should it decline to make the adoption order. The President decided that “the English court will not be hamstrung in undertaking the In re B-S exercise and there will be no question of proceedings in the Family Court being non-compliant with either Article 6 or Article 8.” As the inherent jurisdiction permits orders to be made equivalent to CA orders to meet the children’s welfare. Read the judgment and the article in Jordan’s Family Law.
Northamptonshire CC v M, F and A (A Child)  EWHC 997 (Fam) Francis J.
Lorraine acted for a little boy in care proceedings where he had been unlawfully placed away from his mother when 1 year old pursuant to Section 20 Children Act 1989. The child raised a Human Rights Act claim; the learned judge found that Northamptonshire were in egregious breach of its duties to the child and his parents. The court held that “at the time when A was placed with the grandmother, the threshold criteria were probably not met to any degree which comes close to being sufficient to warrant either (i) a statutory order or (ii) long-term separation of A from his mother.” Read the judgment.
Re A & Ors (Children: Scottish Adoptions)  EWHC 35
Acted for a child through CAFCASS in a guidance decision case about Scottish adoptions before the President of the Family Division. The President considered seven cases of Scottish children placed for adoption in England under permanence orders with permission to adopt. The President found that the parents’ parental responsibility is extinguished under such an order. The President gave guidance as to whether the parents should be made parties or even given notice of the application. Read the judgment. Lorraine was asked to write about the case for Family Law Week and Jordan’s Family Law.
Re H-C (Finding of Fact: Rehearing)  EWFC 48
Peter Jackson J. Led by Karl Rowley Q.C. This was the rehearing of the fatal injury trial acting for a father who was accused of smothering a baby. The complexities of the medical evidence were significant. Karl and Lorraine were successful in establishing that the abusive act of smothering did not occur nor did any other act of physical abuse of the deceased child. The local authority had failed to prove the case to the requisite standard. Read the judgment here.
RE H-C (Children)  4 WLR 85 (Court of Appeal)
Led by Karl Rowley Q.C. Acted for the appellant in the Court of Appeal. The Court overturned a finding of fact by a High Court judge that the father caused a child’s death by smothering and went on to give guidance as to the proper approach to lies told by witnesses in family cases and the application of the Lucas direction in family cases. The Court of Appeal also considered the proper approach to appeal against judge’s finding in case of suspected child abuse. Read the judgment here.
Re L, K & J  EWFC 12
Russell J. Led by Jane Crowley Q.C. Lorraine acted for a ten year old child, through the Official Solicitor, who was accused of causing serious brain injuries to a related baby. The child was exculpated from any role in the injuries of the baby which Ms Justice Russell found were caused by his mother shaking him. Read the judgment here.
Re A (Children: Withdrawal of Life Support)  EWHC 2828 (Fam)  2 F.L.R. 485;  2 F.C.R. 184; (2016) 148 B.M.L.R. 186
Mr Justice Holman permitted the withdrawal of ventilation from both genetically identical twin boys aged 14 months with a neuro-degenerative disorder. This was opposed on religious grounds by their parents. Lorraine acted for the applicant NHS Trust (Children’s Hospital). Read the judgment here.
Seddon v Oldham Council  EWHC 2609 (Fam)
Peter Jackson J: Defending a Human Rights claim. Mr Justice Peter Jackson declared that family life (Article 8) between a birth mother and an adopted child is terminated upon the making of an adoption order. An application to declare section 51A (the gateway of leave) incompatible with the ECHR was dismissed. Indirect contact by way of letter box run by an adoption agency does not maintain an article 8 right of family life post adoption but the birth parent has Article 8 protection over their correspondence, which in this case was not violated by the local authority. Read the judgment here.
Re H-C (Children)  EWCA Civ 136
Acted for the appellants in the Court of Appeal. The Court overturned a finding of fact that a person caused a child’s death and went on to give guidance as to the use of a finding of a lie in family cases.
Re A (A Child: Brain Stem Death)  143 BMLR 192:  2 FCR 489
Hayden J: The court defined death as irreversible cessation of brainstem function following a challenge by the parents of a 19-month-old boy who had choked on some fruit. Lorraine acted for the Trust seeking a declaration that child A was dead and that life support may be withdrawn. The court gave guidance to the coroner that he ought not to seize jurisdiction over a ventilated body.
Re X (A Child: Adoption) (No. 2)  EWHC 4813
Theis J: The adoption of a 17-and-a-half year old young woman at an international boarding school and in a family with multiple homes over the world. The court found that she had had her ‘home’ with the prospective adopter for the purposes of section 42(3) ACA 2002.
Re DM (Inherent Jurisdiction)  EWHC 3119 (Fam)
Hayden J: An application for anticipatory declaratory relief in respect of an unborn child. The autonomy of a woman over her body in particular to refuse medical treatment leading to the death of her unborn child was upheld.
Kirklees Council v RE, SE (a child) and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust:  1 FLR 1316
Moor J. Lorraine acted for a local authority, who had an interim care order, in respect of a baby boy who was terminally ill. The withdrawal of life sustaining medical treatment (respiratory support and ventilation) and the delivery of palliative care to a baby who was in a “no hope” situation where such measures were futile and causing distress to him. The Royal College of Paediatrician’s and Child Health Guidance in 2004 insofar as it addresses parental responsibility when held by a local authority was the subject of some concern from the learned Judge (§19-20).
An NHS Foundation Trust v A & Ors  1 FLR 503
(Fam) Hayden J. Lorraine acted for the NHS Trust (the Children’s Hospital) who applied for declarations to place an NJ tube into the gut of 15-year-old girl against her will and feed her as she was dangerously low in weight and in multi organ failure. The use of force to deliver the treatment and nutrition. The girl was 5½ stone and had a severe and complex psycho-somatoform disorder. The child was made a ward or court and the declarations were granted despite her own and her mother’s objections. This case received extensive national media coverage.
Re MI (Care Proceedings)  1 FLR 208:  Fam Law 1248
Peter Jackson J. Led by Anthony Hayden Q.C. (as he then was) representing the mother. Successful challenge to the care plan and the return of a four-year-old to the care of his mother after a fatal injury to a 7 week old sibling. Father convicted of manslaughter. Clarity as to the test for ‘adequate care’ of a surviving child.
A & S v Lancashire County Council (Human Rights: Costs)  2 FLR 1221:  Fam Law 952
Peter Jackson J. Led by Anthony Hayden Q.C. (as he then was) this was a Human Rights Act claim for two boys 16 years and 14 years coupled with an application under the inherent jurisdiction to discharge their freeing orders. The boys had the most lamentable history in care and “wanted important people to listen to us” so this leading case was taken. The boys Articles 3, 6 and 8 rights were violated by LCC. The role of the Independent Reviewing Officer in the protection of children in care was the subject of criticism by the court. Their damages claims were transferred to the QBD. This leading child rights case led to a national audit and investigation into the circumstances of each freed child in the country and evidence was called about the case by Baroness Butler-Sloss in the House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption. This was a very high profile case in the media.
A & S v Lancashire County Council (Freeing Orders: Human rights)  2 FLR 803:  15 CCL Rep 471:  Fam Law 1315
Peter Jackson J. Led by Anthony Hayden Q.C. (as he then was) this was the costs application against LCC for the entire costs of the welfare and HRA proceedings to be paid. The decision lays down the legal principle that the FPR costs Rules apply to a HRA claim brought in the Family Division despite its entirely civil characteristics.
Re P (A Child) (Causation) 
(unreported in law reports though extensively reported in the media) Moylan J. Led by Anthony Hayden Q.C. representing the local authority in a fatal injury to a 21-month-old child. Child had an organic bleeding disorder. The local authority satisfied the court that the mother was the perpetrator of the injuries. This case had a national media profile.
Re G (A Child) (Fatal Injuries) 
(unreported) Peter Jackson J. Representing the father. A consolidated final hearing following the fatal injury to a baby and the father’s conviction of manslaughter. Complex pathological evidence. Surviving child was placed for adoption. This case had a national media profile.
LCC v (1) A, B, C, D (Minors by Their Children’s Guardian) (2) K (3) S
Theis J. Acted for a parent opposing the declaration sought that it was lawful and in the children’s best interests to be given the MMR Vaccine. The mother relied on the fact that children going into care are vaccinated in accordance with government policy, which meant that, in practice, there were mandatory vaccinations for children in care. Such action was at the discretion of the child’s parents in the general population and the decision had been taken, long ago, not to vaccinate these children against MMR which was being overridden by the application of a national policy. The argument failed and the declaration was made.
Re F (A Child) (Interim Care Order)  2 FLR 856
CoA led by Anthony Hayden KC (as he then was) representing the father. A challenge to the requirement for proof the identity of the perpetrator of harm to the balance of probabilities in order to establish threshold on the basis of risk of future harm to a second child. If a parent has a proven finding that they were a possible perpetrator of actual harm on a previous child in their history it is not enough to found threshold on a second child.
Re M (A Child) (Leave to Defend Adoption Order)  EWCA Civ 317
CoA led by Sarah Singleton KC (as she then was) representing the prospective adopters. Section 47(5) Adoption Children Act 2002 appeal in which further guidance was sought in respect of the test for leave to defend adoption proceedings.
RB v United Kingdom  European Court of Human Rights
Led by Anthony Hayden Q.C. (as he then was) application on behalf of RB linked to Re A (adoption Placement Outside Jurisdiction) (above). Application refused, no violation of article 8 found.
Re A (Adoption: Placement Outside Jurisdiction)  2 FLR 337,  3 WLR 1207,  2 FCR 129,  Fam Law 560, Times 10th June 2004, Independent 6th May 2004
Court of Appeal led by Anthony Hayden KC (as he then was) representing the Appellant father in a case where the local authority committed an offence under the Adoption Act 1976 by illegally removing children outside of the jurisdiction for the purposes of adoption. The court defines “unlawful placement” in this decision. The Court of Appeal addressed the father’s Human Rights Act challenge in this decision.
Re E  23.4.2014 (LTL AC0143979)
Lorraine represented the mother in a case which led to findings that a father, in private law proceedings, sought to pervert the course of justice and orchestrated a sustained campaign of emotional abuse against the child and mother (i.e. using the proceedings as a weapon to ruin the mother). The mother successfully secured a costs order for her costs of the litigation to be paid by the father.
Re L (A Child) (Non Return)  EWHC 394
(Fam) Roderic Wood J representing the mother. The parents were Egyptian nationals and the court found a risk of abduction by the father due to his dishonesty. The dicta as to shared residence and PR is helpful as it clarifies the law where an order may grant rights of custody abroad to the parents who poses a risk of abduction. Prohibited Steps orders and protective orders to prevent removal were made.