Special Guardianship: the need for legal aid reform


There is an urgent need to reform Legal Aid for these kind of cases, as well as other Private Law cases, where Hospitals legal Departments take Parents to Court to terminate the life support of babies who Drs deem that children and babies will not get any better, and have no chance of surviving without life support.

Hospital Trusts are prepared to pay extortionate amounts of money in legal fees, to withdraw life support, but the Parents are not entitled to any Legal Aid whatsoever, leaving them to act as Litigant in Person, if they cannot get Pro Bona Representation or the use of a Mackenzie Friend Advocate.

The former is also the same with regards to Grandparents, or  other immediate Family Members wishing to take on the kincare or Special Guardianship role.

Before a child is placed with Foster Carers, the LA have an obligation to consider using the kincare clause by placing children with an immediate Family Member such as Grandparents.

Legal Aid can be made available for Grandparents to become a part of the Public Law Care Proceedings.

If Grandparents have saving slightly above the financial threshold to be granted Legal Aid, they will have to pay the very high Court fees and legal fees, to take on the kincare role, and could financially cripple them leading to placement breakdown.

Grandparents should be supported in everyway possible financially in respect of the kincare and Special Guardianship Application to the Family Courts, and that means allowing Legal Aid for these kind of cases.

LA seem to be very happy in paying Foster Carers well over £400 a week for each child fostered.

Some Fostering and  Adoption agencies that are run privately in some cases pay their Foster Carers up to £700 a week for each child fostered, the same amount of money should be granted to Grandparents, they should not be left to suffer genuine financial hardship, worried where their next meal is coming from to feed the children,

Children's Panel Solicitor Nigel Priestley who works for Ridley and Hall Solicitors has won many cases where Grandparents have been awarded the same amount of money Foster Carers are granted in their ploy to care for the children on a Special Guardianship Order.





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