Pennie has many years of experience of representing parents and children in disputes about where children should live and how they should spend time with the other parent. This includes finding of fact hearings when allegations are made by one or other party, complex work arrangements, differing needs of different children (including special needs and disability) and all of the complexities that make up modern life. Pennie was involved in research about cases in which one parent was seeking to relocate and has a particular interest in cases of “implacable hostility”.
Pennie represents Local Authorities, parents and children in all aspects of public law where the state is seeking to intervene in family life. This includes cases where children have died or been seriously injured, there has been over medicalization or factitious illness, sexual abuse, neglect and failing to protect. Pennie frequently deals with expert medical witnesses both in injury and neglect cases as well as psychologists and psychiatrists. Pennie has also significant experience in dealing with cases with an international element including the use of the Tipstaff, wardship, children being placed with family members abroad, allegations of child trafficking, rape and under-age marriage.
Re A, B and C (Adoption: Notification of Fathers and Relatives)  EWCA CIV 41 (29 January 2020): Led by Frances Heaton KC. Acted for the local authority in Case C. The judgment gives guidance on the issue of notification to the father or relatives in cases where the mother wishes to relinquish the child for adoption but has concealed her pregnancy and does not wish the father and/or family to be informed of the child’s existence. The judgment has been published on Bailii and the case has been covered on Family Law Week and the Suespiciousminds blog.
A LA v G 2023
Representing the LA in case with complex medical evidence in a child death case. Led by Lorraine Cavanagh KC.
A LA v B 2020
Represented the LA in a case where there were concurrent criminal proceedings which resulted in convictions in respect of the death of two siblings. Issues included reporting restrictions and High Court declarations in respect of future care of another child.
A LA v T 2019
Representing LA in a case where the father was convicted of killing a child but there was complex telephone data evidence and psychological evidence in relation to care planning for a sibling.
Re AZ (Children) (Relocation to Poland) (2016) EWFC 8: Successfully represented a mother who had applied to permanently relocate to Poland with her child. The mother suffered from mental ill health. The judgment is published here.
H v A Local Authority (2015): Representing mother in successful application to revoke placement order. Local authority had instructed leading counsel to oppose the application by mother which was also potentially the subject of an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
B v SCC (2015): The first case in Sheffield of a family member making an application for a contact who had been adopted some time ago. Pro bono.
F v Local Authority A and Local Authority B (2015): Representing local authority in re-hearing following successful appeal by family. Significant mental health issues, children very disturbed, complex plans.
A Local Authority v B & M & R (2015): Representing a parent in a finding of fact hearing and welfare hearing. Injuries alleged but following cross-examination of both medical and factual witnesses no finding made in relation to actual injury. Child subject to rehabilitation plan following welfare hearing in spite of initial opposition from the local authority.
SCC v M, P and M (2015): Representing Local Authority in finding of fact hearing including previous allegations and acquittal in criminal court. Risk assessment and issues of jurisdiction (EU and non EU).
Re A (a child) (2013) EWCA Civ 1104: Long running private law dispute. Very high profile case when before the Court of Appeal.
A Local Authority v R and A (RCJ 2014): Missing children, involves wardship, publicity orders and other Tipstaff orders.
A Local Authority v A and A (High Court 2014): Public law case involving serious allegations of underage sex, removal of the child from the jurisdiction and serious findings of fact. Also issues of long term placement away from the care of parents who are EU nationals.
LW (A child) (2014) EWFC B96 & 97: Represented a father in a finding of fact hearing where allegations of serious acquired brain injury were made. Cross-examination of a number of medical experts required including a paediatric neuro-radiologist, ophthalmologist and paediatrician regarding both timing and mechanism of injury. There was a concurrent police investigation.
A Local Authority v B and B (2013): Represented a mother in proceedings in which her youngest child had died from very serious head injuries. Involved extensive medical evidence and a concurrent police investigation and Crown Court trial. Lead by Jane Crowley KC.
Re FS (2013): Pennie represented the child in a case involving indecent images and the grooming and abuse of a child connected to the family. There was technical evidence regarding the use of social media and the internet and 1000s of messages. Connected criminal investigation.