HOME > Services > Family > Child Protection

Child Protection

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    So happy with the outcome thank you for your help.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - 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 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

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

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    I want to thank you for all the help you have given me during this very stressful time, please know your professionalism and genuine caring has helped me enormously and I am very grateful to you.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - 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

    You have been superb.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - 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

    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

    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

    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

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

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - Family

    My thanks to Mary for her understanding and support through the last couple of years.

    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 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

    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

    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

    Thanks for doing a brilliant job professionally with my case and for the personal support too.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Thank you for all your help and support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

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

    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

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

    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

    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

    I am truly grateful for all you have done.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - 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

    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

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

    Client testimonial about Deborah Todd - 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

    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

    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 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

    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

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - 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

    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

    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

    Thank you for the excellent support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - 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