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Child Protection

    Just wanted to thank you so much for your representation today and your calming influence. Your professionalism and knowledge was second to none.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - 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

    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

    Sukhi Patter made me feel very safe and would get the outcome in my favour. Also at no time did she make me feel worthless because I had got in arrears with paying my mortgage and would like to thank her for the outcome. Thanks very much.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - Family

    I would like to thank you for the service you have provided over the past few weeks. I believe that you’re prompt intervention, with regard to legality, and the professional manner in which you presented at the hearing played a key part in the other parties’ claim being dismissed.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - Family

    Thanks again for your help Gael, I am so glad I sought your assistance.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    Thank you for your support. You kept us going many a time when we wanted to give up. Thank you for giving us the strength to keep going.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    Thank you so much for doing everything to help me get the boys back.  You and your team do such a great job and I hope yous have as much happiness as I have now the boys are back where they belong.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - 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

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

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    Thank you very much for everything. I received the decree absolute, and I am very happy.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    Service could not be improved. Rebecca was brilliant from start to finish. Proactive, efficient, approachable... The brilliant service has changed and improved my life for the better and I could not be more thankful. Highly recommend.

    Client testimonial about Rebecca Graham - 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 the help and advice. You definitely took some of the stress out of it all.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    Thank you, it has been like a dark cloud hanging over me and my family, all I needed was someone like yourself to give me a glimmer of hope.

    Client testimonial about Anna Curphey - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for your highly professional support, and attention to detail……. At the start I was not sure how the long distance collaboration would work but it has been a very friendly, easy, working relationship between us, and I appreciate very much how you conveyed a sense of solidarity to me even though we have never met. I would also like to thank Kim who was the perfect 'relay' between us whenever it was necessary.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you so much for your kindness and understanding when I have been in distress.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - Family

    Mary Shaw has been an absolute delight to work with on finalizing my divorce. I deeply appreciate your agreeing to advise me on this matter. Your advice to me has been simply invaluable.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    You have been superb.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - 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

    I couldn't have done it without your help and, once again, I cannot thank you enough for your expertise and very kind attention and consideration in this case.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Many thanks indeed for all of your work on this matter, the service I have received has been exceptional.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - 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

    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

    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

    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

    Really appreciate your patience and understanding, and great professional approach. Hopefully we will see each other again, if not, I'll happily recommend you to anyone who may need your services.

    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

    Thank you so much for your professional help together with your kindness, support and understanding.

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - 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

    You were excellent throughout my divorce. My kids are my world and I can't thank you enough for your support during this time. You are a dedicated, professional and intuitive lawyer and I will always be grateful for what you gave me in self confidence and advice.

    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

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for being a fantastic solicitor and source of support Mary I needed it!!!.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - 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

    Thank you for all your help and support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    Your support and advice has been a great comfort this last year and half. I wish you well too.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family & Mediation

    With many thanks for your calm and measured support and guidance during this difficult case.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for the excellent support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Lesley Monkhouse - Family

    I appreciate all your time and effort, I am so happy my divorce is final. Thank you for everything and I hope to see you in the future to help me write a will.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    Thank you very much for all your work you gave me that bit of faith

    Client testimonial about Deborah Todd - 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

    Firstly many thanks for handling our case and its successful outcome, we are delighted that matters have been sorted.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - 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

    Heartfelt thanks.  I really do not know how I'd cope without you at these meetings.  You really are great at your job and its greatly appreciated.

    Client testimonial about Jenny Carter - 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

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
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant