Mary Holmes
MSB Solicitors Liverpool
Mary Holmes

Residence Resulting In New Case Law:
Mary represented a client in relation to what would ordinarily be straight forward Contact Proceedings. The mother had two children, boy aged 10 and a girl aged 3. The children had different fathers and the father of the little girl issued an application for contact. The mother set out her reasons for the little girl not to have contact with her father in her statement and it was clear from her evidence that she was implacably hostile to the father having contact with the child. After a lengthy contested hearing, the Court made an Order for contact to take place. The mother continued to frustrate the arrangements, stating that the little girl was ill or had other family arrangements/holidays in place and finally allege that father, during earlier contact sessions had sexually abused the little girl. The matter was dealt with in The High Court and The Court of Appeal by Dame Elizabeth Butler- Sloss. This case resulted in new Case Law being made with the appointment of Guardian Ad Litems in Private Law Cases. The outcome of the case was that the Court changed Residence of the child from mother to the father.

Care Proceedings:
Mary Holmes represented a mother who had a degree of mental health problems and had placed her child, on a voluntary basis with paternal aunt whilst she sought medical treatment. Upon release form hospital, the mother sought the return of her child to her care. The paternal aunt refused to hand over the child, the Local Authority became involved, they had concerns that mother may not be capable of caring for her child because of her previous mental health episode and issued Care Proceedings. The Local Authority and the Guardian, in their initial assessment took the view that the child should be subject to an Interim Care Order, paternal aunt sought for the child to remain in her care. The Judge at the outset of the proceedings indicated that her view was that, this was a case for adoption. Mary requested that the Judge recuse herself from the case given that she appeared to have pre-decided the issues. Mary contested heavily the Local Authority and the Guardian’s position and that of the aunt and pressed ahead for the return of the child to mother’s care. The mother in this case was a French National and wished to return with her child to her native country to be supported by her own family. The Judge requested that the Guardian in question visit France to find out what support facilities the mother would be offered. The Guardian was unable/unwilling to travel to France and the Judge requested that Mary Holmes undertake those enquiries In Marseille and return with a comprehensive report as to the facilities available to the mother and child. Mary Holmes travelled at extremely short notice with a French interpreter to France and collated the information which included information regarding schools and nurseries for the child, family support, local authority and social work support, psychological/psychiatric support, benefit and housing. The information collated directly resulted in a favourable outcome for the mother which was a Care Order made in this country with a package of support which was mirrored by the French Authorities and the mother was allowed to return to her native country to continue to care for her child.

Prohibited Steps Orders:
Mary Holmes represented a mother of 3 children. Her eldest child being the child of an ex partner. There was a shared care arrangement in place between the mother and her ex partner of the eldest child. The mother’s ex partner requested that the mother allow him to take the child to Iran, his native country. The mother refused as she was afraid that the father would not return the child to her care (as he had threatened to do this in the past). Father agreed not to travel. The mother became aware that the father may be considering leaving the country and at the time he had the child in his care. The mother instructed Mary, who made urgent enquiries, those enquiries raised serious concerns about the father’s intentions. Urgent steps were taken for a Prohibited Steps and an All Port Alert. The father was located on a flight at Heathrow Airport which was on the tarmac ready to take off. Armed police halted the flight and removed the father, his wife and two children, one of them being the eldest child of our client. The father initially indicated that he intended taking the child for a holiday to meet his parents. After a lengthy and contested hearing, the father accepted that he had lied and had not intended to return. The Court made an Order in favour of the mother and a No Contact Order against father.

Care Proceedings:
Mary represented a mother who had three children removed from her care by the Local Authority after allegations that the parents had physically abused the children. The parents were both Vietnamese. Interpreters were required throughout the case. There were no other alternative carers in this country to care for the children. The family in Vietnam were assessed as alternative carers. The assessment stated that if the children were not returned to mother then they should return to maternal family in Vietnam. The youngest child spoke no English at all, was placed with carers who could not converse with the child, know when she was ill or what her needs were. At the initial contest removal hearing, the Court provided a Judgement that the youngest child should immediately be returned to the parents care and their parents passports surrended to Mary. Thereafter, the matter proceeded to a fully contested final hearing which resulted in the two elder children also being returned to the mother’s care.

Care Proceedings:
Mary Homes represented a father of a three month old baby who presented at hospital with a cerebral brain haemorrhage. The injuries were considered non accidental, the father was included in the pool of perpetrators as responsible for the injury. An Interim Care Order was initially made with placement of the child with family members upon her discharge from hospital. After a very detailed and lengthy Finding of Fact hearing, findings were made against the mother. No findings were made against the father. The matter proceeded to a fully contested Final Hearing. The child was eventually returned to the care of father with the support of family and the Local Authority.

Emergency Removal Of Children:
Mary represented a mother of five children. The Local Authority had extensive involvement with the family due to issues of neglect, domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse. There were also issues of possible sexual abuse of one of the children that had been reported to the Local Authority by the mother and the police on three separate occasions against an uncle but no action was taken. Extensive evidence was gathered. The matter was dealt with by The High Court and The Court of Appeal. There was a 21 day Finding of Fact hearing, dealing with the extensive evidence. Injunctions were made under the Inherent Jurisdiction Act against several parties, this was an extremely complex case, with numerous significant experts assessments and reports being prepared. A Final Order was made placing the children in the mother’s care, with complex Contact Orders being made to meet the needs of all of the children

Child Abduction:
Mary Holmes was instructed to act on behalf three children, who’s father was Portuguese. Two of the children were born in England, whilst one child was born in Portugal. The parents relationship ended, the mother returned to England with the children. The father on a contact visit removed the children from this country, returning them to Portugal. The mother instructed Mary. Seek and Find Orders were made and emergency measures were put in place. The matter was dealt with under the Hague Convention with the outcome resulting in the children being returned to the mother’s care where they continue to reside. The father is allowed to have contact with the children in this country under very strict supervision settings, twice per year.

Official Solicitor Appointee:
Mary has been appointed to act by the Official Solicitor in London in respect of several cases where parents are considered to lack capacity to manage their own matters and affairs.

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