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What Orders Can The Court Make?
Social services lawyers - Further information
Children’s Services can apply for a care order when they have significant concerns about a child’s safety and well-being and the parents/carers have not been able to sort out the things that they are worried about.
If a Care Order is made on your child, whether this is temporary or long-term, Children’s Services have the right to remove your child from your care even if you don’t agree if the court approves this plan.
If the social worker plans to apply for a Care Order, they should tell you this and should confirm this in a letter to you. If for any reason you don’t know about it, you will find out when you receive a notice from the court saying they are applying for a care order.
If you are a parent/or someone else with parental responsibility for the child, you will automatically be a ‘party’ to the proceedings. This means you have a right to go to court to argue against their application and say what you think is best for your child. You can also get free legal aid to pay for a solicitor to represent you.
If you are a relative, you can ask if you can join in the proceedings – this is called becoming a party. It gives you the right to speak in court and tell the judge what you think is best for the child and how you can help, for example if you can take on the care of the child if they cannot remain with their parents.
Parents and others who have parental responsibility for a child involved in care proceedings will receive legal aid to pay their solicitor’s fees. You will receive this regardless of your financial means.
You don’t have an automatic right to free legal aid to be represented by a solicitor in the case (unless you already have parental responsibility for the child). However, you can apply for legal aid but whether you get it will depend on how much money you have and whether you have a good case to argue in court.
The Public Law Outline is the final stage before care proceedings are issued. This normally happens when the Local Authority has serious concerns in respect of the safety and welfare of a child. This can be following an incident or after months of involvement with a family under a Child Protection Plan where no progress has been made.
A meeting is normally held by Social Services following the issuing of a letter to parents advising them to seek legal advice. The PLO letter automatically entitles a parent or someone with parental responsibility to legal aid.
Parents are advised to attend the meeting with a solicitor to see if an agreement can be reached to prevent the matter being taken to Court. We can advise you and attend these meetings with you.
A Children’s Guardian is independent from the Local Authority. The Role of a Guardian is to act as a voice for a child, to make sure that a child is safe, and to make sure that any decisions made are made in the best interests of a child.
In Care Proceedings, the Guardian will consider the Local Authority’s care plans to ensure that the care plan is viable for a child. The Guardian will also share their views as to what they feel should happen to a child in respect of their placement.