THE FAMILY AND
CHILD CARE TEAM

OUR CHILD LAW TEAM

Our Family and Child Care team has a local and national reputation for its work in all aspects of child and family law. We are committed to providing a thorough, high-quality service to our clients. We have a number of members of staff who specialise in the law related to children and are accredited Law Society Children Panel members. We have staff who can advise on all aspects of children’s welfare, including where they live and who they should see, and matters such as adoption and child abduction. Members of our Child Law team speak a number of languages, including Italian, Spanish, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi.

The Child Law team consists of Joint Heads of Department Sheila Donn and Beverley King, consultant Claire Turney, and solicitors Guiseppe de Sica, Somia Siddiq and Linda Lusingu. The team is supported by trainee solicitor Joanna Walker.

Our dedicated staff have been closely involved with various campaigning groups and charities, including Gingerbread, Refuge, Family Rights Group,  The Grandparents’ Association and the Who Cares Trust, which gives a voice to children in care. We also provide pro bono advice and law student training at London South Bank University Legal Advice Clinic.

HOW WE CAN HELP

We have wide-ranging experience in a number of areas, including:

Care Proceedings and Child Public Law

When social services have concerns about a family, they must take steps to ensure that children are kept safe. Sometimes it is necessary for social workers to be involved in family life. This can take the form of social work visits, child protection conferences and other pre-proceedings meetings, or applications by the local authority to court (e.g. for a care order). We can help you at any stage, but the earlier you get legal advice the better. We can also help you respond to emergency situations, such as police protection orders.

We offer legal advice and representation to parents, guardians of children and children when social services are involved. If there are good reasons why children cannot stay in the family home, we can advise grandparents and other family members who may wish to care for them. We have lawyers who specialise in representing children and Children’s Guardians in care and supervision proceedings. They can also advise and assist children who are in care or looked after by the local authority.

Legal aid is often available for families facing the involvement of social services.

Adoption

When it is not possible for a child to remain within their birth family, sometimes a permanent adoptive family is identified. In this case we can represent the prospective adopters, the child(ren), or the birth family if they want to oppose an adoption order.

Family Disputes

When there are disagreements between parents or other family members about children, we can offer legal advice and assistance or help through mediation.

Child Abduction

Our children law solicitors are able to represent parents in parental or international abduction cases.

Subject to the Child Abduction Act 1984, a criminal offence occurs if a child is taken out of the United Kingdom by a person connected with said child without the appropriate consent. Consent must be approved by the child’s mother or father (dependent on who has parental responsibility), the child’s guardian, person with residence order for the child, Local Authority or if appropriate the Family Proceedings Court

Philcox Gray is a member of the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU) which enhances our ability to help you. Linda Lusingu is also a member of the Advanced Family Law Panel specialising in Child Abduction and Wardship. If your child has been taken without consent, you wish to move to oppose a former partner relocating with your child or are worried your child is at risk of being abducted contact us and our parental abduction experts will be able to advise and assist you regarding your rights.

FUNDING YOUR CASE

If you are a parent or a child and your case involves a local authority applying for a care or supervision order you will be entitled to free legal aid regardless of your means. In other circumstances you may be entitled to help with your legal costs if you are on certain benefits or have a low income. When you come to see us for advice we will check whether you are eligible.

If you do not quality for legal aid we may be able to arrange a different way of paying for your case, such as fixed fees. We will be as clear as possible about the costs of your case and what we will charge.

If you have a Child Law matter that you think we may be able to assist you with, contact us on 020 3207 2074 or by email at postroom@philcoxgray.co.uk.