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Bristol University study into the representation of parents in care proceedings published

Care proceedings system dependent on a small number of specialist solicitors, says report

A study by the University of Bristol into the representation of parents in care proceedings has been published and is accessible from the University's website

The study, conducted in four court areas in England and Wales, explored the work of lawyers representing parents in care proceedings through observation of hearings; interviews with legal professionals involved in care proceedings; and focus groups with solicitors, barristers, judges and magistrates' legal advisers. Sixteen cases, selected to reflect the different circumstances where care proceedings are brought, were followed from an early hearing to completion of the proceedings, with a researcher shadowing a parent's representative in discussions with their client, with the other parties' lawyers and in the courtroom. The study provides an in depth account of the task of representation and court processes in care proceedings under the Public Law Outline (PLO).

Key findings from the study were: 

Further details of the research and findings are contained in the research report: Just Following Instructions? The representation of parents in care proceedings, School of Law University of Bristol (2011) which can be downloaded without charge along with further copies of this summary at: