Expert pre-proceedings (PLO) solicitor services.
Pre-proceedings make many of our clients feel incredibly panicked. It is understandable, with lots at stake for both parents and children. If you find yourself in this situation, you must get a solicitor to support you as soon as possible. It’s always best to keep the matter out of Court, and we can help you come to an agreement that works. With pre-proceedings, parents automatically get legal aid.
Expert advice, every step of the way
When you receive a PLO letter, also called a pre-proceedings letter, it is important that you act fast and get expert legal advice and representation. This is exactly what we provide. With years of experience in child protection and safeguarding cases, we know the right way to handle matters to achieve the best possible outcome. We’re experts in family law, and we will make sure you fully understand your options. If you feel confident in the pre-proceedings meetings and know the implications of any decision, we know we’ve done our job right.
We will give you complete clarity about the legislation and potential proceedings ahead of you, and work with you to try and avoid it. Family law can be complicated, and it is our job to make it easy for everyone to understand, so you can make confident decisions about how you want to proceed. You can also count on us to be honest. We never shy away from the reality and will be clear about what you can expect from any agreement and the following care proceedings, should they be needed.
It is never too late to get legal advice before a pre-proceedings meeting, especially given that legal aid is available to cover the costs. We have decades of experience and know how to quickly get to grips with new cases, no matter how complex or difficult. That is simply part of our role; being the solicitors you can count on.
What can social services do?
If a child protection social worker is concerned about the welfare of the child, and steps taken so far have not produced the outcomes they want to see, they can ask the Court give parental responsibility to the Local Authority. It is then the Court’s decision where the child should live. But before the case reaches the Court, the child social worker should try to work with the family, and escalate their concerns through a process known as Public Law Outline or pre-proceedings. During this stage, the social worker will usually send a letter outlining their concerns and views on the best solution for the child and how to avoid going to Court.
Social services involvement does not mean social workers will arrange for a child to be taken away from their parents, as this is for the Court to decide. Instead, pre-proceedings give everyone the chance to try to come to an arrangement about child protection measures, which can be much simpler and allows people more of a say in the outcome. We always reassure our clients that, if the Local Authority have sent you a PLO letter, it usually means they still hope that they can work with you to make the situation better for your family without having to take you to Court. The right choices, and the right legal advice, may mean avoiding a Court case altogether.
We’ve represented mothers, fathers and wider family members with parental responsibility during these important meetings, making the child protection laws abundantly clear and protecting the interests that matter the most.
Pre-proceedings follow a clear process, and we know the steps like the back of our hands. We can guide you throughout, making sure you’re prepared for every meeting, including how to handle assessments such as drug and alcohol testing, paternity testing and psychological reviews. It is crucial that you act in a sensible and calm way to achieve the best possible outcome, and we will give you clear guidance on what you should and, importantly, shouldn’t do. The PLO meetings themselves can be challenging for everyone, but we will be by your side to keep the discussions calm and focused on the outcome, helping you to feel confident throughout.
A wealth of expertise
Having a child taken into care is a serious situation. Social services involvement happens when there is a real concern about a child’s welfare and risk of harm, abuse or neglect. We have been involved in some of the most difficult cases, including cases involving child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence and drugs and alcohol misuse. There is nothing we haven’t seen, and we deal with these kinds of cases all the time. You can rely on us to listen to you, answer all your questions and give you clear steps to follow.