Care proceedings solicitors

Care proceedings solicitors London

At Hopkin Murray Beskine, our London-based team of solicitors understand the emotional challenges and complexities involved in care proceedings.

Our care proceedings solicitors specialise in cases related to child welfare and protection. They provide expert legal advice, support and guidance to families when local authorities have concerns about a child, to try and avoid the need for court proceedings.

The welfare of your child is of the utmost importance to us, and our team of dedicated child care solicitors is here to provide guidance and support throughout the entire process.

On this page:

Free initial call with the enquiry team

Our new client enquiry team will answer your questions, discuss funding options including public funding (previously known as legal aid), and arrange a first meeting with the care proceedings solicitor that is right for your case.

By choosing Hopkin Murray Beskine, you can trust that your family’s interests are in capable hands as we work towards the best possible outcome for your child’s welfare.

Care proceeding solicitors in London

Pictured: Care proceedings solicitors; Sara Upton, Celene Boatswain and Helen MacDonald.

They are members of the Children Panel and accredited by the Law Society.

Find out more about our team below.

Urgent action required?

If you are concerned that your child is at immediate risk, we can offer urgent appointments and take emergency steps to assist you and your child. Public funding might be available for such actions and we can provide you with information in relation to the funding options for your case.

Our expert team

Our care proceedings solicitors comprise a director, Sara Upton and solicitors, Celene Boatswain and Helen MacDonald. We are supported by a team of trainee solicitors and paralegals.

All of our senior child care solicitors are members of the Children Panel and accredited by the Law Society as specialists within this area. We have a London wide reputation for our effective, sensitive, and child centred work in this area.

Our details can be found on the lists of children panel accredited solicitors provided by various local authorities to assist parents in finding a solicitor.

Legal Aid and financial assistance

We understand that the cost of legal representation can be a concern for many families. At Hopkin Murray Beskine, we help clients determine their eligibility for legal aid and assist with the application process. We aim to make sure that everyone has access to quality legal representation during care proceedings, regardless of your financial situation.

Due to the importance of PLO meetings and care proceedings, Legal Aid is available to parents (and anyone else with Parental Responsibility for the child), irrespective of your financial circumstances or the merits of your case.

“Due to the importance of PLO meetings and care proceedings, Legal Aid is available to parents, and anyone else with Parental Responsibility for the child…”

How our care proceedings solicitors can help you

Our care proceedings solicitors specialise in cases related to child welfare and protection. They provide expert legal advice, support and guidance to families at an early stage when local authorities have concerns about a child to try and avoid the need for court proceedings. If court proceedings are needed our team can support and represent you throughout the process to make sure you have the best chance of a positive outcome for your family.

All of our senior child care solicitors are members of the Children Panel and accredited by the Law Society as specialists within this area. We have a London wide reputation for our effective, sensitive, and child centred work, and our details are included on the lists of specialist solicitors provided by many local authorities to parents and carers of children involved in the PLO process or in care proceedings.

The primary responsibilities of our care proceedings solicitors include:

  • Offering expert legal advice, support and guidance to families when a local authority has concerns about a child.
  • Attending Pre-Proceedings Meetings (also known as PLO or Public Law Outline meetings) with you and supporting and advising you through the PLO process.
  • Representing you at court hearings.
  • Considering whether any independent expert evidence is needed to help your case.
  • Collaborating with other professionals, such as independent social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, intermediaries and interpreters.
  • Preparing, reviewing and advising you in relation to legal documents.
  • Negotiating with local authorities and other parties on your behalf.
  • Advising you throughout the process to make sure you know what is happening at all times.

Why choose Hopkin Murray Beskine for care proceedings?

When you choose Hopkin Murray Beskine as your care proceedings solicitors in London, you can expect the following advantages:

• Expertise: Our solicitors have extensive experience and knowledge in care proceedings cases, ensuring your family receives the very best legal support.
• Personalised Service: We understand that each family’s situation is unique, and we tailor our approach to meet your specific needs and circumstances.
• Experience: Our team is skilled at working with clients who have a range of additional needs and vulnerabilities, including emotional and mental health needs, learning needs, and issues with addiction and domestic abuse.
• Compassionate Support: We recognise the emotional impact care proceedings can have on families, and our solicitors provide empathetic and compassionate support throughout the process.
• Effective Communication: Our team maintains open and transparent communication with clients, keeping you informed and involved every step of the way.

Our solicitors are based in Islington, London

Hopkin Murray Beskine’s office is easy to reach from across London and Hertfordshire.

Office address:
The Ivories,
Unit 17,
6 – 18 Northampton Street,
London, N1 2HY.

Care proceedings solicitor London map

Frequently asked questions

At HMB Solicitors, we understand that navigating the complex world of child protection and care proceedings can be challenging.  We’ve set out below answers to a range of frequently asked questions which we hope will be of assistance.

What is the role of the children’s guardian in care proceedings?

The children’s guardian represents the child’s best interests in care proceedings. They are responsible for providing independent advice to the court regarding the child’s welfare, ensuring that their voice is heard, and that their wishes and feelings are taken into account.

Can I have a solicitor for a Child Protection Conference (CPC)?

Yes, you can have a solicitor present during a Child Protection Conference. The solicitor can provide legal advice, support, and guidance throughout the conference, helping you understand your rights and the processes involved.

Can I get a solicitor if I don’t agree with social services?

Yes, you can instruct a solicitor to represent your interests when dealing with social services, whether you are challenging their decisions or seeking advice on how to navigate the child protection process.

How long should care proceedings take?

Care proceedings should generally be completed within 26 weeks from the date the application was made to the court. However, in some cases, the court may grant an extension if it is necessary to resolve the proceedings fairly.

What is a Section 47 investigation in child protection?

A Section 47 investigation, as outlined in the Children Act 1989, is a child protection investigation undertaken by social services when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. This investigation aims to determine whether any action is necessary to safeguard the child’s welfare.

Do police attend child protection conferences?

Yes, a representative from the police may attend a child protection conference, particularly when there are concerns about criminal offences relating to the child’s welfare. Their involvement can provide valuable information and contribute to the decision-making process.

Can a parent refuse to allow a Section 47 investigation?

Parents cannot refuse a Section 47 investigation as it can be carried out without their cooperation if needed. However, parents can seek legal advice and representation to ensure their rights and interests are protected throughout the process.

What is a Section 37 report in child protection?

Section 37 of the Children Act 1989 allows the court to direct a local authority to investigate a child’s circumstances and report their findings. This may occur in situations where the court is concerned about the child’s welfare during private law proceedings, such as disputes over child arrangements.

How long does a child protection investigation take?

The length of a child protection investigation can vary depending on the complexity of the case. However, most investigations should be completed within 45 working days from the date the referral was received.

What do social services look for when they come to your house?

When social services visit your home, they assess the overall environment, living conditions, and interactions between family members. They are looking for any signs of neglect, abuse, or risks to the child’s welfare and safety.

Who is responsible for making the decision to investigate a child protection concern?

The decision to investigate a child protection concern is typically made by a social services team manager following an assessment of the information received in a referral.

How do social services investigate child neglect?

Social services investigate child neglect by conducting assessments, gathering information, and speaking with relevant parties, such as parents, children, teachers, and healthcare professionals. They may also visit the family home to assess living conditions and the child’s environment.

What happens when care proceedings start?

When care proceedings start, the local authority submits an application to the court.  A children’s guardian is then appointed to represent the child’s best interests. The court will schedule hearings, and the parties involved will provide evidence and submit documents to support their case. Throughout the proceedings, the court aims to determine the best course of action to safeguard the child’s welfare, which may include making a care order, supervision order, or other arrangements. 

The court will also consider whether any expert assessments are necessary so that they have all the information they need to make decisions about the child’s long-term care.

How does a solicitor apply to come off the record in family proceedings?

A solicitor may apply to come off the record in family proceedings by filing a notice of change or withdrawal of solicitor with the court. This notice should include the reasons for withdrawal and confirmation that the client has been informed of the decision. The solicitor must also notify all parties involved in the case. Court approval may be required in certain situations, particularly if the withdrawal could negatively impact the proceedings or the client’s interests.

Does the judge always agree with social services?

While judges often give considerable weight to the recommendations and assessments provided by social services, they are not bound to agree with them. Judges are required to make independent decisions based on the evidence presented by all parties involved, always focusing on the best interests of the child. In some cases, the judge may disagree with social services and make a different decision based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

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