Ian WalkerChild Law involving Social Services

We specialise in this type of law. We regularly represent clients in cases with social services in across the south-west including Devon and Somerset.

We regularly act for parents and grandparents and children in these types of case. (Sometimes we will also act as solicitor for Devon County Council – if their own legal team is overstretched).

Members of the Law Society Children Panel

The measure of excellence of a solicitor for this type of law is membership of the Law Society Child Law Accreditation Scheme – formerly known as the Law Society Children Panel.

Our team: Kim Stradling, Sandy Powell and Ian Walker are all current members of the Law Society Child Law Accreditation Scheme. Nicole Phare and David Howell-Richardson are both former members of the Law Society Child Law Accreditation Scheme.

Whilst Nicole and Sandy had not maintained their panel membership (because of job changes before they joined us) both regularly undertake social services/children law cases and retain considerable expertise/experience.

Kim Stradling -Leading Child Law Expert

In fact, together we have between us around 100 years of membership of the Law Society Child Law Accreditation Scheme. This makes us one of the most experienced children team’s in the South-West.

We are therefore able to understand cases from all angles.

We have a lot of content on our website. However, if you are looking at this page because you have been invited to a meeting with social services about your children or you have been told that social services are going to take you to court, or you are a grandparent or stepparent or are involved in some other way in a court case brought by social services about children – then you need to get in touch with us as quickly as possible.

Legal Aid

We are contracted with the legal aid agency to provide legal aid for cases involving social services.

Pre-Court Proceedings

If Social Services invite you to a meeting with a letter which refers to the PLO (public law outline) and/or which may have a list of solicitors attached to it (which we will hopefully be on) – then you are entitled to free legal aid to be assisted at that meeting.

If there social services have invited you to a child protection meeting/children in need meeting/something similar – but without the threat of court – then the rules about legal aid are different. Legal aid is available to parents – but it is means tested.

Nicole Family Law SolicitorCourt Proceedings

If you are a parent or person with parental responsibility you are entitled to free legal aid – this will cover your costs for the whole of the case.

If you are another family member who is involved with the case – then legal aid could be available – but it is subject to a means test and a merits test.

Sometimes social services will pay for grandparents or other proposed future carers of children to take legal advice before a case is concluded.

David Howell-Richardson Leading Exeter Family LawyerThe important thing is that if you are involved in a case that involves social services is that you let us know straightaway. We will discuss funding options with you. Not being sure where you stand should not put you off making the phone call. We can tell you over the phone whether you will or whether you will likely be eligible for legal aid – and if not we can talk to you about alternative funding options.

The most important thing is that you get in touch with us as soon as possible.

We are ready to help