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Child Care & Children Law

Due to the complexity of issues related to child care and children law, the very best in professional and objectively accredited, highly regarded advice and representation is needed. Our specialist solicitors understand how sensitive and difficult the issues are in child law cases, especially if Children’s Services or Social Services are involved.

At a time when the best solution is needed for the welfare of the child or young person, we strive to provide the very best support and guidance within a regional team that has the greatest quality and depth. We can advise you on your rights and help you with the available options, including free legal aid, which may be available in care proceedings and other child law cases.

To speak to a child law solicitor about a matter relating to child care, call Ramsdens today on 01924 431 774 or email care@ramsdens.co.uk,or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back

WHY CHOOSE RAMSDENS?

Child law cases and care proceedings often present the family court with the most challenging decisions. The cases can be complex and sometimes life-changing for the parties involved, especially for children. When Children’s Services or Social Services apply to the court for an order, or seek to place a child in the care of the local authority, the child’s best interests and welfare are the overriding concern when making a decision determining their future.

At Ramsdens, it is not a light statement to say that we have one of the most experienced teams of specialist lawyers in Yorkshire. Our team has a depth of experience and knowledge in child law, care proceedings and serious cases that is recognised by a wide range of expert professionals across Yorkshire and by leading legal guides, such as The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

This is also reflected through the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation held by those solicitors in our team that represent children.

We often receive instructions and recommendations across the region in cases involving the representation of a child, or the highest level of seriousness, conflict and complexity for a parent or family member as a client.

WHAT IS CHILD CARE LAW?

Child care law concerns legal matters where a local authority has become involved with a family. The law is very specialised, is determined by a number of legislative acts, and is constantly changing.

The Children Act 1989 provides the legislative framework for child protection in England. The act covers the importance of child welfare and the expectations and requirements related to the duty of care to children.

The Children Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to appoint children’s services in the safeguarding of children and the promotion of their wellbeing.

Areas of Child care Law we Cover

Our team can offer advice and representation in all areas of children law including:

DISPUTES ABOUT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Disputes regarding children can arise for a number of reasons. Some examples of disputes about children include:

  • Adoption
  • Changing a child’s name
  • Child abduction
  • Contact with grandparents
  • Paternity
  • Verifying and enforcing court orders

We will always encourage and assist parents to settle disputes without the need for court proceedings by dealing with arrangements for children through alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation.

If a dispute cannot be resolved outside of court, there is a set of welfare criteria that the court considers when making decisions that affect children, including:

  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child
  • Any physical, emotional and educational needs
  • The likely impact of any changes in circumstances
  • Age, sex, background and any relevant characteristics
  • Any significant harm suffered or at risk of suffering
  • The capability of each parent to meet the child’s needs
  • The range of powers available to the court

Representation for the child or children as a party in the proceedings

We provide the full spectrum of advice and representation in care cases when the local authority (children’s services) has made an application to the Court and in complex private law cases when a solicitor has been appointed to represent the child or children under rule 16.4 of the Family Procedure Rules.  Legal aid is usually available at an early stage.

We appreciate that when instructions are provided by a young person or through a professional children’s guardian as an independent expert, the service provided has to be of highest quality in cases that can have a profound impact on the child or young person – sometimes life-changing.  We understand that when the best solution is needed for the welfare and future planning of the child or young person this requires the very best support and guidance. At Ramsden’s this is within a regional team that has the greatest quality and depth. 

Our expert team has a number of lawyers that are members of the Law Society children law accreditation scheme (often referred to as the Law Society Children Panel).  Our legal and technical expertise is reflected in the fact that members of our team often undertake legal training and seminars for professionals working with the child or young person within the proceedings. 

Our Children Panel lawyers are backed up by a full support team and wherever possible we try and ensure continuity of representation for each hearing wherever possible or within the team.  You can be assured that our children panel lawyers are experienced advocates and will undertake the majority of advocacy themselves wherever possible. When appropriate to instruct senior junior or leading Counsel we have excellent relationships with and access to the best regional counsel and chambers in the area.

At Ramsdens we do not say lightly that we have one of the most experienced teams of Law Society Children Panel lawyers in the region.  Our team has a depth of experience and knowledge in child law, care proceedings and serious cases that is recognised by a wide range of expert professionals across Yorkshire and by leading guides, such as The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.

FAQS ABOUT CHILD CARE LAW

HOW ARE CASES FUNDED?

In most child care proceedings, parents are entitled to free legal aid to help with legal costs. At Ramsdens, we offer a free initial appointment to assess your eligibility.

WHAT IS A SPECIAL GUARDIANSHIP ORDER?

A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is a court order made by a judge giving a carer parental responsibility over a child. SGOs are a way to ensure children are cared for when they are not able to live with their birth parents. An order allows those responsible for a child to make decisions about the child’s upbringing until they turn 18. This includes where they live and go to school, and providing consents to medical treatment. For more information about SGOs, visit our dedicated page.

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF A CHILD IN CARE?

Under section 34(1) of the Children Act 1989, a child must be granted reasonable contact with their parents, any guardian, any person holding a Residence Order or Child Arrangements Order before the Care Order was made, and any person who had care of the child under wardship.

Parents and people with parental responsibility must be informed of the whereabouts of a child taken into care. The local authority can only withhold this information if there are reasonable grounds to believe the child’s welfare would be at risk.

Children’s Services also has a duty to promote contact with wider family members such as grandparents and siblings.

WHAT IS SECTION 21 OF THE CHILDREN’S ACT?

Section 21 of the Children’s Act covers the provision of accommodation for children under judicial protection, or who are detained or incarcerated. Local authorities must take care of the boarding and lodging of the child that is withdrawn from the family home.

WHAT IS SECTION 22 OF THE CHILDREN’S ACT?

Section 22 of the Children’s Act sets out the duties of local authorities to protect and promote the wellbeing of children under their care. The duty of ensuring the safest and most secure environment for children is a fundamental principle of local authorities.

WHAT IS SECTION 31 OF THE CHILDREN’S ACT?

Section 31 of the Children’s Act grants a child to be placed into supervised care by a local authority. The parental responsibility will then be shared between the parent and the local authority.

Contact Us

For help and advice with any child care and children law matters, book a free, no-obligation appointment with our expert solicitors at any of our offices, including Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield. Simply call Ramdens on 01924 431 774 or email care@ramsdens.co.uk, or fill in our online enquiry form.

The individuals that work for the practice make it stand out from other firms. The family team are exceptional in this firm.

The Legal 500, 2023

Ramsdens has a wealth of solicitors who are dedicated, hard-working and extremely diligent. Their representation within the Children Act sphere is second to none. Their cases are thoroughly prepared and it is evident that clients have been given realistic advice.

The Legal 500, 2023

This is the best firm in the geographical area in which it practises. The team is fully resourced and has the level of knowledge and experience to be able to negotiate or contest cases as required."

The Legal 500, 2021

The team has strength in depth. They can be relied upon to provide robust and realistic representation, always in a manner which is sensitive to the particular client’s needs."

The Legal 500, 2021

‘Great Team. Excellent client skills and approach to litigation. Client’s best interests at the forefront of their minds."

The Legal 500, 2021

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