Successful Application Feature Image

Max Konarek, assisted by Alison Barar of GT Stewart Solicitors, instructing Dorothea Gartland KC and Chris Barnes of 4 Paper Buildings, have secured a successful application to re-open a previous fact-finding hearing in ongoing complex Care Proceedings involving non-accidental injuries.

Upon our client transferring from another firm mid-proceedings, it was identified immediately that steps had not been taken to properly assess our client’s capacity and cognitive abilities earlier in the proceedings. This meant they did not have the support of an Intermediary in particular, but the situation would also have no doubt led to the client being engaged by professionals (including the client’s previous legal team) in a different way throughout proceedings up until that point. There was for example a lengthy fact finding hearing, that considered complex medical evidence relating to non-accidental injuries, making the process that followed unsafe in the context of findings having been made, and breaching our clients Article 6 Rights to a fair trial.

An expert assessment of our client was applied for by Max Konarek, which identified our client’s particular needs. Following this expert assessment, an application was made to re-open the previous fact finding hearing and that application has now been granted.

This case highlights the importance of having a clear understanding of the issues around capacity, learning difficulties and neurodivergence that may come into play when taking on a client, and the need to have the ability to properly identify when a client requires expert assessments. This not only ensures that their participation in the proceedings is fair and Article 6 compliant, but it also avoids inevitable and unfortunate delay that arises when a client’s needs are missed and the inevitability of these types of applications being made.

Max Konarek Profile

Max Konarek is a Partner and Joint Head of the family department at GT Stewart. He is an experienced child protection solicitor who specialises in the most serious and complex child protection / care proceedings; including cases involving non-accidental injuries. Max regularly takes over cases from other firms of solicitors where the client is dissatisfied with the service they are receiving. He has the knowledge and experience to understand these cases and act quickly where necessary, doing the best for his clients.

Alison Barar Profile

Alison Barar is a Caseworker based in the Kent Team and works alongside Max in all of his cases. She provides valuable assistance to Max and exceptional levels of support to our clients.