Mother wins appeal In Family Court

Beverley King, Partner and Joint Head of the Family Department at Philcox Gray, recently represented a “first time” mother of a young baby on a successful appeal against a Care Order and Placement Order for adoption. The Local Authority had prospective adopters waiting in the wings but the mother’s successful appeal stopped the Adoption plan. The mother’s “goodbye” contact with her baby had taken place three months before the appeal decision.

Despite the mother making great progress during the care proceedings, including attending intensive therapy, the Court  made a Care Order and a Placement Order when the baby was just four months of age. The successful appeal against these Orders led to  the Court setting them aside and reinstating contact for mother and baby immediately. The proceedings are continuing.

It was a very interesting case which demonstrated how the quest to comply with the PLO 26 week time-scale can work against the child’s interests and the interests of the parents.  The  appeal  considered all of the recent developments in case law, including the landmark decisions of Re: B and Re: BS which have  brought a much needed requirement for close scrutiny of Care Plans for adoption of children. The Court is now duty bound to evaluate all of the options, ie, family placement or adoption, in terms of positives and negatives for the child.

If you need help or advice with any family matter, please contact us to see if we can assist you.

“Mind the Gap”

The BBC in its new short series presented by Evan Davies, last night highlighted the difference between London and the rest of the country in terms of economic growth.  In a short piece within the programme, they highlighted the Elephant and Castle’s Heygate re- development and the effect that this will have on the availability of social housing in the local area of Southwark – with very few of the new properties being available to rent on social lets.

It was interesting to see former residents of the Heygate to go back and comment on the effect that moving from the area has had on them, and also to see a councillor from Southwark answer some tricky questions about the future of social housing in the Borough.

Heygate’s days are numbered

The Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle has been for many years a symbol of 1970s housing.  Southwark council admits that the “Heygate estate is a huge 1970s concrete fortress which was once home to more than 3,000 people” and that it had “become an example of a poorly designed municipal estate with heating that failed each winter.”

Times are changing in Southwark.  Heygate Estate is now in the final stages of demolition so that they may build new homes which will be “modern, warm, dry and safe.”

While we are pleased to see new homes being built, we sincerely hope that the council is able to deliver homes which are “warm, dry and safe” throughout the borough.

If you are affected by council housing or housing association housing which is defective, then contact us to see if we are able to assist you to resolve your housing problems.heygate

An eviction gone wrong

On 16 January 2014 at Blackfriars Crown Court, a man was convicted of two counts of wounding with intent, after an eviction by a Court bailiff went horribly wrong.  A lawful Possession Order and Warrant for Eviction had been obtained by the Landlord.  However it was found that little was known about the man who was being evicted by the housing association.  The bailiffs went ill prepared and the tenant is reported to have shot at the bailiff and the housing officer.

This is an extreme response and the situation need not be so bad.  If your Landlord has applied for a warrant to evict you then there may still be a possibility that a Court can be asked to stop or delay the eviction.  If you have received a Warrant for Eviction from the Court,  or you need help and advice in relation to any problems with your tenancy, do not hesitate to contact us to see if we can assist you.

120 years of Philcox Gray

As 2013 draws to a close the staff and partners at Philcox Gray look forward to the New Year to come.  Established in 1894, 2014 will see the 120th year of Philcox Gray.  With a birthday celebration comes a new look for the firm – the launch of a new website and new branding which we hope will see us well into the future.

We remain steadfast in our core values; providing quality advice and legal assistance to vulnerable people, and committed to our work for clients whether eligible or not for legal aid.

Christmas office hours

Our office will be closing for Christmas on 24 December at 1pm and will re-open on 2 January 2014 at 9.00am. We take this opportunity to wish our clients and our colleagues a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.

Homelessness at Christmas

Many might have seen the high profile campaign by housing charity Shelter, which this year has focused on the high level of homelessness among children and families. The statistic quoted by Shelter is nearly 85,000 children in Britain face homelessness this Christmas morning, and of those children, many will be in temporary accommodation on or in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.

Hidden behind the statistics are issues of which to be aware.  It is unlawful a local authority to house homelessness families in certain bed and breakfast hostels for longer than 6 weeks, and accommodation of a family in a bed and breakfast accommodation should only be as a last resort..  The City of Westminster was recently highlighted for their flagrant breach of these rules and the Ombudsman ordered them to pay compensation of £500 to each family who complained.

If you and your family have applied as homeless and have been housed emergency accommodation then we may be able to assist you to obtain suitable accommodation and to consider a complaint to the Ombudsman.  Call Philcox Gray and we will see if we are able to assist you.