Eleanor Derry

What I do

I am a solicitor within the Childcare team at our Burton office. I re-joined Smith Partnership having previously trained as a Solicitor in the Derby office and having worked for Smith Partnership both pre and post qualification for over 5 years previously.

I represent parents, grandparents and those involved in the care of children within Care Proceedings and the pre-proceedings (Public Law Outline) process. I represent clients at Court and at Local Authority meetings, to assist them in securing the care of their child or when decisions need to be made in respect of a child’s best interests. Often the decisions that parents or carers need to make are not easy, they can be complicated with many factors at play and advice must suit each client and child’s specific circumstances and needs, taking into account potential issues which may also present in the future.

I have represented and advised clients in cases involving non-accidental injuries, domestic violence, child neglect, mental health illness, learning disabilities, trauma, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol misuse amongst many other issues. I have represented clients who require the assistance of an interpreter, an intermediary or advocate as well as clients who are in prison or abroad and clients who are disabled or vulnerable. I have represented clients during proceedings before the High Court and where secure accommodation of a child or deprivation of liberty is concerned. I have also represented clients where there are significant cultural or immigration issues present.

In the majority of my cases my clients seek to keep their child or children in their care which is what I work to achieve, but where this is not possible consideration will be given to securing the next best option such as keeping the child placed within the wider family. Where a sibling group is concerned, consideration will need to be given to whether siblings can remain together or whether they may need to be placed separately. In some cases, clients will decide that their child would be best placed elsewhere and we will work together to secure the best possible outcome for the child, with the parent being able to maintain contact.

I bring a different background to the team having previously worked as a primary school teacher. I also bring knowledge of the Court of Protection and Inquests to the team. Knowledge of the education and healthcare sector is useful when practicing childcare law.

I am friendly, organised and professional with a good sense of humour. I provide clear, well considered advice and have a distinct dislike of injustice.

I enjoy anything creative and have a keen interest in interior design and art. I love being outside in the countryside, at the beach or gardening. I have a young dog and enjoy training and grooming him. I also enjoy supporting my local rugby team.