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As a leading specialist solicitor firm for child care proceedings, making us your first choice for your case is a good move. We will do everything we can to help you and your children remain together.Contact Us Now
There used to be in the region of 10,000 legal firms who took on legal aid family law cases.
Now that number has been reduced to just over 2,000.
The country’s Legal Services want to reduce it even further, to about 1,300.
As the numbers get smaller and smaller, it is harder and harder to find someone who is willing and able to represent parents in a care proceedings case and take on the local authorities.
It is for this reason that Brendan Fleming has broadened his reach to become a national care proceedings solicitor for the whole of the country.
Now recognised as a leading choice in the area of care work nationally, we at Brendan Fleming are proud of our expertise; but we know that the most important thing in nearly all cases is the sensitivity, tact and thoughtfulness we show to the people looking to us for help and guidance.
“Brendan is brilliant,
really good. He got me
the result I wanted and
continues to support me.”Our client, Gary
Having successfully represented hundreds of parents across England and Wales we will come to you and give you our best service to ensure everything possible is done to keep your family together.
Our principal, Brendan Fleming, has won a reputation for his innovative approach, spearheading many new ways of securing justice for victims of domestic abuse and violence.
Brendan is currently representing both children and parents caught up in the care work process. He is a member of a select children’s panel and, along with Rachel Porter and Michael Green, recognised and approved by the Law Society. We are contracted to the Legal Services Commission for this type of work and are considered to be one of the leading national firms for publicly funded services.
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Brendan Fleming Speaks at the Stop Forced Adoption Conference
Brendan Fleming was recently a guest and speaker at Justice for Families’ Stop Forced Adoptions Conference, held locally at the Birmingham and Midlands Institute. His address gave both legal insight into Family Law and invaluable advice to the audience.
Alongside Brendan spoke other stalwarts in the fight against injustice in the Family Law arena including John Hemming MP; Christopher Booker, columnist for the Telegraph; and Denise Robertson of ITV’s This Morning.
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The below is an care proceedings case study, exemplary of the excellent actions carried out by Brendan Fleming Solicitors:
Our client was the mother of a little girl who had just turned 6 at the start of the case and had turned 7 by the end of the proceedings.
This was the father’s second application in a year, the first having started in September 2009 and only finished in July 2011.
We took over the case from another firm during the first application. That firm had not followed the client’s instructions and had not acted in her best interests. They had sent one different barrister after another to represent the client: she had no continuity of representation and had no idea who was going to representing her at each hearing until she got to Court. Our client would often see the barristers sitting with the father, having a laugh and a joke.
The last straw came when the barrister who had been instructed to represent her at a 2-day fact-finding overrode her instructions and decided to come to an agreement with the father on things that he was prepared to concede. As a result of this agreement the most serious allegations against the father – of domestic violence and abuse, all of which had independent evidence to support them – were discarded.
“I am very pleased with
Brendan. He doesn’t fail
you at all. You walk out
of there more than happy.
I am quite a nervous
person but, with the
way that Brendan is,
I always feels so more
assured. Gemma was
brilliant as well.”Our client, Mrs W
At the time of our taking over the case, it was a mess. Those welfare concerns that our client had been relying upon using against the father being granted direct contact were no longer admissible. Though previous allegations could no longer be taken into account, our client reported that the child was exhibiting behavioural problems as a result of witnessing domestic violence and suffering distress at the prospect of seeing her father.
CAFCASS wrote a report intimating that our client’s mother was influencing the child against the father. Though this was not the case, it increased the pressure on our client to allow direct contact.
By this point, we were attending hearing after hearing – on an almost fortnightly basis – and had to resist considerable pressure from the father, CAFCASS and even the Court at times, to facilitate direct contact. We represented her at every hearing, never sending a barrister, allowing our client a continuity of representation which allowed her to build a real client-solicitor relationship.
Eventually, we persuaded CAFCASS to provide 6 sessions of supervised contact. During those sessions, the father was critical of our client to the child, made snide remarks about her in front the child, talked about court and argued with the supervisors. A couple of the sessions even had to be brought to a premature close due to the child becoming very upset at the father’s behaviour.
Experienced staff at the centre repeatedly spoke to the father about his conduct and behaviour; but he remained very rude and dismissive, often repeating that he was ‘the benchmark of modern parenting.’
That case was closed in July 2011 with our client allowed to refuse direct contact. Only an order for monthly indirect contact was made. As our client did not want the father to write to her home, we agreed – at our own time and expense – to receive the father’s communications at our offices, vet them and forward them to our client.
The father issued another application for contact in January 2012.
As often happens in these cases, the Court appointed a solicitor-guardian for the child at the first hearing. As appointed solicitor-guardians are new to cases, they do not know the history. Because they want to appear to be ‘fair’ and not ‘taking sides,’ cases can take a wrong direction at this point, which could have happened here.
From the beginning, the guardian wanted our client and the child psychologically assessed. We successfully resisted that and called instead for the father to be psychologically assessed. The Court directed an independent social worker carry out an assessment to assist the solicitor-guardian with the welfare issues. The independent social worker duly recommended a psychological assessment of the father.
Again, the guardian wanted our client and the child to take part in the psychological assessment, as did the Judge. We stood firm in our refusal to allow this unnecessary intrusion into the child’s life, insisting that there was absolutely no reason to allow our client to be subjected to such an examination either.
We believed our client when she told us how violent and emotionally abusive the father was towards her during their relationship; and how this domestic abuse had been witnessed by the child.
Unfortunately, due to the ‘fact finding’ carried out during the initial case, those allegations could not be relied upon. The father remained adamant that our client was lying and exaggerating what had occurred. Those minor things he had admitted to doing – such as spitting at our client in front of the child – he claimed he had been provoked into doing.
He showed absolutely no remorse for his actions against our client, nor any insight into or remorse over how his actions affected his daughter during the supervised contact sessions.
“I am so happy with
Brendan Flemings, I am
over the moon! Brendan
Flemings have been so
supportive and attentive.
All the legal advice I have
been given has been really
helpful; and I am prepared
to take on board everything
I have been told because I
feel that it is all in the best
interest of my daughter
and I really want to be the
best mum I can be.”Our client, Ms P
In the end, the psychologist diagnosed the father as suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and declared him to be a significant risk of significant emotional harm to the child and a risk to our client as well. The psychologist recommended that no direct contact – unsupervised or supervised – should take place.
At the final hearing on 23 January 2013, we successfully resisted the father’s application for direct contact. We also successful sought a 6 year section 91(14) barring order against the father, preventing him from making any further applications in respect of the child without the court’s permission. Our skeleton argument in support of the application for the barring order won praised from the Judge.
In the almost non-stop proceedings over the 3 1/2 years, the child met with almost 10 different professionals, ranging from women’s aid to CAMHS, a guardian at litem, CAFCASS, and an independent social worker, all for the purposes of assessing her. Now, mother and child can look forward to at least a 6 year break from litigation and intrusion into their lives.Contact Us Now
About Brendan Fleming
Brendan Fleming took up employment with a firm of solicitors in Birmingham in 1966, and began practicing law at just 17 years of age. He established his own company there 16 years later in 1982.
Across 30 years in the legal business, Brendan moved over from practicing criminal law to focus on family law. This aspect soon became his passion, and it has shown in the results he has obtained in the family courts. In the years he has practiced as a care proceedings solicitor, he has built up a reputation as the parents’ champion.
He earned this title through his tenacity and his willingness to fight the local authorities all the way to the bitter end.
“The appointment with
Brendan was good and
all the advice given was
great. I feel a lot better
now that I have had legal
advice and feel happy
that I have people to
support me: prior to
coming to Brendan
Flemings, I didn’t feel as
though I had any support.
My case is now being
handled by Faye: she is
lovely and I am very
happy overall.”Our client, Ms B
His success comes from the use in the family courts of those skills he learned in his years as a criminal lawyer.
As he himself puts it, to win a care proceedings case, you need a lawyer who is willing to go to court himself to fight the case, with a good background in forensic examination and with the willingness, ability and the “bottle” to cross-examine social workers, to question the statements that are submitted and to fight for the rights of parents.
It is Brendan’s personal philosophy that if you want to win your case, you need to instruct a solicitor who never, never represents the local authority. In some smaller areas with less legal firms to chose from, this is easier said than done.
It is for this reason that over the last few years Brendan Fleming has taken on cases as far north as Carlisle, as far south as Brighton and Hastings, as far east as Norwich and Great Yarmouth, and as far west as Cardiff and Swansea, setting himself up as a truly national care proceedings solicitor.
So, more than just a care proceedings solicitor for the Midlands, Brendan Fleming has truly become the parents’ champion for all of England and Wales.
In the last 3 years, he has taken on cases in the following locations:
- Great Yarmouth
Finding a care proceedings solicitor of the right calibre to take up your case and win is no longer a post code lottery. No matter where you are in the country, the services of Brendan Fleming Solicitors are just a phone call away.
We have successfully represented hundreds of parents across England and Wales.
We can help you too.
No matter at what stage of the care proceedings process you find yourself, if you are in need of a national care proceedings solicitor, contact us today and find out what we can do to help you keep your family together.