Practical Child Law for Social Workers: A Guide to English Law and Policy


Clare Seymour & Richard Seymour

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  • Back Matter
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    Table of Cases

    • A City Council v T, J & K [2011] EWHC 1082 (Fam) 142
    • A County Council v K & Ors [2011] EWHC 1672 (Fam) 123
    • A v East Sussex County Council & Ors [2010] EWCA Civ 743 106
    • A v Essex County Council [2003] EWCA Civ 1848 34, 42, 150
    • A v United Kingdom (Human Rights: Punishment of Child) [1998] 2 FLR 959 16
    • B (A Local Authority) v AM [2010] EWHC 3802 (Fam) 75
    • Borough Council v A [2006] EWHC 1465 (Fam) 194
    • CRAE v Secretary of State for Justice [2012] EWHC 8 (Admin) 22
    • D v National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children [1978] AC 171 30
    • DL & Anor v Newham LBC [2011] EWHC 1127 (Admin) 63
    • EH v Greenwich LBC [2010] EWCA Civ 344 121
    • F v Suffolk County Council [1981] 2 FLR 208 43, 61
    • Gillick v West Norfolk & Wisbech Area Health Authority [1986] AC 112 26, 51, 163
    • K v Manchester City Council [2006] EWHC 3164 (Admin) 38
    • Kent County Council v A Mother [2011] EWHC 402 (Fam) 42
    • MM v Lewisham LBC [2009] EWHC 416 (Admin) 88
    • Mabon v Mabon [2005] EWCA Civ 634 163
    • Oxfordshire County Council v X, Y and J[2010] EWCA Civ 581 152
    • P v Nottingham City Council & the Official Solicitor [2008] EWCA Civ 462 122
    • R v Gloucestershire CC ex p Barry [1997] 2 WLR 459 95
    • R v Norfolk County Council ex parte M [1989] 2 All ER 359 181
    • R (A) v Coventry City Council [2009] EWHC 34 (Admin) 104
    • R (A) v Croydon LBC [2009] UKSC 8 101
    • R (AB and SB) v Nottinghamshire CC [2001] 4 CCLR 295 38
    • R (Axon) v Secretary of State for Health [2006] EWHC 37 (Admin) 163
    • R (B) v Merton LBC [2003] EWHC 1689 (Admin) 100
    • R (on the application of the Howard League for Penal Reform) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No.2) [2002] EWHC 2497 (Admin) 20
    • R (G) v Barnet LBC [2004] 2 AC 208 87
    • R (G) (FC) v Southwark LBC [2009] UKHL 26 98
    • R (J) v Caerphilly CBC [2005] EWHC 586 (Admin) 143, 167
    • R (JL) v Islington LBC [2009] EWHC 458 (Admin) 95
    • R (L) v Nottinghamshire CC [2007] EWHC 2364 (Admin) 38
    • R (M) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2008] UKHL 14 98
    • R (O) v Barking & Dagenham LBC [2010] EWHC 634 (Admin) 169
    • R (SA) v Kent County Council [2011] EWCA Civ 1303 140
    • R (TT) v Merton LBC [2012] EWHC 2055 (Admin) 159
    • R (TG) v Lambeth LBC [2011] EWCA Civ 526 168, 192
    • R (W) v A Local Authority [2010] EWHC 175 (Admin) 150
    • Re A (Children) [2010] EWCA Civ 208 69
    • Re A & D [2010] EWHC 2503 (Fam) 51, 133
    • Re B (Care: Interference with Family Life) [2003] EWCA Civ 786 17
    • Re B (Minors) (Contact: Local Authority's Plans) [1993] 1FLR 543 52
    • Re C (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 918 115
    • Re C (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 521 51
    • Re CA (A Baby) [2012] EWHC 2190 (Fam) 16, 129
    • Re D (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 1000 58
    • Re G (Care: Challenge to Local Authority's Decisions) [2003] EWHC 551 (Fam) 81
    • Re H [2010] EWCA Civ 1200 52
    • Re H (Care Plan: Human Rights) [2011] EWCA Civ 1009 18
    • Re J (a child) (care proceedings: fair trial) [2006] EWCA Civ 545 17
    • Re K: A Local Authority v N and Others [2005] EWHC 2956 (Fam) 116
    • Re L (A Child) (Contact: Domestic Violence) [2000] 2 FLR 334 71
    • Re M [2009] EWCA Civ 853 116
    • Re M (A Child) (Secure Accommodation) [2001] EWCA Civ 458 142
    • Re M (A Child) [2009] EWCA Civ 1486 122
    • Re M and R [1996] 4 All ER 239 115
    • Re P (a child) (residence order: child's welfare) [2000] Fam 15 133
    • Re R (A Minor) (Wardship: Medical Treatment) [1992] Fam 11 69
    • Re R (Adoption: Contact) [2005] EWCA Civ 1128 152
    • Re R (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 187 150
    • Re S-B [2009] UKSC 17 114
    • Re T (A Child) [2010] EWCA Civ 1527 152
    • Re W (A Minor) (Medical Treatment: Court's jurisdiction) [1993] Fam 64 69
    • Re W (Children) [2009] EWCA Civ 59 147
    • Re W [2010] UKSC 12 77
    • Re X (Emergency Protection Orders) [2006] EWHC 510 (Fam) 81, 117
    • RK v BCC [2011] EWCA Civ 1305 16
    • S (by the Official Solicitor) v Rochdale MBC and another [2008] EWHC 3283 (Fam) 130
    • Smith v Smith [2006] UKHL 35 15
    • Soering v UK [1989] 11 EHRR 439 10
    • W and others v Essex County Council [2000] 2 All ER 237 138
    • W v Edgell [1990] 1 All ER 835 177
    • X Council v B (Emergency Protection Orders) [2004] EWHC 2015 (Fam) 117

    Table of international treaties

    Table of Statutes

    Table of statutory instruments

    • Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005, SI 2005 No. 389 150
    • Adoption Support Services Regulations 2005, SI 2005 No. 691 155
    • Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010, SI 2010 No. 2571 168
    • Care Planning, Placement and Care Review (England) Regulations 2010, SI 2010 No. 959 131, 136, 144, 161
    • Children's Homes Regulations 2001, SI 2001 No. 3967 141
    • Children's Homes (Amendment) Regulations 2011, SI 2011 No. 583 141
    • Designated Teacher (Looked After Pupils etc.) (England) Regulations 2009, SI 2009 No. 1538 187
    • Family Procedure Rules 2010, SI 2010 No. 2955 124, 194
    • Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, SI 2011 No. 581 137
    • Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England) Order 2002, SI 2002 No. 2051 98
    • Secure Training Rules 1998, SI 1998 No. 472 21
    • Special Guardianship Regulations 2005, SI 2005 No. 1109 8 158
    • The Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006, SI 2006 No. 1738 144

    About the Authors

    Clare Seymour is a registered social worker and qualified teacher at post-16 level. She has 16 years' experience of local authority children and families' social work and has taught social work degree students at undergraduate and master's level. She is currently working as a trainer and practice educator. She co-authored Courtroom and Report Writing Skills for Social Workers, second edition, published in 2011 by Learning Matters, and contributed to Newly Qualified Social Workers: A Handbook for Practice, published in 2009, also by Learning Matters.

    Richard Seymour is a senior circuit judge assigned to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice. He was in practice as a barrister for almost 30 years and has been a President of Mental Health Review Tribunals. He co-authored Courtroom and Report Writing Skills for Social Workers, second edition, published in 2011 by Learning Matters.


    We express our grateful thanks to Dave Barron, Olive Irwin, Sue Kettlewell, Maire Maisch, Alison Maylor, Corné Van Staden and all the social workers we have met through our court skills training courses, for sharing their knowledge and experience of the practical application of law and policy in working with children and families.

  • Appendix

    Domains within the Professional Capabilities Framework

    The Professional Capabilities Framework has nine domains (or areas) within it. For each one, there is a main statement and an elaboration. Then at each level within the PCF, detailed capabilities have been developed explaining how social workers should expect to evidence that area in practice.

    The nine capabilities should be seen as interdependent, not separate. As they interact in professional practice, so there are overlaps between the capabilities within the domains, and many issues will be relevant to more than one domain. Understanding of what a social worker does will only be complete by taking into account all nine capabilities.

    Professionals and their practice will be assessed ‘holistically’, by which we mean that throughout their careers, social work students and practitioners need to demonstrate integration of all aspects of learning, and provide a sufficiency of evidence across all nine domains.

    • PROFESSIONALISM - Identify and behave as a professional social worker, committed to professional development

      Social workers are members of an internationally recognised profession, a title protected in UK law. Social workers demonstrate professional commitment by taking responsibility for their conduct, practice and learning, with support through supervision. As representatives of the social work profession they safeguard its reputation and are accountable to the professional regulator.

    • VALUES AND ETHICS - Apply social work ethical principles and values to guide professional practice

      Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision-making, including through partnership with people who use their services. Social workers are knowledgeable about the value base of their profession, its ethical standards and relevant law.

    • DIVERSITY - Recognise diversity and apply anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive principles in practice

      Social workers understand that diversity characterises and shapes human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. Diversity is multi-dimensional and includes race, disability, class, economic status, age, sexuality, gender and transgender, faith and belief. Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person's life experience may include oppression, marginalisation and alienation as well as privilege, power and acclaim, and are able to challenge appropriately.

    • RIGHTS, JUSTICE AND ECONOMIC WELLBEING - Advance human rights and promote social justice and economic wellbeing

      Social workers recognise the fundamental principles of human rights and equality, and that these are protected in national and international law, conventions and policies. They ensure these principles underpin their practice. Social workers understand the importance of using and contributing to case law and applying these rights in their own practice. They understand the effects of oppression, discrimination and poverty.

    • KNOWLEDGE - Apply knowledge of social sciences, law and social work practice theory

      Social workers understand psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and physical influences on people; human development throughout the life span and the legal framework for practice. They apply this knowledge in their work with individuals, families and communities. They know and use theories and methods of social work practice.

    • CRITICAL REFLECTION AND ANALYSIS - Apply critical reflection and analysis to inform and provide a rationale for professional decision-making

      Social workers are knowledgeable about and apply the principles of critical thinking and reasoned discernment. They identify, distinguish, evaluate and integrate multiple sources of knowledge and evidence. These include practice evidence, their own practice experience, service user and carer experience together with research-based, organisational, policy and legal knowledge. They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity.

    • INTERVENTION AND SKILLS - Use judgement and authority to intervene with individuals, families and communities to promote independence, provide support and prevent harm, neglect and abuse

      Social workers engage with individuals, families, groups and communities, working alongside people to assess and intervene. They enable effective relationships and are effective communicators, using appropriate skills. Using their professional judgement, they employ a range of interventions: promoting independence, providing support and protection, taking preventative action and ensuring safety whilst balancing rights and risks. They understand and take account of differentials in power, and are able to use authority appropriately. They evaluate their own practice and the outcomes for those they work with.

    • CONTEXTS AND ORGANISATIONS - Engage with, inform, and adapt to changing contexts that shape practice. Operate effectively within own organisational frameworks and contribute to the development of services and organisations. Operate effectively within multi-agency and inter-professional settings

      Social workers are informed about and pro-actively responsive to the challenges and opportunities that come with changing social contexts and constructs. They fulfil this responsibility in accordance with their professional values and ethics, both as individual professionals and as members of the organisation in which they work. They collaborate, inform and are informed by their work with others, inter-professionally and with communities.

    • PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP - Take responsibility for the professional learning and development of others through supervision, mentoring, assessing, research, teaching, leadership and management

      The social work profession evolves through the contribution of its members in activities such as practice research, supervision, assessment of practice, teaching and management. An individual's contribution will gain influence when undertaken as part of a learning, practice-focused organisation. Learning may be facilitated with a wide range of people including social work colleagues, service users and carers, volunteers, foster carers and other professionals.

    (College of Social Work, 2012,


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