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Child Protection

    Mary was understanding and supportive of our situation. [Mediation] helped to make us talk and sort out our finances without the cost of solicitors fees and court fees.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Mediation

    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

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

    Client testimonial about Lesley Monkhouse - Family

    Dear Mary and Kim, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me through a stressful and difficult process with all speed, diligence and expertise. I am grateful, always.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Just a little card to say a big thank you .....Your support and encouragement over the process (as well as all the legal stuff!) has been invaluable to myself and.....if there is any way I could repay your kindness and empathy..... Many thanks, Mary, I consider you a true friend and ally!.

    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

    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

    Four years ago almost to the week, we were in such a terrible place and even now it seems just a bad dream. Without doubt your guidance and support goes beyond words. Thank You

    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

    "Everything was amazing!"

    Client testimonial about Rebecca Graham - Family

    Thank you so much. Of course I regret that I will probably not see you again but at least I can draw a line under all this. Thank you for all your work and help and warmth.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I owe the success of my case to your dedication and perseverance, which you showed while handling my case. It goes without saying that I will always refer to your firm if I ever need legal assistance again. Once again my heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

    Client testimonial about Nicky Hunter - Family

    I remain eternally grateful for your sound advice and support when I was at my lowest and I needed you most.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - Family

    I wish to thank you, Mary and Cliff for your kindness and professional management of what seemed to me, at the beginning of the proceedings, to be a terrifying minefield.

    Client testimonial about Cliff Veitch and Mary Shaw

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 just want to say thank you for your help this morning with regards to my concerns.

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Deborah Todd - Family

    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

    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 for explaining it all so well.

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for the excellent support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    I am truly grateful for all you have done.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

    Many thanks for sending through the documents - it's good that matters are finally concluded. Thank you very much for assiduous work on the divorce. We are all now in a much better place.

    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

    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

    I have got through it with your support and you have kept me on the right tracks for the last 12 months too - even if it was sometimes things I didn't want to hear! ..... if we hadn't have had such a great solicitor (our daughter's) life could have turned out very different.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

    I could not have asked for any better than my solicitor Elspeth, she has been my champion. I don’t have the words to thank her enough as she has been my biggest support for more than a year now. I can rate her 10 out of 10 for her professionalism, her competence and her fair advice.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - 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

    Ailsa, I would like to thank you for your support since we met. I have been extremely anxious and your calming approach helped me regain perspective.

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - 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

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

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - 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

    So happy with the outcome thank you for your help.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - 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, 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

    Elspeth is such an amazing professional, I feel I was very lucky to have found her for my case, she is a very knowledgeable, passionate and pro active individual. She always kept me updated about my case through emails and was always available for phone calls.Simply we need more people like her in this profession, I am really grateful to Elspeth.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - 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

    Thanks very much for your guidance during my recent divorce proceedings.  It is so nice to have peace of mind after those worrying, intervening years. I really appreciated your professional guidance throughout the proceedings and am so pleased to have been represented by yourself and David Gray Solicitors LLP during the case”.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for all your help and support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - 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

    Thank you very much for all your help.

    Client testimonial about Emma Neale - 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

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

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - 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
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant