Nairn Purss has practised exclusively in Family law since his call to the Bar in 1999 and the last 21 years, has focused primarily on public law children cases. Nairn represents parents, children, interveners and the local authority in cases of a generally grave and medically complex nature. Many cases have significant ethnic and cultural elements requiring cultural, religious and linguistic barriers to be understood, contextualised and thereafter accurately conveyed to the court. Of note are many cases involving members of EU member states. In particular, Nairn has acted in a number of lengthy and complex High Court cases involving Romanian nationals involving allegations of international child trafficking. .
Nairn is regarded by instructing solicitors as a specialist advocate in cases requiring highly skilled and delicate cross-examination, especially in cases involving serious non-accidental injury (NAI) and the sexual, physical and mental abuse of children.
Prior to his career at the Bar, Nairn was a Social Worker for 13 years both in Glasgow and in London. Although aspects of this work were generic, he had an orientation toward child protection and mental health, working with families mostly on a preventative basis to enable them to function sufficiently within their communities.
- Nairn was recently Instructed by a Local Authority as Leading Counsel in an alleged shaken baby case. The case involved highly complex medical evidence and a plethora of experts were cross-examined. The fact finding hearing lasted 11 days and both parents were represented by Queen’s Counsel.
- Nairn represented 5 children in a complex NAI case which included allegations of 6 separate fractures to a 6 month-old baby. The case involved a great deal of medical documentation and multiple medical experts of numerous disciplines. The fact finding hearing alone lasted 18 days.
- Nairn remains Instructed for the mother of a child born at 21 weeks who remained in intensive care for some months. The case involved complex health issues with extensive political and human rights connotations. A latter complexity arose due to the cost to Local Authority to fund the level level of support identified as needed by the child and the mother. The NHS/CCG were joined as party to proceedings. Duly, the child became a child of the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court and the case was transferred to the President of the Family Division. Following lengthy legal argument, the High Court invited the LA and CCG to provide the maximum level of support to the mother and child, which to their great credit, they duly did.
- Nairn has acted on all sides in many complex sexual abuse cases and/or sexual assault cases. This has included, asserting allegations on behalf of local authorities involving multiple alleged perpetrators. Nairn recently acted for a local authority in a lengthy High Court matter involving alleged: ‘coercion’, ‘Forced Marriage’ ‘FGM’ and ‘rape’. Three parties were represented by Queens Counsel. In addition, he has recently acted for a mother with learning difficulties in a case involving allegations of historical sexual abuse by the stepfather on her teenage daughter. Nairn has also represented children in cases involving complex sexual abuse allegations where the children have been required to give evidence after a RE: W(Children)(Abuse:Oral evidence)  1FLR 1485 hearing required the same.
Within the arena of public child care law comes the most acute difficulties manifest in individuals and communities. It is not an arena for the faint hearted and requires a diversity of skills. Nairn remains intrigued by the capacity of the law to scrutinise, excavate and challenge both the complexity of the individual and the regulatory structures of our society, and with equanimity, attempt to uphold the principles of fairness and justice on behalf of both. That’s what makes the law so fascinating.
Jordanhill College, Strathclyde University
Goldsmiths College, London University
Inns of Court School of Law (1999)