A message to our clients:

With the recent move to allow shops and offices to fully re-open, we will continue to review our policy on clients attending our offices. Currently, we are not inviting clients into the office but we are able to briefly meet with clients by appointment at the door of the office. Please note that face coverings are still required indoors until further notice. We remain committed to following the Government guidelines as rules continue to change in line with the easing of lockdown.

We continue to operate our business as usual across all the services that we offer our clients, both current and prospective.

We continue to offer teleconference-based or telephone consultations.. We are aware that not everyone has been offered full vaccination yet and understand that some people may feel safer continuing with socially distanced communications.

Our family and wills / probate solicitors continue to offer initial advice remotely by video conferencing and by telephone for up to one hour (as advertised on this website). Please call us if you would like to speak to one of our experts.

If you have a case in court, please telephone us so we can discuss representation.

We appreciate your patience, support and understanding over the past year since the restrictions related to the pandemic began. We hope you continue to stay safe, and wish you a brighter 2021!

Talk to a solicitor today 0117 973 1391

Care Proceedings can often be a daunting process for clients

This can be exacerbated for clients who have learning difficulties or disabilities. A learning difficulty relates to a specific learning issue (ie reading and/or writing) or a diagnosed condition (ie ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia etc). Furthermore, a learning disability refers to a ‘’reduced intellectual ability affecting everyday activities’’. A client with a learning disability may therefore find it more difficult to understand and comprehend information and decipher instructions.

Clients with learning needs may also extend to physical disabilities, such as blind or deaf impairments. Without the necessary support or intermediaries, these individuals may be compromised in their ability to interact and communicate with court proceedings. WNC v NCT v KA [2024] is a recent example of how the use of an intermediary was deemed necessary for a deaf mother in care proceedings.


Professionals’ duties to assist parents

It is advisable for law firms, such as ours to try and identify at an initial meeting whether a client has a learning difficulty or potentially a disability. Simple questions about whether a client has any difficulties reading or writing, whether there are any diagnosed conditions or pertinent information about a client’s educational background are likely to assist a firm in knowing how to interact with a client going forward. Overlooking this at very initial stages, places a client at risk of being at a significant disadvantage in their care proceedings.

Where an individual has a learning difficulty or disability, a Ground Rules Hearing (GRH) will often be used in order to accommodate an individual’s needs. Provisions may be included such as having longer pauses during a hearing, the use of an Advocate, more comprehensive choice of questions etc. to ensure legal instruction is understood and they have full access to information.

The ‘Good Practice Guidance on working with parents with a learning disability’ (updated in 2021) is a key document considered by many law firms, social services and of course the Court. It is the combined responsibility of working professionals to adjust their ways of working to ensure that parents with learning difficulties and disabilities are not placed at a disadvantageous outcome due to any difficulty or disability. A client should understand what is being asked of them during court proceedings, and fully understand the arguments put forward by other parties in order to give their own instructions to their solicitor.