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.

If Social Services have notified you about legal proceedings concerning your child please call 01202 377995.

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.



Distressed having been contacted by Social Services with concerns for the welfare of your children?

It is critical you seek legal help urgently so please call 01202 377995.

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    Meet the Team

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    Lucy Charles

    Paralegal — Family

    Direct dial: 01202 377854


    Lucy has worked in Family Law for many years and has acquired considerable experience, dealing not just with legal processes, but also the vital support which parents need at a difficult time. She is able to guide clients through the new ‘no fault’ divorce procedure and assist in securing protection from domestic violence and abuse through non-molestation and occupation injunctions. 

     Lucy has a keen interest in both public and private children cases and works closely alongside our expert lawyers in the Family team.  She recognises the importance to a parent of trust in their legal team and faith that we are on your side. She will go the extra mile to build a strong working relationship with clients.

     Away from work, Lucy loves long walks with her energetic Labradors and back at home, her 2 young children keep her on her toes.  She recently walked the Jurassic Coast Challenge, a total of 100km in just 23 hours.  Lucy enjoys working out at the gym and has recently signed up to compete at Hyrox, London in 2023. 

    Amber Tarrant

    Legal Executive — Family

    Direct dial: 01202 377807


    amber tarrant

    “Amber Tarrant has represented me for quite a lengthy time in two separate family cases. She really has strived to get me the best possible outcome for me and family! I really couldn’t thank her enough for her support over the time I have known her. Fantastic solicitor!”

    Lee-anne Higginbotham

    Amber works as a Legal Executive and is currently studying with Cilex Law School to complete her Level 6 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.

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    Damian Summerscales

    Partner — Family

    Direct dial: 01202 377823


    Qualifying a Solicitor in 1988, Damian has over 30 years’ experience as a Family lawyer, specialising in both public and private law children proceedings. He is an accredited member of the Law Society Children Panel, confirming his expertise to represent parents, children and extended family members at all levels of the Family Court. His understanding and empathetic approach towards both negotiation and litigation makes him especially well equipped to deal with clients facing a difficult and life-changing legal process.

    At the weekends, Damian likes to make the most of our beautiful Dorset coastline with sea swims and cycling. Lured by the challenge of triathlon, he conquered Ironman Wales in 2015 and in 2022, he completed the iconic Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco.

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