The legal firm that represented the family of Alfie Evans is having its role in the case reviewed by a UK-based legal watchdog group. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has confirmed that it is assessing the Christian Legal Centre’s particular role in the protracted case that ended with the death of 23-month-old Alfie following the removal of his life support.
Three court of appeal judges who were involved in the legal rulings against the Evans family heavily criticized the role of supporters who may have “infiltrated or compromised” the legal representation of Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James.
One of the central criticisms was leveled against Pavel Stroilov, a Russian-born law student who appeared to issue legal advice to father Tom Evans, despite not being a qualified solicitor.
The court of appeal judges said Stroilov’s letter to Evans was “misleading to the extent of giving the father false advice.”
High court judge Mr. Justice Hayden lambasted “fanatical and deluded young man” whose legal advice was “inconsistent with the real interests of the parents’ case.”
In a statement following Alfie’s death, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams, pushed back against the criticism, labeling it “unfair and detrimental.”
“We reject the prejudicial and inflammatory comments made by Mr. Justice Hayden. We also reject the portrayal by the Court of Appeal of our role in this case and the assistance that we have offered to Mr. Evans,” Williams stated. “There have also been factual inaccuracies in some media reporting, especially about the extent and starting point of our involvement.”
There had been speculation that Stroilov was involved in encouraging Tom Evans to lodge three charges of “conspiracy to murder” against doctors at Alder Hey Hospital, though this has not yet been confirmed.
“Your client purported to take out a private prosecution to have three named doctors charged with the criminal offence of conspiracy to murder,” court of appeals judge Lord Justice McFarlane told Mr. Evans’s barrister, Paul Diamond, at the Appeal Court hearing on 25 April.”Those summonses were served on the doctors and I hear you say that there is no hostility to the NHS.”
The Christian Legal Center, however, has made it clear that any such charges were not as a result of its legal advice. “We also wish to make clear that we do not support the criminal prosecution of doctors involved in Alfie’s care,” Williams stated.
A formal investigation into the CLC has yet to be launched by the SRA, but they continue to assess many of the criticisms brought against the legal firm. According to the Guardian, an SRA spokesman said: “We can confirm we will review the information provided and consider if any next steps are appropriate.”
“Only those authorised by a legal services regulatory such as the SRA are allowed to carry out reserved legal activities, as defined within section 12 of the Legal Services Act 2007, within the English and Welsh legal system,” the spokesman added.
Faithwire has reached out to the Christian Legal Centre for clarification regarding Stroilov’s specific role at the organization and has asked for additional comment on the potential SRA investigation.