Tel: 07720 888122
Email: helen@helenfitzsimons.co.uk

Image of divorce, family and law words on books

Our Cases

We feel privileged to represent Clients locally and nationally who are going through the most stressful of experiences and our aim is to obtain the best possible result whilst alleviating the stress and anxiety and supporting our Clients as much as we can. The cases below are some examples of the cases we deal with on a regular basis so please click on the years below to read more.

2017

A Father from London was alienated from his 3 children as a result of false allegations by the Mother.  As a result he did not see his children for over a year.  Helen Fitzsimons issued an application in London and was able to obtain a Court order that the Father sees his children.  The case is continuing with expert evidence on parental alienation as we are seeking a change of residence.  Francesca Wiley QC is instructed.

A Father from Croydon was falsely accused by the Mother of physical abuse and implied sexual misconduct.  He had been referred to Helen by a national organization supporting parents and children who are the victim of parental alienation.  As a result of thorough preparation of evidence Helen Fitzsimons was able to persuade those representing the Mother to withdraw the allegations thereby avoiding a costly and stressful fact finding hearing.  The Father now has excellent contact with his children after contact having been suspended for over six months.  Darren Howe QC was instructed.

Helen Fitzsimons represented the Mother from Hampshire of an 8 week old baby found to have rib fractures and sub-conjunctival haemorrhages along with facial bruising.  We were able to persuade the Court to place the baby with the maternal grandmother whilst further investigations were undertaken.  No medical causation was found and whilst both parents were placed in the pool of potential perpetrators we were able to reunite the baby with the Mother and Father.  We instructed Kate Branigan QC and Annabel Wentworth.

Helen Fitzsimons is representing the Mother of two children further to allegations of non-accidental injury/baby shaking. Paul Storey QC and Colin Morgan.  The Mother has been exonerated of the acute head injury which led to the baby’s collapse but in the pool of potential perpetrators for an older injury.  We are appealing this finding in the Court of Appeal.

2016

Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father from East Sussex who had been alienated from his children and had not seen them for over 3 years.  The false allegations of physical and sexual abuse were completely without foundation and a change of residence was achieved and the children now live with him.  Francesca Wiley QC was instructed.

A Mother from Sussex was accused of sexually assaulting her son which was a false allegation and part of a strategy by the Father of parental alienation.  As a result of the allegation the Mother did not see her son for almost two years.  As a result of thorough preparation and the instruction of Francesca Wiley QC we were able to exonerate the Mother completely and the Court ordered the recommencement of contact.  Support for the Mother was obtained from Karen Woodall and The Family Separation Clinic.

Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father from London accused of non-accidental injury, being a head injury to his five week old baby.  Whilst the Father accepted being a new Father and un-used to holding a baby he did not believe he caused the extreme injuries.  Helen instructed Darren Howe QC and we were able, after hearing evidence from eminent experts and presenting Father’s evidence, to achieve rehabilitation of the baby to the Mother and Father’s care. 

A Mother and Father from Hampshire were falsely accused of non-accidental injury/baby shaking.  Helen Fitzsimons represented the Father. Through the instruction of eminent medical experts, excellent preparation of Client’s statement and a thorough investigation of the evidence the Local Authority withdrew its application for the children to be placed in foster care.  The children remained with the parents throughout the investigation following an initial contested hearing where we were able to persuade the Court that the children were not at risk of harm as we were able to arrange a family network to support the children in the parent’s care which was in the best interests of the children.
 
Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father East Sussex falsely accused of a non-accidental injury being a fracture to his baby’s femur.  Through diligent representation, consideration of evidence and thorough cross-examination we were able to show the Court that the Father did not cause the injury and it was in fact the Mother.  Father was completely exonerated. 

Damages for Human Rights breach. Helen Fitzsimons successfully represented a Mother from London in obtaining damages for breach of human rights where the Local Authority delayed issuing care proceedings.  We were also successful in obtaining a costs order against the Local Authority. Read more here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2016/B44.html

Helen Fitzsimons represented a Grandmother from West Sussex where her grandchild had been incredibly ill after sustaining a head injury – she had been included in the pool of potential perpetrators when Social Services accused her of non-accidental injury ie baby-shaking. We were able to prove that she was not caring for the child at the time the injury took place. The child and his sibling spent a significant amount of time in foster care before being returned to the family following the fact finding hearing - http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2015/2439.html

Judge highlights concerns in Worthing Hospital’s care of baby - Helen Fitzsimons represented a Mother from West Sussex falsely accused of the non-accidental injury of her 4 month old baby boy in the reported case of Re L (Withdrawal : Head Injuries - Unknown Cause) (Rev 1) [2015] EWFC 67 (06 July 2015). Worthing NHS Trust were criticised by HHJ Jakens after they reported to social services that the baby had been shaken without undertaking adequate medical investigations – this led not only to baby L being placed in foster carer for over 8 months but the Mother and Father were also arrested and placed on conditional bail throughout this time. This case highlights the need for parents to seek urgent specialist legal representation. Helen Fitzsimons worked tirelessly - not only did she instruct eminent independent medical experts but also instructed Adam Smith and Paul Storey QC, incredible advocates with significant experience in the most serious cases. Helen spent many hours with the Mother going through the evidence with a fine tooth-comb to prepare the most detailed statement which Paul Storey QC described as ‘a masterpiece’. Helen says ‘This case is yet another example of a child removed from their parents where a hospital makes a hasty diagnosis of baby-shaking. This mother, after having a much loved and longed-for baby, spent over 8 months having limited supervised contact whilst missing out on important ‘firsts’ such as rolling, crawling, cutting a tooth and walking, I am absolutely delighted we were able to get baby L returned to his Mum. What is sad, however, is the parent’s relationship suffered as a result of the stress of the process. I only hope that hospital Trust reads and takes on board the comments of Her Honour Judge Jakens when dealing with such cases in the future’. Within the Judgment the Court concluded ‘L’s case demanded more thorough investigation than he received. Due to the identified concerns in relation to the care offered to L at Worthing Hospital, the matter will be referred to the Safeguarding Board and probably to the serious case review group. Worthing Hospital’s leadership team are on notice about the concerns.’ See news articles ITV news  and Portsmouth News.  The child, Mother and Father are now being represented on an application for breaches of their human rights.

2015

Helen represented a Father from Leeds whose toddler was admitted to hospital with a significant head injury following a fall in the home that was only witnessed by his four year old daughter.  She said the toddler tumbled from the sofa.  Medical evidence suggested such injury could not have been caused by a low level fall.  The Father was accused of perpetrating a non-accidental injury.  We were able to obtain a judgment exonerating the Father after changing eminent medical expert’s opinion and it was found by the Court that a fall from a sofa could result in the injuries sustained.  Helen instructed Paul Storey QC and Alexa Storey-Rea.

February 2015 - Helen Fitzsimons represented a Grandmother from London who was falsely accused of fracturing her grandchild’s limbs – the Local Authority was alleging non-accidental injury.  The Grandmother is a Nurse and the allegation if proven would have impacted upon her employment and her relationship with all of her grandchildren. We were able to prove that the Grandmother could not have caused one of the injuries due to the Grandmother not having care of the child at the time this injury was assessed by leading experts to have been caused.  We were able to persuade the Court that it was wholly improbable that more than one adult in this professional family would cause injury to a child and the Court held that the fractures were caused unintentionally by one of the other children in the household during either rough play or over exuberant cuddling.  The Grandmother was completely exonerated and the nursing council was informed of the very successful outcome protecting her future career.

February 2015 - Helen Fitzsimons represented a Mother in Norfolk who had been accused by the Local Authority of perpetrating the non-accidental head injury / baby shaking.  She instructed leading Queen’s Counsel Paul Storey QC and Alexa Storey-Rea.  She explored every possible medical explanation and the country’s leading geneticist, ophthalmologist, paediatrician and neuro-surgeon were instructed.  Helen worked diligently and extensively to prove to the Court that the injury could not have been caused by the Mother and the Court accepted that the Mother had been falsely accused.  We were able to persuade the Court that the injuries were caused when the baby had been in the care of the child-minder / nanny.

November 2015 – Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father from Norfolk falsely accused by the Local Authority of a non-accidental head injury and fractures.  She instructed leading Queen’s Counsel Jo Delahunty QC and Dafydd Griffiths.  This was a terrible case where the baby was separated from his parents for over a year but Helen was able to achieve reunification as the Court was not satisfied that the injuries were anything other than accidental.

2014

November 2014 - D (A Child) [2014] EWFC B188 (27 November 2014) - http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2014/B188.html  Helen Fitzsimons represented a Mother from London totally exonerated in a non-accidental injury / baby-shaking case heard in the West London Family Court.  This is a ground breaking case as it is the first reported case where running with a baby has been found to have been the likely cause of bleeding.  The Mother and Father had been falsely accused of shaking their baby after the baby had become unwell and admitted to hospital.  The baby was found to have brain and retinal bleeding and the parents were accused of inflicting these injuries.  After thorough investigation and representation the parents were exonerated and baby immediately returned home.  We instructed Christopher Butterfield of 29 Bedford Row.

Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father from Devon falsely accused on non-accidental injury in the reported case of  IB & EB (Children) [2014] EWHC 369 (Fam) (30 January 2014) – the Father was completely exonerated by Mr Justice Baker and the children were returned to his case.  Paul Storey QC was instructed along with Alexa Storey-Rea.

2013

February 2013 -  Devon County Council v EB & Ors (Minors) [2013] EWHC 968 (Fam) (22 February 2013).  Represented the Mother of twins from Devon subject to care proceedings where the Judge returned the children to their parents’ care.  This is a very important case which is relied upon by many Judges when determining how these cases should now be approached.  We instructed Paul Storey QC along with Christopher Butterfield.

2012

2012 - Helen Fitzsimons was involved in a complex International children law child abduction - successfully represented the Mother of three children from West Sussex who fled from the USA to the UK. The children were dual nationals but had resided in the USA for the last five years. Father applied and obtained a residence order in the USA and applied in the UK under the Hague Convention for the children's immediate return. We defended Father's application and applied for on behalf of the Mother for a residence order for the children to remain in the UK. Witness evidence was obtained from both the USA and UK and experts' reports were obtained. Father's orders obtained in the USA were discharged and Mother obtained a residence order for all three children to remain in the UK. This was a hugely successful case concluded within three months.  We instructed Claire Renton from 29 Bedford Row.

Re G (A Child) (CA) [2012] - Helen Fitzsimons represented a child from West Sussex in this important reported case in the County Court and at the Court of Appeal ensuring that both the child’s interests were paramount and long-term future was determined without delay. Adam Smith was instructed.

B (A Child) [2006] EWCA Civ 716 - Helen Fitzsimons represented the father from Chichester in an appeal in a contact case.  The father, in a long contact case, had requested that his daughter should have separate representation through NYAS. The trial judge had refused to sanction this. In his judgment, Wall LJ rejects the judge's action on the grounds that the court must not 'give up hope' in such cases, and that he should have allowed NYAS to at least consider whether this was a suitable case for them to handle.

Re B (a child) (order restricting applications) [2003] All ER (D) 149 (Nov) - Helen Fitzsimons represented the Father of a child.  In the circumstances of this case, an order made under s91(14) of the Children Act 1989 prohibiting a father from making any applications in respect of his nine-year-old daughter for the entire period of her minority had not been justified, and would be substituted by one prohibiting any applications for direct contact for a period of two years.

Helen Fitzsimons successfully represented the Mother from West Sussex of a 7 year old girl who was raped by her uncle.  There was a false allegation against the Mother in that the Local Authority sought to implicate the mother in the grooming process and as having some knowledge of the abuse.  The Local Authority sought to remove the child from her mother’s care and place in foster care.  We spent a considerable amount of time with the Mother going through lengthy and upsetting evidence (evidence of oral and vaginal rape which the uncle had videoed and distributed) successfully opposed the interim care order application.  Through thorough preparation, sensible advice to the client and robust representation at the hearings the Local Authority were forced either to file a detailed schedule of findings against the Mother or withdraw their application.  The Local Authority withdrew their application and confirmed they will fund an experienced child psychologist to assess the child and provide much needed therapy/counselling and support for the Mother. Adam Smith was instructed.

Helen Fitzsimons successfully represented the Mother who was falsely accused of a six-week old baby, the baby being admitted to hospital with a brain injury.  Professional opinion concluded a non-accidental shaking injury.  The Local Authority sought to remove the baby and place in foster care.  We were able to oppose this care plan and successfully argued for the mother and baby to remain together in a foster placement.  We obtained detailed evidence from the Mother and provided evidence of ill-health in this baby for the proceedings weeks including possible meningitis, dehydration, heart complaints leading to the baby collapsing and father shaking in an attempted resuscitation.  A huge amount of medical evidence, police evidence, expert evidence and witness evidence was obtained leading to a nine-day fact finding hearing.  We successfully argued in Court that the baby’s ill-health lead both parents to believe that the baby was not breathing leading to an attempted resuscitation.  The experts could not be sure that the baby had not collapsed and therefore the Court concluded that this was an accident and whilst the attempted resuscitation may have led to the brain injury the attempt may also have saved the baby’s life.  The family have been re-united at home.

Parental Alienation
 

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a group of behaviours that are damaging to children’s mental and emotional well-being

Arbitration
 

Arbitration

Arbitration is the private, judicial determination of a dispute, by an independent third party

Second Opinion & Change of Solicitor
 

Second Opinion & Change of Solicitor

Sometimes you just want to have reassurance that the advice you have been given is the best for you and your family

Child Arrangements
 

Child Arrangements

Where parents cannot agree arrangements in respect of their children and bring the matter before the Court

Our Accreditations

Contact Us

Tel: 07720 888122

Email: helen@helenfitzsimons.co.uk

1 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TL