Lorna handles children proceedings particularly complex care proceedings with a significant proportion of her work coming from Children’s Guardians or parents accused by social services of abuse.
Lorna has worked as a family law solicitor specialising in public law family work for 23 years before joining the bar. She is experienced in representing Children’s Guardian’s, separately represented children, parents, and other family members in public law family cases involving the following issues:
- Alcohol and drug abuse, including proceedings in the FDAC courts
- Hair strand testing and toxicology disputes
- Domestic abuse
- Non-accidental injury and physical abuse
- Factitious and induced illness
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse and neglect
- Physical chastisement
- Care proceedings where there is an international element including whether proceedings should be transferred to other jurisdictions
- Applications for placement orders
- Applications for secure accommodation orders and deprivation of liberty (DOLS) orders
- Applications for emergency protection orders
- Applications for discharge of care orders
- Applications for contact with children in care
Lorna regularly represents vulnerable clients who have a learning disability, mental health issues and substance misuse issues.
Lorna is experienced in representing clients seeking to be joined as a party to care proceedings seeking child arrangements orders, special guardianship orders, or adoption orders.
Private children work
Lorna has experience representing children via their Children’s Guardian under r16.4 Children Act 1989 in private family law cases in fact-finding hearings and contested final hearings.
Lorna is experienced in special guardianship and adoption applications.
Lorna is instructed in private law children cases involving contact and residence applications including fact-finding hearings and contested final hearings where there are serious allegations of physical, sexual abuse or domestic abuse, parental alienation and cases involving applications to remove children permanently from the UK
Lorna is instructed in applications for non-molestation orders and occupation orders in cases involving serious physical and psychological harm and coercive control.
Lorna has experience of cases involving Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders
Representation of grandmother in care proceedings
Lorna represented the grandmother of four children who was joined to care proceedings as an intervenor. The youngest child was a baby who was thought to have suffered multiple fractures to all of the child’s limbs at various different times. The grandmother was considered to be within the pool of potential perpetrators. Expert evidence was called that established that the child suffered vitamin D deficiency and Ehlers Danlos syndrome. At a five-day fact-finding hearing, the family members were all exonerated from responsibility for the fractures.
Representation of r16.4 Guardian
Lorna represented the Children’s Guardian in private law children proceedings for a Child Arrangements Order. Neither parent was represented. A five-day fact-finding hearing took place to determine the issues of whether the father had sexually or physically abused the children whilst they were in his care.
Deprivation of liberty and secure accommodation order
Lorna represented an 11-year-old Child via their Children’s Guardian in relation to an application made by the local authority for a care order, deprivation of liberty order and secure accommodation order. Due to the shortage of secure unit places available in England and Wales, a deprivation of liberty order was sought to enable hospital staff to prevent the child from leaving a hospital ward whilst she remained there until a secure placement could be found. The NHS Trust was joined as a party in the proceedings. After a number of weeks, a secure accommodation unit was found and the court then made a secure accommodation order.
LB Richmond v B & W & B & CB  EWHC 2903 (Fam) - Alcohol hair strand testing case
Lorna was the solicitor representing the mother in care proceedings which centred on her use of alcohol. The client had spent six months in a residential rehab. When she left the rehab centre alcohol hair strand testing was completed. The results contradicted her reported abstinence. Further testing was undertaken which contradicted the initial alcohol hair strand test. The High Court deemed the case a point of Wider Public Interest and heard evidence from the two testing companies about their conflicting results. The children were successfully returned to the mother’s care.