Brabners and CIFI event targets new approach within modern families

2nd February 2024, 12:28 pm

The family team at purpose-led law firm Brabners is to host an inaugural event to introduce northern professionals to the Centre for Individual and Family Identity (CIFI).

Taking place at Brabners’ Barbirolli Square offices in Manchester on 14th March, the event forms part of the team’s commitment to furthering discussion, debate and change within the field of what is often termed “modern families”.

The event will include presentations covering donor conception and surrogacy, and how an inter-disciplinary approach might achieve better outcomes for individuals and families – particularly children. There will then be opportunity for attendees to share thoughts and experiences informally over drinks.

CIFI is an innovative service lead by consultant clinical psychologist, Dr. Sharon Pettle, following years of therapeutic consultations and expert witness work in family litigation. CIFI’s aim is to champion training and best practice in dealing with identity related issues (most notably within surrogacy and donor conception): specialising in work with those they affect the most.

The event will host a range of professionals interested in surrogacy, donor conception and identity issues from law, mental health work (Clinical/Counselling Psychologists, Family Therapists etc.), Social Care, CAFCASS, Education and medical practitioners.

Cara Nuttall, a partner at Brabners specialising in fertility law, building families and complex children cases, said: “Within the 20 years I have worked in the field, the prevalence of divergence between biological, legal and social ‘family’ and ‘parenthood’ has increased significantly. We are seeing issues involving identity arise in ever different ways. However, despite their increased presence, and despite the fundamental importance to those they effect, it often feels as though the law and practice for dealing with them has not caught up.

“Where such issues were once the preserve of a select group of specialists, increasingly they are issues that every family lawyer and professional working in the field needs to have a good grasp of. We are really excited about the work CIFI is doing to help promote deeper understanding and best practice, and to promote inter-disciplinary co-operation.”

 CIFI involves professionals with experience both nationally and internationally, and aims to have a broad reach, avoiding the common misconception that such issues tend to be “London-centric.”

 Joe Ailion, an associate and family law specialist at Brabners, added: “This is a subject close to the heart of the team, who are passionate about increasing awareness and making good-quality information and advice accessible for all. We are excited to help CIFI start a discussion in the North between lawyers, mental health professionals, medical professionals, social workers, educators and other stakeholders.

 “Manchester has been at the forefront of social and scientific innovation and it is a fitting place to start a new approach to these issues within the clinical and legal sphere. We are proud to be able to facilitate what promises to be a great event to further the discussion.”

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