Christian Concern could face legal investigation over role in Alfie Evans case

The Christian campaign group behind the Alfie Evans case could face an investigation over its conduct during a series of unsuccessful legal appeals.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed it was looking into the Christian Legal Centre's role in the high-profile case in which the parents wanted to remove their 23-month-old son from Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool and take him to Rome.

In a succession of court rulings judges found it was not in Alfie's best interest to travel to the Vatican-run Bambino Gesu hospital and instead should be moved off life-support and onto palliative care in Alder Hey.

Alfie died on Saturday, five days after his life support was removed.

Alfie Evans died on Saturday after being moved off life support and onto palliative care.Facebook / Alfie Evans

Judges described some of the support Alfie's parents had received as the 'darker side' of the case and were heavily critical of the Christian Legal Centre's conduct.

High court judge Mr Justice Hayden focused particularly on Pavel Stroilov, who is not a lawyer but gave incorrect legal advice to the parents on behalf of the Christian Legal Centre.

Stroilov encouraged the parents to pursue a private prosecution of conspiracy to commit murder against three doctors at Alder Hey, a court heard, and also advised the parents they had a right to remove Alfie from Alder Hey's care directly after a court order stipulated the opposite.

Christian Today understands that this could lead to contempt of court charges being bought against Stroilov.

In strikingly strong remarks Justice Hayden described Stroilov as a 'fanatical and deluded young man'. He said his advice was 'inconsistent with the real interests of the parents' case'. Witness statements prepared for Tom Evans, Alfie's dad, were 'littered with vituperation and bile', he added, doing the parents 'far more harm than it does them good'.

Summing up the final court case, three Court of Appeal judges said: 'The representation of the parents may have been infiltrated or compromised by others who purport to act on their behalf.'

They added: 'It may be that some investigation of whether, in this country, at this time, parents who find themselves in these awful circumstances, and are therefore desperate for help and vulnerable to engaging with people whose interests may not in fact assist the parents' case, needs some wider investigation.'

The SRA has now confirmed that although it has not yet decided whether to launch a formal investigation, it is assessing the concerns raised.

Andrea Williams in the chief executive of Christian Concern which the Christian Legal Centre is a legal branch of.

'We can confirm we will review the information provided and consider if any next steps are appropriate', a statement to the Guardian said.

'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.'

However there are questions as to whether Stroilov, because he is not a qualified lawyer, will come under the SRA's jurisdiction.

A CLC spokesman previously said Stroilov was just giving his opinion as a case worker when he advised the parents to remove Alfie from Alder Hey.

However this advice helped fuel mass protests outside the hospital with staff saying they faced abuse and threats for their role in looking after Alfie.

Christian Today has approached the CLC for comment.

In a statement last week the group, which is the legal arm of the conservative Christian lobby group Christian Concern, hit back at the 'prejudicial and inflammatory comments made by Mr Justice Hayden' and said they had only been involved in the case for the last month of Alfie's life.

'In recent days, in addition to significant support we have endured some media and judicial criticism. We consider this unfair and detrimental,' the statement read.

'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.

'There have also been factual inaccuracies in some media reporting, especially about the extent and starting point of our involvement. We also wish to make clear that we do not support the criminal prosecution of doctors involved in Alfie's care.

'Again, we underline that our driving concern throughout our short involvement in this case has been to contend for little Alfie's bests interests and to serve his parents.'