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Paul J Watson Solicitor - 116 Borough Road - Middlesbrough - TS1 2ES - T: 01642 293427

Tag Archives: solicitor

What happens at a Child Protection Conference?

Our Family Solicitor in Middlesbrough explains what happens at a Child Protection Meeting;-

The child protection meeting will be led by the Chair; this is an independent safeguarding officer who makes sure that the meeting follows the correct schedule.

There will also be a minute-taker at the child protection meeting, who writes down everything that happens, to allow a report to be provided to everyone involved.

At the meeting it has to be decided whether the child is at “continuing risk of significant harm”.

The test for this is in three parts;-

1. The child can be shown to have suffered ill-treatment or impairment of health or development as a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect, and the professionals believe that this is ongoing or is likely to continue

2. The professionals believe that the child is likely to suffer ill-treatment or impairment of health or development as a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect;

3. The child has suffered neglect.

If the child is identified as being at risk, then the professionals at the conference will decide if the child;

a. Should be made the subject of a child protection plan;

b. Should be considered as ‘a child in need’;

c. Should be neither of the above and no action is required.


What is a Child in Need?

A child can be a “child in need” without being subjected to a Child Protection Plan. This is usually the case if the level of concern is not high or if there have already been improvements within the family environment.

If a “child in need” plan is needed, it will be drawn up at the meeting and it will then be reviewed every 6 months.


What is a Child Protection Plan?

A Child Protection Plan is an agreed plan which states how matters should progress and what action should be taken. This could be action required by the parents, carers or professionals, and this allows for interagency help.

If a Child Protection Plan is needed then the Chair will determine the category or categories of abuse, which are detailed below.

The conference must agree on the appointment of a key worker, and decide when the first Core Group Meeting will take place. A Core Group Meeting allows the family and professionals to meet on a regular (monthly) basis in a more informal setting, the aim being to monitor progress and to offer support. These meetings usually take place at the parents’ home, the child’s school or sometimes at the local Social Services’ office.

The Plan will agree upon the duties and responsibilities of the Core Group members and the family.

Categories of abuse

When it has been decided that a Child Protection Plan is needed, the Chair of the CPC will decide on one or more of the following categories by which the child will be made subject of the Plan;-

Definition of Neglect; Persistent or severe neglect of a child, failure to protect from danger or extreme failure to carry out aspects of care resulting in impairment of child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.

Definition of Physical injury; Actual or likely physical injury to a child or failure to prevent injury or suffering.

Definition of Sexual abuse; Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may be dependent and/or developmentally immature.

Emotional abuse; Actual or likely severe adverse effect upon the emotional or behavioural development of a child, due to persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. This is only used as a category where it is the sole or main form of abuse.

In some circumstances, the child may need to be made the subject of a plan, due to the severity of the situation. It may not always appear that the category reflects the situation, but the category nearest to the situation will be used, because one must be chosen.

Involvement with Social Services can be a very worrying time and you might have been told that you do not need a solicitor. It is very important that you do seek independent legal advice before agreeing to a working agreement or placement. We offer free no obligation initial appointments to everyone and during that appointment we will assess you for legal aid.

If you would like legal advice or help with your family case, please contact our Family Team who will work hard to get you the best possible result in your case.

Read our reviews – Our Child Protection Solicitor Pam Kandola is a highly recommended Solicitor.

You can complete our contact form requesting a call back, call us on 01642 293427 or send a private message to us on Facebook.

Child Law – What is the ‘welfare checklist’?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Family Solicitors explain;-

When a court is considering any decision about the well-being and upbringing of a child then the child’s welfare should always be the priority of the judge. The welfare checklist sets out for the court and the professionals all the areas that must be considered when making a decision about a child, whether this is about child contact, child residence or other orders.
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Do I have to attend mediation?

Our Middlesbrough Family Solicitors explains;-

The only circumstances where parties considering a divorce will not be required to attend mediation prior to commencing proceedings will be in serious circumstances where there are allegations of domestic violence or child protection. However, even in these circumstances if both parties do want to try mediation rather than issuing court proceedings, special arrangements can be made for what is called ‘shuttle mediation’. This is when both parties attend mediation together but the session takes place in separate rooms. There will usually be two mediators in this circumstance and they will go from room to room to try and reach an agreement. The two parties will not be required to meet face to face unless they both request to do so.

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Legal Advice at the Police Station

criminal-solicitor-middlesbroughShould you have a Solicitor with you when you are interviewed by the Police?  Even if it's just to "come in and have a chat"?

The short answer is “Yes”, whether it is a voluntary attendance or you have been arrested or are returning on bail and these are the reasons why;

  • It is Free of Charge. If you are arrested or asked to attend for a voluntary interview, you should ask for Paul J Watson Solicitor to be contacted.  This service is free of charge to everyone at any time of day and is not means tested.  Whatever your financial circumstances, you do not need to pay for a Solicitor's advice at the police station.
  • It is your right to have free and independent legal advice before answering any questions from the police.
  • Anything that you discuss with our solicitors is confidential.
  • When our Criminal Defence solicitors arrive at the police station they look at the custody record to ensure that you have not been mistreated by the police. From the moment you were arrested, we will endeavour to ensure that you are treated properly by the police until you are released.
  • The only way of ensuring that you are dealt with fairly and correctly by the police is by using a solicitor.
  • In order to know your full rights whilst at a police station, it is best to use a solicitor
  • If you ask for a solicitor, the police have to provide that solicitor with the full details of any allegations against you. We can then tell you this information before the interview, making sure that you are fully prepared prior to the interview taking place. The solicitor will also advise on the best course of action for you to take during that interview, such as whether or not you should answer the police questions.
  • A solicitor can stop the interview at any time if, for example the police are unduly pressurising you, or in order to provide you with further legal advice.
  • Being arrested can be a daunting experience for anyone. By taking up the opportunity of having a solicitor, you will be advised of each step of the procedure, and what is likely to happen with you, whether it be a charge, bail or no further action. Having this understanding will go some way to putting you more at ease.
  • Police may attempt to persuade you not to use a solicitor/legal representative. This is only because not having a solicitor present may be better for the police. It is certainly not better for you to go ahead with the interview without obtaining assistance from a solicitor.
  • Police often say that you will be released from the police station quicker without a solicitor. This simply is not the case; “Research has found that the police sometimes use the prospect of further delay to persuade a suspect to agree to being interviewed without having received the advice the suspect initially wanted.” (Defending Suspects at Police Stations, the practitioner`s guide to advice and representation, sixth edition, 2011, Ed Cape)

Choosing our Criminal Defence Lawyers;-

  • Our clients consistently recommend us because we offer a high quality service, with very experienced Criminal Solicitors who give honest advice you can trust. Read our reviews to see what our clients say.
  • Our Solicitors are in easy reach of any of the police stations in the North East and can be with you quickly.
  • At Paul J Watson Solicitor, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience of representing clients at the police station. We cover all types of criminal offence, from complex fraud and conspiracy to supply, to kidnapping, firearms offences and sexual offences, and have done so for many years.


For free legal advice at the police station:

Complete our Contact Form or call us for free advice on 01642 293427 or 07949 186589 out of hours

Child Law – What is a Section 37 (s37) report?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Solicitor explains;-

When, during any private law proceedings under the Children Act 1989, i.e. proceedings for child contact and child residence, a question arises about the welfare of the child, and it seems to the court that it might be appropriate for a Care Order or Supervision Order to be made, the court will direct the local authority to undertake an investigation into the child’s circumstances and report its findings to the Court.

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Child Law – What is the Children Act 1989?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Solicitor explains;-

The Children Act 1989 is the statute (i.e. the law) which states what a court can or cannot do when making orders about children. It covers all different kinds of situations, such as child residence, child contact and changing a child’s name, all the way through to care proceedings and child abduction. Continue Reading

What is a Contact Activity Order?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Family Solicitor explains;-

If a judge has ordered you to so something within Children Act proceedings, this is often called a Contact Activity Order. This Order can cover issues such as attending a parenting course or attending family mediation.
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Outline of the Divorce Process

Getting divorced? Contact Middlesbrough Solicitor Paul J Watson for assistance.

We appreciate that this process can be daunting and quite understandably causes some distress and anxiety, that is why it is important that you are guided and assisted through it.
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We are members of specialist Family Law organisation, Resolution;-

At Paul J Watson, Family Law Solicitors in Middlesbrough, we believe that disputing parties in family law matters should be encouraged to resolve problems amicably, rather than proceeding to Court immediately, if at all possible. This avoids the stress and the expense of prolonged court proceedings for our clients.

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