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2.3.1 Legal Proceedings

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter provides an introduction to the following two procedures on Emergency Protection Orders and Care Proceedings.

Child Protection

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Applications for Emergency Protection Orders Procedure

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially updated in October 2017 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

1. Working with the Legal Team
2. The Public Law Outline
3. Planned PLO
4. Emergency Powers
5. Private Law Proceedings Section 7 and Section 37


1. Working with the Legal Team

It is vital that LGSS Law are informed as soon as possible regarding any proposed legal action to be taken.

For new/urgent matters, one-off advice, and advice on an existing case if the allocated lawyer is unavailable, the Consultant/ social worker will either be referred to the Principal Lawyer (Child care) or to the 'duty solicitor' for that particular day. There is a qualified lawyer on duty during office hours every day. Consultant Social Worker/social worker must always consult their District Safeguarding Manager or Group Manager in a case not already in Legal proceedings as there is a charge to the team.

Please see Child Protection for more information.

Correspondence During Court Proceedings

All correspondence received from solicitors for other parties during court proceedings must be passed to the local authority solicitor to deal with.

Where the local authority solicitor receives correspondence during court proceedings and requires the social worker's instructions for the reply, the letter will be copied to the social worker immediately upon its receipt and the social worker must give clear instructions to the solicitors as to the reply as soon as practicable.

In relation to any other contentious correspondence, including letters received from an expert received during court proceedings, the social worker must send the letter to the local authority solicitor as soon as possible, together with detailed instructions for the reply.


2. The Public Law Outline

This section must be read in conjunction with the Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline, which sets out the timetable and required tasks by all involved where the child is subject to proceedings under the Children Act. This includes proceedings for Care and Supervision Orders.

Clear guidance on the Case Management Checklist and Flowcharts including documentation to be disclosed to the Court is available in the Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline in this manual for further information.


3. Planned PLO

For non urgent cases the Consultant Social Worker/Social Worker can request a legal planning meeting for advice, but afterwards must have District Safeguarding Manager and Head of Service agreement to initiate PLO and must have agreement from the Threshold and Resource and Resource Panel for permission to apply for proceedings (see Intervention Procedure, Threshold and Resources Panel (including Section 20 and Section 31)).


4. Emergency Powers

It is vital that LGSS Law are informed/consulted as soon as possible regarding any application for an EPO, or if PP (Police Protection) has been taken out by police as the process can move very quickly.

Police Protection lasts for 72 hours only. If a child is in Police Protection and it is unlikely to be safe for the child to return home, LGSS Law must be notified as soon as possible after Police Protection was taken. If there is a delay before LGSS Law are instructed, the Court may not be able or willing to list the case for hearing before Police Protection expires.

Where a child is in need of immediate protection and an emergency protection order is required, the decision to apply for an emergency protection order is made by a Head of Service and the Assistant Director. If the request is made outside of TARP a retrospective application should be made to TARP at the next possible opportunity. 

See Applications for Emergency Protection Orders Procedure.


5. Private Law Proceedings Section 7 and Section 37

Where a Section 7 or Section 37 report is requested by the court regarding a child subject to Section 8 Private Law Proceedings.

This request should come in as a contact and be processed as a contact on an open case or a referral on a case not currently open to Children's Social Care.

In completing such reports, the Consultant/ social worker must complete a single assessment regarding all the children subject to these proceedings.

Further Information

CCinform: The online resource for professionals working with children and families

Research in Practice

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