Protecting your family against Social Services

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Prevent

Intervention Now!

Our network has a number of Lay Advocates who are experienced in helping parents fight against social services. The vast majority are parents themselves and many have experienced the system at first hand. Through research, education and practical application they have developed a strong understanding of how to take on social services.

 

No matter at what point you are with a social service intervention our team of Lay Advocates can help. Whether you need to make complaints to the Local Authority, require submissions for court, need to learn how to represent yourself as a litigant in person or bring appeals we can help.

 

Recent successes have included preventing the removal of a newborn at birth, successfully opposing an adoption order, obtaining leave for a number of Judicial Reviews in the High Court in Dublin, including the quashing of a Care Order. We have stopped the return of a child to the UK under a Brussels II application as well as supporting families who have fled.  

 

 

 

What can we do to help you?
Why use a Lay Advocate, not a solicitor?

First of all it’s not necessarily a choice that has to be made as you can use both.  A Lay Advocate can help you instruct solicitors and barristers and get them to actually fight your case how you want to fight it. Sadly many solicitors, particularly legal aid funded ones simply do not fight your case.  They are adept at simply 'playing the game' and taking their legal aid fees regardless of what happens to you and your family.

 

That's not to say there aren't some great family solicitors and barristers who fight tooth and nail in a case - there are – and we are lucky to have associations with these people.

 

Lay Advocates, whilst charging a fee, do so at  a much reduced rate from the average solicitor and will generally cover all aspects of your case, no matter how long it continues and no matter what is required, from complaints through to appeals and alternative judicial remedies such as Judicial Reviews. Lay Advocates are generally available when solicitors are not - evenings, weekends and public holidays etc. They are there when you just need that discussion, reassurance or explanation.   

 

One advantage Lay Advocates have is that they have empathy with you as they may have experienced the same themselves and have a personal interest in helping you 'win' your case. Our Lay Advocates constantly strive to find effective methods of challenging the social services system beyond the family courts, helping people win Judicial Reviews, bringing defamation proceedings, even private prosecutions against individuals. Whilst a family solicitor may simply operate in the family court we work to utilise all judicial remedies that may help a family obtain justice.

 

What a Lay Advocate isn’t

Lay Advocates are not legal professionals, they are not and neither do they pretend to be Solicitors, Barristers etc.  They do not offer legal advice like a solicitor does but they can help you understand and apply the law as a Litigant-in-person or through your solicitor.  By using a Lay Advocate your voice can be heard and what you want to be seen and heard by a judge can be presented correctly utilising the required formats and procedures. They can help prepare you for court by training you in the key areas. Lay Advocates do not have a right of audience in the courts though this can sometimes be granted, but ultimately you are better off speaking for yourself with your advocates help.

 

Lay Advocates cannot act as an intermediary for you with Social Services, but they can help you construct letters and correspondence, forensically disect social workers reports and help you challenge them. Lay Advocates can attend court with you (at cost for subsistence and travel) though may not be given access to in camera proceedings, but they can be there to guide and support you.

 

Some specific examples of what we do

Complaints under Section 26 of the Children's Act 1989 (UK) / Your Service Your Say (Ireland)

Fitness to Practice Complaints to HCPC (Health Care Professionals Council -UK) or CORU (Ireland).

Challenging Social Work Reports/records and decisions.

Submissions for Social Services meetings.

Submissions/Affidavits for Court.

Highlighting your case with the media.

Training you to be a Litigant in Person.

Understanding and exercising your Human Rights.

Bringing a Judicial Review in the High Court.

Making a Defamation claim.

Private Prosecutions against individuals.

Understanding your child's rights.

Fighting a Brussels II.

Advice on fleeing social services.

 

This is not an exhaustive list, more a reflection of some of the work undertaken by our network of advocates. The bottom line is if you are facing social services intervention you do not have to be alone – we are here to help.

 

Copyright 2015 P.I.N.