Before coming to the Bar as a mature entrant Carole had carved out a successful career in a forward thinking Inner London authority in its social services department. She was involved in the field of adoption, what was known as juvenile court work, in the formulation of the emerging child protection procedures and set up an innovative out of hours emergency duty team which set a blueprint for other authorities. She also spent a period on secondment to the Department of Health (Solicitor's Office) and assisted with drafting aspects of the Children Act.
The experience gained was transferred to her work at the Bar where she has pursued a wide practice in family law. She accepts instructions on behalf of parents and children and other members of the wider family including special guardians. She also acts on behalf of local authorities and the Official Solicitor as well as guardians including instructions from NYAS (National Youth Advisory Service) and the Children's Legal Centre.
She has a wide ranging private and public law children practice from the basic contact dispute through to the intractable/parental alienation cases, international relocation and the full range of significant harm cases found in the public law arena. Her specialist interest and particular skills is in the field of representing adults whose vulnerability stems from a physical or mental disability and has a reputation for managing "difficult" clients.
Her "money" practice has covered those potentially difficult cases where the division of limited assets poses painful considerations for the court and the parties to the other end of the spectrum where ample assets are present but in a warring, point scoring arena. She is regularly briefed throughout the region and further afield including regular appearances in the High Court and Principal Registry.
Until she stepped down from the role at the end of 2015 Carole was also Head of the EA Law - East Anglian Chambers' Family Team for some years.
(2013) - Represented a young person, of Eastern European nationality, in care herself who had just given birth. The local authority sought immediate removal with a plan for adoption and no assessments in light of the information already known to it. Carole pursued the case by organising an urgent hearing before the High Court when local listing would have resulted in the mother having to accept a default removal whilst court time was found for a contested hearing. She successfully established that the mother had been used and abused by various men whilst in the care of the local authority and thus not been protected herself by those responsible for her as well as achieving expert assessments. The High Court commended the efforts made on behalf of the mother to achieve a hearing within 24 hours of the child's birth in order to give the mother the optimum opportunity of caring for the child herself as established in the line of authorities emphasising the need to look at what might be offered by the mother and balancing that against any perceived or potential risks.
(2009-2013) - Represented a child on the instructions of NYAS who had been brought into the proceedings by order of a High Court judge having discharged the CAFCASS guardian. The child (now aged 9) had been subject to proceedings since her birth and is the first reported case on special guardianship. Sadly her grandmother's strong views about the mother's parenting capacity alienated the child who would not accept any form of relationship with her birth mother and had sent heart rending communications to the court regarding her views on her mother and grandmother. The case progressed through private law contact, into wardship and, on the application of NYAS, into public law proceedings. Every decision made in the High Court resulted in applications by the grandmother to the appeal court. The case concluded at the end of 2013 with the child now living with her mother and brother under a residence order with regulated but supervised contact with the grandparents. Throughout, the judge commended the efforts made on behalf of the child in a situation where her previous representatives had been persuaded by the grandmother to accept the rigidity of the child's views. In this case, the mother and grandparents were represented by Queens' Counsel.
Early in her career Carole was led in a case where she represented adopters in the High Court whose child had been diagnosed with a range of attachment difficulties and ADHD and disclosure established that there was a considerable history, not shared with the Adopters at the time of placement, which was sufficient to have put any potential adopters on notice that developmental/behavioural problems were likely and specialist support would be necessary. The case established a ground breaking principle that a local authority owed a duty of care towards potential adopters in respect of a child's history and its potential implications. That duty of care was later overturned by the Court of Appeal but all family practitioners will be familiar with the impact this case had on present adoption practice.
2013 - represented a local authority on 2 hours’ notice when the assigned Counsel fell ill in a 5 day care case where the local authority had changed its care plan a matter of weeks before the final hearing thus reversing its recommendation of a residence order to the mother with that of a care order and adoption. It was imperative that the case go ahead as removal of the child was sought in circumstances where he had been in her care for over 12 months. The case was argued at the time the judgement was given in re B and S which established the need for a local authority to place a balanced analysis before the court looking at every option that might be available to the child. The case was the first in the area to deal with the "new" approach. A care order was made but the mother absconded out of the jurisdiction with the child before it could be put into effect. Recovery proceedings were then commenced to obtain the child's return when found in Scotland.
LL B (Westminster)