Allison specialises in family law, with particular reference to public law and children. She undertakes complex public law and adoption matters involving non-accidental injuries (NAI) and serious sexual and physical child abuse. Allison has a particular interest in representing those suffering from some form of mental health impairment or learning disability. She has also represented parents with physical disabilities.
Allison has developed expertise in cases which have an immigration or international dimension and, consequently, she has been instructed in cases involving unaccompanied minors, parents and children whose immigration status is in issue. This has involved dealing with the interplay between family and immigration law and, specifically, removing children from the jurisdiction to non-convention countries.
Her practice also involves education law, specifically the area of local authority procedures and practices in the field of education provision and services for young people, especially those who are in care or who have special needs.
As a result of her background in criminal law, Allison is called upon to advise family solicitors whose clients are facing potential criminal proceedings. For example, in one case, she advised and provided written submissions (which were placed before the High Court) on behalf of a mother involved in care proceedings centred on the her alleged Munchausen. The mother was charged with attempted murder of her young baby. The issues which arose between the two sets of proceedings concerned disclosure, publicity and the impact upon any subsequent criminal trial. The High Court’s Family Division acceded to the submissions Allison made on all issues.
Throughout her career Allison has conducted inquests, primarily on behalf of families in cases of deaths in custody. She has conducted a number of inquests involving deaths from drug overdoses and those involving elderly people who have died in a care homes or been found in local authority housing.
For the first 15 years of her career Allison practised predominantly in criminal defence. She has conducted criminal trials across the full range of offences and at all levels. Additionally, due to her family experience, she has conducted criminal trials which have arisen out of care proceedings. Allison also has expertise in dealing with public interest immunity hearings and third party disclosure applications from family proceedings in the criminal courts.
Allison’s appellate work has involved successfully appealing against convictions (which have included murder, public order offences and serious assaults) and sentences (which have included deportation orders, serious assaults and drugs offences).
Allison has represented patients at Mental Health Review Tribunals and in psychiatric facilities, including Broadmoor. She has also represented patients detained under a variety of orders both via the mental health services and following involvement with the criminal justice system.
Allison has conducted hearings in all categories of prisons, at all levels.
Non-Accidental Injury Allegations
Re K (2013)
Acted for the mother. The case involved serious NAHI. Successfully argued that there should be no findings against the mother.
Re D (2011)
Acted for the father in High Court proceedings, with concurrent criminal trial. There were serious NAIs on the toddler, including broken tibia, clavicle, extensive bruising and cigarette burns. Following acquittal at criminal trial, it was successfully argued in the High Court that the local authority should withdraw the care proceedings.
Re G (2010)
Acted for the mother in care proceedings involving a serious non-accidental head injury (NAHI). The baby would have on-going developmental delays as a result of the injuries. Allison successfully argued that there should be no findings against the mother and, consequently, the baby and older child were returned to her mother.
Re B (2010)
Serious NAI, including fractures to ribs and bites over the baby’s body.
Placement outside jurisdiction
Re M (2010)
Represented a mother in the High Court. The case involved cross-cultural issues and removal from the jurisdiction. An English mother, converting to Islam, sought to relocate to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with her new husband. Both the child’s English father and paternal grandmother opposed this but leave to remove the child permanently from the jurisdiction was granted to the mother.
Re R (2013)
Care proceedings involving a child who made serious allegations of sexual abuse against her father. The child had sustained physical injuries. The expert evidence supported the father’s contention that the mother had inflicted the injuries in order to set him up.
Re T (2010/11)
Inter-generational sexual abuse case within a large extended family.
Immigration and Nationality issues
Re B (2011-2012) (Manchester High Court)
Complex care proceedings involving an illegal entrant, the father, who was detained in the UK following a prison sentence for drugs offences. He sought to care for his daughter, who was born whilst he was in prison, after the mother had abandoned her. The father wished to return to China and live with his family. The local authority and guardian opposed him. The Court heard expert evidence from China and the paternal family. On the substantive application, the court ruled that the child should be placed with the father and his family in China.
Re A (2010)
Represented the mother, a foreign national, in complex and lengthy care proceedings involving allegations of ritual abuse.
Re R (2010) (High Court)
Represented birth parents, who were Indian nationals, who had left their child in the UK five years previously. The parents contended that they had been tricked into leaving their child in the UK and had been thwarted by their daughter’s current carers in their efforts to have her returned to their care in India. The present carers alleged that the parents had abused the child as a baby. The guardian opposed the birth parents. Allison successfully secured both the return of the child to her parents and secured orders for her removal back to India.
Re C (2013)
Successful appeal of the decision of Family Proceedings Court (FPC) to remove a newborn baby from her mother.
Re B (2013)
In the lower court, the local authority had failed in its application to remove a child from its mother (who was represented by Allison) which it then appealed. Allison successfully opposed the appeal and the child remained with the mother.
Re M (A Child) (2009) EWCA Civ 315
Successfully appealed the decision from the Principal Registry of the Family Division (PRFD) which refused a young mother, who was represented by the Official Solicitor, and who was involved in her second set of care proceedings, a further psychiatric assessment.
Best (2013) (Westminster Coroner’s Court)
Death in custody of a man remanded in HMP Wandsworth for stealing a gingerbread cake following the riots in Croydon. Mr Best had a history of mental health problems as well as physical ailments. He died of a heart attack following a heavy gym session. The prison health care services, the prison gym’s induction process, and London Ambulance all came under heavy criticism. There was a very lengthy critical narrative verdict retuned by the jury. To read more, click here and here.
Hunter (2012) (Gloucester Coroner’s Court)
Death in custody of a prisoner with mental health issues. The coroner was very critical of police, who escorted Mr Hunter to station from prison for an ID parade on the day of his death.
Little (2011) (Reading Coroner’s Court)
Death in young offenders institute (YOI) of a young person with a long history of mental illness. It was found that there had been failings on the part of social services and youth justice teams. Rule 43 report made.
Halfhide (2010) (Leicester Coroners Court)
Death of a mentally ill prisoner in custody.
R v Brand (Chelmsford Crown Court)
As junior counsel, Allison represented an adolescent who was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. The defendant had been charged, along with an older co-defendant, with murdering a stranger.
R v Butler (Durham Crown Court)
Justice for Women campaign. Allison was instructed as junior counsel as part of new defence team for re-trial. The defendant was acquitted of the murder of their violent partner.
R v Miah (Central Criminal Court)
As junior counsel, Allison represented a teenager who was part of gang and was charged with murder (joint enterprise) of another teenage boy. The defendant was acquitted of murder and violent disorder.
R v Jonas
Large-scale drugs dealing in Manchester. The crown’s case relied on police observations. Successfully argued that the crown should disclose the alleged location of their observation posts. As a result, the crown offered no evidence.
R v Egesi
Represented the defendant in a multi-handed large-scale importation involving bogus companies abroad.
R v Milton and others
Importation. Junior Counsel. Acquitted.
R v Muanza (Central Court)
Attempted murder, section 18 assault and child cruelty. Allison represented the aunt in this case which involved alleged “witchcraft” and torture of a child victim.
R v Reeves (Woolwich Crown Court)
Represented a mother jointly charged with her boyfriend of section 18 grievous bodily harm (GBH) and child cruelty in respect of her two-year-old child. The child had sustained a subdural haematoma and fractures. Acquitted of main assaults.
R v Hussain (2011)(Snaresbrook Crown Court)
Students charged with voyeurism. Acquitted.
R v Kelvey (2011) (Southwark Crown Court)
Serious sexual assault in West End nightclub. Acquitted.
Represented the defendant, aged 14, who was in local authority care. The defendant had been charged with historical rapes of another child when he himself was 12. Successfully argued that the rape charges should not be proceeded with, and defendant pleaded to lesser sexual assaults, which resulted in supervision orders.
Allison joined Garden Court Chambers in 2013 after practising at Tooks Chambers, where she had practised for over 20 years.