HOME > Services > Family > Child Protection

Child Protection

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

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - 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

    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

    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

    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

    Thank you for explaining it all so well.

    Client testimonial about Louise Law - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - 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

    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

    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

    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

    Mary Shaw was outstanding and professional at every turn.  She was an excellent advocate for my daughter

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Thank you for the excellent support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - 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

    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

    Mary was patient and understanding ,she actively encouraged opinions from both sides and made the meetings a place where I felt at ease and my opinion mattered.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Mediation

    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

    Thanks for all help and support through a very difficult time it is much appreciated.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - 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

    So happy with the outcome thank you for your help.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - 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

    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

    Thank you so much for all your support and wise counsel. Life has certainly changed a lot since our early conversations… Thanks to you I have the beautiful loving relationship with (my child) I dreamed of. A priceless contribution and job well done!

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    Mary was extremely helpful, friendly and caring all the way through my divorce. She gave me very good advice and helped me get a good settlement that has helped me in moving on with my life. Mary was an excellent solicitor for me and she could not have done anything better I am very grateful to have had her experience and support.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I am grateful for all the work you have done for me so far as well as your on going work. You are a kind, caring person and I'm privileged to have had this chance to meet you. Keep up your work, you are a good solicitor.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - 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 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 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

    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

    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'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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

    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

    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, 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

    You have been superb.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - 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

    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

    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

    I have nothing but good things to say about the service which has been provided. I hope I will not find myself in a position to have to do so, but if any of my friends are faced with divorce proceedings I would not hesitate to recommend you and your team.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - 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

    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

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - 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

    I just wanted to again say thank you for you and your teams support throughout. I know you were representing my ex, however I was always made to feel like I was respected and your team always did your best to help out particularly during the court case.

    Client testimonial about Jessica Lung - 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
  • Solicitor
  • Solicitor
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant