Have you tried CFAB’s new free of charge Legal Advice Service?

For over 65 years, CFAB has been offering a wide range of services, covering both private and public law cases, in a variety of languages and with over one hundred countries. Across the tens of thousands of cases we have worked on, we have seen how important it is for there to be a legal understanding of what happens when children are placed with relatives overseas and how best to support families outside of a UK jurisdiction – too often, there is a significant lack of knowledge around international legislation, which can have drastic consequences for children and families. To ensure the best intentions for children are reflected legally when they arrive in destination countries, we have introduced a Legal Advice Service to offer guidance and support to Local Authorities dealing with complex international child protection cases. We are currently offering this service free of charge.  

CFAB’s Senior Legal Advisor, Maria Wright, is an expert in children’s law with an international element, and has significant experience as a solicitor representing clients in a wide range of matters including international child abduction, jurisdictional disputes concerning children, wardship, committal, forced marriage, and public and private law proceedings. As a member of the International Social Service network, CFAB not only has access to a network of legal advisors around the world, but we are also an Accredited Commonwealth Organisation and regularly attend meetings within the Commonwealth network.

CFAB is able provide legal advice to Local Authorities in England and Wales on the following areas:

  • The operation of the 1996 Hague Convention and Brussels IIa in care proceedings;
  • The impact of Brexit on care proceedings.
  • Legal options for protecting children with links to ‘third states’ which are not 1996 Hague Convention Contracting States (for example, Nigeria or India). This often includes advice on overseas kinship placements.
  • Legal frameworks surrounding the placement and post-placement support of children with kin overseas.
  • Case law and guidance on the operation of care proceedings with an international element.

Some examples of what we will be able to help with:

  • A vulnerable child has been taken overseas – what legal steps could be taken to secure their return?  
  • What is the impact of Brexit on arrangements for placing a child overseas?  
  • There is a vulnerable child who has only been present in the UK for a short time – can any legal steps be taken to protect them?  
  • Can a child be placed overseas on an interim basis to ‘test’ a kinship placement?  
  • Will an adoption order made in the UK be recognised in another country?  

How to access the service:

  1. Local Authorities can email a brief enquiry to legal@cfab.org.uk  
  1. Our solicitor will call back within 24 hours to establish if this is an area where CFAB can provide advice. If so, relevant case details will be collected and recorded on CFAB’s system.  
  1. Following this phone call, the client will be provided with terms of business and asked to confirm their acceptance of the terms by email.  
  1. Written advice will be provided within 7 days unless particular expedition is required, via egress switch. It is not anticipated that the solicitor will usually need access to case papers.  
  1. Any follow up questions will be sent by the client within a week thereafter the case will be closed.  

This service is intended primarily for local authority legal teams, guardians, judges and agencies with responsibility for children who have family overseas. To find out more about our Legal Advice Service and how we can help you, visit our website page here.