Public Law Outline (PLO).
There are a set of stages the Local Authorities must follow .....
This meeting is held for you, your social worker and any other parties who are involved in your case to sit down formally to discuss and consider what can be done to address all the concerns and issues in order to protect your child from any future possibility of harm and to see if an agreement can be met and reached without the need to go to Court.
Public Law Outline Meeting Explained.
Review Panel Meeting Explained.
Public Law Outline Explained.
PLO proceedings are set out into stages.
• Stage 1- Issue and Allocation
• Stage 2- Case Management Hearing
• Stage 3- Issues Resolution Hearing
• Stage 4- If matters are not concluded at the Issues Resolution Hearing, then the Court will list a Final Hearing to resolve any outstanding issues in the case.
Although the Public Law Outline is set out in a set of stages, it is also flexible by the judge at any point of stages of the proceedings. Steps, which the court would ordinarily take at various stages may be altered if the circumstances of the case changes.
The flexible powers of the court include the ability for the judge to cancel or repeat a hearing twice, this is down to the discretion of the judge.
Children Services are not like Judges they work on the balance of probability although there allegations may not be true they will see the concerns and issues as fact regardless.
A Public Law Outline is a court order that gives Children Services shared Parental Responsibilty along with yourself. The Local Authorities will make to the Court because they feel there is enough evidence to support that your children are at risk of significant harm or are likely to suffer significant harm in the future.
Public Law Outline or plo is a series of court hearings where a judge will decide after all the evidence and assessments have been collected whether or not your child will remain in the care of the Local authorities or to remain in the care of the parents.
A Judge may grant a PLO hearing and Children Services will give you a number of steps that you will have to take. They will usually insist that you do a parenting assessment aswell as a psychological assessment, they may ask you to attend parenting classes (refer to the step by step tab get yourself signed up to the Webster Stratton parenting course also known as the early years parenting program in your area). They will also set out what the situation is with your partner aswell. They may also carry out spot checks on you at your home. If you don't comply with the rules set out at this point then they will start care proceedings. In some cases your child may initially get removed from your care and go straight in to a foster placement with a probably view to adopt your child at the end of the proceedings.
PLO proceedings can last no more than 26 weeks in total from start to finish the Judge can grant an extra 8 weeks but only in extreme situations and cases.
There is a legal structure which a Local Authorities must follow when they are considering removing a child from there parent's. This is the point at which everything else they’ve tried has failed. What the Local Authorities do is build up evidence against you.
Usually because the parent's won’t work with the Local Authorities. Sometimes the issues and concerns are much more complex like when there are difficulties getting parents to engage and to do everything that is needed to be done to address the concerns and issues. It may be a case that you will have to choose between your child or your partner especially when there is domestic violence or when a relation is causing emotional harm due to arguments and its at best chaotic.
The good thing is the local authorities plan's for your children are not automatically accepted by the Judge.
• Before the court can remove your children a threshold level of harm must be proved.
• It will depend on the progress of your case.
• What the best interests of your children are.
• If there is an alternative dispute resolution procedure can be met.
• Agreement in relation to part of the case.
• For a contract of expectations to be drawn up.
• Monitoring directions.
• Directing advocates.
• To plan a step agreement and justify.
• The impact of any decisions to the children concerned.
• Parties to co-parent amicably together.
• Parents to co-operate with the local authorities.
• Parents willingness to accept change.
• Identifying facts and issues and to address them with a plan of action.
A plo requires procedural fairness by the Local authorities by ensuring that all parties are on an equal balance and treated equally on an equal footing. The court should encourage all parties to use a non-court dispute resolution procedure if the court is willing to consider that appropriate, and can facilitate the use of such procedures by overriding objectives to deal with cases justly, ensuring that all cases are dealt with expeditiously and fairly. The court should recognise and respect the diversity in all manner of people entering the court and to treat everyone fairly without fear, favouritism, affection or ill-will.
They must recognise....
• That all families are unique with shared tendencies and idiosyncrasies.
• That all families are the cornerstone of most communities and a key source of the children's personal identities.
• Differences in the outlook of all families and to remember its a diverse society.
• That families do not conform to the traditional model and are an increasingly common social reality.
• For the courts to encourage parents questions that they need to ask.
• For the courts to explain clearly to the parents exactly what steps they need to take.
• To take in to consideration the thoughts and feelings of the childrens wishes and views and to envolve and encourage all children over the age of 10 years old to take an active participation in court.
• To recognise and to challenge any discriminating remarks and comments also any unfair assumptions and to involve everyone equally.
• To ensure fairness and equality of opportunity.
• That the courts maintain and preserve the status quo while the reports are obtained and all the assessments are completed.
You can ask for the alternative dispute resolution.
You can ask for a family assistance order.
You can ask for an independent social worker to be assigned to your case.
You can ask for an independent psychological assessment to be carried out for fairness.
You can ask for an independent childrens advocate to be called in to work with your children so there views and thoughts are heard and known to the judge.
Stage one Issue and Allocation.
Stage three Issues Resolution Hearing.
If the case cannot be resolved at the Issues Resolution stage, the case will proceed to a Final Hearing. At the Final Hearing, all the parties, including the parents, social worker and Children’s Guardian, together with any instructed experts in the case, will give oral evidence at Court allowing each party to be heard and challenged.