Headway Wirral is a local charity that works to improve life after brain injury.
Through a range of frontline services it provides support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their relatives and carers. They work closely with health and legal professionals and provide guidance on such matters as social services and financial support.
The Government’s impact assessment in respect of their benefits cuts has revealed that the benefits cuts will affect around 330,000 children and will result in affected families being worse off by an estimated Â£63 per week. A leaked DWP memo suggests that 40,000 more children will plunge below the poverty line as a result of the cuts.
So what does this mean for affected families? Single mothers are going to be the hardest hit group. It is estimated that 100,000 households will be threatened with homelessness and poverty as a result of the cuts. There is a danger when putting parents in such situations that they will take drastic measures to provide for their children and their families. There may be an increase in parental crime in order to make money to support the family. Alternatively there may be an increase in homeless children and families which will place a greater burden on already stretched Local Authority housing departments. Surely the Government is being somewhat short sighted in making these cuts, knowing that families will be faced with homelessness but failing to take account of the knock on effect on other services?
As representatives of parents in care proceedings we often come across parents who have engaged in criminal behaviour for a variety of reasons. Parents may find themselves in care proceedings and risk losing their children if they are incarcerated due to criminal behaviour resulting from the desperation of their situation.
The Government appears to have lost sight of children and their best interests in their desire to save money. The Government is also considering repealing child poverty laws that set binding targets on the Government to reduce child poverty. Is this just another example of how far down the agenda children are slipping for this Government?
We understand that if you are affected by the benefits cuts you wonâ€™t be in a position to pay for legal representation. At Burd Ward we are able to offer legal aid so if you will be threatened with homelessness as a result of the benefit cuts or are involved in care proceedings regarding your children please contact us 0151 639 8273 for specialist advice.
Phillip Coburn, a Solicitor with Burd Ward recently acted for a young man who was awarded damages of £5.85million, following a catastrophic brain injury when he was thrown across a room by his birth mother as a baby.
At a hearing under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, the Tribunal was told that the child fractured his skull when his head struck the wooden arm of a settee, but his mother failed to seek medical attention for a further 4 days. By the time he was admitted to Hospital, he was suffering from the effects of an extensive brain injury, which had left him profoundly disabled, with significant physical and learning difficulties, together with severe behavioural problems. He was incapable of independent living and would require lifelong 24-hour care and support.
Having been taken into local authority care, the child was later adopted by a selfless and loving family. Aged 20 at the date of the hearing, the Applicant attended a college course and centre for adults with learning difficulties, in order to develop his independence and social skills.
As a result of the head injury the child sustained profoundly severe diffuse brain damage which affects all aspects of his physical, intellectual, communication and behavioural abilities, as well as producing overall and major handicap. The difficulties can be summarised as follows:
The injuries are permanent. He is incapable of independent living and requires lifelong 24-hour care and assistance with activities of daily living. Although he is able to feed himself with a fork or spoon, he is dependent on others for most activities of daily living, including support when walking, bathing and dressing. He relies on a clear daily structure and routines, finding deviation from them very stressful. He requires suitably-adapted accommodation, and a range of aids and equipment, including transport, appropriate to his needs. He lacks capacity to manage his own affairs and will never be capable of employment. He will have limited insight into the nature and extent of his difficulties but will be aware that he is different from others. His life expectancy is probably reduced by around 7 years, due to the risks associated with impaired bladder function and behavioural problems.
From a legal point of view this was an extremely interesting and complex case, and it is thought to be the highest award from the CICA for this type of case. From a personal point of view it was heart wrenching to see the damage caused to the child, yet heart warming to see the love and care show to him by his adoptive family. The substantial compensation awarded will help look after the Applicant for the rest of his life which is very comforting to know.
We are delighted to announce that we have been reaccredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices. Membership establishes a level of credibility for firms with stakeholders such as regulators, lenders and insurers as well as residential homebuyers and sellers.
Being accredited by the Law Society means we can act for ANY of the major mortgage lenders including Nationwide, Halifax, NatWest, HSBC etc. in your residential conveyancing purchase or remortgage and shows that we follow best practices, meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service and are able to satisfy regulators, lenders and insurers.
Our team of qualified Solicitors and expert conveyancers are supported by highly trained legal staff who focus exclusively on the documentation relating to your residential conveyancing move. This means that your personal conveyancer has the time to work with you in making informed decisions when managing your case. We also have direct access to the Land Registry, and other databases, enabling us to be at the forefront of residential property conveyancing and execute quick and effective searches to ensure your transaction progresses quickly.
The media were in frenzy recently over the case of Rebecca Minnock and her son Ethan. Rebecca went on the run with Ethan for several weeks in the midst of a court case regarding where Ethan should live.
Ethan’s parents were engaged in Court proceedings for over two years, despite Ethan only being three years old. Contact was ordered to take place however Miss Minnock made various allegations against Ethanâ€™s dad throughout the proceedings. The Court found that these allegations were made up by Ethanâ€™s mum in order to frustrate contact between him and his dad. Ethan was then assessed by a psychiatrist who said that it was clear that Ethan had been questioned extensively by his mother about his father. The psychiatrist recommended that Ethan should live with his dad and have supervised contact with his mum. This was supported by the social worker involved in the case. Miss Minnock fled with Ethan ahead of the further Court hearing at which she knew the Court would order that Ethan goes to live with his dad.
Her family were dragged into matters as they were said to have assisted her in going into hiding and knew where she was. They were ordered to disclose Ethan’s whereabouts and were threatened with proceedings for contempt of Court if they failed to do so.
After extensive media coverage Miss Minnock handed herself in after 17 days on the run with Ethan. She then faced proceedings brought by Ethan’s dad for her committal to prison in light of her flagrant disregard for the Court order. Miss Minnock was branded â€œutterly irresponsibleâ€ by the Court for her actions and it is clear that her conduct will impact upon the future of the proceedings. Miss Minnock was spared prison by Ethan’s dad who said that he was not pursuing an application for Miss Minnock’s committal as he didn’t feel it was in Ethanâ€™s best interests. The Court has praised the father’s child focussed approach and made it clear that breaches of Court orders will not be tolerated. The Judge in this case said that it was possible she would’ve faced up to 28 days in prison had the application been pursued. It is a stark warning to any parent considering ignoring an order of the Court.
At Burd Ward we have extensive experience assisting parents and family members to obtain orders from the Court regulating when they spend time with a child. We are also able to deal with enforcement applications should a parent fail to comply with the Court order. If you are looking to get a Court order or are concerned that someone is breaching an order please contact Laura Prysor-Jones on 0151 639 8273.