Going to Court?

For many people involved in family proceedings, this will be their first visit ever to a court. So to add to the stress and worry of the care proceedings, you also have to cope with an unfamiliar environment which you may find intimidating.

  • Hopefully if you are a parent, you are with your legal team who you know and trust. We have a useful article from a family law barrister here. 
  • If you don’t have a lawyer we have some advise for litigants in person or ‘self represented litigants’ here in our post ‘What if I don’t have a lawyer?’
  • The Courtroom Advice site offers step by step advice about the court process.
  • Her Majesty’s Courts Services (HMCS) publish leaflets about what to expect at court – see EX370 ‘Your first time at court? What you can expect’ and EX340 ‘I want to appeal’.
  • Here is a useful article explaining what happens when lawyers huddle together to agree ‘directions’ at an interim  hearing.
  • Here is a post from Ian Julian, a lay advocate, who explains the options available to you for getting help at court.

However, there are some things that help to know whether you have a lawyer or not.

Handy hints for everyone

Before you get to court

  • Make sure you know how to get to court, where to park etc if you are driving. Sadly you can’t assume that courts are near railway stations or have easy access to parking. You can find the location of any court on this government website
  • Don’t assume you will be able to find a private waiting room – some courts have very limited facilities, other courts have lots of rooms but they get filled up quickly. If you feel scared about coming to court in case of conflict with other people who will also be coming, make sure you tell your solicitor or the court and they will do what they can to get you a private space.
  • Don’t assume your case will start on time. Your case can be listed at 10am but when you get to court you may find that you are one of three different cases listed at the same time OR your judge has been asked to deal with an urgent application before yours. You may end up waiting a long time. Remember to bring something to drink/eat/read.
  • BUT don’t be late. Even though there is a good chance you won’t be starting on the dot of your listed time, if you decide to arrive an hour later, that will be the day your judge was ready to start right on time.  Either way, everyone will have to wait for you to arrive or the Judge will start without you.
  • Don’t assume that there will be anywhere near by to get a drink or a snack. Some courts have very limited vending machine facilities or nothing at all. Some courts have a nice cafe. Don’t wait until its too late to find out which one you are going to.
  • Remember to factor in the time you will need to get through security checks. Some courts get extremely busy around 10am and you can be waiting in the queue to be scanned by a security guard for half an hour or more. You can’t bring cameras or anything that could be used as a weapon into court –  some courts will not permit glass bottles for example.
  • If you are running late make sure you have a number to call – either your solicitor’s or the courts. Call and leave a message. You won’t be blamed for circumstances beyond your control such as traffic accidents or late trains, but it gets very frustrating for people waiting for you who don’t know where you are.
  • The court day is normally from about 10am to 4.30pm but in urgent hearings the court may sit later, particularly in the Magistrates court. If you need to make child care arrangements, make sure you can sort this out in good time as your hearing could over run and it is impossible to predict when this may happen.

When you are in the court room

  • Don’t be  surprised if it a much smaller room than you expected. If there are other people there that you don’t want to sit near to, ask your lawyer or the court staff to help re-arrange chairs etc to make the best of a bad job.
  • Don’t worry too much about what you wear. If you have got smart formal clothes and you feel comfortable in them, that’s great. But if you don’t normally wear suits don’t feel you have to dress up. Just wear something clean and not too outlandish which covers most of you up.
  • If you are giving evidence you will usually do so from another seat which is at the front of the court. You will have to either make a promise on a holy book that you will tell the truth or make an affirmation if you are not religious or don’t want to make a religious promise. Do not worry about which one you chose. No one will care. The important thing is that you tell the truth. The reason evidence is either ‘sworn’ on a holy book or ‘affirmed’ is because if the court finds you have told a lie in your evidence, this could mean you have committed the criminal offence of perjury which means ‘making false statements’. 
  • Try not to get into arguments with the person asking you questions. It never looks good.
  • Try not to ask questions of the person asking you questions, for e.g. ‘do you have children?’ Again, this rarely gives a good impression.
  • If you don’t understand a question, say so. Ask for the question to be put in a different way.
  • If someone asks you a question and you worry that a truthful answer will make you look bad, remember it gives a much worse impression to the judge if you say something while giving evidence that is seriously inconsistent with something you said before. You get a lot of credit for honestly owning up to anything that you did which others might criticise.
  • Even if you are very upset or angry by some of the questions, please try not to react in the court room. The Judge is taking notice of both what you say and how you say it.
  • If it is all getting too much, or you just need a break ask for one. Most judges will be sympathetic to a request for a 10 minute break and will probably be glad of it themselves.


The stages of care proceedings

The aim of the Children and Families Act 2014 is to speed up care proceedings. They must not take any longer than 26 weeks, unless an extension of that time is required in the interests of justice. To help speed things up, care proceedings now have 3 distinct stages.

  • Stage 1 the application is issued by the local authority (LA) and allocated to the appropriate court. This takes 2 days.
  • Stage 2, an Advocates Meeting (meeting with the lawyers, social worker and guardian) no later than day 10 to accommodate the Case Management Hearing (CMH) on day 12.
  • Stage 3 must be no later than 20 weeks from the date of the application and is called the Issues Resolution Hearing (IRH). This is no longer a directions hearing but instead a ‘genuine and informed attempt at resolving issues’. The hope is that some cases can be agreed at this hearing.

If you can’t agree the best way forward at the IRH, the court will find some dates for you to come back for the Final Hearing – this is where the court hears evidence from all the parties and makes a final decision.

You may be asked to decide how long you will need for a final hearing at the time of the case management hearing, which is pretty early on In the timetable and it may be impossible by day 12 to know how this case will pan out by day 140. Your lawyer will do his/her best to get a suitable timetable.

The LA must produce a numerous documents with its application, including genograms (family trees, setting out who is related to who)  and a chronology, and there will be a list of other documents which they don’t have to automatically show to the court unless you ask for this to happen.  Everyone must come to the Advocates Meeting ready and able to set out precisely what the case needs in terms of any further expert reports, to have found the names and contact details of any proposed experts and found out how long they would take to write a report and how much they would cost.


The impact of court orders

You must obey a court order, even if you think it is wrong. Unless and until that order is appealed or otherwise set aside the court will expect the order to be followed and will take a very dim view of any party who does not. See for example the clear words of the President of the Family Division in the case of Re W (Children) in 2014, citing his robust findings in a previous case:

I refer to the slapdash, lackadaisical and on occasions almost contumelious attitude which still far too frequently characterises the response to orders made by family courts. There is simply no excuse for this. Orders, including interlocutory orders, must be obeyed and complied with to the letter and on time. Too often they are not. They are not preferences, requests or mere indications; they are orders: see In re W (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Court’s Function) [2013] EWCA Civ 1227, [2014] 1 WLR 1611, para 74.

The law is clear. As Romer LJ said in Hadkinson v Hadkinson [1952] P 285, 288, in a passage endorsed by the Privy Council in Isaacs v Robertson [1985] AC 97, 101:

“It is the plain and unqualified obligation of every person against, or in respect of whom, an order is made by a court of competent jurisdiction, to obey it unless and until that order is discharged. The uncompromising nature of this obligation is shown by the fact that it extends even to cases where the person affected by an order believes it to be irregular or even void.”

Advice from a Parent

Here are some tips from a adoptive parent

If you get to the stage of having to go to court to fight a care order :

  • Ask the court for any leaflets they have on court procedures – they do exist but may not be offered.
  • If the hearing is for 10 am, go prepared for the whole day. Normally what happens is that everyone is scheduled for this time.
  • Speak to your solicitors – they act as a conduit between you and your barrister. Arrange a time to speak to your barrister, over the phone if necessary, prior to the court days. “Failure to prepare is preparation for failure” – but you are unable to speak to your barrister before you arrive at court UNLESS you arrange to do so through your solicitor.
  • Do not be afraid of the expert witness – be honest and allow them in to your home. They could be your best “friend”.
  • If you haven’t got legal representation – try to get a McKenzie’s friend to help.
  • Don’t be naive – in care proceedings you are playing against a professional team paid to do this day in day out – so you are probably outclassed before you start. Understand this and you can deal better with the situation.
  • The first challenge is to resist the interim care order – put everything into this as it will give you breathing space. To do this get organised very quickly. Do not wander in without being prepared.
  •  Court is very traditional. Mind your p’s and q’s – be polite at all times and the judge and legal professionals will be happier to deal with you.
  • Remember – the only important thing is the child – family does not exist so do not even try to think about that, the child’s best interests are all that matters.
  • A ward of court is no longer an OLD procedure, there is recent precedent that can give you this – it holds the LA to account and PR remains with you.
  • Always turn up – the easiest win is if you don’t attend court
  • Don’t expect the LA to follow a care plan, but make sure you do, to the letter.

Stay strong, remain steadfast as a family and don’t let the procedures change your beliefs!

Edit – thanks very much for this contribution. The only thing we would comment is that to say ‘family does not exist’ is giving the wrong impression; we agree with what you say about the child’s interests being very important but family members MUST come forward at an early stage if they want to be assessed or considered. The LA have to assess your family, it is the law. Talk to your lawyer about this. A big problem in care proceedings is family members coming to court very late in the day, too late for any assessment of what they can offer the child. 



37 thoughts on “Going to Court?

  1. Matt Harding

    I was wondering what the purpose of split hearings is? Normally if a couple is accused of something don’t they usually have a joint defense?

  2. phillimoresarah Post author

    The reason is that if a parent is accused of something very serious – such as deliberately inflicting an injury on a child – we need to know if this is true or not before we can move on to the ‘welfare stage’ i.e. deciding what is best for the child. There isn’t much point doing a parenting assessment before you have some idea whether a parent has really seriously abused a child or whether it is a case more about neglect or other issues.

    But I am not sure how this is now going to fit into the need to finish care proceedings within 26 weeks – obviously split hearings have the potential to elongate the timetable. But sometimes I think they are really necessary as there is a big difference between parents who physically harm or sexually abuse their children and parents who are neglectful. It may be easier to work with and bring about change with the second group as opposed to the first and I think the SW Team does need to have the clearest possible idea what they are dealing with.

  3. Pingback: family courts - Page 2

  4. Scott

    I have a question.. I have family court this month.. my ex’s father is going for residential custody I think it’s called.. well anyway I haven’t seen my daughter since she was born more or less.. well I have an illness and without sounding like a really bad person, I don’t want any part in my daughter’s life.. long story.. I just wanna know if I have actually got to go to court or if I don’t? Thanks in advance.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I doubt very much the court would demand that you attend and send the police to get you, although in theory they could. But no one can force a parent into having a relationship with a child. If you don’t want it, you don’t want it. Doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ person necessarily. I always think it is better to be honest.

      But I would definitely write to the court and explain that you are not coming. At least that way people know what’s what.

      1. Kyrstle Tennant

        Hi I find this strang as social services got kids but got parent doing course that tells parent getting kids back I hoping and praying I’m right please let me know and thanks

  5. Laila harrazie

    Socalservices completely not answered any of my calls in 3 munth.s after me reciveing negative assessment for gardionsip of grandchildren I did speak to manager day of reciveing and told her more than half of assessment was incorrect and if she checked data and there telephone recording s she whould see she told me no wasn’t doing that appeal I said how she told me social worker will come out to me go through assessment and go from there but I rang evey day with no returned calls and no other way I could contact them I even text social worker meny times with no reply they put my neggertive assessment to court when I told them it was slander if they did as they reppetley using volitile aggressive with no supporting facual information unsorted geneerazations no they tell me it’s to late to go to court how can I get in court with my evidence all so disclose information to prove they lied and lied putting my grandchildren at serous risks of leaving my family for ever and could have been prevented if she just checked her computer this is criminal surely took my legal rights away to a show them my evidence that it was incorrect and put it in nowing my concerns court is 2 weeks away I’m probably going to lose my beautiful loved beoned believe grandchildren 9 4 my life is over I’m frightened for my self I cant breath thinking about this I also looked at papers for court on my doughter they say so much incorrect information mistakes every were written wrong name of children farther saying he attended mettings this never happened and this person is not my grandougher farther so why whould he attended meeting it’s all incorrect they say my doughter told them she don’t celebrate birthday cristmas extra were catholic we do we had party we had photos people attended cupple week s ago she said my doughter self medicated on my farther s diementure tablets were has that come from please I can’t get legal help can you advise me please

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sorry to hear this. You need to make an urgent application to the court to become a party or an intervenor in the case. Can you get to the court and ask the court staff to give you the right form to make an application on? You may have to pay for this unless you are receiving certain state benefits.

      Contact the LA and say you will be attending court and you will be making an application as you don’t accept the assessment and you want to be heard. However, you have to brace yourself for the court deciding that it is too late to take you into consideration if you are at the final hearing stage, which it sounds like you might be. But explain all that you have done to try and contact the LA and object to the assessment.

      you can ask the Judge if someone can come into court with you and take notes – this is called a McKenzie Friend.
      It would be really good if you could get some legal advice and turn up with either a barrister or a solicitor but I appreciate this costs money and you won’t get automatic legal aid.

  6. Laila harrazie

    Thank you what do LA mean I can go to courts tommorow and apply I all have been told there is a system there to help 2 days a week layer’s give you frrr adive may even set out my evidence in order for court I think I can befend myself as I have gone in to most of Las of socalworkers since befor cristmas 18 hours a day I feal so angry at the moment as we’re is the laws of completely avoiding me makeing it inposible to apply as I went on what was told to me from social services I told them I had prove it was incorrect as I have ritten evidence some of it from socal worker court papers I come buy signed contredicks assessment how is this right they seem to do what they want with no one to answer to can you also tell me please what is my right to there words assuming I whould huw has the right to assume in something so beautiful human and loved human beings and use words such as volitile aggressive behaviour with out facks can this be evidence how could this be in my book it’s genuliceations with no substance how can this be presented to a jude jenulisceations no facks I say say any of this but it’s worth noting with out facual information how can you present this to a judge will he see it this way

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Sorry, ‘LA’ means ‘local authority’ – that is the state agency that employs the social workers and who makes an application to the court for a care order, for example like the London Borough of Hackney or Wiltshire Council etc.

      The courts are clear that they should not make findings that someone is ‘volatile’ or ‘aggressive’ without having clear evidence to prove it – so I would expect to see things like police reports of violent behaviour or complaints made by other people. It shouldn’t just be a social worker’s opinion, unless of course she/he directly experienced violence.

      If that is what you want the Judge to think about, then just tell him/her as you have told me. I often find it helpful to write things down, so I don’t forget to mention anything important. If you can type something up and print it out that would really help you and the Judge I think. If you can’t access computer/printer then you could write something out by hand.

      1. Ram


        My 3 children have taken into care, social services asked me to sign section 20 at school but I did not. So they used police power. Then I signed section 20, but they are still going to court so I withdraw section 20 so social services can go court immediately. My children are under 8 years old.
        What will happen next at the court? If they do not let the kids back home, is it possible, the judge let them go to grandma house until all the investigation over. As a parent we have done nothing wrong. Social services taking this further listen to 5 year old girl by misunderstood because we have two languages spoken at home.

        Please reply me

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          It’s impossible to comment on what will happen as I don’t know the case against you – but I assume it must be quite serious if the police were asked to intervene. If the matter is in court you qualify for automatic legal aid – you must get a lawyer NOW and listen carefully to their advice. It is certainly possible for the children to be with a grandmother rather than foster care, but the LA will need to assess the grandmother first to makes sure its safe. Make sure the grandmother comes to the first court hearing and tells the judge she wants to be assessed, unless the local authority agree before hand.

  7. Laila harrazie

    I’m sorry I’m dislecsick I can’t do this very good and we have had a trebble time with mother of grandchildren not giveing us any in on court hearing any tonight she telling me last day tommorow dession time in court after gardens options she my doughter wants me to beable to go give evidence on my situation with social worker as I have prove of incorrect information as well as social worker comeing out confirming ,I reported theses thing’s with ass women sat next to her saying I did and I’ll have to put her to stand it’s crazy can you advise me how I can get into corticosteroids tommorwxxxin please

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Sorry Laila but its difficult to know what to say if there is a court hearing happening TODAY. It sounds as if you are a grandparent and there is a hearing in care proceedings? If you want to be involved then you will need to go to court and explain to the judge that you want to be heard. But it may be too late to have a positive impact if the hearing is today.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Chelsea, If a child wishes to, they can go to court as Sarah has advised the grandma above , ask to see the judge and explain that they want to see the proceedings and be heard. I am only a layperson( not a
      lawyer) but fairly sure I am right; if not someone will correct me.
      A problem might arise should the Local Authority feel a child’s desires are not to go into care; it may object or it may not even tell them where and when the hearing is,at least not in good time.
      It may be a good idea for children to consult an independent advocate and ask them to intervene on their behalf or the Guardian involved.If the latter is supporting removal into care, obviously they should choose the former.Hope this helps.

  8. Jennifer

    My children got taken into care after i messed up. Got 6 months to turn my life around which i am doing. Go back to court in march if the judge says im able to have the children back when will i be able to get them back? The day of court or will a date be made for it?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      It will depend on what the plan is. If the LA are supporting you then it would make sense to have a transition plan which could take final effect on day of final hearing; so children could either already be home or go home very quickly. However if LA do NOT support you then it looks unlikely any plans will be made before the court rules at final hearing – so if court decides in your favour, return would then have to be phased in after the order. Not saying it should take ages, but it is unlikely that it would happen just like that on the same day. There are lots of issues to sort out, including practical matters like shifting possessions etc.

  9. hussain

    hi my both of my friends have separated but the mother wants to take the father to court for child neglect, they both approached the same solicitor where he said he can represent them both, just wanted to know is the solicitor having them off because am sure that not allow is it?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      That sounds extremely dodgy and extremely unwise and I would suggest they both – separately – find another solicitor each.

  10. Martina

    I have a problem, my children of shared custody come back from their fathers place, they have very bloodshot eyes, they are cranky and really tired. I ask them why, they say because the adults stay up all night drinking and smoking, when they are in bed it keeps them awake and then their eyes get sore from the smoke. The’ve even mentioned that the adults are sleeping during the day and they have to play around empty bottles and broken glass with their toys.

    The problem is that I have called the social workers several times about this and they seem to laugh at me on the phone saying what are they supposed to do, go into the home and tell them not to smoke or drink. Apparently there is no law to stop what goes on in a private house behind closed doors. I think the social worker even said on one occasion well if it behind closed doors we can not even stop drug usage.

    So there it is. I watch as my children suffer in pain, because the social workers either don’t have a clue what they are meant to be doing, or law is unfounded.

    I don’t appreciate being laughed at over the phone by social workers when I am very serious about a very real problem.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If a social worker is telling you that they cannot intervene to keep children safe from drink and drug use, then they are wrong. of course they can and they would be expected to do so. However, the test for intervention is very high. The children must be at risk of significant harm. Many parents drink. Some do drugs. This does not automatically mean children are at risk of significant harm in their care. But what you say about broken glass and lack of supervision sounds very worrying. If the social services won’t help then i am afraid your only option is to apply yourself to the court for an order to vary the current arrangements on the basis that they are not in the best interests of the children.

  11. emma

    long story short ,my frends 3 children was took into care , due to drugs being in child system witch i dont do and am very ashamed and angry and heart broken i have been a major part of there life, we are both opersit of each other and over the years we distanted and i have only be around due to the children i love so dearly,on the day the sw came she told us they going to court to take the children,and she would ring later that afternoon with a dession but it dont look good,, and seek legal advise yet she told the childrens dad to get legal advise and get to the court for 1( but hes not allowed round the kids at all) . we asked the sw to put my name forward to take the kids in my care and she said yes and promised she would, so i rang a solister as i did not understand how sw told the farther to go court but not the mother i was told to get to court asap ,i was told at court my name was not put forward , and the sw had stated there was no one to put forward at this point .Witch we did that, finally got my assesment done, although the whole assesment was positive i got a negative due to saying me and the mother are sticking up for each other and storys not matching and im in a pool of suspision as could not explain the wear abouts where the children was witch i have to clear b4 i can apeal this , went back to court, and the judge noticed the date the pool of surpison there on about are wrong sw saying may when what happened was april withch the judge was not pleased and voided the statment and (the same is on my assesment witch the judge still dont no yet ) as the dte in may the children was with me but april was at home the farther as also admitted it was him using drugs its been 3 weeks and im still not being told im out the pool of surspison and the sw on hoiiday the sw as also made a comment to the farther who is jamacan “you need to go court and fight this children are better raised with the black family yes the mother and myself are white , every thing is assuming towards me both parents want the children in my care as they no ill look after the sw as always said she felt safe leaving kids in my care and im there safe haven so im struggling what to think

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If you are possibly ‘in the pool of perpetrators’ i.e. the court have said that you are a person who might have hurt a child as you were in contact with the child at the time he got injured – then you should be taking part in any finding of fact hearing about this and you should have access to the relevant paperwork. You do need to instruct a lawyer if you run a risk of findings being made against you but I appreciate you are in a difficult position as you may not get legal aid. But findings of fact in a family case are a serious matter so if you are clear that you are not to blame for any harm to any child, you need to make that position clear to the court.

  12. Sophie

    Long story short my 5 year old little girl had told teachers that me and my partner hurt her. So they contacted social services which then have done an investigation. They went to see my daughter again and asked her if it was true or not and my daughter admitted up to lieing about it, but social are thinking that she was pressured into having to say she was lieing ( she doesn’t like being told ‘no’)
    Now the father to my 5 year old has took her from me (both on birth certificate) I’ve been her main carer since the day she was born and her father would see her only when it suited him which was hardly ever. I feel like social are taking his side and not supporting me what so ever. Social have said that there is no proof to be able to take me to court! Well yeah because I’d never harm her or let anyone else harm her she is my world!!! She is wanting to come back home with me but her father won’t let her as he thinks she’s not safe with me. What can I do

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am afraid the only thing I can think of is that you make an application to the court, if it isn’t possible to reach an agreement with her dad. But the allegations sound serious. you do need some proper legal advice from someone who can see all the papers etc. Are there any local firms of solicitors who might give you a short free consulation? You probably wont get legal aid and I appreciate its expensive to pay for lawyers. Do you know if any orders have been made already?

  13. Steve

    Hi ive been a single parent to my children for14 years and the mother has not been in their lives at all. My eldest started hanging around with idiots and he started running off and doing drugs. Social services took him to his mums and told his mum and told her to go for custody which she did, She said i was a druggie,drunk and had been abusing them and had abused her 14 years ago. This was all a lie and she was charged for assaulting me a 2 social worker police etc. When they were babies she took them to an ex boyfriend and they were both abusing my children and thats why I looked after them all their lives. Now 14 years later she is saying I abused the childrn and social workers are supporting her and saying the same things she is saying. I have reports from last year saying social workers have never suspected or seen me under the Influence. SW also said i didnt want my child back and i have been refused legal aid because of this. I have not been able to submit any evidence that my ex abused her children or court papers when she was charged for assaulting me. They put in reports last year that she said she was injecting drugs everyday for 15 years but now SW are saying she is a good parent. I have not been able to speak to my child since he was taken to his mums. She lives with a man that was in the paper with 25 convictions and i have been told that I dont stand any chance of winning the case. The final hearing is this week and SW have lied all the way through the hearings, and I can prove it. she has also had people listening to the hearings and I have been threatened that i will be killed when i go court. I complained about the SW and was told by the Ombudsman that they cant deal with complaints that have been in court. I am desperate for any advice, I think i will not see my child again and neither will his sibling. My child is now living with a woman that abused them

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If you can prove the SW have lied, then you must make sure that evidence is before the court. I hope you have included it in your statement. It’s absolutely vital that you make your case at the final hearing – its too late afterwards.

  14. Sarah beautiman

    Does legal advice always mean court.. What are the chances of it not ending up in court basically its about drinking don’t drink all. The time not even every week but I turnt to drink when I lost my brother and mum all in one year I’m on a cp plan but only because of that no physical abuse nothing what are the odds in going to court.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      It’s very difficult to say without knowing more about your case – basically everyone is supposed try avoid going to court as its expensive and stressful. But if things are improving or the social workers are worried you aren’t working with them, they may have no choice but to go to court.

  15. Christine Griffiths

    My daughter has been diagnosed with a mental health problem. She is a single parent to a 9 year old boy. His father last saw him on his 5th birthday. He was asked to leave the family home because of his heroine abuse. Recently my grandson has been playing up & my daughter has had a social worker visiting. He wouldn’t get ready & go to school & was often late. There’s been confrontation & arguments between my daughter & grandson but he hasn’t been physically harmed, although he has kicked & punched my daughter. Social services have now organised a court hearing to have him taken into foster care. There was no warning for my daughter about what they intended. They are saying because of her mental health,her son is being harmed by the fact that he never knows what he is going to encounter from her mood or reactions. Surely this is no good reason to remove him from the home & it seems like discrimination because of her mental health. He is well looked after,not neglected,is doing very well at school. I think it may be possible that when he’s been angry with his Mum, he may have lied to the social worker about his Mum. In your opinion,is there a case?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If it is true that her MH condition means he can’t predict what her mood or reactions will be, that is likely to be very frightening for a child and could risk causing significant emotional harm. So i can see why they have taken it to court.But The Local authority also has a duty to help and support your daughter – the aim should be to reunite parent and child. Your daughter should have got automatic legal aid if there were court proceedings to remove her chid so hopefully her legal team can support her and ensure that proper steps are taken to reunite her and her son.

  16. Stuart

    I had been accused by my ex wife of hitting my son. He has said this to social work who had stopped all contact between my son and I. This was a year ago, and have said they will not work with me unless I accept my behaviour (a phrase I have asked for clarity on) as I said I have not hit my son. I am now at an impasse of if go to court a very bad social work report being used against me to stop any access with my son. Is there a way for a proper formal review of incident to be carried out and get to the truth all around?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If you do not accept that you hit your son then I think the only option for you is to apply to court for contact and ask the court to make a decision about what happened. However, there is always a risk that a finding will be made against you. I do not know how old your son is, but if he saying clearly that you hit him then that will be taken seriously by the court.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.