Sarah O’Hara is a Family Law specialist with over 25 years experience in all aspects of the jurisdiction.She has appeared at all levels of the Family Court from Magistrates to the Court of Appeal.
She accepts instructions in public and private law children work, having extensive experience of acting for all parties in care proceedings including parents, extended family members, Local Authorities, Guardians and the OS. She has a particular interest in NAI cases,which include rib and limb fractures, substantial bruising, brain and skull injuries. Her experience and seniority frequently mean she appears against Leading Counsel.
Sarah O'Hara is experienced in working with:
- Parents suffering with mental health problems
- Parents with addiction and substance abuse problems
- Parents with PTSD as a result of their own poor upbringing
- Parents with cognitive and communication difficulties
- Cases of alleged chronic child neglect
- Serious cases of alleged sexual abuse
- Serious cases of alleged non accidental injury
- Finding of fact hearings involving multiple medical experts
- Extended family members seeking Special Guardianship Orders or child arrangement orders
Through her work with Guardians, Sarah O'Hara has developed a specialism in cases where one parent has murdered, or is alleged to have murdered, the other, leading to complex issues of placement and contact for the children.
Another growing area of work with Guardians is the problems of jurisdiction in public and private law cases ( Brussels II) where the children concerned are foreign nationals living in the UK. Sarah O'Hara has been involved in all forms of private law applications including residence, contact, specific issue, prohibited steps, 16.4 CG cases and removal from the jurisdiction,
Recent cases of note:
- Re VCB -2015 : representing the CG on question Brussels II jurisdiction and permanent removal
- Re G - 2015 : finding of fact on life threatening head injuries: alleged NAI
- Re HK - 2015 : representing the CG on NAI 8 day finding of fact fractured limbs
- Re PL- 2014 : representing the CG on NAI 10 day finding of fact fractures
- Re S- 2014: representing the CG on question of Brussels II jurisdiction
- Re A- 2014: representing gender reassignment mother in care proceedings
- Re B- 2014 : representing father in NAI found to be co- perpetrator of serious injury to baby
achieved phased return to parents.
- Re KJ 2014: represented mother in 8 day NAI finding of fact resulting in exoneration of mother.
Sarah O'Hara has provided training in giving evidence, compiling reports and court attendance to a selection of professionals including Social Workers, Health Visitors, Midwives, Doctors, Guardians, Teachers and Support Workers.
She is happy to provide future workshops or seminars tailored to specific groups, along with other colleagues from the 3PB Family Team. She is a member of the Dorset Family Justice Board and a trained mediator.