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Bradford has questions to answer to Foster and Kinship carers!

Following the story published in the Bradford paper, Telegraph & Argus in January, Nigel Priestley shows the effect this is having on people's lives. The worry is that more...

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Nigel Priestley, Senior Partner at Ridley & Hall Solicitors scoops top accolade at the Modern Law Awards

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National and Regional Recognition for Contribution to Family and Adoption Law

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Ridley & Hall shortlisted for leading legal awards on a national stage and here in Yorkshire

Ridley & Hall Shortlisted for Three Prestigious Awards  The firm has been shortlisted for the prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards 2016 in the category of Excellence more...

There has to be a first - even though I have been on the Children's Panel since 1985! And as a first it symbolises the problems Grandparent carers face. It's the first time I have ever gone to court without seeing any of the local authority 's papers!

We had a phone call yesterday at 4.45pm telling us that the LA had issued Care Proceedings where the grandparents had a SGO. LA had not served clients or us. It was listed for hearing in Wolverhampton at 10.30 today with a plan for removal.

Met up with clients at court and still the LA had not served the documents. The LA's barrister emailed her bundle to us at about 11.15. There are 135 pages. It is a complex case.

Thankfully the grandparents had been in touch before yesterday's phone call as they were concerned about the way the LA were dealing with them. Had they not done so, it would have been extremely difficult to get representation at such short notice on a case where the key argument is about the LA's failure to provide support for a very disabled child.

It's critical when grandparents think that a local authority may act in a similar manner for carers to get expert legal advice.

We'll see what tomorrow brings!
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On Tuesday evening last week at 4.30 we got a phone call from some grandparent carers. They had been caring since 2010, placed by a neighbouring LA and their local LA had kept pressing them to apply for an SGO. But the LA weren't prepared to pay a realistic amount for the legal costs - and the carers were trying after the long passage of time to get paid an allowance. Both children were challenging.

Suddenly a Social Worker was there wanting them to agree to a the children being accommodated under S20. They asked my advice.

I told the SW that the LA had to issue Care Proceedings if they wanted to take the children. She said they would issue.

On Wednesday we asked the LA - had Care Proceedings been issued? We didn't get an answer - ever - from the LA.

4.45pm on Thursday we were told by our clients who hadn't been served with any Proceedings that the case was in court in S London 2.00 next day with a plan for removal. The Social Worker had just phoned them.

We issued immediately an application for Party Status and an Interim Child Arrangement Order and on Friday one of our team of solicitors, Laura Milburn, headed South.

We got the papers half way through the morning. But we were ready!

The judge was furious with the LA at their lack of support for the grandparents and the manner they had acted with the Court Proceedings.

After 4 hours battling the grandparents returned home with their grandchildren with an Interim CAO. Now the LA have to assess and support them.

LA's don't always act properly. Grandparents caring for children need expert support and excellent committed advocates. Contact Grandparents Legal Centre if you need advice on Care Proceedings.
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Welcome to Grandparents Legal Centre

The Grandparents Legal Centre are specialists in advising about the steps grandparents need to take to try and resolve certain difficult issues.  These can include contact to Grandchildren, taking on children when a parent can not look after a child, divorcing in later life and Grandparents being involved in care proceedings involving a grandchild. We hope to be able to give you information about Grandparents rights through the family courts.

When relationships break down in families, grandparents, who have been a major part of children’s lives, are sometimes denied any contact. 42% of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren when their parents separate.

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