HOME > Services > Family > Child Protection

Child Protection

    To say that your professionalism and quality of service have been faultless would be telling only half the story. Throughout all that has gone on, your honest advice and genuine care have been an invaluable support, for which I will always be grateful.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I just wanted to say how very grateful I am to you. You've been a calm and supportive presence during what has been an enormously difficult time, and your advice has been invaluable. I'm very glad that we went down the collaborative route, and I think that your experience did much to smooth the path for everyone. Thank you.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thanks very much for your help and support and most of all pushing me to the bitter end. I couldn't of done it without you and would highly recommend David Gray Solicitors and of course yourself.

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - Family

    So happy with the outcome thank you for your help.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    I am writing to thank you for the outstanding work you did for me. Words cannot give my appreciation justice. You were superbly efficient and professional.

    Client testimonial about Nicky Hunter - Family

    I just wanted to write and thank you for all your hard work in handling my case – and for your kindness, patience and empathy.  Having you “fighting” my corner and advising me, made what was a very difficult time a little easier.  Thank you and best wishes.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

    To eventually get to the end of the process and have a fabulous relationship with my daughters seems miles away from where we started and I am in no doubt that you have been a large factor in that happening. I can’t thank you enough and wish you well in the future.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    We would like to take this opportunity to offer our many thanks for all the help and advice you gave us.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - Family

    I really appreciate all you have done over the last couple of years. I simply wouldn't be where I am without your help.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

    It has been a pleasure working with you – I will recommend you far and wide!.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Sam at David Gray provided a thorough, professional and friendly service. She took the time and effort to really understand what I needed, and got the end result I was after. Really impressed.

    Client testimonial about Samantha Farndale - Family

    I can't thank you enough for being such a marvellous solicitor. I have had such confidence in you that it has kept a very stressful situation bearable. But you have spoilt me because my standards are now set so high.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for explaining it all so well.

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - Family

    Thank you very much for seeing me….and especially for giving such helpful advice about the contact with the children…..the meeting with you was extremely uplifting

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I'm sorry, apart from the obvious relief, that this will be the end of our association. You've given help and support which I've greatly valued. And I promise that if I get divorced again, I will give you first refusal.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Just a belated thank you for everything. I would have never got through this without you. Very many thanks for your excellent professional support and guidance.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I was the luckiest person to have Mary Shaw help me through my divorce. She was firm, but never pushy, forthright but always fair, sympathetic but never deviated from the goal of practically carrying me through this torrid time. She was always there.She was the friend that talked sense and gave you a gentle shake to wise up and push forward.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to you for the efforts made over the past couple of years to finally get me divorced.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you so much for all the help and advice. You definitely took some of the stress out of it all.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your help and advice on this. I would have come out with a lot less had I not spoken to you and I'm very grateful for your time.

    Client testimonial about Samantha Farndale - Family

    Thank you so much for getting my life back, kids are so happy they are home.

    Client testimonial about Lesley Monkhouse - Family

    Mary, thanks very much for all of your help over the recent years, I believe I made a wise choice when I selected David Gray as I believe the way in which you and your colleagues have helped me has been exceptional.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    A big thank you to you Gael you have been so helpful, supportive and above all honest. I will if asked highly recommend you and the team.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    The MIAM was incredibly helpful. You gave me all of the information I would have expected a solicitor to give me at a first meeting.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Mediation & Family

    You have shown the right mixture of a professional and a personal approach, which was very supportive to me and has achieved a good result.  This was extremely helpful for me as a client

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for all your help with my divorce, I can't tell you how much happier I feel now it is all over. I am a different person to the one who came into your office last year, I was quite lost at the time but now I see a positive future.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    The service your company has given me has been fantastic and would recommend you instantly.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family & Court of Protection

    I am so thankful for all your help and truly believe if I hadn't met you my child and I wouldn't be going home.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    Didn't feel like I said THANK YOU enough to you yesterday. So once again, a HUGE THANK YOU!

    Client testimonial about Jenny Carter - Family

    This has been the worst week of our lives. Your support, both legal and practical, has helped us to get through it with our sanity intact. The fact that you agreed to see us within 18 hours of my initial phone call was, quite frankly, magnificent. Huge thanks from us all.

    Client testimonial about Lesley Monkhouse - Family

    You have been superb.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - Family

    Thank you Gael. It was very difficult today. I really appreciate what you did.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    Many thanks for all your help and hard work in getting these orders in place.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Fantastic news on my decree absolute, thanks for all your help and patience, you have been brilliant.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Can I just pass on my thanks for all your efforts with regard to the finance case and result we achieved.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Can I also thank you for the help you have given me over these final few months of my divorce and for cutting through the years of accumulated undergrowth to achieve what appears to be a satisfactory resolution....many thanks for your help it has been appreciated.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    To Elspeth, Just to say thanks for all your help over the last 6 months. If it wasn't for you I would have just given up. I really appreciate all the work you put in to this and your constant reassurance that it was the right thing to do.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

    Thank you again – you have made me feel at ease and I can relax a bit more now

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - Family

    Thank you so much for all you have done for me……it has been great having you on my side. I couldn’t have wished for a better lawyer…..and I will certainly keep your name and that of David Grays…..if I ever needed a lawyer again, for whatever reason (your advice) has made a huge difference to my own well-being, and I thank you very much.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Please pass on my thanks to Louise who was... compassionate and efficient, a winning combination.

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - Family

    Thanks again for all your amazing help over the case – you helped me so much at a time that was probably the most stressful I’ve had in my life (which for the things in my background is saying something). My very best to you and your team.

    Client testimonial about Jenny Carter - Family

    Just wanted to wish you and yours a wonderful happy Christmas. Thanks to you, my Christmas is going to be so much happier and relaxed than I thought it would be, so thank you.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    There’s such a lot to thank you for, like your thoughtfulness and so very much more. So I am sending warm wishes and special thanks.My life is much richer for just knowing you. People like you make the world a nicer place.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - Family

    I thought you did a great job, I particularly valued both you and your colleagues compassionate approach as I realise a clients emotional state can affect their thinking at the height of conflict

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - Family

    I chose to work with Mary because of her no-nonsense approach – no false promises, no big ego claims – just downright honesty and integrity and a delivery of results at the end. Mary is professional, reassuring and has a great sense of humour. I would highly recommend her.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Now that my divorce case is finally over, may I take the opportunity to let you know that I have been very pleased to have been represented by David Gray Solicitors LLP and how much I have appreciated your professional assistance and efficiency throughout the duration.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Mary, thank you very much for all the time and effort you have put in to get me to this good place now.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Many thanks for all the sound advice and for handling a very tricky situation so well.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Words can’t tell how much we appreciated all the help you gave us over the past few months.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

    We are immensely grateful to you and your team for the outcome of the court order today. The whole process has been quite stressful, but we felt fully supported and completely guided by you. You were a good friend rather than a legal contact. Your expertise of the law and how to overcome the hurdles in this difficult case were superb.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

Local Authorities have a duty to protect children in their area.  When Social Services receive information suggesting a child might be at risk of harm they will carry out an investigation.

Dealing with Social Services can be a daunting process.  It is therefore important that you get legal advice as early as possible to help you understand what is going on and decide how best to deal with the situation.

Legal Aid is still available for parents who want advice in respect of Social Services involvement with their child (though can be subject to your financial situation).

Child Protection Conference

Where Social Services think that a child is at risk of harm they will hold a Child Protection Conference.  The Conference will decide if there is a risk and if there is there will be a Child Protection Plan.  The Plan is intended to:-

  • Keep the child safe and prevent further harm
  • Promote their welfare
  • To support the family to care for the child

Legal Aid is not always available to cover a lawyer attending conferences but we are able to meet with you to go through any reports that have been prepared and can provide you with advice about what is likely to happen.

Pre-Proceedings Meetings

When Social workers are concerned about a child they may consider taking the case to Court so that they can ask the Court to make Orders to protect the child.

In most cases Social Services will arrange a meeting with the parents to see if it is possible to reach an agreement about what needs to happen to protect the child from harm so that Court proceedings can be avoided.

A letter will be sent out giving details of the meeting and will set out the concerns that Social Services have, what they intend doing and what they want the parents to do.

You can take a lawyer with you to a pre-proceedings meeting.  If you are a parent or person with parental responsibility, you will be entitled to free Legal Aid which will cover the lawyer accompanying you to the meeting.

There are some cases where Social Workers may feel that the risk of harm to a child is so great, or the case so urgent, that the case should go straight to Court.  In these cases there will be no pre-proceedings meeting.

Court Proceedings

When Social Services consider that a child is suffering significant harm, or would be likely to suffer significant harm if a Court Order was not made, then they can go to Court to ask for a Court Order.

The Orders the Court can make include:-

  1. Emergency Protection Order
  2. Interim Care Order/Care Order
  3. Interim Supervision Order/Supervision Order

Social Services will have to file evidence in support of the case.  They will have to set out what harm they consider the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.  You get an opportunity to respond to that.

If you are a parent or person with parental responsibility, then you will be entitled to free Legal Aid to be represented in the Court proceedings.  It is important that you see a lawyer as soon as possible for advice about any Court proceedings.

Emergency Protection Order

This is an Order that can last for a maximum of 8 days.  It authorises the Local Authority to remove a child to accommodation provided by them or on their behalf or can prevent a child being removed from the place they were being accommodated before the Order was made.

Care Order

This places a child in the care of the Local Authority and gives the Local Authority parental responsibility for the child.  Parents do not lose their parental responsibility when a Care Order is made.

Supervision Order

This is an Order which places the child under the supervision of a Local Authority and places an appointed supervisor under a duty to advise, assist and befriend a supervised child.  The Local Authority do not require parental responsibility for the child under a Supervision Order.

Procedure

  • Application issued by Social Services.
  • Meeting for all the lawyers in the case.
  • Case Management Hearing – at this hearing the Court want to know what the issues in the case are, what evidence will be filed and when and they will fix a date for the next hearing.
  • Local Authority evidence filed.
  • Statements from parents filed.
  • Guardian’s report filed.
  • Further meeting for the lawyers.
  • Issues Resolution Hearing – at this hearing the Court identify what is agreed and what remains in issue. If there is no agreement about the arrangements for the child then the Court will fix a hearing at which they can make a decision.
  • Final Hearing – this takes place where it has not been possible for an agreement about the arrangements to be reached. The Court will usually hear evidence from the Social Worker, parents and Guardian and will hear from the lawyers for each person as to what they say about the arrangements for the children and the Orders that should be made.  The Court then make a decision.

The Court expect the proceedings to finish within 26 weeks.

The Court can be asked to make an Interim Order (temporary Order).  If an Interim Care Order is made then Social Services can decide on things such as where the child lives during the Court proceedings.  They could decide a child will be in foster care during the case.

It is considered important that the children’s interests are protected during the proceedings.  They will therefore have their own lawyer.  There will also be a Children’s Guardian who is an independent person with expertise in advising the Court about what they consider to be in a child’s best interests.  The Guardian is separate from Social Services and may disagree with them about what is best for the child.  The Court will always pay special attention to the views of the Children’s Guardian.  It is through the Children’s Guardian that the children’s wishes and feelings are made known to the Judge.

You will have a say in what happens.  Your views will be put forward through your lawyer and in a written Statement, which we prepare for you and which everyone in the case sees.  You will have an opportunity to speak with the Social Worker and the Children’s Guardian.  If there is no agreement then you will be able to speak directly to the Court at the final hearing if you wish to give evidence.

The team specialising in this area of work

  • Partner
  • Solicitor
  • Solicitor
  • Solicitor
  • Solicitor
  • Solicitor
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant