Key Legal Principles

The law can seem very complicated and overwhelming for those who don’t deal with it on a daily basis. Even more so if you have to face the stress of a child protection investigation or court proceedings. Hopefully, if you are a parent involved in care proceedings you will have your own legal team, who you trust and are happy to work with and who can explain what is going on.

There is no substitute for proper legal advice from someone who is qualified to act on your behalf and who will have access to all the information about your proceedings, but for those who don’t have easy access to a lawyer or who are looking for some introduction or simple explanation we hope this is helpful.

Read more about:

Transparency – what can you talk about outside court

Balance of probabilities

Significant harm

Threshold criteria

Welfare Stage

11 thoughts on “Key Legal Principles

  1. Sarah

    Please help I had problems with my partner last year where we had a few arguements and fights my daughter witnessed a couple of these and social services took my daughter from me in December the courts have listened to the social worker and I was told that I would have support from them but had none I recently went to court to have my children at our home every other weekend but was told I still had to travel to my parents my children are desperate to come and spend time with both my self and partner but no body’s helping us or allowing for this to happen please tell me what I can do as there living with there father who domestically abused and raped me but that seems to be just fine the police have taken my case to cps regarding what happened with there father

  2. claire adams

    my social worker is going to try to tack my kids off me and she keeps asking my kids if my salf hearts them like hiting them and are they happy with me and my kids are my life and my world with out them i hate to think what i would be like or who i would be i have 5 kids and my love for them is every think to me and iv never heart my kids they have never been to hospule for a bump on the head or eney think also and she is going to tack them off me and i kneed ti stop her befor she dose because if she dose my hart will never every be the same and i carnt cope with the thourt ov it

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      If you are worried your children are going to be taken away from you, this can’t happen unless the SW gets a court order or the police agree to remove them in an emergency but that is only for 72 hours and then a court order is needed. If the SW applies for an order, you will get a lawyer that the state pays for. It is the Judge who makes the decision, not the SW. Do you understand why the SW is trying to take your children away? What have people said to you? Do you have anyone helping you to understand? There might be some one you can talk to here

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  4. linda graham

    a social worker is making things up about my daughter, and i can prove it. she made my daughter and 5 kids move into a 2 bedroom flat full of damp aspestoss, themn said if she didnt thay would remove her kids, she moved into flat now she sent council who basically broke in when she was out took pictures in cupboards which now is in the hands of a solicitor now there evicting her and have told her thay are going for an intrim order everything they are saying is lies and my daughter can prove this we need help how can we stop them harrasing her this has been going on for six years the children was on children in need but then that werent because my daughter refused to let them in thay are making up
    stuff about her and the kids thayre must be someone out thare who can help us .

    1. HelenSparkles

      You need legal advice. If the local authority are making an application for an Interim Care Order, your daughter is entitled to free legal advice. I suggest you go on the law society website and look for a local solicitor who has children’s panel accreditation. There will normally be a meeting which is called different things in different LAs but is basically a meeting before care proceedings at which your daughter is entitled to, and should have, legal representation. It is the responsibility of the LA to set out their concerns to your daughter’s solicitor. It is normally be possible for you to attend to support her, I would suggest asking first as a courtesy. Although it is natural to think you will lose a child when the LA initiates care proceedings, the reason they are doing so is because they are worried, and social workers can’t make decisions about children on their own – they are asking a court to make a decision. The decision of the court is not a pre determined outcome. .

    1. Angelo Granda

      Dear Linda,
      As one ordinary parent to another, I suggest you enlist the help of ALL YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY however distant they might appear to be and you should all meet. Arrange a family conference.Your daughter and your grandchildren are vulnerable and need help NOW before court proceedings are started because then it will be too late! You should all get together quickly to make arrangements for the children. The family have a duty to put the children up or anything possible to keep them out of the care system.
      Really ,the CS should organise family conferences as recommended by the FRG.
      For further advice and for independent advocacy go onto the Family Rights Group website where they have a section specially for Grandparents. Your daughter will probably have been given by theSocial Worker a list of local independent advocacy services and told of her right to have one attend meetings and help her get her agreements and disagreements over. Has she got one? They have to follow the procedures and frameworks or it isn’t fair. Hope this helps.Good Luck.

  5. Kerry Gaskell

    What rite do the legal profession, I,e,,,social worker / judge,
    Have to remove a crying child from it’s mother,
    Whom clearly whatts to stay

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      The ‘right’ to do this is set out in the Children Act 1989. A child can be removed from his/her parents if the state can prove on a balance of probabilities that the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm.

      You may not agree that this law is correct and you may want it to be changed, but unless and until it is, the law very clearly gives a ‘right’ to social workers to remove children if they get an order from the court. The police can remove without an order for 72 hours if the child needs to be taken to place of safety.


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