Accredited Children Solicitors from the Law Society

mark davis made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to The Law Society
This authority is not subject to FOI law, so is not legally obliged to respond (manylion).

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear The Law Society,

It has been brought to our attention that your practice notes for Acting in the absence of Children Guardian are missing? Please update the notes and update me when this is done?

1) Please supply me with the number of Accredited Children Solicitors from the Law Society,that Cafcass have used or recommend the court use as Rule 16.4 Guardian for the child rather than appoint an independent Social Worker? in the Midlands region or the whole of the UK if possible?

2) Would this role be Ultra Vires due to the conflict of interest as in affect the Solicitor who then acts as Child Guardian and is not a qualified Social Worker but is an Officer of the Court as being a Solicitor and would owe duties to the Court and follow different ethics than a Social Worker and Codes of Conduct and unlike an independent Social Worker being independent of the Court , and by appointing a Solicitor and cutting out both separate roles as set out in the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and in the Family Justice review 2011, where it clearly states that both Guardian and Solicitor for the Child, play an important role for the Child and in affect the Solicitor has no one to take instruction from?

2A) If Cafcass are no longer involved in the case? who would provide the rule 16.4 Guardian with instructions? other than from him or her self? being the appointed rule 16.4 Guardian, which is creating a conflict of interest and the child is not getting the correct help as set out in law. This can then lead to injustice going on in the Family Court if the Guardian/ Solicitor is not following any Ethics or Code of Conduct and could been seen as being dishonest in there work.

3) Why is Cafcass and the Court adopting this policy?

4) It is noted on Kerrigan Family Law website, who are from the midlands on there website that Mr Kerrigan of Kerrigan Family Law is appointed locally by the Court in Birmingham for this role as a 16.4 Guardian which would be Under District Judge Gailey, who under takes 75% of the Family Law work now at the Court, under what part of the Children Act 1989 is this lawful? or in the Family Procedure Rules and Practice Directions 2010 Does it state this is lawful? Please provide this so we can see if this in fact a lawful act being undertaking by the Court or Cafcass?

5) How many times has Kerrigain Family Law been used by The Court in Birmingham in 2011 and 2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 and 2016 as this role as a 16.4 Guardian? and for other work as directed by Cafcass? or the Court under Cafcass recommendation?

6)How many times have Court used Mr Mark Evans? in this role and Mr Grant Bird? in this role who are from the Midlands and are Solicitors not Social Workers? for the same above years?

7)Are the court going to continue with appointing Solicitors as rule 16.4 Guardians for a Child under 8 years old for example who would be vulnerable, Or any age?

8)We feel the Public need to be made aware that this issue is an issue of Public Interest given the power the Guardian holds in the Court and it is clear that in Mr Kerrigain case he makes recommendation's to the Court in the absence of the Child Guardian which is not lawful. and is misleading the Court as Prima Facie Evidence at hand does show us, which is not acting the Child best interests as set out in the children act and the child welfare is paramount.

9) Will The Law Society add this to there website and so members of the public are aware as we are aware the law society has currently now information showing which was last updated in 2009 and is currently removed. so the public are not being mislead if they are not legally aware of the law on rule 16.4 Guardians who are not Solicitors but Independent Social Workers who are not governed by the Health Care Professional Council but by the Solicitors Regulation Authority .

Yours faithfully,

Mark Davis

Mark Paulson, The Law Society

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Davis


Thank you for your email of 27 July 2016.  I will take your questions in
turn using your numbering. As some of the points you raise fall outside of
our work and remit, we are not able to answer all of your questions, but
where we can do so I hope those answers are helpful. 


1.         As we are not part of the court service we do not hold
information on the number of accredited children law solicitors who have
been appointed as a Rule 16.4 guardian, either in the Midlands region or
the whole of the UK.


2.         We do not agree that to appoint a solicitor as a guardian is
outside the court’s powers (ultra vires) or creates a conflict of


The Family Procedure Rules allow the court to appoint someone other than a
Cafcass guardian as guardian for the child in proceedings.


All solicitors representing clients before the court do so as officers of
the court. Solicitors must act in the best interests of their client,
while upholding the rule of law and ensuring the proper administration of

Solicitors are bound by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Code of
Conduct and work within a professional ethical framework.  


In making an appointment, the court should be satisfied that the person
appointed can competently conduct proceedings on behalf of the child and
has no adverse interest to that of the child. In relation to children
proceedings, both the Children Act 1989 and the Family Procedure Rules are
clear that the guardian and the solicitor for the child should work to
safeguard the interests of the child.

2a)        Where a child is able to understand the situation and provide
instructions, a solicitor acting as guardian under Rule 16.4 takes
instruction from the child. Where the child is unable to provide
instructions, solicitors must act in furtherance of the best interests of
the child.

3.         We are unable to comment on behalf of Cafcass or the court. It
is the court which appoints the guardian.


4.         The court has discretion to appoint a guardian other than a
Cafcass independent social worker in certain proceedings.


5, 6.      In relation to local court appointments, this is not
information which we hold and so are unable to help on this point.

7.         The court has discretion to make appointments to safeguard the
interest of the child.


8.         We note that this paragraph does not seek any information but
conveys your views in relation to the conduct of a specific solicitor. We
have no information relevant to your statements and are unable to
comment.  We would however caution that making public allegations of
unlawful and misleading conduct against an identified solicitor is a
serious matter and may be damaging to their reputation.    


9.         Our practice note Acting in the absence of a children’s
guardian was aimed at solicitors acting as the solicitor for the child in
the absence of a guardian - not for solicitors appointed as the guardian
for the child. The practice note was written at a time when Cafcass was
unable to allocate guardians to cases before first hearing, particularly
in London. I am sorry that the website indicates that the practice note is
to be updated: although we had intended to update it, on review it became
apparent that the circumstances which originally led us to prepare the
practice note are no longer a problem, so we removed it. The website will
be updated accordingly.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Yours sincerely



Mark Paulson
Head of Public and Criminal Law
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
t: 020 7320 5812 (internal 4355) 
m: 07976 182112






dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear The Law Society,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of The Law Society's handling of my FOI request 'Accredited Children Solicitors from the Law Society'.

I am requesting a review under what part of the family procedure rules does it give a district Judge the power to appoint a solicitor as a child guardian so where cafcass appoint a child guardian they would also appoint a solicitor, please can you list the legislation you say give the court the power the court is only bound by the laws and legislation.

Also request what power does a judge have to order a child to be returned to say mother if a father has not sent the child back as she was under the care of a Dr, so that father was acting in the child best interest and no parent had ever been to court so there are no current court orders in place, can a county court district judge order the parent who has Parental responsibility for that child in law and that child is under 5 so school has not yet began, grant an order that the child be returned forth with? when there is no Prohibited steps order in place or residence order then in place?
Yours faithfully,

mark davis

Bob Stanley, The Law Society

Dear Mr Davis

Thank you for your email.

Your email of 27 July 2016 did not include a request for recorded
information held by the Law Society so it was not dealt with as a request
under our Freedom of Information Code of Practice. Instead it was looked
at by my colleague Mark Paulson, the Society's Head of Public and Criminal
Law, who sent a response to you on 8 August. Mr Paulson will also be
responding to your email of today's date in due course.

Yours sincerely

Bob Stanley
Information Compliance Manager
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
t: 020 7320 5662 (Ext 4117)
f: 020 7320 5685

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Mark Paulson, The Law Society

Dear Mr Davis


Thank you for your email of 3 November 2016 which seeks clarification on
the appointment of guardians in proceedings. Although your email was
addressed to us a Freedom of Information request, your questions do not
appear to relate to Law Society-held information.


It is Rule 16.24 of the Family Procedure Rules which provides that the
court may make an order appointing as a children’s guardian a Cafcass
officer, the Official Solicitor, or another person if they consent.  The
court must be satisfied that the person appointed can fairly and
competently conduct proceedings on behalf of the child and has no interest
adverse to that of the child.


You will understand that we are in no position to comment on the
circumstances of an individual case. As a general comment, it is
Parliament, through the Children Act 1989 and the Children and Families
Act 2014, which has authorised the court to decide what is in the child’s
best interests. The child’s welfare must be the court’s paramount
consideration, and the court will take into account a number of factors in
reaching its decision, including the child’s age and whether or not there
have been any previous orders.


I hope that this is helpful.

Yours sincerely


Mark Paulson
Head of Public & Criminal Law
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
t: 020 7320 5812 (internal 4355) 
m: 07976 182112





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