Sadia French


Head of the Family Department

  • Date of Qualification: 5th January 2009
  • Languages: English, Spanish, Intermediate Portuguese and basic Italian

Sadia is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in public and private law children. As a member of Resolution Sadia is committed to resolving family disputes in a non-confrontational way.  Sadia has also recently been successful in her application to join Resolution’s Children Committee.  The Committee meets six times a year and the focus for 2023 is to respond to consultations, protect children in the family justice system, encourage and promote good practice, influence government policy and to improve practice and procedure.

Sadia is also a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children and practices exclusively in the area of children law.

Sadia specialises in complex care cases where children have suffered single or multiple unexplained injuries, sexual or physical abuse where substantial medical evidence is often commissioned from prominent medical experts.

Sadia is also experienced in wardship cases and care cases which have an international element and involve liaison with Central Authorities and transfer of proceedings between different jurisdictions.

Sadia has also represented a number of clients in reported cases in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Types of cases that Sadia has been involved with

  • Sadia successfully secured the return of a baby who had been relinquished for adoption by her parents
  • Sadia has represented a father in private law proceedings to obtain a child arrangements order for his two children given concerns that they were at risk in their mother’s care
  • Sadia represented a mother who had had 6 children previously removed from her care. Sadia fought hard to get the mother another chance to be assessed and not separated from her newborn baby. The assessment was positive and the child remained with her mother

RE YM (Care Proceedings) (Clarification of Reasons) [2024] EWCA Civ 71

Sadia represented the mother in this appeal which was brought by the local authority regarding findings of injuries in care proceedings. The appeal was dismissed.

The court gave guidance on the process of seeking clarification from judges:

1. A judgment does not need to address every point that has arisen in the case. The court should only be asked to address any omission, ambiguity or deficiency in the reasoning in the judgment if it is material to the decisions that have to be taken in the proceedings. In care proceedings, the decisions are whether the threshold criteria for making orders under 31(2)are satisfied and, if so, what orders should be made to meet the child’s welfare needs.
2. When making a request for clarification of any perceived omission, ambiguity or deficiency in the reasoning in the judgment, counsel should therefore identify why the clarification is material to the decisions that have to be taken in the proceedings.
3. Counsel should never use a request for clarification as an opportunity to re-argue the case, reiterate submissions, or invite the judge to reconsider the findings.
4. Requests for clarification should not be sent in separately by the parties but rather in a single document compiled by one of the advocates. If necessary, there should be an advocates meeting to compile the document. Save in exceptional circumstances, there should never be repeated requests for clarification.
5. Judges should only respond to requests for clarification that are material to the decisions that have to be taken in the proceedings.

Re JK (A Child) Domestic Abuse: Finding of Fact Hearing [2021] EWHC 1367 (Fam)

Sadia represented the respondent mother in wardship proceedings where there were allegations of abuse made by both parties. Findings were made that the father had physically abused the mother, that between August 2017 and April 2018 the father’s behaviour constituted domestic abuse in the form of controlling and coercive behaviour, that the mother only agree to relocate because of the father’s controlling and coercive behaviour, on 15 August 2019 the father’s conduct was violent and intimidatory and caused the mother to fear for her own and JK’s safety. The court found that the mother removed JK to England without permission of Z court but in the fear that JK would be taken from her care if she did not leave and that travelling to England was necessary to protect her daughter. The father was unable to prove that the mother had prevented his contact with JK.

London Borough of Barking v Dagenham v C & Others [2014] EWHC 2472

Sadia represented a father who made an application for the care proceedings regarding his son to be transferred to Romania. The judge was assisted by the “pros and cons” list and granted the father’s application for the case to be dealt with by the Romanian courts.

Re E [2013] EWCA Civ 1614

Sadia represented a mother in a successful appeal overturning care and placement orders which were made in relation to her daughter following a finding that the father had either violent shaken the baby or imposed a shaking and impact assault on her. The Court of Appeal did not think that those orders were proportionate given that the mother had not caused the injuries and there were positive findings of her as a parent.

A Local Authority v M & Others [2013] (11 01 13)

Sadia represented the mother and was successful in reopening the findings in this care case based on new evidence. The child suffered from rickets and had numerous fractures. Findings were made that one of the parents caused the injuries and that the other parent was protecting that parent. New medical evidence was obtained and the fact finding was reopened and on the basis of that evidence the judge could not find that the fractures were caused by either parent and so all three children were able to return home.

A huge thank you to you, your company and staff for being absolutely great in dealing with my case.  You are all fantastic in the quality of service you give, according to my son's reps, I’m blessed to have you. Many many thanks, all of you.

Thank you to you and your team for all the hard work and handling my case with empathy and understanding. Thank you for everything you did, and being understanding when I had emotional breakdowns. You and your team help to make a horrible, difficult situation a bit easier because of your understanding and seeing the poor treatment I received from other professionals.  

I really appreciate your help, your service was excellent. I wouldn’t be able to do it without your help. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you so much for all your help and hard work I am happy with the outcome and glad that we have not had to waste anymore time. Again thank you so much for helping me keep my daughter safe

Just a quick email to say  thank you to yourself and your team. Thank you for the support along the way and always being upfront and honest about things. DS wouldn’t have relationship he does now with his dad and we wouldn’t be able to co-parent like we do now either if it wasn’t for all of your help. Thank You.

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