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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33326
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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How difficult is it to represent yourselves in child care proceedings

Customer Question

How difficult is it to represent yourselves in child care proceedings where the local authority are supporting you for an SGO and it is contested by both the parents and the maternal grandparents?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Are the children currently with you?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The child is my partners 3 year old grandson. He has been with us since March 2013 and we are his approved foster carers.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
May I ask - are you financially ineligible?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes we are because our daycare costs can't be included as expenditure die to me not working (I had to stop to foster the child).
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What does the Guardian want?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The guardian has not omitted either way yet. He sees improvement from the parents. We have only just been made a party to the proceedings so haven't seen the paperwork yet. Parents have just had another child that is under a protection plan. Child is in Liverpool under Nottingham local authority and parents are in Slough.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Which court is the matter in?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Nottingham
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Since your case and that of the Local Authority are essentially the same there is unlikely to be a major issue - especially of the Guardian supports the Placement with you as well
Any cross examination required will be handled by the legal representatives of the LA and the child, and your contribution is likely to be limited.
If the Guardian does not agree then the position is a little more complex since you need to try and distance yourself from any criticism of the Local Authority - but it is still perfectly possible to do.
The important point will be to make it plain to ALL the Legal Representatives that you do NOT accept that the Barrister for the LA is acting for you and that you expect to be included in any legal discussions and that you wish to speak for yourselves in Court.
YOu shoudl also make sure that the Usher is aware of this and ask him/her to inform the Judge that you do wish to represent yourselves in the hearing.
Have a very clear view and notes about why the child should be with you that addresses all the issues raised by the parents/maternal grandparents.
Go through the reports and highlight any comments you feel you need to deal with.
Listen carefully to the questions asked by the other lawyers and only question a witness if there is an actual reason to do so.
You may also wish to try and see if you can get free representation for either of these
http://www.barprobono.org.uk/
http://www.lawworks.org.uk/
Please ask if you need further details
Clare

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