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Child Protection

    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

    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 your kindness and understanding when I have been in distress.

    Client testimonial about Lucy Mead - 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

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

    Client testimonial about Deborah Todd - Family

    "Everything was amazing!"

    Client testimonial about Rebecca Graham - 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

    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

    I desperately needed legal representation... she found me a solicitor and got straight back! Fab service

    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

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

    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

    Thank you for the excellent support.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - 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

    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 very much for today. I’m really so grateful! I know it’s not over and it’s only the beginning. But for the first time in ages, I think I’ll be able to sleep properly tonight.  I just wanted to quickly message you to let you know how grateful I am. Today, my future looks brighter moving forward.

    Client testimonial about Deborah Todd - 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

    Thank you for the MIAM session, it definitely helped me have a clearer perspective on a way forwards.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family Mediation

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

    I so very much appreciate your time and support and you being at the end of a phone …… when I was very weary. You were a lifeline for me. Many thanks.

    Client testimonial about Lesley Monkhouse - 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 very much for everything. I received the decree absolute, and I am very happy.

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Gael Phillips - Family

    Thank you for your excellent service and your help. If I need any further advice I will come back to you and certainly I will be recommending you to anyone who needs help and advice in family matters

    Client testimonial about Ailsa Gilhespy - 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

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

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family

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

    Client testimonial about Lesley Monkhouse - 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 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

    Just a quick note to say thank you so much for the way that you handled our meeting. You were honest and very open which I really appreciated.

    Client testimonial about Mary Shaw - Family Mediation

    Sukhi Patter was very good in assisting me and at all times and reassuring that she was in control and very good at what she was doing.

    Client testimonial about Sukhi Patter - Family

    We used David Gray Solicitors LLP when we adopted a baby boy from an orphanage in Africa, and wished to have him legally adopted in the UK. The service we received was superb; a special mention should be made for Elspeth, she gives the law profession an excellent name. Elspeth was without doubt the key reason for the success of our case.

    Client testimonial about Elspeth Thomson - Family

    I am truly grateful for all you have done.

    Client testimonial about Claire Hunter - 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

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

    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

    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

    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

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