Laceys Solicitors Laceys is a leading, forward-thinking law firm with specialist experts serving both individual and business clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas.


Care Proceedings and Child Protection

Every Local Authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within its area.  Care proceedings are instigated by the Local Authority Social Services Department if it believes a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, serious harm. We have solicitors who are specially trained members of the ‘Law Society Children Law Scheme’ who are able to represent you throughout the course of any Court action which can be a traumatic time for parents, particularly if they have been separated from a child who has been placed into interim care. 

During the course of proceedings, which are normally concluded within 26 weeks, we will assist you with understanding the need for, and dealing with, any assessment the Court orders.  We will help you get to grips with all the paperwork and arrange for specialist representation and help at Court if that is deemed necessary.

Within care proceedings the Court will appoint a guardian to represent the interests of the child. The guardian is independent of the Local Authority and will make a separate recommendation to the Court.  The guardian will always critically scrutinise the work of the Local Authority.  On occasions we are instructed by the guardian to represent the interests of the child in the proceedings.

Grandparents often have a role to play.  It may be they wish to be assessed as possible carers for their grandchild. We can advise as to the options available to them, including Special Guardianship.

Legal aid is automatically available to parents or those with parental responsibility for a child in these proceedings.  Legal aid is not automatically available to grandparents, whose case will be scrutinised by the Legal Aid Agency and subject to a means assessment before public funding is granted.  We can help with this.

Whilst most of our work is undertaken in the Family Court at Bournemouth and Poole, we have professional contacts throughout the South and West, be it other solicitors firms or barristers chambers, and we can arrange for your representation in distant Courts should that prove necessary.

Care proceedings are often issued as a result of a crisis within a family and a Court hearing listed at very short notice.  It is imperative that advice is sought at the earliest possible stage and it is usually possible to arrange representation at any emergency hearing.  In care proceedings, which can lead on to an application to adopt, the most important family issues are considered and it is essential to secure legal advice and representation.

For further advice on child care and supervision please contact one of the team today to see how we can help.



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Meet the Team

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Amber Tarrant

Trainee Legal Executive — Family

Direct dial: 01202 307865 / 07946 406761


Amber works as a Trainee Legal Executive and is currently studying with Cilex Law School to complete her Level 3 Certificate in Family Law. Amber works within our Family Department dealing with divorces and children disputes arising from marriage or relationship breakdown. In addition, she works with parents and family members through all levels of Child Protection intervention by Children’s Services. Amber prides herself in taking an empathetic approach to all matters to assist clients who face a potentially life-changing legal process.

Outside of work Amber enjoys dancing and has been classically trained in a wide variety of genres. She now uses her love of dance to choreograph small shows and choreographing couples first dance for their wedding.



Damian Summerscales

Associate — Family

Direct dial: 01202 307868


Damian has over 25 years’ experience as a Family lawyer, dealing with Children disputes and financial issues arising from marriage or relationship breakdown. He specialises in particular with all aspects of public and private law Children cases, acting for parents, guardians and extended family members. He represents his clients at all levels of the Family Court and is known for his empathetic approach towards both negotiation and litigation. This makes him especially well equipped to deal with clients who face a potentially life-changing legal process.

At the weekends, Damian is a keen triathlete and can often be found swimming, cycling and running the Dorset coastline. He conquered Ironman Wales in 2015 and is now in training for the next big event.

Pete Johnson

Associate — Family

Direct dial: 01202 307867


Pete is very experienced in his field having been admitted as a solicitor to carry out legal work in relation to Litigation, Family, Housing & Personal  Injury in 1970.

Pete carries out Legal Aid litigation work relating to Housing, Family and Care proceedings on behalf of Laceys, who have been granted a Legal Aid housing franchise. Pete also does private work in these areas, as well as general civil litigation including personal injury work.

Pete enjoys Court work, with the aim to settle cases as efficiently and economically for the client as possible.

Outside of work, Pete is married with 3 adult sons. He also enjoys reading, walking and following Rugby Union.

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