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.
R (Parental alienation and suspended transfer of residence)  EWFC 61 - https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2019/B61.html - Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father where findings were made against the Mother of parental alienation (after a suspension of contact with his two children for some 18 months) which resulted in a suspended transfer of residence. The children spend fifty-percent of their time with each parent but if Mother breaches that Order the children will transfer to the primary care of their Father.
Re RH (Parental Alienation)  EWHC 2723 (Fam) - Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father of a child who had been living in the Midlands with his Mother (and contact had been suspended for 18 months). The Court made findings against the Mother of parental alienation and transferred residence to the Father who lived on the South Coast. There was a suspension in the Mother's contact with the child for 90 days with the Court timetabling a further hearing to consider future contact.
Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father from Bromley of a 9 year old boy. Mother had refused to make a child available for contact as had been Ordered by the Court and without consulting the Father had taken the child to Counselling in an attempt for the Counsellor to receive evidence from the child that he did not want to attend contact with his Father. Father was concerned as to parental alienation. On behalf of the Father we obtained a Prohibited Steps Order in respect of the Counselling. We were also able to restore the previous level of contact during term time and increase the duration the child spent with his Father in the school holidays. This was a speedy resolution with which the Father was extremely happy.
Helen Fitzsimons acted for the Father of two children, aged 12 and 10 in the Chelmsford area. The Father was concerned that Mother was deliberately undermining his relationship with the children, causing the children emotional harm. Mother and Children began making false allegations against the Father and Father’s new partner which were wholly denied. Father had concerns of parental alienation which were endorsed by CAFCASS. The Court was invited to list the matter for a Fact Finding Hearing and the Father sought findings of alienation against the Mother. In the course of the litigation we suggested on behalf of the Father high conflict therapy which was accepted. This assisted the parents in agreeing a Shared Child Arrangements Order. The Father is extremely happy.
Helen Fitzsimons represented the Mother, from Sussex, of three boys aged 14, 12 and 7. Mother was the victim of domestic violence, being serious emotional and psychological abuse perpetrated by the Father. The Father made a vengeful application to transfer residence of the youngest child from the Mother to his care by making false allegations against the Mother of physical abuse, kidnap, neglect and emotional abuse. We were able to resolve the proceedings with the youngest child remaining in the care of the Mother and the Mother was delighted as to the outcome.
A Father from Blackpool was alienated by the Mother from his two children. The Mother left the family home with the eldest child, whilst she was pregnant with the couple’s second child and she moved 30 miles away. She made false allegations that the Father was physically and emotionally abusive to her, and to the child, which were denied. The Father’s contact with his daughter was suspended by the Mother and he did not have contact with his newborn baby for some 7 weeks. The Father instructed local Solicitors who represented him up to the point when CAFCASS reported and recommended that the Father have contact on alternate weekends and limited school holiday contact. In respect of the baby, Mother was relying on her continuing to breastfeed, as a mechanism for significantly limiting Father’s contact. Father then instructed Helen Fitzsimons who in turn Briefed Francesca Wiley QC. After the instruction of experts, filing of detailed statements and evidence, and cross examining Mother and CAFCASS at a Final Hearing, we were able to secure a Shared Care Arrangement with the children spending 50% of their time in the Father’s care. We also obtained on behalf of Father an Order that the eldest child attend the school of his choice plus the Mother moved back with the children to Blackpool. Father was absolutely delighted with the outcome.
Helen Fitzsimons represented the Father of four children subject to Care Proceedings issued by West Sussex County Council. The youngest child had sustained an injury and was diagnosed with an acute subdural haemorrhage. The view of the Paediatric Radiologist was that there may have been a chronic bleed in addition to the acute subdural haemorrhage. The explanation for the injury was that the 12 year old sibling was holding the child and he slipped from her arms and fell to the floor. A radiological scan did not show any fractures. Eminent independent experts were instructed including Dr Cartlidge (Paediatrician) and Mr Richards (Neurosurgeon). Within the course of their instruction, and some months down the line, a report was discovered from a Radiologist who had been instructed to provide a second opinion at the Hospital which concluded that the x-rays showed an indication that the baby had Ricketts. The experts concluded that the injury was most likely caused by the accidental fall and as such the Local Authority withdraw proceedings. Important lessons were to be learned from this case from a safeguarding, medical and medicolegal perspective and the Court delivered an anonymised Judgment [link – West Sussex County Council versus B EWSC B25(28 March 2019)]. The child was returned to his family and the parents were both exonerated. The Father was extremely grateful.
Helen Fitzsimons represented an Uncle and Aunt based in Sussex who were accused of an alleged non accidental injury to their Niece, being unexplained fractures and bleeding. Through detailed analysis of the evidence and taking clear instructions from the Uncle and Aunt we were able to show the Court that the Uncle and Aunt could not have caused the injuries. The Local Authority withdrew their case against the Uncle and Aunt who were fully exonerated.
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.
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)  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.
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.
Helen Fitzsimons represented a Father from Devon falsely accused on non-accidental injury in the reported case of IB & EB (Children)  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.
Re G (A Child) (CA)  - 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)  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)  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.