With care and protection

When matters involve children, acting in their best interests to protect their safety, legal rights and future is of paramount importance. As these issues can be extremely complex and sensitive, finding a solicitor who really understands your needs and circumstances is crucial in reaching an effective outcome. 

If Social Services contact you because they are worried about your children, then please contact us as our team of dedicated child care solicitors can help you. This can be a very distressing time for you, especially if Social Services want to take your children into care. The Local Authority will give you notice that they intend to issue proceedings and it will mean that you may have to go to court. Our solicitors are highly trained in dealing with sensitive issues and can represent you in court hearings when required. 

With a reputation of leaders in this particular area of law, we offer legal support and guidance built on the core values of care and protection. We are passionate about what we do and will treat your case with sensitivity and understanding at all times.

Contact us to find out how we can help you and your family.

What we can help you with

We have years of experience in helping families overcome various legal challenges and complexities relating to children. These include:

  • Case Conferences
  • Public Law Outline
  • Emergency Protection Orders
  • Care and Interim Care Orders
  • Supervision Orders
  • Child Arrangement Orders
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Placement Orders
  • Adoption Orders
  • Secure Accommodation Orders
  • Contact with a Child in Care
  • Challenging decisions made by Social Services
  • The Inherent Jurisdiction and Children
  • Advice on Legal Funding

No matter the circumstances of the issue you’re facing, our specialist team takes the time to really get to know your situation and needs, ensuring every matter is handled with the utmost care and confidentiality.

Support for the whole family

Our dedicated child care solicitors work closely with our family law team to provide holistic advice to support the entire family. Whether you require practical advice during a divorce or separation which affects children, or financial guidance on child maintenance issues, we will work collaboratively between departments, as well as with you, to tailor an effective solution.

Don’t just take our word for it…

Our highly-experienced department is recognised as being in the top tier of the Legal 500, with our head of department, Muctar Johal identified as a leading individual for many years running. 

At Smith Partnership, Muctar Johal ‘leads his team by example’ and is a renowned figure in children law. 

Muctar Johal leads his team by example. His advocacy is exceptional. He is calm and unflappable. His ability to digest complicated medical reports is phenomenal.

The breadth of experience and knowledge within the family team make it the go to firm within the area for advice on complex legal issues.

Muctar Johal is quite simply exceptional. On the very rare occasions he does not have the answer to a complex legal issue, he will undertake thorough research and you can be sure you are getting the best advice.

The Legal 500, 2023

Why Choose Smith Partnership?

Our specialist team in child care cases is dedicated to providing a straightforward, jargon-free service. This means that any advice or guidance you receive from us is guaranteed to be easy to understand, clearly explaining your position and options at every stage. If at any point you are unsure, our friendly and approachable team are always happy to help.

With offices in Derby, Leicester, Burton upon Trent, Swadlincote and Stoke on Trent, we are always on hand with accessible, responsive advice whenever our clients require it. Our dedication to client care and expertise in this particular field is recognised by the Law Society and our membership of its Children Panel.    

Our aim is to provide you with advice which achieves the best possible results whilst ensuring the children involved are safe and protected for now and in the future.

Contact our team today

To find out how our expert team of solicitors can help you, contact us today on 0330 123 1229, send us an email via info@smithpartnership.co.uk or complete our contact form.


Grandparents do not have parental responsibility of their grandchildren so their rights are limited. They may however apply for a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order in their own private law proceedings. Alternatively, if public law care proceedings are issued then grandparents may put themselves forward as alternative carers.

An adoption order can only be made with the consent of all those who hold parental responsibility or a court order dispensing with their consent. Consent will only be dispensed with if the child’s welfare requires that it should be. This is a very high test and when “nothing else will do”. If the court has made a placement order allowing the local authority to place a child for adoption, an application can be made to revoke the order but first you will need to get the permission of the court. Permission will only be granted if the court has seen a significant change in circumstances since the order was made. Once a placement order has been made, and subsequently an application is made to adopt the child, the court will only make such an order if the welfare of the child requires it. A parent can seek to oppose the adoption but the court will only allow them to do so if they have the permission of the court. The court will give the permission if there has been a change in circumstances since the placement order was made.

Yes, but usually a special guardianship order is preferred as the legal changes to the relationships in the family which arise from adoption can be confusing for the child.

A guardian is an independent officer appointed by the court who represents the child/ren’s best interests and welfare. Their professional opinion is given substantial weight by the court. The guardian will appoint their own solicitor who will advocate on behalf of the child at meetings and court hearings.

The local authority can only remove children from the family without parents’ consent by getting a court order. Care proceedings raise two fundamental human right; those of a right to a fair trial and a right to a private family life. As a parent in care proceedings you are entitled to automatic legal aid and representation in order to protect your human rights. Furthermore, court proceedings can be very traumatic and complex and require expert assistance.

The purpose of a case conference is to consider whether a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of the care provided to them. All the key agencies and professionals involved with your family meet to share information regarding your child. Once this is established, the local authority and other agencies will decide what support they can provide to the child and family to reduce and eliminate the risk and it will formulate a plan as to when and how this support will be delivered.

You can apply for an Order of the Court for post-adoption contact. However, you will need to ask for the court’s permission to make the application. In deciding whether to grant permission the court will consider the risk of the proposed application disrupting the child’s life and any harm it may cause, the applicant’s connection to the child and any representations made by the child, the local authority or the adoptive parents. Such orders are very rare.