Neil Owen-Casey

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Email: clerk@stjohnsbuildings.co.uk

Phone: 01244 323 070

Year of call: 2007

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Neil Owen-Casey is a family law specialist with a particular interest in public law children proceedings. Neil represents parents, local authorities, children and extended family members in the full range of applications that come before the Court.

A visiting lecturer at Bangor University’s School of Law, and also University College Cork, Ireland, Neil also gives regular seminars to solicitors, local authorities and local Family Justice Boards, in respect of all aspects of his practice.

Neil is an accredited advocacy trainer for Gray’s Inn and he is currently pupil supervisor to Daniel Currie.

Neil is well-known for his approachable style and the ability to manage the expectations of his clients.

MEMBERSHIPS

  • Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)
  • Wales and Chester Circuit
  • Gray’s Inn
  • Chair of North Wales & Chester FLBA
  • Association of Lawyers for Children.

APPOINTMENTS

  • Recorder (Family) 2019

Expertise

  • Family - Children

    PUBLIC LAW

    Neil has extensive experience in care proceedings and cases involving chronic neglect, all forms of abuse, domestic violence (including sexual violence and honour-based violence), as well as non-accidental injuries, and fabricated and induced illness. In particular, recent instructions have invariably included representing local authorities, parents and other family members where there have been allegations of coaching and coercing children to make false allegations of abuse, incidents of traumatic head trauma, and fabricated induced illness.

    Other recent cases have involved honour-based violence, severe neglect, abusive head trauma, large sibling groups (nine in one case), life-changing medical conditions, and the removal of a children due to a parent’s mental health difficulties – which was complemented and informed by Neil’s Court of Protection practice. Neil is also experienced in dealing with applications for secure accommodation orders, and those brought under the Inherent Jurisdiction concerning the deprivation of liberty of young people.

    Neil is regularly instructed in adoption cases, including those with an international element and involving the Conflict of Laws, and the recognition of foreign adoptions within this jurisdiction. He is also experienced in cases involving issues of identity, donor insemination and same-sex parents.

    Neil is renowned for his sensitivity in cases involving significant cultural and religious issues. He is skilled in representing grandparents, young parents and vulnerable clients, including those who have a physical or learning disability and/or lack of capacity.

    PRIVATE LAW

    Neil represents all parties in both Children Act and Family Law Act matters. He has considerable experience in dealing with all aspects of Child Arrangement Order applications. He is also instructed to advise and act in specific issue applications, cases where there are jurisdictional issues (including leave to remove), enforcement, and protracted disputes that often require expert assessments.

    Recent instructions have included parent alienation, the determination of residence of an adopted child due to the separation of the adoptive parents, contact and/or residence concerning parents suffering with a broad range of mental health difficulties, and revocation of parental responsibility.

    CASES

    XZ Council v DN, MH, MEN & WAN (by their guardian), DJ and RC [2014] EWHC 4653 (Fam)

    Neil represented the Respondent mother in care proceedings at the High Court. The mother was diagnosed to have significant mental health issues, including Fabricated Induced Illness (FII) in respect of herself and was an alleged perpetrator of FII towards her own disabled child. Issues of paternity, the extent of the FII, sexual abuse and further physical abuse remained as live issues at the final hearing.

    A v R and Anor (Declaration of Parentage) [2017] EWHC 396 (Fam)

    Neil represented the Applicant non-biological parent in a case that was necessary due a mere paperwork error by the relevant clinic: the consequence was that the Applicant did not in fact become the child’s legal parent, contrary to the original intention of the same-sex parents.

    A local authority v G and others

    Neil represented the mother of a non-subject child that had sustained catastrophic head injuries some 19 years previously. The mother had been in a relationship at that time with the father of the actual subject child of this case, and against whom there were unresolved allegations of physical abuse during the twenty-year period, and latterly a pool finding against the father involving another family. The outcome was that, inter alia, a change in the methods of medical interpretation of head injuries meant that Neil’s client could be properly ruled out as potential perpetrator of the historical injuries sustained by her own child, whilst at the same time it was not possible for the court to conclude that the father was responsible for the historical injuries either.

    A local authority v D

    Neil represented a local authority that had brought proceedings whereby some of the children of the family each suffered from a rare genetic condition that significantly affected and limited their life, and that required high-levels of medical intervention and monitoring to ensure that they were able to properly develop. The children also required invasive medical treatment against the wishes of the parents, and thereafter would require specialist carers, identified elsewhere in the country, that could meet their specialist medical needs. Neil successfully argued that in all the circumstances of the case the appropriate care plan for the children required that they be placed with foster carers that were a considerable distance from the parents.

    A local authority v H

    The matter started out as a lengthy private law contact dispute, but the inability of the parents to be able to promote the welfare needs of the child meant that care proceedings were brought. Allegations were subsequently made by the child that they had been sexually abused by one of the parents over a significant period of time, and thereafter had been abused by other individuals. Neil represented the local authority in the care proceedings and the court went on to make findings of coaching and coercion of the child to make such allegations, as well as findings against both parents of emotional harm. The findings of the court are currently the subject of an appeal by one of the parents to the Court of Appeal.

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  • Court of Protection

    Neil is regularly instructed to represent P, local authorities, CCGs and other interested parties. He has an in-depth understanding of the sensitivities involved with such applications, and aims to assist all those involved to achieve the best possible ‘best interests’ decision.

    Alongside Neil’s Court of Protection practice, recent instructions have included Forced Marriage Prevention Order applications that proceed either separately or in tandem with the intervention of the Court of Protection. Current instructions include consideration of whether P should be forced to receive religious education when deemed to be ‘legally incompetent’, the promotion of the Welsh language and cultural needs of P, and care at home packages that cannot be funded by local CCGs.

    Neil also regularly appears in the Family Court and, therefore, is well-placed to deal with those matters which cross the jurisdictions and involve those that fall into the category of being the subjects of both Children law and Mental Health and Capacity legislation.

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