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Family Cases and Testimonials

Edward Hayes acted for the Mother in care proceedings, where it was alleged that whilst in her sole care, she had purposefully injured her baby.  Unfortunately, the baby had fallen off a bed on two consecutive days whilst the Mother had been changing her nappy. Following the second fall, the baby presented as being semi-conscious and the emergency services were called immediately. On being admitted to hospital, it was found that her baby had subdural bleeding around the brain and spine and intra-retinal haemorrhages (bleeding around the brain, spine and eyes). The Mother provided the account of the falls from the bed and having shaken her baby gently in an attempt to resuscitate her on the instruction of the 999 operator. This was not accepted by the Local Authority and they alleged that she had caused a non-accidental injury to her baby, consistent with baby shaking. In the course of these proceedings, the issue of the paternity of the Mother’s elder child was also raised as in line with the families cultural traditions, herself and her husband had selflessly taken over the primary care of a friend’s child who was abandoned by his Mother at birth. This child however, was not aware of that he was not the biological child of this couple. On this basis, the Local Authority initially sought to remove this child from their care, on the basis that the initial suspicions were that of possible child trafficking. Fortunately, however Edward Hayes successfully contested this issue at the outset and the elder child remained with the family throughout these proceedings. This matter proceeded to a 4 day fact finding hearing at the High Court.  We successfully contested the Local Authority’s case, challenging evidence of treating doctors and independent experts. No findings were made against our client, her account was accepted by the Court and they were not ordered to reveal the issue of paternity to their eldest child, as the Local Authority had deemed necessary.  The baby was returned home to her parents’ care and after being challenged by us, the police confirmed that they would not be taking any action against her.    

The Family Law Team represented a teenage father who had care of his toddler son. Emergency Proceedings were issued following the child being removed from the father’s care by the mother. This resulted in an Emergency Protection Order being made and thereafter an Interim Care Order. The Local Authority’s initial care plan was for the child to be placed in a child only foster placement.  Edward Hayes successfully argued that the father and child should be placed in the supportive environment of a parent and child foster placement for further assessment. Father and child remained in the parent and child foster placement, after which a recommendation was made for them to be rehabilitated back in a community placement.  After a successful rehabilitation period the proceedings concluded with a Residence Order being made in our client’s favour.

Re G (A Child) (CA) [2012] EWCA Civ 1377 - The Family Law Team represented a child 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.

Re B (a child) (order restricting applications) [2003] All ER (D) 149 (Nov) - The Family Law Team 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.

B (A Child) [2006] EWCA Civ 716 - The Family Law Team represented the father 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.

The Family Law Team successfully represented the Mother of a 7 year old girl who was raped by her uncle.  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 spend 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 have confirmed that they will fund an experienced child psychologist to assess the child and provide much needed therapy/counselling and support for the Mother.

The Family Law Team successfully represented the Mother 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.

Superlawyers 2016 - Edward Hayes are pleased to announce that Helen is a ranked top UK family lawyer in this prestigious publication.

Legal 500 2016 - Edward Hayes Lawyers is renowned for its considerable expertise in children cases. Major work for the Family Law Team led advice on a major international child abduction case. - See more at:

Client feedback:

November 2013 - "I consider myself lucky to have found Edward Hayes. The service I received from their legal team was invaluable in helping us through an extremely difficult times. When our baby girl accidentally fell off the bed while in my sole care, I certainly didn't expect the accusation of child abuse. Not long after the care proceeding started, Catherine Lally took over my case. Catherine represented me in both the family court and the criminal investigation.  She walked me through the process and made it easy for me every step of the way. She listened to my concerns, answered all my questions, provided sensible advice, even after working hours and during weekends. I could not imagine what would happen to me had it not been for Catherine’s dedication. Now that I have been proven innocent, my little girl is back to us, we can enjoy our normal life without social service or police's involvement. I simply could not thank Edward Hayes, especially Catherine enough!"

October 2013 - "After finding myself and my partner accused of shaking our 5 week old son by hospital staff and social services in Manchester I contacted Edward Hayes for representation.  I can honestly say that if it wasn't for Catherine Rimmer (barrister), Richard Leach, Katie Hamer and the Family Law Team we would not have been proven innocent and gotten our son back at all.  This team of people actually care about you and your family and work every hour, even when sick, to put together the best case for you.  I now have a future that I am excited to embark on rather than the living nightmare I had prepared myself for.  Thank you to you all. You have made my family whole again and for that there aren't enough words in the dictionary to show my gratitude."  

‘Helen's service has been of such a high standard, I don't think it could be surpassed.  In my case as a father, it was always going to be difficult and when the mother started to issue very serious allegations, with the Family Law Team’s outstanding knowledge on the subject and getting the right barrister for the job, we had a successful outcome to the case. When needed in court Helen and her team always came up trumps when experts were needed.  I was a vulnerable client and under my doctor, but it was Helen and her team that showed great professionalism that got me through.  I regard the Family Law Team as part of my family, as this is how they made me feel.  I would recommend the Family Law Team at Edward Hayes to anyone.’

‘Clients in children cases are in excellent hands with the Family Law Team. Always calm and highly professional, they understand the needs of vulnerable clients in these stressful cases. They works well with experienced counsel. For clients caught up in a system with so many dysfunctional and overstretched elements, there are clear benefits in having the guidance of a solicitor with the Family Law Team's shrewdness, practical common sense and good standing in the local legal community.  As grandparents in a complex and long-running child contact case, we appreciate the qualities that they bring to their work.’

‘Without Eleanor and the family team at Edward Hayes I would have found myself without seeing my children, for which I now do, and this brings me great joy in what has been a very difficult time for me and the children. I would recommend the team at Edward Hayes to anyone, as without them you would be lost.'

‘I chose Edward Hayes solicitors to represent me in the collaborative process as they had the correct qualifications. This is a fairly new process and not all family law firm departments have solicitors trained to the required level.  Eleanor Benfield, once she was collaborative, and no longer adversarial, created an air of ease and reassurance. She worked with my wife's solicitor in manner that was hard to distinguish that he wasn't actually a colleague from the same firm, but rather someone she worked closely with to deliver a dual solution. She was in fact doing so with my best intentions, putting ideas that hadn't even occurred to me as well as listening to any requests I made and implementing them in the final consent order.  All in all, I feel that Eleanor got me through a challenging time, creating a future for me that I am actually excited about, rather than the life I envisaged (which included a one bedroom bedsit!!!) before meeting Eleanor and engaging in the collaborative process.’

Feedback from Queen’s Counsel - ‘The Family Law Team is the best in their field. Their commitment to their clients and attention to detail is outstanding as is their intellect and ability to navigate incredibly serious cases. They are exceptional solicitors.The Family Law Team are the solicitors I would use if my own family had a problem. They are particularly strong in complex medical evidence.’

The Family Law Team are by far one of the most outstanding and brilliant family lawyers that I had to represent me. Not only did I have the Family Law Team but I also had junior and leading counsel who were also brilliant in my case. The amount of work that the Family Law Teamput in is beyond what you would expect from any lawyer. They were always there if I needed help or had any questions and always replied quickly and efficiently.  The Family Law Team was there 110% of the time, even when one was on leave they was never far from their emails.  If anyone finds they need a family lawyer especially for Non Accidental Injury cases then I would definitely recommend the Family Law Team. I don't think you'll find anyone who works harder than the Family Law Team does and I can't thank them enough for everything they did for me and my family. The Family Law Team was there to support me if I needed it,  even at times when I felt low and lost hope she managed to make me feel positive again. Thanks to the Family Law Teamand my representing counsel we won and my beautiful boy was returned home. I can't express enough how good the Family Law Team is. The Family Law Team is fantastic and very very good at their job.'

‘I have been working with Helen for over 20 years. I regularly refer any child care matters to t
he Family Law Team and have no hesitation in doing so. They are completely dedicated and committed to doing their very best for clients under extremely difficult circumstances for them. The Family Law Team is always very careful at ensuring the correct experts are instructed to produce the very best results for their clients. The Family Law Team will leave no stone unturned preparing the evidence for court.’

'From a Father from Norfolk represented in a case where he and his partner were falsely accused of non-accidental injury/baby-shaking. ‘To t
he Family Law Team.  Just a little something to say thank you for all you have done for us.  We will never forget you or the effort you put in to reuniting our family.’

'From a Father who was the victim of extreme parental alienation and who faced false allegations of sexual abuse – we obtained a change of residence of the children to his care – ‘
The Family Law Team is very accomplished and exceptional with clients.  Throughout our time working together, I have found their client care to be outstanding and they would regularly go 'beyond the call of duty'.  I experienced first-hand her excellent organisational skills.  The Family Law Team is very strategic in their case management and this was evident in their working relationship with experts and leading counsel, ensuring the best team was available.  I was able to obtain a full exoneration.  I now know that I have experienced very severe parental alienation, and the Family Law Team was invaluable to reconnecting me with my children.  I cannot recommend the Family Law Team enough, a very bespoke service.  Thank you.’

Slough Borough Council v S - 2016 - Stephanie represented  the Mother in care proceedings where it was alleged that the parents had Fabricated and/or Induced their daughter’s Illness, starving her and causing her to undergo unnecessary medical procedures and surgery.  We obtained reports from prominent experts who then gave evidence at a Fact-Finding hearing.  Findings in relation to the allegation of the Fabricated and/or Induced Illness were made against the Father and the Court found that our client was unaware of what was going on and she was able to continue to care for her daughter.

London Borough of Tower Hamlets – v R - 2016 - Stephanie represented the Father in care proceedings where it was alleged that the parents had deliberately injured their young baby.  The child was alleged to have a recent and older fracture and treating doctors did not accept the parents’ explanation for the injuries.  We obtained  reports from prominent experts and were assisted greatly by the Consultant Paediatric Radiologist who was able to confirm that there was in fact only one injury and that the parents’ explanation for the fracture was a likely cause for that injury.  The Local Authority therefore withdrew its case

“Quite simply, Stephanie saved our family. Social services wanted our 3 month old baby to be taken into foster care following a fall from his changing mat, which medical opinion said was non-accidental. In an initial court hearing held at short-notice, we were able to successfully argue that our children should not be taken into foster care so our family were kept together throughout the ordeal. As parents, social services had nothing else against us, other than the medical opinion based on x-rays taken at A&E after the incident. At short notice, Stephanie was able to contact and instruct a Consultant Paediatric Radiologist and Consultant Paediatrician as independent experts to review the initial medical opinion. Reports were obtained which effectively discredited the original medical opinion and showed that the injury that existed, agreed with our version of events. This led to social services withdrawing the case even before a Fact Finding Hearing. Stephanie’s work with the expert witnesses was crucial to this: it meant our family didn’t have to go through any more stress and worry and avoided a week-long Fact Finding Hearing and cross-examination. The reports from the experts Stephanie instructed were clear and concise and this left no room for doubt or confusion, which meant that the court was able to reach a straightforward Judgment which vindicated us. At all times throughout this harrowing period of our lives, Stephanie was available to offer advice and reassurance. It was a huge shock when social services brought this case against us, this was something we had only read about in the newspapers, and never thought we would be thrust into. If we had used an inexperienced solicitor, we could easily have lost our baby to social services. It is thanks to Stephanie that we are still united as a family carrying on and living our normal life again.”
Mr R - March 2015

What the UK guides say about us over 15 years

2002 -Edward Hayes are featured as a top tier firm in the Legal 500
“Edward Hayes of Chichester consistently represents individuals and corporations facing prosecutions by bodies including the Serious Fraud Office and Customs and Excise (Legal 500)"
2003 “Three partners at Edward Hayes are also Higher Court Advocates; the firm’s top drawer criminal practice handles serious crime and serious fraud cases”. (Legal 500)
2005 “The team at Edward Hayes maintain a leading profile and criminal defence with particular expertise in handling common business crime and fraud advice.  The firm has continued to act in high profile murder cases and in relation to  fraud”  Ranking No 1 Legal 500
2006 “Acting for individuals and businesses Edward Hayes specialist criminal defence practice covers complex crime such as murder and serious fraud.  Significantly the team successfully represented the defendant in the recent high profile R v Wragg  SASmercy killing case”  Ranking No 1 South East Legal 500
2008 Ranking No 1 “Edward Hayes strong team has an exceptional reputation for handling all manner of criminal cases, recent fraud cases including acting on Operation Devout, a multimillion pound international missing trader carousel fraud, whilst serious crime work included successfully representing the defendant in mercy killing case R v Wragg."   Legal 500
2009 Legal 500 Ranking No 1 “In 2008 the firm won a landmark ruling and also acted in a major cyber bank fraud case with its associated firms in New York, Mumbai, Brisbane and Dubai the firm fills a truly international offering."
2010 Legal 500 “with offices across West Sussex, Edward Hayes specialises in serious crime cases including murder, attempting murder, money laundering, regulatory investigations and sexual offences, the team also has expertise in shaken baby syndrome.  Ranking No 1 in family South East. 

“The team’s work in 2013 included a range of high profile business work, white collar crime and VAT fraud cases."
2012 Chambers Guide – this firm made its name in the South of England ….. in addition to VHCC and high stakes fraud it has resources to advise on serious crime including sexual abuse, drugs and extradition.  Sources agree that “it acts in a big cross section of work including privately funded crime, key individuals Charles Long he handles “top private client and general crime work and offers great reassurance to clients”.
2013 Chambers Guide “interviewees a test to the growing strength of this team and highlight the significant extradition work that it handles.  The practice also covers sexual offences, complex fraud and drugs.  Lawyers are described as being “collaborative without compromising on individual client interests”.  Charles Long’s “impressive business sense” has been instrumental in building up the firm’s practice.  He is known for producing work of the highest quality and has a wealth of experience in SFO, business crime, police and white collar cases.  Leading individual Charles Long”.
2014 “This outfit has a number of offices in towns throughout Sussex and the South Coast as well as further afield.  Its practice includes appeal work and cyber crime it also works in extradition. The teams is described as “a safe pair of hands for a difficult case where someone needs urgent help.  It has a wider range of ability than the average criminal firm”.  Charles Long is known as a shrewd lawyer attracting high quality work.
2015 Chambers Guide – Crime Band 1 Edward Hayes - What the team is known for – “has ample resources to deal with the most serious criminal and regulatory cases of a significant white collar crime expertise in addition to experience in handling drugs, motoring and robbery.  Yogesh Patel is said to handle in “tricky and difficult cases in an excellent manner.  In addition to his criminal expertise he is known for his expertise in related professional disciplinary work”. 

2015 Edward Hayes “represents private clients in general crime, business crime and regulatory and compliance matters developing a niche practice in cyber crime defence.  Advised on phone hacking allegations related to the news international investigations.  Charles Long is commended for his “strategic approach and attention to detail.  He is sought after to defend in sexual offences cases.”
Legal 500 2015 – Top tier recommendation. 
2016 Chambers guide -Crime Band 1 Family band 2
2016 legal 500 - Edward Hayes Lawyers is recommended for its work in serious injury/abuse cases and public law children matters. Edward Hayes Lawyers is an ‘excellent firm that works for both lay and professional clients’. The ‘highly regarded team’ is led by Charles Long, and specialises in fraud and sexual allegations.
2017- Legal 500 Edward Hayes Lawyers is an ‘excellent firm that works for both lay and professional clients’ ranked in Crime,Crime,Fraud ,Family ,Private client

2017- Chambers Guide –Crime Band 1

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